Some opponents of this doctrine may wrongly receive the impression that there is a certain arrogance or conceit among those who believe in the doctrine of unconditional election. If that were true, it would be a sin. That certainly is not the purpose of this study which seeks only to defend the faith and reveal the teaching of Scripture on this subject. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29).
Rather than suggest any smugness, this doctrine ought to humble each of us to the dust. If any other impression is given, then we apologize for it. But we can and will not apologize for believing this doctrine which God has been pleased to reveal in His Word. We cannot depart from it, for therein rests the assurance and comfort of our salvation. If God has not elected a people unto salvation, then we are all eternally lost in our totally depraved state.
This doctrine is often called a “Reformed” doctrine. This is because some Reformed churches have consistently taught it. It is the faith of our fathers, but this is not a doctrine conjured up in ivory towers of Reformed academia. It is the unavoidable teaching of the Bible. It is a great comfort to diligently search the Scriptures and see how God really does bring His redemptive will to pass. The number of references in Scripture to God’s sovereign, electing love are overwhelming.
Outline and Proofs from the Bible
1. The Bible throughout teaches that God has an elect people whom He has predestined to salvation and eternal life. They are sometimes referred to as being “called” or “chosen.”
- Deut. 7:6-8 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
- Deut. 10:14, 15 “Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.”
- Ps. 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, And the people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance.”
- Ps. 65:4 “Blessed is the man whom You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.”
- Ps. 106:5 “That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”
- Matt. 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
- Matt. 24:22, 24, 31 “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
- Luke 18:7 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”
- Rom. 8:28-30, 33 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
- Rom. 9:11 “… (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls).”
- Rom. 11:28-29 “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
- Eph. 1:4-5 “… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
- Col. 3:12 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering….”
- I Thess. 5:9 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Titus 1:1 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness….”
- I Pet. 1:1, 2 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ….”
- II Pet. 2:9 “Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment….”
- Rev. 17:14 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
- See also Heidelberg Catechism Q. 54.
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.