Noah Found Grace

Noah Found Grace

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:1–8)

 

“Noah found grace,” we read; but what is grace? Grace is the favor or pleasure of God that is shown to those who are undeserving. This should be our basic definition of grace as we study the Scriptures. We shall find, as we study the grace of God that this definition will be affirmed many times over in the Scriptures.

 

We often think of Noah as a great person, and in many senses he was; but Noah was also a recipient of grace. Scripture describes man in Noah’s day as being corrupt, violent, and meditating always upon evil. The whole of humanity was sinful, and Noah was included in that wicked number.

 

It was in the midst of all of this sin, wickedness, apostasy, and violence that God spoke declaring that He was going to judge mankind for their sins.

 

Only after God spoke of sin and judgment do we find that Noah found grace. Henry Morris said, “Grace is found, not earned.” This is true. Noah, because of sin, had earned wrath and judgment just as the rest of mankind. Yet Noah found grace.

 

Scripture tells us that Noah was justified by faith. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7) Noah was not righteous because of his good life. Noah was declared righteous because he believed God. Faith and grace go hand-in-hand and cannot be separated (See Romans 4:1-16;Titus 3:1-7). Some time in his life, Noah heard that God was gracious and forgiving and trusted Him. Having found God’s grace, he was saved.

 

Wonderful parallels exist between our text and Ephesians 2:1-8. In both we find sin, judgment, and saving grace. It is most certain that there is no difference between Noah and us, as we are all sinners under condemnation, and need the grace of God to save us. Thankfully, just as Noah was promised and given a new earth to live on (Genesis 8 &9), we are promised the same (Ephesians 2:4-7;Revelation 21).

 

As we consider this, we should also think about that long period of time that Noah and his family were in the ark: what a difficulty that must have been in many ways! Can you imagine being cooped up with your in-laws and thousands of stinking animals (Did I just repeat myself?) for months on end? How did Noah and his family survive without either killing one another or losing their sanity? Again, it was all God’s grace. Grace conquers sin and gives life and righteousness (Romans 5:20-21). As it was then, so it is now: all is of grace.

 

This is only the beginning of a series of articles on the grace of God, but it is important that we learn from the very beginning that grace is free. Let us look at Noah, the sin in his day, ourselves, the sin in our day, and consider the fact that Noah was not delivered because he was good: he was delivered because God is good. In like manner, we must realize that we cannot and will not earn anything from God: all is of grace. Sure, we shall find that grace produces change within us that will produce obedience to God; but we shall never find that we merit anything from Him. Let us rejoice in this grace by trusting God more each day.

 

Notes On Romans Chapter Nine

Romans 9 Notes

:6  at issue is the promise of God to Abraham “the word of God”  See Rom 3:1-3

Not all the seed of Jacob are truly Israel (Mt 3:9-11;Rom 2:27-29;Jn 8:41-44)

:7  not all physical descendants of Abraham are counted as his children…..Ishmael wasn’t (Gal 4) Isaac, the son of promise, was counted as the son.  Why?  He was the son according to the promise: Ishmael the son according to the flesh.

:8 Children of promise counted for seed  (Rom 4:16;Gal 3:13,14,26-29)

:9-12  The promise not according to works, but of God.  Note that faith is not a work (Rom 4:4,5)  

What is God’s purpose in election? (Isa 42:8;Rev 4:10,11;Eph 1:3-7,13,14)

:13 Esau hated???????? Comparative statement, not absolute hatred from eternity past.  (Mal 1:1-5;See also Gen 29:30.31;Deut 21:15,16;Prov 13:24;Lk 14:26;Jn 12:25) 

:14  Does this mean that God is unrighteous? After all, He made promises to Israel.  Now He is denying the blessing to some of Israel while accepting some who are not of Israel. Is this unrighteous?  By no means!  (Gen 18:25;2Tim 4:8;1Pet 2:23)  There is no doubt that God is righteous in all His ways.  (Ps 145:17)

:15  The quote concerning sovereign mercy and grace. Is it truly given indiscriminately?  No.  When we view the context of Ex 33:19 we find that God is having mercy because of His covenant of promisethat He made with Abraham (Ex 32:11-14).  God is merciful and gracious to whom He will because He is keeping His promise to bring the seed of Abraham, the children of Israel into the land of promise!

:16  Salvation is not self-caused or self-determined. It comes because of God’s work in man.  Man does not bring it to pass through his law-deeds.  (Rom 3:1-4:25)  God determined to send a Savior.  He then determined that all who believe would be saved.  This is justification by faith alone that Paul is teaching. (See also Jn 1:10-13;Jas 1:18)

The issue of mercy is simple:  No man deserves mercy: it comes to those who ill-deserve it, just as Israel did when the original statement was made.  Thus, salvation is freely given to sinners; not inherited, or earned by works of the law.  (Eph 2:1-10;Tit 3:1-7)

:17  Pharaoh’s placement and destruction.  He was placed where he was that God would be glorified in him.  (Ex 9:16;Ps 106:8)  

If one truly believes in unconditional election, it would seem that they would need to believe in the supralapsarian view point of election, too.  Here we see Pharaoh raised up to be destroyed.  Nothing is mentioned of the fact that God hates to see the wicked die (Ezek 18:31,32;33:11).  Yet we know that God does hate to see the wicked perish.  Why is it not mentioned that God hates to see the wicked die?  Pharaoh had passed the point of no return with God.  He had hardened his heart (Ex 1:7-14).  This is also fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that God would judge those who oppressed Israel (Gen 12:3;15:13-16) The true meaning of this is found in the fact that Pharaoh was hard-hearted, and would have been just as wicked if he had lived in China as a pauper.  Pharaoh was being judged for his sin, not created for the express purpose of destruction with it being absolutely necessary that he sin and be destroyed, because that’s how God made him.    This passage is but another fulfillment of promise.  It also illustrates that God has mercy on the children of promise!!!!  (We have already seen these children to be those who are justified by faith in Christ Rom 4:16;Gal 3:13,14)

Whom does God harden? (Prov 29:1)Those who harden themselves against Him.  (Gen 15:13-16 cp Deut 2:30 Sihon hardened himself because the his iniquity, and the iniquity of his people had gone as far as God would allow it to go.)  (Job 9:4)Man is given the choice of hardening his heart, or not hardening it.  In fact, man is commanded to not harden his heart  (Ps 95:8;Heb 4:7,8)

:18  On whom does God have mercy?  On the ones He chooses to show mercy to……….those who are children of the promise, not children of the flesh, or hardened ones. (I think one could make a case here that the children of the flesh and the hardened ones are one and the same.  They are those who are not children of promise, because they will not accept the gospel by faith.)

Justification

Justification By Faith

Justification By Faith

 

What Is Justification?

As we study the doctrine of justification, we must first of all determine the meaning of the word.  To justify is “to prove or show to be just, or conformable to law, right, justice, propriety or duty; to defend or maintain; to vindicate as right.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)  In other words, to justify is to issue a legal declaration of justness, or righteousness.  Let us search the Scriptures to see if this is verified therein.

The LORD used Moses to say, “Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.”  (Ex 23:7) KJV  Again we read, “If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.”  (Deut 25:1) KJV These statements show that justification is a legal declaration of righteousness.  God expects judgment to be just so that the righteousness of the righteous will be declared and rewarded while the wickedness of the wicked will be punished.  In fact, He used Solomon to say, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”  (Prov 17:15) KJV  Again, the LORD used Isaiah to say, “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!”  (Isa 5:22,23) KJV  So far we have seen that justification is a legal declaration, or recognition, of righteousness.

While we acknowledge justification to be a legal declaration of righteousness, we must also understand what it is not.  Justification is not makingsomeone righteous; it is the simple declaration of righteousness. Justification does not make one righteous, but is the equivalent of a sentence of acquittal.  This truth is seen in verses which speak of God being justified.  David said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”  (Ps 51:4) KJV  David was not seeking to make God righteous, but he was simply declaring the fact that, while he was wrong, God was right. As Jesus spoke to the Jews concerning John the Baptist, it is stated that “all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.” (Luke 7:29) KJV  In other words, the people acknowledged the justness of God and gave Him glory for that righteousness.

Finally, we find that justification is a legal declaration of righteousness as opposed to the legal declaration of sinfulness, or condemnation.  “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”  (Rom 8:34) KJV 

 

The Ground of Our Justification

            By what means are we justified?  Is it on the basis of our own goodness?  No.  If we were justified because of our own goodness there would be no further need of our being justified.  Unfortunately, we are sinners who have come short of glorifying God (Rom 3:23) and have nothing within ourselves that is good (Rom 7:18) whereby we can justify ourselves.  What then, is the ground of our justification?  We are justified by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

There are three specific things that Christ did that together form the perfect work of Jesus that is sufficient for our justification.  First of all, Jesus obeyed God completely and without failure.  This is seen in the following statements made concerning Jesus:  “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  (Heb 4:15) KJV  “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”  (1 Peter 2:22) KJV  “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.   For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”    (Rom 5:18,19) KJV  By Jesus’ obedience we shall be made righteous.

Next we find that Jesus died that we might be justified.  “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”  (Rom 3:24-26) KJV While it is an abomination for wicked people to be justified, the cross of Christ declares how God does so righteously.  It also declares that the one thing that is sufficient for the forgiveness of our sins is the righteousness of Jesus.  Jesus’ death satisfied the righteous demands of God and His law on our behalf. That is why Paul said, “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  (2 Cor 5:21) KJV  Jesus’ death for our sins declares that God’s righteousness if what is necessary for the remission of our sins, as well.  The death of Jesus for our sins declares that man’s righteousness under the law is insufficient, and that man needs a Divine righteousness imputed to him if He is to be justified.  “The righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  (Rom 3:21-23) KJV 

Finally, the resurrection of Jesus was for our justification.  “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”  (Rom 4:25) KJV  Jesus’ resurrection signified and accomplished the victory over death and the sin that caused it.  “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.   For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”  (Rom 6:9,10) KJV Jesus’ resurrection shows that, though He died for our sins, He would/could not be held by death because death had no authority or power over Him, because He had no sin.  Thus, Jesus conquered sin and is able to justify us.

The grounds of our justification is the perfect work of Christ who lived a sinless life, died as a sin offering for us, and rose from the dead to break the power of sin.

 

Why Faith?

Why is justification by faith?  Why are we not justified some other way? There are two very important reasons why we are justified by faith.  Those reasons are: one, because we are sinners who are unable to be justified by any other means; two, because God is due the glory and not ourselves.

The doctrine of the total depravity of man means that man is a sinner from birth.  This, of course, means that man cannot justify himself.  Paul stated the fact of our sinfulness very plainly saying, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”  (Eph 2:1-3) KJV  Again, we find that, “ as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom 5:12) KJV  Having sinned in our federal head (Adam), and being born with a sinful nature, it is impossible for man to justfiy himself. Man must look outside of himself and trust another to justify him.  Why?  Because one with a sinful nature will never produce righteous fruit.  “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”  (Matt 7:17,18) KJV  This being so, man has no capability to justify himself.

On the same token, the law cannot do man any good in his attempt to be justified.  The law, though holy, just, and good (Rom 7:12), but it had a fundamental weakness: human nature.  The scriptures tell us that the law is weak through the flesh (Rom 8:1-4). This simply means that human nature, when confronted with the law, rises up in rebellion against it.  Paul said that “ sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”  (Rom 7:11) KJV  Again, he said that “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.   So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom 8:7,8) KJV  Human nature simply will not abide by the law of God, and thus man cannot justify himself.  “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.   Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  (Rom 3:19,20) KJV 

God ordained that man be justified by faith due to the fact that all glory belongs to God.  If man were able to do some good deed by which he would be justified he would have reason to boast.  “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?   For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”  (Rom 4:1-3) KJV  As great a man as Abraham was could not be justified by his works.  If Abraham could have been justified by his works he would have had something of which to boast, but before God he has nothing.  Why?  Because Abraham was justified by faith.  Paul told the Romans that there is no room at all for boasting.  “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”  (Rom 3:27) KJV  In fact, Jesus came to become our righteousness that we might boast in Him alone.  “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  (1 Cor 1:30,31) KJV This being true, there is only one in whom we can boast: Jesus.  “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”  (Gal 6:14) KJV

 

Results of Justification

In what does justification result? What benefit is there to the one justified?  There are several things that result from justification, but the first is the simple fact that man is right with God.  What else is there?

Justification causes man to stand before God with no condemnation and no guilt.  While we are guilty before God, justification removes that guilt.  “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.   Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.   But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.   Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.   Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  (Rom 3:19-28) KJV The guilt that we carried is removed, our sins are remitted, and we are declared righteous when we are justified.  What a blessing this is!  Not only so, but we are no longer under condemnation.  “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.”  (John 3:18) KJV  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” KJV    For everyone who is justified by faith in Christ there is presently no condemnation.  What a wonderful gift from God this is.  We are not left in the balance wondering whether we shall or shall not be justified in the day of judgment, but are assured that there is now no condemnation.  Not only so, but there never shall be any condemnation to those who are justified.  Paul said, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.   Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”  (Rom 8:33,34) KJV    There shall be no more condemnation to those who belong to Jesus Christ.  Justification is the work of God and His work is eternal and shall not be destroyed.

            Another blessing of justification is the fact that we have peace with God. No longer are we at enmity with God; we are reconciled to Him.  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  (Rom 5:1,2) KJV Not only are we at peace with God, but this standing is secure.  Paul’s statement tells us that we stand before God in grace.  Just as we are justified by freely by the grace of God (Rom 3:24,25) we stand before God securely, because our standing is based upon grace and not works.

Finally we read,“The kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  (Titus 3:4-7) KJV  In this text Paul is telling us of two great benefits of justification: regeneration and inheritance.  When one is justified, he also becomes a new creature; the old man passes away and he becomes new (2Cor 5:17), having new life because the Spirit of God dwells within him.  Having been born into the family of God, the justified person becomes heir of God (Rom 8:16;Eph 1:12-14).  Rich indeed are the blessings of being right with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

 

The Doctrine of Divine Election

Divine Election

The Doctrine of Divine Election

 

The first thing we must do as we study the doctrine of Divine election is to define the terms which we are using.  To do so we must consult both a dictionary of the English language and the Word of God.  The first to give us the meaning of the word so that we are not in the dark concerning the meaning and usage of the word.  The second to determine the particular manner(s) in which the Scriptures use the word.  Only by so doing can we begin to understand the Biblical truth concerning this much disputed topic.

Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of The English Language defines election as follows:

“The act of choosing; choice; the act of selecting one or more from others. Hence appropriately,

  1. The act of choosing a person to fill an office or employment, by any manifestation of preference, as by ballot, uplifted hands or viva voce; as the election of a king, of a president, or a mayor.

Corruption in elections is the great enemy of freedom.

  1. Choice; voluntary preference; free will; liberty to act or not. It is at his election to accept or refuse.
  2. Power of choosing or selecting.
  3. Discernment; discrimination; distinction.

To use men with much difference and election is good.

  1. In theology, divine choice; predetermination of God, by which persons are distinguished as objects of mercy, become subjects of grace, are sanctified and prepared for heaven.

There is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Rom.11.

  1. The public choice of officers.
  2. The day of a public choice of officers.
  3. Those who are elected.

The election hath obtained it. Rom.11.”

 

We can quickly tell that the basic meaning of election is the act of choosing, or a choice, of one or more from among others.  The rest of the article from Webster’s 1828gives us specific examples of the usage of the word.

 

We must also define the word “choice”  if we are to accurately understand this issue. “CHOICE, n.

  1. The act of choosing; the voluntary act of selecting or separating from two or more things that which is preferred; or the determination of the mind in preferring one thing to another; election.

Ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my moth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. Acts 15.

  1. The power of choosing; option.

Where there is force, there can be no choice.

Of these alternatives we have our own choice.

  1. Care in selecting; judgment or skill in distinguishing what is to be preferred, and in giving a preference.

I imagine Caesars apothegms were collected with judgment and choice.

  1. The thing chosen; that which is approved and selected in preference to others; selection.

Nor let thy conquests only be her choice.

  1. The best part of any thing; that which is preferable, and properly the object of choice.

In the choice of our sepulchers bury thy dead. Gen. 23.

  1. The act of electing to office by vote; election.

To make choice of, to choose; to select; to separate and take in preference.

CHOICE, a.

  1. Worthy of being preferred; select; precious; very valuable.

My choicest hours of life are lost.

My revenue is better than choice silver. Prov. 8.

  1. Holding dear; preserving or using with care, as valuable; frugal; as, to be choice of time or of advantages.
  2. Selecting with care, and due attention to preference; as, to be choice of ones company.”

Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of  The English Language

 

        We can quickly tell, now, that choice is the act of electing  something/someone based upon a preference.  For something/someone to be choice they much be considered to be of value. While there are those who declare that no contingencies enter into Divine election, we must differ with them on this issue.  The very meaning of the word “choice” speaks of preference as being the basis of choice.  We know of no choice that is made without that which is chosen being chosen because of something about it that was preferred by the one doing the choosing.

 

The Biblical Usage of The Words Chose, Chosen, Choose, Choice, Elect, Election

The Scriptures use the above words in a consistent manner.  The manner in which they are used demonstrate to us that the choice (or chosen, elect) ones in the Scriptures were the ones who were preferred by God.

“There came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that evil was near them.” (Judg 20:34) KJV

“When Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians.”  (1 Chron 19:10) KJV

“The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.”  (Ps 78:31)KJV

“Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.”  (Jer 48:15) KJV“The last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.’  (Matt 20:16) KJV

All of the above references speak of those chosen/choice ones as being ones who are preferred above others.  They are valuable.

The Chosen Ones of God

            Who are the chosen ones of God?  First and foremost is Christ. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”  ( Isa 42:1) KJV Matt 12:14-21 tells us that this verse speaks of Jesus. Peter also refers to Isaiah, referencing Isa 28:16 and speaks of Jesus saying, “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.   Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”  (1 Peter 2:4-6) KJV 

The next group of chosen ones is Israel. “Because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt.”  (Deut 4:37) KJV  “Thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”  (Deut 7:60 KJV  “The LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.”  (Deut 10:15) KJV  In one particular place, though he did not use any word such as “choice”, “chose”, etc., Moses spoke to Israel to remind them of the status as God’s chosen people.  “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”  (Ex 19:5,6) KJV  The reason that we know this verse speaks of Israel being God’s chosen is because Peter later used the verse to remind the church of the fact that they were blessed with grace and were part of the plan and work of God.

The next group of chosen ones we find is the church.  “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.”  (1 Peter 2:9) KJV  Peter uses this verse to compare the church (the Israel of God, see Gal 6;16) and Israel, thus reminding the church of their blessed state.  We also read, “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.” (1 Peter 5:13) KJV  Then, when Jesus returns in power and glory with the armies of heaven, the bride of Christ (Rev 19:1-14) which is the church (Eph 5:25-33), we learn that “they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”  (Rev 17:14) KJV 

Finally, we read of the elect angels (See 1Tim 5:21).

In all of this we can see that election is primarily a corporate thing.  That is, the elect are elect due to being part of a body of chosen ones.

The Basis of Election

What is the basis of election?  If the elect are elect because they are numbered with a certain group, how do people come to be numbered among the elect? That is the question that plagues so many today.  Does God arbitrarily choose those who are his elect/choice?  We have already seen that to be elect, or choice, speaks of preference above others.  We know that there is normally a reason for one’s preferring one above another.  What reason does God have for preferring some above others? These are the questions to which we must find the answers.

First of all, it would be well that we consider what does  not  cause someone to be a part of the elect.  While being a descendant of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob caused one to be a part of the chosen nation of Israel, one’s genealogy will not make him part of those who are the chosen of God.  God’s Word says,  “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.   But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (John 1:11-13)  KJV         No, man is not chosen because of his pedigree, his willing himself to be born again, nor human effort.  Election and the results thereof are the work of God.  Neither does ones character and station in life bring about election.  “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.   But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  (1 Cor 1:26-31) KJV God’s way of working is to accomplish His will and purpose in a manner that will demonstrate that He is the one who is great and not man.  Man will never have reason to boast before God.  Thus, God chooses those who are often considered the least likely to be called, saved, and used of God.  Neither has God chosen men based upon their good works.  “The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.” (Rom 9:11) KJV  We see that election is not due to one’s character, bloodline, or works.  It is all of God.

            Election is of the grace of God.  “At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.   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.” (Rom 11:5,6) KJV  God chooses men apart from any merit on their part.  God works in the hearts and lives of men gratuitously and not because man does something to earn God’s kindness.  Election is the free gift of the God of all grace.  There is only one reason for this, and that is the reason that God intends to get all the glory for what He does.  God, by His grace, elects, calls, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies unworthy sinners that we might glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

Having understood that election is of God and His grace, we must ask another question: “Where does faith fit into this picture?” Some consider faith to be a work of man (though not a work of exactly the same sort as keeping the law) and not considered by God when He chooses men.  Is this so?  The answer is, “No, it is not so.”  In fact, faith goes hand-in-hand with grace.  The Word of God tells us that salvation is of faith so that it might be freely given to us by God.  “It is of faith, that it might be by grace.”  (Rom 4:16) KJV  Faith, like grace, is antithetical to works.  “To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.   But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  (Rom 4:4,5) KJV  The only way we can consider faith a work is when we read a conversation that Jesus had when he was asked, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?   Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”  (John 6:28,29) KJV Even in this passage He is not speaking of faith as meritorious, but as the way by which men must seek to get the true bread from Heaven (See John 6:27).  We can safely conclude that we do not have to rule faith out of the picture when it comes to the basis of Divine election.

Finally, people are chosen on the basis of their association with the chosen group.  In particular, the children of Israel were God’s chosen because they were in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s family.  “The LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.”  (Deut 10:15) KJV  In like manner “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”  (Eph 1:4-6) KJV  God chose us before the world began due to our association with Christ, His chosen One.  How do we get “in Christ?”  If we are chosen in Christ, that is the important question.  “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.   For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  (Gal 3:26,27) KJV  It is by faith that we are in  Christ.  So, faith is very closely connected with the basis of our election.  In fact, James said, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5) KJV  God did indeed choose men due to the fact that they would in the future believe in Him.  In fact, God foreknew those who would be believers and chose them because of that.  “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.” (Rom 8:29) KJV  “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 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.”  (1 Peter 1:1,2) KJV 

            Why does God choose those who believe?  The answer is very simple; it is to bring praise, glory, and honor to the name of the LORD.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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:  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”  (Eph 1:3-6) KJV  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10) KJV  What a glorious truth that God sent His Son who gave His life, rose from the dead, and considers those who believe in Him to be His special, precious, purchased possession; His chosen ones!