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Man’s Responsibility

How The Bible Defines: Election

God’s Choice and Man’s Responsibility

Putting it all together

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name: who were born,
not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God.

John 1:12-13

As discussed in earlier chapters, ‘election’ does not refer to God’s choice of individuals to receive salvation, but of God’s selection of a people for Himself.  However, this does not conclusively rule out the possibility of God choosing whom He will save.  In fact, the verses above clearly indicate that God does choose who will be born again.  According to the text, the new birth does not come through lineage; that is, one is not born into eternal life by having godly parents.  Nor does the new birth come from the longing of the individual, regardless of the purity and strength of desire.  Nor can one person pronounce new life upon another.  Only God, the source of life, can bring forth new life in a person.  He alone determines who will be born again.  This truth is clearly proclaimed in the New Testament and must be accepted.

Scripture reveals how God sovereignly decides who to save

If we can accept that God sovereignly chooses whom He will save, then the question that should naturally follow is: how does God decide whom He will save?  Happily, the scripture is not reluctant to give us the answer.  Even the passage above alludes to the basis of God’s choice. 

It is the will of the Sovereign God to give life to those who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul also referred to God’s deliberate choice, with regards to showing mercy.  “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15).  God declared that He unilaterally makes the decision on whether mercy is shown or not.  This statement referenced the time when God chose to show mercy to the stiff-necked children of Israel in the wilderness but did not show mercy to Pharaoh and his Egyptian army.  Paul saw that the deliberate choice in that day compared to his current day situation where God chose to withdraw His mercy from Israel.  In Paul’s mind, the reason for the removal was evident: “Israel…has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why?  Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.” (Romans 9:31-32).  God chose not to show mercy to the nation of Israel despite their tireless pursuit after righteousness.  Why?  Because they did not believe.

Those who hear the Word of the Lord and believe, God chooses to save

Anticipating a possibility of lingering confusion on the differences of faith, John presented additional stories which served as real life illustrations.  For example, in chapter 4, he recorded three stories which demonstrated the characteristics of belief based on the word of the Lord Jesus.  The Samaritan woman at the well believed in Him when He claimed to be the Messiah (John 4:26, 29).  The Samaritan people of the village believed in Him because they heard for themselves what He said (John 4:42).  Finally, the nobleman whose son lay dying at home vividly exhibited what it was to simply take Jesus at His word and believe what He said (John 4:50).  These people displayed the faith which came by hearing the word of God and were received by Jesus.

In chapter 6, John presented the crowd as an example of those enamored with the Lord’s miracles but rejecting of His words.  When Jesus told them that he was the bread from heaven, they murmured, saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:42).  They saw the loaves multiplied and believed in the Lord, even to the point where they would pursue him across the sea of Galilee.  However, they did not receive His word and so He did not receive them.

To further clarify the point, in chapter 5 John recorded a conversation between the Lord and the Jews.  The Lord declared “the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).  That is, the Father gave the Son the authority to decide who would be granted life and who would be condemned.  In the next breath, the Lord plainly indicated whom He would select to receive life.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24).  Thus did the Judge of all humankind declare the verdict: life would be given to the person whose faith was based on His word.  He would not give life to those who heard but did not believe.  Faith was necessary.  Nor would He give life to those who had faith in something other than His word.  Only those who heard his word and believed would receive life.

Paul also referred to God’s deliberate choice, with regards to showing mercy.  “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15).  God declared that He unilaterally makes the decision on whether mercy is shown or not.  This statement referenced the time when God chose to show mercy to the stiff-necked children of Israel in the wilderness but did not show mercy to Pharaoh and his Egyptian army.  Paul saw that the deliberate choice in that day compared to his current day situation where God chose to withdraw His mercy from Israel.  In Paul’s mind, the reason for the removal was evident: “Israel…has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why?  Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.” (Romans 9:31-32).  God chose not to show mercy to the nation of Israel despite their tireless pursuit after righteousness.  Why?  Because they did not believe.

Does God choose who will be saved?  Indeed He does, but what type of choice is it?  Is it a random choice or does it have a basis?  Scripture is very clear on this point.  God calls to mankind, stretching His hands out to them in invitation.  Although they hear, many reject the call.  However, there are those who have humble hearts before God, receive His word and believe.  We can say with full confidence that God gives eternal life to these.  How can we be so confident?  For the simple reason that God said it would be so.  God has bound Himself to His word, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We should not get this order mixed up and think that our faith somehow produces eternal life within us.  Or that we compel God to save us by the purity and strength of our faith.  We need to recognize that God makes a deliberate decision to save certain individuals.  We also need to understand that it is not a random choice by God.  God has clearly revealed to us His criteria in making the decision to grant an individual eternal life.  He looks for faith which is founded on His word.

These pages are provided to give you a glimpse into the contents of the book. God truly is good toward us.  If you want to read more, the book contains further information that supports the conclusions outlined on this site.

Westbow Press is the publisher and the book can be obtained from their site.  It can also be found on the sites of many favorite retailers, include Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

There are a number of options for obtaining a digital copy of the book.  Books2Read has a current list of options.

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