There is, perhaps, no doctrine more debated in the church than the doctrine of Divine Election.
While a four week study is certainly not sufficient to explore this high mystery, we did endeavor to explore and answer some of the most common questions raised concerning this doctrine in March of 2014. The study outlines are available below:
#1 – Does the Bible Teach Election?
While the very word “election” arouses intense emotions, we must honestly and calmly consider the question: Does the Bible describe some people as “God’s Elect” or not?
Hear The Words of Jesus: Matthew 24:21-24, 31; Mark 13:19-22; Luke 18:7
Hear The Words of Paul: Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12-13; 1 Thess. 1:2-4; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1-3
Hear The Words of Peter: 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:10-11
“If words have any meaning at all, they appear to me to teach most plainly the doctrine of personal election. In the face of such texts I dare not, as an honest man, shut my eyes against the plain, obvious sense of Bible language.” [J.C. Ryle]
#2 – When Did Election Occur?
It is natural for us to think that God chose us on the same day we chose him. However, the scriptures indicate a more eternal action of God by using phrases such as:
“From the beginning”
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
“Before the foundation of the world”
“Before time began”
2 Timothy 1:8-11
The believer is not expected to understand this deep mystery. He or she is only expected to acknowledge it as God’s revealed truth. Do we?
# 3 – Why Did God Choose Some?
We tend to choose things because one option appears better than the other. The doctrine of election reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Personal Election is Not Merit Based
- Romans 9:9-13
- “nor having done any good or evil”
- Jacob was no better than Esau
Corporate Election is Not Merit Based
- Deuteronomy 7:7-9
- “for you were the least of all peoples”
- Israel was no better than other nations
To explain election in terms of actual or foreseen merit is to deny the essential message of the gospel: That we are saved by the un-merited grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
# 4 – Why is this Doctrine Revealed?
Many reject the doctrine of election because they think it leads to personal presumption, arrogance, or apathy towards the lost. It actually leads to much better things:
Assurance – Romans 8:31-33
Worship – Romans 9:13, 11:33-36
Holiness – Ephesians 1:3-4, 2:10
Charity – Colossians 3:12-14
Evangelism – Acts 18:4-10
These good fruits of election should persuade us all the more to embrace it as a biblical doctrine and to allow it to change our lives for the better.
Grace Reformed Church is committed to spreading the good news of the gospel by providing free Bible study outlines online. Feel free to use these outlines (with appropriate attribution).