By Nick Bibile
We have spent two months in studying the fallen nature of man and from today we were going to the next step, that is if the fallen man is an enemy of God, he is dead in sin, he is blinded by the enemy, he is a slave to sin, he cannot understand spiritual things, there is no one righteous not even one, all have gone astray, all have sinned against God, we are all under the judgment of God, and all are on the way to hell; then how can we attain salvation.† How does God save people?† God elects some to be saved.† This is called Election.††† Election is of grace.† But first, I would like to show you how deep we have fallen from these precious truths.
We are living in the days of modern technology, fast communication and high standard of living, but spiritually we have sunk deep into darkness.† However, we see mega churches, massive crusades as they say thousands are coming forward to accept Christ, Christian radio all over the country, all kinds of Christian organizations, and Christian TV.† But there is something wrong, as we see the news on TV, read the newspapers we hear and see nothing but bad news, with all the massive crusades, mega churches and Christina radio, TV the country should be getting better as more and more are becoming Christians, but we do not see that happening, the country and the world is getting worse every day, we have only to listen to the news on TV and read the newspapers.†
What is the root of the problem then?† The most of the churches are called conservative, protestant evangelical churches, they are called Bible believing churches, and they have fallen into great theological ignorance and have embraced semi-Pelagianism or Arminianism.† The early reformation brought the Bible back to the common man, and the Reformers labored diligently to teach men, women and children who came to church good sound theology.† They taught the doctrines of grace.† Later doctrines of grace was nick named as Calvinism. But today the majority of the modern evangelical, Bible believing churches have labeled Calvinism as dangerous and heretical.
The British monk Pelagius who denied the original sin and unconditional election was excommunicated as a heretic in 412 AD, and then Pelagianism was repeatedly condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431. Augustine defended the truth as he taught that human beings, because they are born in original sin, are incapable of saving themselves. Apart from God's grace, it is impossible for a person to obey or even to seek God. Representing the entire race, Adam sinned against God. This resulted in the total corruption of every human being since, so that our very wills are in bondage to our sinful condition. Only God's grace, which he bestows freely as he pleases upon his elect, is credited with the salvation of human beings. But the teaching of this truth was soon lost. Then during the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther brought back the crucial issue of Justification by faith.† The completion of the building, however, was left to John Calvin, a master theologian. He did not compromise the Word of God, what scripture taught Calvin believed. He brought the teachings of Augustine back to the church. This truth of the Reformation spread in Europe and the Pilgrims brought the doctrines of grace to the United States.† In the latter part of the century of the Reformation and the early part of the 17th Century that this truth was attacked by Arminius.† Arminians made their five points first. As the controversy grew between the Arminians and the Calvinists at the request of King James 1, of England, he invited theologians from different countries to settle this issue. In November 13, 1618, 39 pastors, 18 ruling elders, 5 professors and 19 delegates were invited to settle this issue at Synod of Dort. It lasted for seven months. What was the result? Arminianism was unanimously rejected and condemned. The five theological points of Calvinism were formulated to answer the five points of Arminianism.
Then in Great Awakening (1739-43) there was a great revival of God. Revival was "a surprising work of God," as Jonathan Edwards said, and depended entirely on divine freedom. George Whitefield preached to the sinners, that they would be awakened to God.† (1792-1875) Charles Finney ministered in the wake of the "Second Awakening It was Charles Finney who brought human efforts and human manipulation to the church, and today our theology is shaped by the influence of Charles Finney (1792-1875). Finney was a Pelagian, and denied the original sin. Charles Finney was an evangelist and became very popular in America. His 'Systematic Theology' is still one of the most popular manuals on theology in the Pentecostal Churches today. Finney was very critical of Martin Luther and John Calvin with respect to their teaching on Justification by faith through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. He was not holding to what the reformers preached and taught. His preaching led people into an emotional experience. Many Christians in the church are not aware of this, as they do not study the history of the Church.
Before we come to unconditional election, we need to understand what election is, as this doctrine has been ignored.† It is our duty to bring back the truth of Godís grace back to the church.† It takes much time to repair the damage of Arminianism.† Is the doctrine of election important? Charles Spurgeon said on the election, "I do not hesitate to say, that next to the doctrine of the crucifixion and the resurrection of our blessed Lord, no doctrine had such prominence in the early Christian church as the doctrine of the election of Grace."
Election is in the Bible. There are many churches believe in election, but do they believe in the election of grace? No, the majority of the churches do not believe in the election of grace. The majority of the churches that are Arminian believe in predestination, foreknowledge of God and election.† But how do they define the word foreknowledge and election? When it comes to definition there is a great difference, the difference is very clear like black and white. Their definition of election is centered on Man and on Calvinism; the election is centered on God.† The definition is so wide as it is from the heavens to earth.† What is the conclusion both cannot be true as they are like black and white, one is false and the other is correct.
Many Pastors stay away from election, foreknowledge and predestination, as they say these are controversial issues, it will bring much heat to the body of Christ and will divide the body of Christ so we need to just preach simple issues and the most important thing is to preach the gospel.† Let God be true and every man a liar. Let us see what the word of God says against manís idea of election being a controversial issue.
2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Read the scripture carefully. There are many who have fallen into error and have failed, why? They have not labored with diligence in their calling of election is sure. Election is very important, and if you are truly called by God then you will not be conformed to this world and will not follow the pattern of this world, you will be different.† You thoughts would be on heavenly things as that is where your real home is and you will labor diligently for the truth of the Bible, by this you know that you are elected.†† My friend, election is extremely important, many have fallen into error as they stay away from election and they do not even know the gospel, as the gospel and election go hand in hand together.† If you do not tech election then your gospel is of error, your gospel is a man-centered gospel.
The Greek word for election is ekloge (ek-log-ay') it means to pick out, choose, chosen, elect.† It is to choose some people out of many people.† Who does the choosing? God does the choosing.† Do not be surprised majority of the churches that are Arminian believe this too.† On what basis does God choose some out of many? This is where the rubber meets the road. The most crucial question is, on what bases does God elects some and leave others?
The meaning of unconditional election.
Arminians reply, God looks into the future and sees who will accept him, receive him, and God elects them on the basis of manís will.† The Scriptures make it very clear that Election to salvation is in no way conditioned by or dependent upon man.† Unconditional means that there are no conditions that humans must meet, including faith. Faith is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 2:8). If human-generated faith plays a part in salvation, salvation is not entirely by grace.† Now think about it, if election is of manís will, then God is bound to manís will. Then where is the sovereignty of God? Where is the mercy of God? Where is the grace of God? All these have no place as God is limited and he has no choice but he has to make the choice as per manís decision.† This kind of teaching is very heretical and slap on Godís sovereignty.
†On the other hand, the Bible says just the opposite.† God predestines and choose some according to his will and as per his own pleasure.
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
†5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
†6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
†7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
†8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
†9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
†10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
†11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
"It is absurd to think that anything in us could have the least influence upon our election. Some say that God did foresee that such persons would believe, and therefore did choose them; so, they would make the business of salvation to depend upon something in us. Whereas God does not choose us FOR faith, but TO faith. "He hath chosen us, that we should be holy," (Ephesians 1:4), not because we would be holy, but that we might be holy." Thomas Watson
"Moreover, as God respects no persons, so He respects no conditions upon which He gives salvation to us." Thomas Goodwin
"The orthodox maintain that the good pleasure alone (of God) has place and think that no other cause can either be given or rightly sought [for election]." Francis Turretin
"The good pleasure of God is an act of the divine will freely and effectively determining all things." William Ames
If election is of foreseen faith, then God would not have elected man, but rather man would have elected God. Jesus said, there is no one good, but one, that is God.
"Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling,"
Election is a glorious doctrine, as the sinner realize although he deserves hell, it was God who chose him. Election is a work performed by the God of glory. It lifts sinners from the darkness, destruction, doom, and death of sin to become Godís children. It brings glory to God, and nothing to man. It will praise of his glorious grace, which we do not deserve. Election is glorious. We were the chief of sinners, the king of sinners, hypocrites and totally deceived ourselves.
1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
†10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
But God chose me!
'Twas not that I did choose Thee
For Lord That could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me."
Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
†26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
†27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
†28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
†29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Election brings true humility.
Spurgeon said, ďI know nothing, nothing
again, that is more humbling for us than this doctrine of election. I
have sometimes fallen prostrate before it, when endeavoring to understand it. I
have stretched my wings, and, eagle-like, I have soared towards the sun. Steady
has been my eye, and true my wing, for a season; but, when I came near it, and
the one thought possessed me,ó"God hath from the beginning chosen you unto
salvation," I was lost in its lustre, I was staggered with the mighty
thought; and from the dizzy elevation down came my soul, prostrate and broken,
saying, "Lord, I am nothing, I am less than nothing. Why me? Why me?"
Friends, if you want to be humbled, study election, for it will make you humble under the influence of God's Spirit. He who is proud of his election is not elect; and he who is humbled under a sense of it may believe that he is. He has every reason to believe that he is, for it is one of the most blessed effects of election that it helps us to humble ourselves before God.Ē