The Doctrine of Election

election-free-will-predestinationMy sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand (John 10:27-29).

Election is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult doctrines for us to comprehend. Simply put, election means everyone who comes to faith in Christ does so because God, in His grace and mercy, chose them to be saved. Election to salvation is an act of grace, rooted in the purpose of God. Election starts with God, not man. Election is rooted in grace, not works. It is unmerited and undeserved.

While there is no question this is what the Bible teaches, there are many questions as to what it really means. At the heart of the difficulty with this doctrine is the tension between God’s election and the free will of man. Libraries of books have been written on this subject and no one has ever been able to sufficiently settle the myriad of questions surrounding the tension. Those of the Reformed view would say it is the tension between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

Now, a word is in order about what exactly I mean by the term “reformed.” I am speaking of what is commonly known as Calvinism. I have found it difficult to identify a universal definition of Calvinism because everyone I have met who claims to be a Calvinist wants to define exactly what they mean by that. So for the sake of our discussion, we will simply overview the basics.

Calvinism stems from the teachings of the great reformer, John Calvin, who lived between 1509 and 1564. Calvin emphasized the sovereignty of God, the sinfulness of man, and the necessity of grace for salvation, all which are foundational to my theology and many other Bible-believing Christians as well. Some years after he died, his followers systemized his theology and went beyond what Calvin himself taught. This system is classified with the now famous acronym T-U-L-I-P.

The “T” in Tulip stands forTotal Depravity.”Man can do nothing to save himself, not even exercise faith.  Faith is a work.  Since the fall, man is born with a natural bent toward sin. Every part of him has been infected with this disease of sin, so he cannot save himself, nor can he seek God without the prompting of the Holy Spirit through His grace. The Bible clearly teaches we cannot come to God on our own. It takes God drawing us to Himself: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (Jn. 6:44).

The “U” in Tulip stands for “Unconditional Election.”God alone initiates salvation; it is not based upon man’s exercise of faith.  God, in His grace and mercy, unconditioned on anything else, by His own sovereign desire, chose some for salvation and left others to suffer the full consequences of their sins: “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph. 1:4).We did not influence God’s decision to save us; He saves us according to His plan.

The tension here arises from the Scriptures which say no one is saved apart from God’s plan, yet anyone who repents and trusts Jesus Christ will be saved. Which is it? The Bible teaches both: God chooses us and we must choose God. It teaches God will hold us responsible for our decision to choose or reject Jesus, and yet it also says we cannot come to Him unless He enables us. It says God has His elect and it also says He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is one of the great tensions in Scripture.

I have found many Christians are preoccupied by the doctrine of election and how it affects salvation. Friends, we don’t know who is elect and who is not. All we know is we have a responsibility before God to go out into the world and share the gospel with everyone we can to become a member of the family of God. God does the electing. He chose us to do the evangelizing. The emphasis for us should be on “doing.”

The “L” in Tulip stands for “Limited Atonement.” This can be a confusing phrase, so some prefer the term “particular redemption.”Not everyone will be saved. The benefit of the work of Christ is limited only to those who trust Him. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but the only ones to benefit from His atonement are those who receive, by their personal faith in Christ, the free gift of salvation offered to them: “I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours” (Jn. 17:9).

The “I” in Tulip stands for “Irresistible Grace” (or some prefer the term “effectual calling”).Those God has chosen to be saved, He will make willing to come.  They do not want to resist.  Those who are predestined to be saved will ultimately be saved. The elect will not be forced to be saved against their will, but will come to Christ of their own choosing because God’s grace is irresistible. His call on their life will be effective: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose… and those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30).

The “P” in Tulip stands forPerseverance of the Saints.” Those whom God saves He saves eternally; they cannot lose their salvation: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). This is referred to as eternal security or once saved always saved, but this doctrine is often misunderstood. The perseverance of the saints is not a license to sin and live however we want; rather, if we are truly saved we will display actions which give evidence to the fact we have truly been saved.

All true believers will endure in faith to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but will preserve to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; but they will be kept by the power of God through faith to salvation.

Election is the gracious purpose of God, by which He calls, regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free will of man. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness. It is unchangeable; therefore, it excludes boasting and promotes humility. Salvation begins and ends with God. It is by His grace and mercy. Man can have nothing to do with it.

Here are three practical ways to put this truth in practice:

1. Recognize salvation is from God alone and we must rely on His grace to be saved. He chooses us and we also choose Him.

2. Resist the temptation of trying to know what we simply cannot know (Deut 29:29).

3. Rest in the assurance that because God saves, we cannot un-save ourselves. We cannot be saved by grace and kept by works. It is simply not compatible with the plan of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

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About Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

Pastor Joe has been serving in Christian ministry for 15 years. He desires to nurture and disciple believers, helping them experience a deeper level of commitment and faith in the Lord. He is the author of "Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living." Through a commitment to servant leadership, he proclaims relevant Bible truth, equips the saints for effective ministry, and builds up the body of Christ. Married eleven years, Pastor Joe and his wife live in New Jersey and have two children.
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51 Responses to The Doctrine of Election

  1. Yoshiko says:

    Indeed that such issues still prevalent until now

    Yoshiko

    >

  2. This is a good overview. My only disagreement is that Calvinism does not stem from Calvin. Reformed churches insist that it stems from the Bible. We can read the doctrine of election throughout the Scriptures (you quoted many of them). Early church fathers’ writings are a plethora of teaching on election. Augustine was an early systematizer. Augustine’s writings are seen throughout the works of Luther and Calvin.

    To read more Scripture proofs I can recommend Lorraine Boettner’s book on Predestination, and this can be found on the www for free.

    Keep up the good work, Pastor Joe.

  3. earlygio says:

    Right on Pastor Joe and Amen.
    It is fascinating how many believers can divide over this. I personally like to call myself a follower of Jesus Christ.
    1 Corinthians 1:12-13

    • Me too! I have a problem when we `develop’ theologies and name them after men! You hear “I’m a Calvinist!” or “I’m an Arminian!” or “I’m a Lutheran!” But how many times do you hear “I’m a Romans 8:29er!” Isn’t this what Paul was rebuking?

  4. Thank you Pastor Joe, Calvinism is a dangerous teaching for those who depend on their own understanding to discern God’s Truth or believe those who propagate Calvinism apart from other error also takes the responsibility for repentance away from us, which is showing that we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, it is not works to repent, it is obedience. I will just share partially now but I will return. John 9:31 K.J.V

    Yes as the Scriptures confirm with the empowering of The Holy Spirit and God’s wisdom, we can know what is important for our Maturity, we are not like the Old Testament Saints, Pentecost has come but as you shared Pastor Joe, some things we may never know like how God creates a Tree from nothing or gives the breath of life to His creation but we will know Truths that many don’t. (1Corinthians2:9-16 -1 John 2:26-28-John 16:13 -15)

    Matthew 10:26-28 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops (KJV) (perhaps our Computers ?)

    I’m sure you will agree Pastor Joe that God did not say to me…” Anne you are mine and regardless of what you want you are going to be saved even if I have to drag you into Heaven kicking and screaming but I’m sorry Pastor Joe, I’m not impressed with the way you are going to shine your shoes on earth, so I don’t want you and regardless of how much you kick and scream you are not welcome in Heaven and if you come to close my Lion will eat you!.

    We can be very assured God knows all things from The Beginning, He knew that both you and I Pastor Joe, would come to heart repentance, that we would choose His free gift of Salvation in Christ Jesus by our repentance and so He chose us to be conformed into the image of His Son by this foreknowledge. He tells us He knows those who are His (2Timothy2:19) and that He sees us formed in the womb, His plans for us are very good and not one of us will be lost or He would not have chose us to be conformed, Love always Hopes but it is based on a recognizable reality, Those who are His are all over the World, we are His Church. King David He said; was a man after His own heart, he sinned greatly but came to repentance, King Saul didn’t, by what is recorded.

    But we must put our flesh to death (Romans 8:12 -13 – Colossians 3:4-6 – Galatians 5 :24 -26) and be Born again of The Spirit, when we are perfected in Love (1John 4:16-19) we no longer sin because God is Love and does not sin and nor do we when we have His seed or Nature, Jesus has set us free.

    1John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he “cannot ” go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

    1John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God sins; but He who was Born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    John 3:2 -7 Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

    Christian Love from us both – Anne

    • Absolutely Anne! Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place our faith in God without first changing our mind about who He is and what He has done. All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself. As you say, repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation.

      While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance to salvation does “result” in works. It is impossible to truly repent without that causing a change in action. Repentance results in a change of behavior. A person who has truly repented from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life.

      • Annie says:

        Yes I agree with you Pastor Joe, Faith without works is dead, so is reading the Scriptures without God’s wisdom and the empowering of The Holy Spirit, we are to ask for both believing we have received sadly many don’t so instead of confirming what with Scripture..

        1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that Love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the Mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? but we have the Mind of Christ.

        I was wondering how you would feel Pastor Joe, if your wife went out and brought a new dress even though you told her not to because of the budget and than realizing you were not Happy Clappy she said OK I’m sorry, now does that make you happy but than went out and brought another dress the next week, I’m sure you would not be impressed, so did she really repentant. Your Son says to you well Dad I suppose if you insist that I have to Love you, than OK I will!

        God does not want Puppets, He will not change our heart by force, we are to ask as King David did and than He guides us in the right direction as we choose His way, He molds and shapes us by using The Fruit of The Spirit, not suffering, although that will happen when we Stand up for His Truth.

        God knows all things including who are His Children even before we are conceived, some can’t see this Truth but He knows our hearts from Eternity, He does not force us to repent but He knows we will and shows us how. Some really believe that He chooses us to be conformed into the image of Jesus even knowing we will never repent, unbelievable but they do.

        2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.

        Christian Love – Anne

  5. Rita D. Palmer says:

    I love this topic. Here is what I have read several times.
    The points of Calvinism.
    1. Predestination
    “To mark out beforehand” Eph 1:5, 11; Rom 8:29; Acts 4:28; 1 Cor 2:7.
    2. Call “to call out among us.”
    3. Total Depravity
    “There is nothing man can do to merit saving favor with God.”
    “All men are conceived in sin and born the children of wrath, indisposed to all saving good,
    propense to evil, dead in sin, and the slaves of sin; and without the regenerating grace of
    the Holy Spirit, they neither are willing nor able to return to God; to correct their depraved nature, or to dispense themselves to the correction of it.” Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Rom 3-10-18)
    4. Unconditional Election
    Election is a sovereign, eternal decree of God. (Rom 8:29; Eph 1:4,5,11)
    Election is necessary because of man’s fall and total depravity. It therefore reflects the grace of God; Not human effort. (Romans 9:11)
    Election is “in Christ:” 2. From eternity past God chose believers to be united to Christ.
    God determined to predestine, call, justify and glorify certain ones.
    5. Limited Atonement
    “God purposed by the atonement to save only the elect and they consequently all the elect, and they alone are saved.”
    Christ’s death saves all it intended to save. This is unconditional election.
    Christ “will save His people from their sins.” Matt 1:21
    Christ prayed only for “those whom You (God) have given Me.” John 17:9
    Christ died for “His people.” His Sheep; the ones He prayed for.”
    The ones given Him by the Father” and “the church.”
    In John 3:16, The word “world” does not mean everyone, but “The whole world in the sense of people from every tribe and nation, NOT JUST THE JEWS.”
    6. Irresistible Grace
    Irresistible Grace is the supernatural work of God wherein He works in the soul of
    individuals, changing the entire nature by the Holy Spirit operation,
    The scriptural basis for irresistible grace is in John 6:37,44. Jesus said that the precise ones whom the Father has given Him will come to Him; moreover, they do not come of themselves.
    They cannot come unless the Father supernaturally draws them to Christ. John 10:16.

    Man’s responsibility is to believe. He must heed the call. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ
    and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31.
    When man believes in Christ, it is God through irresistible grace who enables him to believe.
    7. The Perseverance of the Saints.
    “once saved, always saved.” Believers “will persevere intrusting Christ as their Savior….”
    Thus, they will always be saved. The continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the
    believer, by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart, is continued
    and brought to completion. (Eph 1:13-14)

  6. Dust n Deity says:

    Thank you, Pastor Joe. This is one of the best writings I have ever read on the subject of election and predestination. The concepts are difficult for the human mind to comprehend and there is an element – or elements – to them that are undoubtedly beyond our comprehension. So often when it comes to God, we think we need to know all the answers and this is such a slippery slope because inherent in that thought is the belief that we not only are capable of knowing all the answers but even have some intrinsic right to know them. If we could understand all the ways of God, then by definition, He would cease to be God for we would be greater than Him. If I think I can only serve a God that I can completely know, then the only god I will ever wind up serving is myself, the irony being that I am not capable of completely knowing even me. Thank you for tackling a very tough, divisive but important subject and explaining it in simple yet meaningful, truthful terms. Cindy

    • Absolutely Dust! In His wisdom, God did not choose to tell us how He chose us. He does not give us insight into the nature or basis of that election; He simply tells us that He chose us and all who will receive Him are chosen. Thanks for commenting. God bless!

  7. Truth2Freedom says:

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

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  9. fredswolfe says:

    It is only difficult because of people’s unwillingness to rightly divide the Word. Jesus spoke to Jews, the lost sheep of the nation of Israel. Members of the Church of the Body of Christ ARE NOT SHEEP, they are sons and daughters of God. We are the called, not the Elect.

  10. Rita D. Palmer says:

    Pastor Joe Quatrone’s quote: “Those God has chosen to be saved, He will make willing to come. They do not want to resist. Those who are predestined to be saved will ultimately be saved. The elect will not be forced to be saved against their will, but will come to Christ of their own choosing because God’s grace is irresistible. His call on their life will be effective: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose… and those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30).

  11. Correna says:

    Hi Joe, Thanks for checking up on me, I am okay. Been really busy but I am not on the computer as much. I still read your posts though, I have to sign in to comment and lots of times I am in a hurry.You have been doing some great studies lately and have answered some of my own questions. Thanks for giving out the truth, there are so many that don’t have the heart for God anymore like you do. I am always encouraged when I read your posts. I just finished an assignment in our prayer Bible study at church in how God grace and mercy are the only reason we have Salvation available to us. It is a gift, and the faith that we have to believe I have discovered is also a gift. God is awesome!!!! Well gotta go, just wanted to touch base with you and let you know I am still around and okay. Thanks again for the concern. Take care and I will try to comment more.

  12. wsforchrist says:

    Just wanted to let you know I stopped by and read your post. Wondering whether Calvin knew what it means to be saved. There seems to be a lot of confusion here.

  13. wsforchrist says:

    To be saved is to be aware of and benefit from the love and comfort of God. Salvation is for all ages, here and for the hereafter. To be engaged with God through the power of the Holy Spirit is to have the ability to realize this love and comfort. I do not see the relevance in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13. As for Romans 8:29, Paul, presumably through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, does not put a limit on the number of individuals who can realize salvation. Paul is not necessarily excluding anyone, but rather, he is reassuring his readers that we are known to God from before we are born. The verse in Romans has more to do with our working in conjunction with God toward our Spiritual maturity, to become Christ-like individuals.

    • I apologize, but I’m not sure if I understand your original comment the way you intended.

      • wsforchrist says:

        First, it is my turn to apologize. While I try to keep up with my WordPress reader, time does not always permit. I have missed many of your posts. What I was getting at in my original comment was that many, many people assume that salvation is something we get when we die. It is a little like eating the frosting, but missing the delicious cake of relationship with God and maturity in Christ, with all its benefits, here on earth. Did Calvin get it?

  14. In my experience (and opinion) the biggest reason there is so much confusion about this issue is because we say on one hand that the Bible is God’s infallible Word, Jesus is that Word made flesh, and then completely overlook, ignore, or in some cases– render annulled–the very people He “elects.”

    I took a break from looking for my own “justification” several years ago. I know this sound weird, but I’ve had enough experiences with God to trust that He is real, almighty, on time, good, faithful, just, kind, merciful, and sovereign. I was confident that His ways are above mine, and that He is a rewarder of those who trust Him. Then, I began to study, trying to understand what He was saying to those who received the “Thus sayeth the LORD” scriptures, what it meant to those it was written to and about. In other words, what did it mean in it’s original Hebrew language, and Israelite/Jewish culture.

    I wish every lover of God would do the same, because then we can get away from a shallow understanding of things like election, salvation, atonement, etc. and retrofitting scripture inappropriately.

    As we gain a deeper perspective of redemption, God’s wisdom, sovereignty, our calling in the economy of God emerges, and the blessings are enormous.

    • I’m not sure if I understand what you’re trying to say. What do you mean?

    • Rita D. Palmer says:

      Who are the Elect?

      It is important to define the term “elect” used in the key passage in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 commonly known as the “Olivet Discourse.” The word “elect” simply means “chosen,” just as we would use it in common speech today. When we “elect” a president, we are “choosing” a man to fill that office. Since the Bible says “his elect,” the passage is referring to God’s chosen people. The question is, therefore, who are the elect? Who are God’s chosen people? Many will answer that “the Jews” or “the nation of Israel” are God’s chosen people, but that is a teaching that is blatantly contrary to the word of God.

      • Rita, you illustrate my points well.

        First you mention the Gospels as if they can stand alone and apart of what they are predicated upon: the Torah, Prophets, and writings, i.e., the Tanakh.

        There’s zero possibility of understanding the NT without understanding the First Testament. Ask yourself how we can claim Jesus is the promised Messiah”?

        Promised to who?

        Promised where?

        Reading the story of Israel and it’s promised redeemer backwards, in other words reading the NT first then interpreting the First Testament through that understanding, causes us to actually believe preposterous statements such as believing Jews and Israel are Gods chosen is “blatantly contrary to the word of God.”

        Have you read Deuteronomy 7:6, or 14:2?

        “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

        The word ‘chosen’ is the Hebrew בחר, ‘bachar’ and indeed means “to chose”‘, “to be chosen”. It’s used in many passages such as: Gen 18:19, or
        1 Chronicles 16:13?
        “O offspring of Israel his servant,
        children of Jacob, his chosen ones!”

        2 Chron 6:6, Ps 33:12, 105:6, or Isaiah 41:8?

        But you, Israel, my servant,
        Jacob, whom I have chosen,
        the offspring of Abraham, my friend;

        …and, many others.

  15. Hi Pastor Joe,

    As I said, it sounds weird. I try to clear it up a bit.

    The “elect” first and foremost is Israel, the Jewish people.

    Unfortunately, we’ve had a long track record of Church Father’s who’ve pushed them aside, annulled their election, and retrofitted all the their promised blessings to apply to the Church, and later individual believers.

    When I began studying differently, I decided not to allow myself to spiritualize the context, I forbade myself from looking for an immediate “application” for my life. Instead I wanted to know what that scripture meant to the prophet writing it, how it was understood by the Jew hearing it, etc. I didn’t replace “Christian” when I saw God promising Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, Judah, Ephraim, David, etc, that He would ultimately save them, even rescue them from the nations who oppose them and beat them down.

    I know, it’s radical! :-) But, I let Israel be the “firstborn son” (Ex. 4:22), the recipient of the irrevocable covenants and calling, and the “elect” God says they are. It forced me to go deeper and find my purpose and calling.

  16. What I believe is the most important, is Love, but sadly Pastor Joe I have been very hurt by Christians that don’t show God’s Love, so regardless of what Denomination they are or what they believe the Scriptures are saying, they are in bondage unless they show God’s Love to everyone but not just in words, in their Actions too. Not saying we can’t get upset or be angry when we are provoked but we resolve these and don’t allow Satan to get a foothold but it also does not mean we won’t feel hurt and sometimes greatly by their unloving words and actions, Jesus is too.

    Matthew 5:43-45 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the Children of your Father which is in Heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust

    I went to a Church that was teaching Calvinism, they told me at their Bible Study that my 7 babies who had died at birth or before, had gone to Hell because I was not a Christian when they were conceived and they also propagated that God did evil, I wanted to share with them the Scripture that showed these beliefs were in error, but they were not interested.

    I did wonder what type of god they believed in, if he sends babies to suffer eternally because they can’t understand about Salvation, but we know they are under God’s grace until they can understand right from wrong and as the Scriptures also confirm, Children are not punished for our sins, even those of omission. I’m so thankful that I’m a strong believer in God’s Love, Goodness, Mercy and Grace or I would have been devastated.

    Another time I was told by a Minister that was teaching Calvinism on a Blog, that I had blasphemed The Holy Spirit and was going to hell, why, because he did not believe we don’t continue to sin after we are Born again (see Scripture below) God warns us about judging anyone’s Eternal Destiny only He knows their hearts, they may repent on their death beds by the good seeds that have been planted although their will be no rewards.

    God tells us those who judge anyone for Eternal Salvation will be judged for doing this, unless they come to heart repentance. So even if they are Atheists we don’t judge them, I was for almost 30 years because of being deceived as a child by Evolution teaching but Jesus rescued me. Yes we walk away if they reject God’s Truth but we continue to Love and pray for them.

    1John 3 : 9 No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

    Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who Sins is a slave to Sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    1 John 3: 6-8 whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

    1 John 5:18-20 We know that no one who is Born of God sins; but He who was Born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.

    Romans 6:22-23 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto Holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Christian Love from us both -Anne.

  17. Good read. The greatest book (besides the Bible of course), that I’ve ever read on election is Chosen by God by Dr. R. C. Sproul. Anyone who wants a practical, biblical, and doctrinal view of election should read that book. It’s not textbook size either, which makes it an easy read for anyone.

  18. Rita D. Palmer says:

    Ephesians 3:6

    This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
    YEAH! God said we are fellow heirs, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!
    Hallelujah and Praise the Lord

    • Rita D. Palmer says:

      God has chosen the remnant of His People, from the Bible. The Gentiles are chosen also.
      The apostle divides Israel into two parts, “the election and the rest”: by “the election” he means, elect men, the remnant among them, whom God had reserved for himself; just as “circumcision” designs circumcised persons, and “uncircumcision” uncircumcised persons, and “calling” called ones, and “righteousness” righteous men and women; see ( Romans 3:30 ) ( 1 Corinthians 1:26 ) ( 2 Peter 3:13 ) . Now these chosen ones obtained mercy, grace, life, and righteousness in Christ, as the apostle himself did, who was one of them; and that by virtue, and in consequence of their election, for which reason the word is here used; hence mercy was shown them, grace was bestowed upon them, the righteousness of Christ was imputed to them, faith was given them, holiness was wrought in them, and they entitled to, and made meet for eternal life:

      these among Israel then obtained such favours and blessings; and so God’s elect, in all ages and nations, obtain the same things, and will obtain; for the purpose of God according to election stands sure, his word and oath are immutable, his covenant inviolable, his grace inalienable, and his power omnipotent:

  19. Would you mind blogging about something for me regarding the theological study of the nature/relation of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (Trinity vs. Oneness)? If you want to openly, or even email it to me I would love it. I’ve been in deep study and communion with Scriptures regarding this issue, which in my opinion in the crux of the division that Jesus prayed didn’t happen in John 17. I just want to see your perspective on it. If not, I promise no hard feeling because I know how this particular issue goes. Be blessed Pastor. Much grace and love.

  20. angie5804 says:

    I like your second point at the end: Resist the temptation of trying to know what we simply cannot know. I recently read THE PURSUIT OF GOD by A.W.Tozer and he said something similar. The terms “Calvinism” and TULIP used to drive me nuts because I thought there was too much emphasis placed on them. where we used to go to church. I grew up Baptist, learned the doctrines of election as a young adult, and have slowly grown in the faith over the years.I’m now a Presbyterian, though there are a few things I don’t clearly understand/agree with. Your writing is very clear – I hope to read more – thank you!

  21. bography says:

    Pastor Joe

    Re your “The Bible teaches both: God chooses us and we must choose God. It teaches God will hold us responsible for our decision to choose or reject Jesus, and yet it also says we cannot come to Him unless He enables us. It says God has His elect and it also says He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is one of the great tensions in Scripture.”

    – “God chooses us and we must choose God.”

    God’s choosing of us is logically and “chronologically” (from eternity) prior to our choosing of him. We “must” in the sense that we are drawn (dragged – John 6:44). God makes himself irresistible like most wives do with their suitors.

    – “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is one of the great tensions in Scripture.”

    The relevant verse is – 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is . . . patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Actually, there should not be any tension (paradox) in this verse. Arminians love to quote this verse to disprove monergism (Calvinism).

    You see, ALL, it says “all,” everybody, “everybody in the world” – “whosoeverrrr.” Now, Calvie, you’re so logical and theological, explain to l’il ole me that one.

    No sweat.

    Peter gets whisked away to a classroom somewhere in Kentucky, or make it my home town Port Elizabeth, darkest Africa. He’s teaching a geography lesson to a bunch of recalcitrants. It’s hard, I tell you it’s hard, for Peter. He can’t get a word in edgeways. But I can tell you when body language can do the job, he doesn’t waste words. Peter’s at the end of his rope. He stiffens, points his long finger:

    “I am patient with you, not wishing for any to fail, yada, yada, yada.”

    The Arminian either does not see (and thus is confused) or refuses to see that “of you” as in “ALL (of you)” is redundant (unnecessary). Everyone Peter is addressing (“pointing at”) surely understands that. Alas the Arminian is likely to point out to the irrational neural Calvinist – in love with logic more than love – that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman, who wouldn’t mess with his sacrosanct independent will, for if our wills were changed by God, what love is this! when God, without my permission, regenerates my radically corrupt neutral will to love him? Answer: It’s called saving grace, sufficient saving grace; there ain’t any other kind of saving grace.

    There is linguistics – verbal language, and there is paralinguistics – body language. Mr Bean, in one if his parlous bodily gestures, says it ALL: “My bodee is my toooooool.”

    See http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/the-apostle-peter-takes-a-leaf-out-of-mr-bean-my-bodee-is-my-toooooool/

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