We’re taking a small detour from the terms dealing with with the work of the Spirit in salvation.
God’s choice in eternity of certain persons to fulfill his purposes; most often used specifically to refer to his choice of some persons out of fallen humanity “whom he would redeem, bring to faith, justify, and glorify in and through Jesus Christ.”1
- From scripture:
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 NASB)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)
- From The Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter X, Of the Predestination of God and the Election of the Saints:
GOD HAS ELECTED US OUT OF GRACE. From eternity God has freely, and of his mere grace, without any respect to men, predestinated or elected the saints whom he wills to save in Christ, according to the saying of the apostle, “God chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). And again: “Who saved us and called an with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 1:9 f.).
WE ARE ELECTED OR PREDESTINATED IN CHRIST. Therefore, although not on account of any merit of ours, God has elected us, not directly, but in Christ, and on account of Christ, in order that those who are now engrafted into Christ by faith might also be elected. But those who were outside Christ were rejected, according to the word of the apostle, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (II Cor. 13:5).
WE ARE ELECTED FOR A DEFINITE PURPOSE. Finally, the saints are chosen in Christ by God for a definite purpose, which the apostle himself explains when he says, “He chose us in him for adoption that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption to be his sons through Jesus Christ that they should be to the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph. 1:4 ff.).
From Election by B. B. Warfield.
[M]editation on our eternal election produces such blessed fruits in our hearts and lives. That God has saved me, even me, sunk in my sin and misery, by the marvels of his grace, can only fill me with adoring praise. That he has set upon me from all eternity to save me, wretched sinner that I am—how can I express the holy joy that fills my heart at every remembrance of it! This is the foundation of all my comfort, the assurance of all my hope. “Sure I am,” says John Arrowsmith movingly, just to the point, “Sure I am that our blessed Savior once said to his disciples, ‘In this rejoice, that your names are written in heaven’; and that nothing cloth more inflame a Christian’s love than a firm belief of his personal election from eternity, after he has been able to evidence the writing of his name in heaven by the experience he hath had of an heavenly calling and an heavenly conversation. When the Spirit of God hath written the law of life in a Christian’s heart, and therewith enabled him to know assuredly that his name is written in the book of life, he cannot then but melt with flames of holy affection, according to the most emphatic speech of Bernard—‘God deserveth love from such as he hath loved long before they could deserve it’; and, ‘his love to God will be without end, who knoweth that God’s love to him was without any beginning.’” For this is the beginning and middle and end of the whole matter: that the election of God is but the beginning of God’s manifestation of love to lost sinners, a beginning which must go before all other manifestations of his love because the purpose must precede the execution, and which carries all other manifestations with it because God never repents of his purposes but executes them.
- GotQuestions.org: Unconditional Election - Is It Biblical?
- Tim Challies: The Essential: Election
- Wayne Grudem: Misunderstandings of the Doctrine of Election
- Loraine Boettner: Unconditional Election
- John Samson: Questions and Answers on Election
- Kevin DeYoung: What Is the Difference Between Election and Predestination?
- Phil Johnson: Dealing with Election (audio)
- Curt Daniel: Unconditional Election (audio)
- Tom Schreiner: Sovereign Election (audio)
This week’s term was suggested by Kim of The Upward Call.
Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.
I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. Credit will be given for any of these suggestions I use, too.
Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.