This is why I struggle mightily with election. It would mean that some men, irrespective of the good works they choose to do and irrespective of their sins, are pre-wired to succeed or fail. Some are pre-wired to attain eternal bliss, and some are pre-wired for eternal torment. There are the approved and the disapproved and neither can change their pre-determined judgments. This immutable, predetermined final judgment seems to completely negate the exhortations of the apostles, and all their lessons about self-control, patience, alertness (lest he come like a thief in the night), etc. After all, why bother if the decisions have already been made and the seal of the Spirit on the approved can never be broken no matter how great the sin (even though we are warned repeatedly not to “grieve” the Spirit, lest God remove our lampstand – Revelation 2:5)? And why would the disapproved man care either? Nothing he can do can change his predicament.

Many defenders of election respond: Because we don’t know if we are saved or not. But think about that response for a moment. What kind of loving God would play such a dirty trick on His children? Why would he EVER implore ALL men to seek him, when he already KNEW beforehand some COULD not? Notice I didn’t say WOULD not. Because again, if election is true, and God made all His decisions before man arrived in the garden, and God does not look down the corridors of time to see how men will choose, he has granted only SOME the ability to seek him. Some can, and some can’t, period. Thus, the idea that BELIEF is a decision man can make is a false teaching in the Bible, because again, if some men are pre-wired not to seek God, they certainly would not have the ability to believe in Him. “Whosoever believes” becomes false doctrine. Instead it should read “Whosoever he has pre-wired and pre-selected to believe.”

And what of sin? Your contention is that SIN–NOT God–has condemned the disapproved man, but how can that be so when 1) God chose the elect BEFORE mankind sinned in the garden; 2) God discarded the “disapproved” man before the man was even born and committed his first sin?

If the great election happened PRIOR to sin, and God does not look down the corridors of time, then God based His decision on something other than sin, and thus sin is irrelevant in a discussion about pre-determined salvation and cannot be used as an explanation of why some men are saved and some men are not Once man chose to bring sin into the world, a barrier immediately arose between God and man. Man no longer had a relationship with God because God can coexist neither with sin nor with sinful man. At that point, man was spiritually dead, deserving of hell, and incapable of reconciliation with God since any sacrifice that man then brought to God was stained by sin. It was only because God instituted His plan of grace that man had any hope of being redeemed.

It seems you are suggesting every single man was doomed until Jesus came. I don’t agree based on the relationships Abraham, Moses, Job, Joseph, and many others enjoyed with the Lord. Recall what God said to Satan about Job. Job was declared righteous as was Abraham. Certainly, these great men of God co-existed with him. Clearly, though not perfected, some of these men were heavenly favored by God for their obedience. God loves us, and he wants a relationship with us. However, due to the sin of man, He had to sacrifice His own perfect Son for us, as we have nothing clean to offer Him. So, it was sin (not God) that crippled man’s intellect.

Again, I’m not sure how sin is relevant in a discussion about pre-election. Election maintains God chose, before man existed, who goes to heaven and who doesn’t. And since, by your own admission, His election choices are not based on him “looking down the corridor” at the choices we will make (i.e. choices to obey him or sin), then OUR sins would not be factored in any more than our WORKS are, because the Doctrine of Election holds that God’s grace alone (NOTHING we have done or not done) saves. So, again, sin is something we DO, and since salvation is not based on ANYTHING we do, it seems irrelevant here.

On the contrary, it was the amazing power of God’s love that brought His plan of salvation. If God chooses some for salvation, those chosen are extraordinarily blessed by grace. If He didn’t choose others, those who are not chosen deserve what their sin has brought upon them.

I see a conflict in this theory. On one hand it states God’s grace alone saves, but then on the other hand it states people’s sin condemns.

Re. “a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3): I would argue that Paul was speaking only to believers here (the recipients of his letter to the church at Rome). He was pointing out that each believer has a spiritual gift, and each must use his gift in the context of the church (as explained in the subsequent verses).

Yes, one might be able say that all are capable of being saved; however, all will not be saved. All that anyone has to do is to present himself to God without blemish–with no imputed or personal sin. Since we all have such sin, this is impossible. Only by God’s grace (one might say, by His “election) can any of us be saved.

Yes, we who are among the elect are members of an elite group. However, this privilege is not accomplished through any effort on our part. All that we can do is to thank God for His grace (giving us what we don’t deserve) and mercy (not giving us what we do deserve).

Yes, you are right that my illustrations of God “looking down the corridors of time,” and His creation of the elect “in the past” do seem to bound God by time and space. Although these might be poor illustrations, I still believe that they are among the best that we (who are indeed bound by space and time in this life) are capable of understanding. So, I do not believe that one can reject the doctrine of election because we cannot find an apt illustration for it. In fact, in a way, this seems to strengthen the argument for election. Since it is indeed inappropriate to bound God to “looking down the corridors of time,” then it is likewise somewhat silly to think that an omniscient and omnipresent God was capable of creating man without complete foreknowledge and predestination; i.e., How could God (in eternity) create man outside of the doctrine of election?

Re. Acts 16:30-31: I see no conflict with predestination here. My position is, in fact, that one does need only to believe, by grace through faith. It would be a misrepresentation to claim that I am saying that they must also be pre-selected. I would say it this way: God, in eternity, predestined some to be saved, and those whom He predestined would, in time, believe the gospel message.

Re. the claim of C.S. Lewis that “All may be saved if they so choose:” Whether or not this statement is consistent with predestination depends upon how he meant it. If he meant that “all may be saved if they so choose, but some will not choose because the Holy Spirit hasn’t moved them to so choose,” then it is consistent with predestination. However, if he meant that sinful man, in his limited freewill and through his own efforts and will can choose to be saved outside of the sovereign will, veracity, and integrity of God, then this is inconsistent with predestination.

The doctrine of election can be a difficult one. However, I believe that it is easier to understand and accept once one approaches it with the same humility with which he accepts the gospel message; i.e., once we realize that our salvation is completely God’s doing, and by no merit of ourselves.

Leave a Reply