OF GOD’S PURPOSE AND GRACE
WE BELIEVE THAT ELECTION IS THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD, ACCORDING TO WHICH HE GRACIOUSLY REGENERATES, SANCTIFIES, AND SAVES SINNERS: THAT BEING PERFECTLY CONSISTENT WITH THE FREE AGENCY OF MAN, IT COMPREHENDS ALL THE MEANS IN CONNECTION WITH THE END: THAT IT IS A MOST GLORIOUS DISPLAY OF GOD’S SOVEREIGN GOODNESS, BEING INFINITELY FREE, WISE, HOLY, AND UNCHANGEABLE: THAT IT UTTERLY EXCLUDES BOASTING AND PROMOTES HUMILITY, LOVE, PRAYER, PRAISE, TRUST IN GOD, AND ACTIVE IMITATION OF HIS FREE MERCY: THAT IT ENCOURAGES THE USE OF MEANS IN THE HIGHEST DEGREE: THAT IT MAY BE ASCERTAINED BY ITS EFFECTS IN ALL WHO TRULY BELIEVE THE GOSPEL: THAT IT IS THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIAN ASSURANCE: AND THAT TO ASCERTAIN IT WITH REGARD TO OURSELVES DEMANDS AND DESERVES THE UTMOST DILIGENCE.
I. "WE BELIEVE THAT ELECTION IS THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD, ACCORDING TO WHICH HE GRACIOUSLY REGENERATES, SANCTIFIES, AND SAVES SINNERS."
A. There are four words that deserve our attention in this statement. It should be noted that they are all defined in the Bible.
B. Baptists need to get the Bible definition of these words.
Election comes from the word "elect", which means, "to pick out, to choose out, chosen, given preference, elected but not installed in office."
A. Those whom God saved are already chosen (elected) unto salvation in Jesus before the world began according to Ephesians 1:3-14.
1. We were elected unto salvation in eternity, but saved in time.
2. This gives all the credit, honor, and glory for our salvation unto god alone!
B. The word "elect" is used in the Bible seventeen (17) times.
1. Sixteen of these times it is used concerning people and once concerning angels.
2. "Elected" is used one time, "election": is used six (6) times, and the word "elects" is used three (3) times.
3. In every verse where these words are used it is always God who is doing the electing!
C. Some false definitions of election.
1. God voted for you, Satan voted against you, and you cast the deciding vote.
a. According to Ephesus 1:4, election was before the foundation of the world, before the creation of angels, including the fallen angel who became Satan.
b. If Satan had a vote for who would be saved, that would make him equal with God.
c. Satan wants to be equal with God, but he never has, nor will he ever be.
d. No human had a vote on whether he would be saved or not, because election was made in eternity, before the foundation of the world.
e. If any human had a vote on election, that would be the same as that human being equal with God, and that is not so.
2. I have heard some folks say there was a man who wanted to be saved, but God would not save him because he was not one of the elect.
a. I heard this story when I was a young boy.
b. I thought it was terrible, and I still do.
c. Would any person be under conviction to be saved, then God refuse to save him? Of course not.
d. Of all the people who came to Christ to be healed, how many did Christ refuse to heal? None.
e. There were some people in Israel who were not healed of their physical diseases, but those people did not come to Christ to be healed.
f. Every person who comes to Christ for salvation, recognizing their sinful, totally depraved condition, completely trusting Christ to save them will be saved.
3. Some believe God has elected some people to go to hell.
a. This is called "double-predestination".
b. There is no verse in the entire Bible that declares God elected any person to hell.
c. John 3:17-19 states, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
d. Men were already condemned by sin, God did not have to condemn them.
4. Some believe God looked down through time, saw all those that would believe, and then elected them to salvation.
a. If that was so, election is not needed, because, according to this theory, election comes after salvation, not before.
b. If that is so, salvation is the cause of election, instead of election being the cause of salvation.
c. The fact of total depravity reveals this thought is false.
d. There is no scripture in the entire Bible that states that God looked into the future, and elected all those he saw would believe.
e. See the point below, under "True Biblical Definition of Election" which uses Psalms 14:1-4.
5. Some believe election is salvation.
a. There is no scripture that states that election is salvation.
b. Election is unto salvation, but election is not the same as salvation.
c. There is a difference in the time of election and salvation.
1) God elects us in eternity. Ephesians 1:4 states, "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." The word "chosen" and the word "elect" are translated from the same Greek word. This verse teaches us that God elected us to salvation before the foundation of the world.
2) Ephesians 1:13-14 reveals we are saved in time. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
D. The true Biblical definition of election.
1. God choosing whomsoever he will.
a. God’s election is not based on any good on our part.
b. There is none good, no not one.
c. God did not elect Israel as his nation because of any good on their part.
d. Deuteronomy 7:7-8 states, "The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."
2. Our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world, not when we are saved.
a. Revelation 13:8 states "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
b. Revelation 17:8 declares "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
3. Psalms 14:1-3 states, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
a. Verse two emphatically declares that God looked down through time to see if there were any that did seek God.
b. Twice – once in verse 1 and again in verse 3, just in case we didn’t get it the first time; God stated that there were none that did seek God.
c. Those that believe that God looked down through time, and saw those that would believe, therefore elected them to salvation do not have a scripture to base their belief on.
d. I, however, have a scripture to state the Bible doctrine that God looked down through time, and saw nobody seeking him; therefore God elected totally depraved sinners to salvation.
e. John 15:16 states, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
4. The changing viewpoint before and after salvation.
a. Before salvation, each sinner comes to Christ, who is the door of salvation. Above the door are the words, "Whosoever Will May Come".
b. After salvation, after the sinner goes through the door, he looks back and sees Christ. Above the door are the words, "Elected From Before The Foundation of the World."
c. Always preach the gospel to the lost – that is what Jesus did.
d. After salvation is the time to speak about election, and other Biblical doctrines.
E. Colossians 3:12-13, "Put on therefore, as THE ELECT OF GOD, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against nay: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
1. There can be no mistake about whom Paul is referring to as the "Elect of God". The words "chosen and choose" are translated from the same word as "elect".
2. The elect of God are those whom He has chosen unto salvation.
1. Mark 13:20 – "And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."
2. Ephesians 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:"
3. II Thessalonians 2:13-14 – "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
G. The elect of God are those whom He chose in eternity to be saved in time.
1. Ephesians 1:3-4.
2. II Timothy 1:9.
3. Election is not salvation, but unto salvation.
H. The elect of God are those whom He has chosen to save by His grace and mercy.
1. This means there was nothing in the creature as the cause or ground of the choice.
2. Romans 9:11-18 – These verses explain that God has chosen his elect through no value of their own, that God is entirely righteous in whoever he chooses, that God will have mercy on who he will have mercy, that God even raised up Pharaoh and hardened his heart. God will harden or soften hearts at his own will.
3. I Cor. 1:26-31 – These verses explain that God has chosen the weak things, the despised thing, and base things to stop all boasting. If there will be any boasting or glorying, that boasting and glorying will be in the Almighty God.
Regenerates - comes from the word "regenerate", which means, "to be renewed - to be completely renewed - to form or bring into existence again - to bring into existence anew that which was lost."
A. Mere man cannot renew what was lost in Adam in the fall.
1. Regeneration in the Bible means, "to be born again."
2. It is something God must do and He alone is able to do it!
3. John 3:3 states, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Sanctifies - comes from the word "sanctify" which means "to set apart" - to cause to pass over - to consecrate - to dedicate.
A. The word holy, holiness, saint, sanctified, sanctify, or sanctification all have this same meaning.
1. We who are saved have been "set apart", and "caused to pass over."
2. We are sanctified (set apart) from darkness (sin) unto light.
3. II Thessalonians 2:13 states, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"
Saves - This word is used in reference to "salvation", which means, "to save, delivered (saved) from danger, evil, difficulty, destruction, delivered from the penalty and power of sin - to be redeemed - to be delivered from the consequences of sin."
A. God saves sinners out of love and not because of any foreseen faith or works on their part.
B. God’s elect people are saved in time and those who are saved have a genuine experience with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1. The blessing of election, regeneration, sanctification, and salvation are all spoken of in the Bible in the book of II Timothy 1:8-9, which states, "Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
2. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
a. I Peter 1:1-2 – "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
b. Romans 11:5-6 – "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
c. John 15:16 – "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
d. I John 4:19 – "We love him, because he first loved us."
e. Hosea 12:9 – "And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast."
II. "THAT BEING PERFECTLY CONSISTENT WITH THE FREE AGENCY OF MAN, IT COMPREHENDS ALL THE MEANS IN CONNECTION WITH THE END."
A. II Thessalonians 2:13-14 – "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
1. Paul thanks God in these verses because He had chosen (elected) these folks unto salvation before He created time or the worlds.
2. Paul also thanked God that He had chosen (elected) the means whereby these folks could be saved, "through sanctification and belief of the truth," calling us unto salvation by the preaching of the gospel.
B. God the Holy Spirit works in such a wonderful and powerful way in the heart and soul of the sinner that He brings them to the place where they want to be saved more than anything else in the world.
1. When God is finished in His work of grace in the sinners heart they are constrained by love to come to Jesus in repentance and faith.
2. No one is eve saved except by the means that God has ordained.
3. I heard a man say he was brought "kicking and screaming" to Christ for salvation.
4. I do not believe that is true.
5. God always makes sinners very tired of their sins, their sinfulness, and the result of their wickedness.
C. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Acts 13:48 – "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
2. John 10:16 – "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
3. Matthew 20:16 – "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
4. Acts 15:14 – "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name."
III. "THAT IT IS A MOST GLORIOUS DISPLAY OF GOD’S SOVEREIGN GOODNESS, BEING INFINITELY FREE, WISE, HOLY, AND UNCHANGEABLE."
A. Since God is sovereign in all things He is free to do as He pleases. No one else can do this.
1. God saves sinners in such a way that He is able to receive all the glory and honor for such a wonderful work.
2. In saving sinners God does all the work and the sinner enjoys the benefits of it.
B. Matthew 20:15 – "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is thine eye evil because I am good?"
1. Exodus 33:18-19 – The Lord is able and free to do with sinners as it pleases him.
2. Every sinner that is saved is a memorial of God’s grace.
3. If left to ourselves, we would all perish.
4. God saves sinners in spite of themselves.
5. That God has purposed in eternity concerning his elect people will never be changed because God is unchangeable.
C. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Ephesians 1:11 – "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:"
2. Romans 9:23-24 – "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
3. Jeremiah 31:3 – "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
4. Romans 11:28-29 – "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
5. James 1:17-18 – "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
6. II Timothy 1:9 – "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"
7. Romans 11:32-36 – "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
IV. "THAT IT UTTERLY EXCLUDES BOASTING AND PROMOTES HUMILITY, LOVE, PRAYER, PRAISE, TRUST IN GOD, AND ACTIVE IMITATION OF HIS FREE MERCY."
A. I Corinthians 4:7 - "For maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
1. The salvation of God is the greatest gift among men and those whom god saved can only boast in Christ.
2. Romans 3:20, 4:16 – Salvation is not a gift if it is earned. We have received salvation freely through Christ Jesus. .
3. Colossians 3:12-15 – To remember what compassion, mercy, and grace God has freely shown toward us in forgiving us of our sins should move us to practice the same toward our fellowman. .
4. I Corinthians 1:26-31 – To remember what we were before we were saved will humble us and motivate us to praise and love Him forever. .
5. Those who are truly the elect of God will act like it.
B. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. I Corinthians 3:5-7 – "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
2. I Corinthians 15:10 – "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
3. I Peter 5:10 – "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
4. Acts 1:24 – "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,"
5. I Thessalonians 2:12-13 – "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
6. I Peter 2:9 – "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
7. Luke 18:7 – "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?"
8. John 15:16 – "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
9. Ephesians 1:16 – "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;"
V. "THAT IT ENCOURAGES THE USE OF MEANS IN THE HIGHEST DEGREE."
A. Baptists believe:
1. that the same God who chose them unto salvation also chose the means whereby they would be saved.
2. that the preaching of the gospel is God’s means by which He saves sinners.
3. that sending and supporting missionaries both at home and in foreign lands is God’s way by which the gospel is to be preached to every creature.
4. that every scriptural means should be used in pointing men, women, boys, and girls to Jesus as Savior!
a. II Timothy 2:10 – "Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
b. I Corinthians 9:22 – "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
5. that Christ has already given them the only motive, method, and message needed to get folks saved and new Testament Churches organized.
B. Love is the only motive for serving Christ Jesus that God will accept.
1. Loving to please Him because He first loved us.
2. Galatians 1:4, 2:20 – Loving lost sinners as He loved us and gave Himself for us.
3. Loving His praise rather than man’s praise.
C. Going to the lost sinner is the method of evangelizing that God accepts.
1. Visitation is the method that Jesus taught the first church.
2. Visiting from house to house in every community.
3. Church members are to go to the lost sinners and not the sinner to the Church.
4. Gimmicks, worldly entertainment, social affairs, ball games, or other unscriptural programs of men are certainly not God’s way of carrying out His commission to the churches.
D. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Rom. 8:28-30 – "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
2. John 6:37-40 – "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
3. II Peter 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:"
VI. "THAT IT MAY BE ASCERTAINED BY ITS EFFECTS IN ALL WHO TRULY BELIEVE THE GOSPEL."
A. The word "Ascertained" comes from the word "ascertain" which means, "to find out with certainty, to make certain or definite."
1. I Thessalonians 1:4-12 – God’s elect people are recognized by what their faith in the gospel produces in their lives. .
2. The election of God unto salvation is made definite to the believer by their trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
3. Those whom god has "chosen" (elected in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world) are granted faith to believe in Jesus as Savior.
B. I John 3:1-10 – Those who are truly saved by the grace of God will manifest it in their manner of living.
VII. "THAT IT IS THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIAN ASSURANCE: AND THAT TO ASCERTAIN IT WITH REGARD TO OURSELVES DEMANDS AND DESERVES THE UTMOST DILIGENCE."
A. Simply believing what God has said in His Word concerning the "purpose of God’s grace" will bring all the assurance the believer needs in this life to overcome all doubts and fear.
1. Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
a. Paul tells us that all things work for our good so what else is left to work against us?
b. Only those who love God and have the evidence of salvation of their souls can trust this great statement of Paul.
c. But how can we know this is true of all God’s people? Paul tells us why in the remaining verses of chapter 8.
2. Romans 8:29-30.
a. The word "for" in verse 29 connects it with verse 28.
b. The word "for" here means "because of" what God has already done for us and concerning us in eternity past we have the greatest assurance that can be given.
c. See also:
1.) Romans 11:29 – "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
2.) Isaiah 42:16 – "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."
B. When the child of God begins to grasp this great truth it causes them to study and to desire the deeper things of the Word of God concerning His people.
1. II Peter 1:11 – "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
2. Phil. 3:12 – "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus."
3. Hebrews 6:11 – "And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:"
C. Baptists have been hated and despised almost as much and for as long for this great doctrine as they have for the doctrines of local New Testament Church truth and believers baptism by immersion and that only by the authority of a local Baptist Church.
1. You cannot read the truth concerning God’s purpose of grace out of the Holy Scriptures; they will always say the same thing.
2. From the time Baptist Churches first penned their articles of faith they have always adopted this article along with the others without reservation.
3. There are those who deny these truths and yet their church has adopted it for one of their articles of faith.
4. Luke 6:20-28 – The best way to enjoy God’s Word is to believe it even if you cannot explain it.