Unconditional Election

Doug Ledbetter::Theology Thoughts::Reformed::Unconditional Election

Based on various sources (the articles “Predestination” and “Predestination and Reprobation”, p. 161 & 165 in Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul; the video “What Is Reformed Theology?” by R.C. Sproul; Grace Unknown by R.C. Sproul, p. 139-161).

Who will be saved?

Everybody needs to have some understanding of predestination since it’s in the Bible.

The dictionary says that “predestinate” means, “to foreordain to an earthly or eternal lot or destiny by divine decree.” Or, in simpler terms predestination means, “God’s decision as to what will happen to a person, especially after they die (heaven or hell).”

There are two basic responses to the idea of predestination:

1. God makes His choice based on his foreknowledge. This means that God (who is omniscient) chooses those He saw from the beginning who would choose God, have faith and follow Christ.

2. From all eternity God decided to save some members of the human race and to let the rest of the human race perish. God made a choice – He chose some individuals to be saved unto everlasting blessedness in heaven, and He chose others to pass over, allowing them to suffer the consequences of their sins, eternal punishment in hell. He chooses based on His good pleasure who will receive grace and who will not. Those that He gives grace, are changed. They desire God and receive the gift of faith and salvation.

In the previous article we studied Total Depravity and determined that nobody chooses God by their own goodness. Based on that, we can see that option #1 above isn’t a likely answer, but let’s see what the Bible says about predestination.

Proverbs 16:4
The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. (NKJ)

Exodus 7:1-5
So the LORD said to Moses: "See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. "You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, to send the children of Israel out of his land. "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. "But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments." And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them." (NKJ)

John 13:18
"I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.' (NKJ)

Romans 8:28-30
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. (NKJ)

(NOTE: See pages 142-144 in Grace Unknown)

Jude 1:3-4
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJ)

1 Peter 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: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. (NKJ)

II Thessalonians 2:13-15
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (NKJ)

Ephesians 1:3-14
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-- in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (NKJ)

Romans 9:6-25
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son." And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (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), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved." (NKJ)