The Doctrine Of Redemption Part 1

redemption

 

Redemption In The Old Testament

Any attempt to study the doctrine of redemption would fall woefully short of giving an understanding of this great truth if that study did not take into account the Old Testament data.  As a matter of fact, this doctrine has its beginning in the Old Testament and the New Testament simply fulfills the Old Testament types; without which types we could not understand fully what is meant by redemption in the New Testament.

The first time that redemption is mentioned was when Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph.  Jacob said, “ The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”  (Gen 48:16) KJV  This particular text does not give us an extremely large amount of insight into the meaning of redemption, but it does inform us that one’s redemption is usually from some unpleasant situation.  Jacob declared that he was delivered from all evil.  It is most likely that the patriarch was referring to the fact that he was delivered the various dangers and problems of life that could have destroyed him as well as his own inherent wickedness and the consequences thereof.

Many years later the children of Israel would be enslaved by the Egyptians and would need to be delivered.  It was at this time that the LORD sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt saying, “Say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:  And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.   And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord.”  (Ex 6:6-8) KJV  It is very informative to note that not only does redemption bring one (or a group) out of bondage, but it also takes them into the blessings of the promises of God.  

As Israel was given the law they were also given a civil code to direct them in their day-by-day existence as a nation.  In this civil code was a provision for those who found themselves in a difficult financial position.  That provision was that they could give their land as a payment for their debt.  As a general rule the land would return to them at the end of a specified fifty year period, but not before.  There was one way in which the land could be returned to the original owner before the fifty year period was expired.  It could return by means of redemption.  This simply means that, should the original owner or a family member of his be able to pay the debt, the land would be redeemed and the original owner could take possession of it once again.  “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.   And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;  Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.”  (Lev 25:25-27) KJV  This same principle applies to one who sold himself into servitude to pay his debts.  “If a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family:  After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him:  Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.”  (Lev 25:47-49) KJV  One thing that is necessary to note is the fact that the redeemer must have a kinship to the one being redeemed.  This fact will be relevant later in our study.

The resurrection is spoken of as redemption, too.  Job spoke of it saying, “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!   That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!   For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:   Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”  (Job 19:23-27) KJV  What makes this passage interesting is the fact that there are those who think there is no reference to a bodily resurrection in the Old Testament.  Job (Who is probably a grandson of Jacob Gen 46:13 cp Gen 36:1-11) was confident that, though his body would be consumed by the worms, he would see his Redeemer face to face.  Although he was in a great trial, Job was confident that he would not be caused to remain under that hardship, but would be redeemed; if not in the present, in the future when the Redeemer came to the earth.  The Psalmist also spoke of the resurrection: “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.”  (Ps 49:15) KJV  Hosea , too, had confidence that there was a redemption that would overcome death, and spoke in the name of the LORD saying, “ I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”  (Hos 13:14) KJV  

The Old Testament also acknowledges that when one’s sins are forgiven they are redeemed.  Isaiah spoke in the name of the LORD saying, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.   Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.”  (Isa 44:22,23) KJV  We shall find that this aspect of the doctrine will be revealed and developed much more fully in the New Testament.

Finally, the Old Testament speaks to us of God’s redeeming His people at the time of the end.  Although we have already seen the truth of the resurrection, we must also see that redemption does not simply bring us out of the grave, but also into the eternal blessings of God.  “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.   It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.   Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.   Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.   Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.   Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.   And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.   And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.   No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:  And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”  (Isa 35:1-10) KJV  This is spoken of again when Isaiah said, “The Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.  Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”  (Isa 51:3,11) KJV  “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.   And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.   As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.”  (Isa 59:19-21) KJV  These passages demonstrate to us that the Lord shall return and deliver His people from oppression and their own sins and give them eternal joy according to His promise.  That will be a glorious redemption indeed.

Redemption In Christ

In New Testament times one of the first times that redemption was mentioned was when Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth bore him a son whom he named John.  This child John (John the Baptist) was to be the one who went before the LORD in the spirit of Elijah (See Luke 1: ).  When John was born, this knowledge caused Zacharias to rejoice saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,  And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;  As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:  That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;  To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;  The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,  That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,  In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”  (Luke 1:68-75) KJV  Zacharias knew that Jesus would soon be born, and so he rejoiced that God was coming as our redeemer.  While (as was typical of the time) Zacharias viewed redemption in a somewhat nationalistic way (because he was expecting deliverance from their enemies and those who hated them), yet he also believed that redemption did have a spiritual element, too.  Being redeemed we shall be able to serve God without fear of man and can do so in righteousness all the days of our lives.  Thus redemption can be seen as our being delivered from bondage to be ever able to serve the Lord.  Anna, too, recognized that the child, Jesus, was our redeemer.  The Scriptures say that “She coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”  (Luke 2:38) KJV 

What is the redemption that is in Christ?  Redemption is forgiveness of sins.  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”  (Eph 1:7) KJV  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:14) KJV  

During His ministry Jesus stated that his life would be the redemption price for us.  “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  (Matt 20:28) KJV  For man to be set free from sin a price did indeed have to be paid.  The Scriptures set the penalty for sin: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”  (Ezek 18:4) KJV  “The wages of sin is death.”  (Rom 6:23) KJV  “Without shedding of blood is no remission.”  (Heb 9:22) KJV  That is the price that Jesus paid for us: His blood, which means that He gave His life.  

Assurance

Assurance

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust: and beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see far off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1–11)

 

            This is the beginning of a series on “Christian Necessities.” There are some things necessary in the Christian life, if we are to grow and prosper to the glory of God and the joy of our hearts.

First on the list of Christian necessities is that of assurance. Our text above tells us that we are to make our calling and election sure: that is, we are to seek in every way to be certain that we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

First of all, we should notice that assurance of salvation is something that is available to us. I’m so glad that we can know that we are saved! It would be a horrible thing to have to live with uncertainty about the most important of all things. Thank God, we can know. Paul stated with great certainty that knowledge is ours (2 Corinthians 5:1-8), that the Holy Spirit within us is there to testify to us that we are God’s (Romans 8:16;Ephesians 1:13-14); and then he expresses great, jubilant faith by saying, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) And it is there that we must start, with faith.

Notice that Peter writes that we are to add to our faith. Faith is our starting point. We know that those who believe Jesus are saved. He assures us of that (See John 3:16;1 John 5:6-13). Having heard the Word of God, and believing it, we are saved and can know that we are saved (Romans 10:17). Faith is simply trusting God instead of ourselves (Romans 4:1-6), and this faith in Christ’s work is where our confidence and assurance are found.

Then we are to add virtue to our faith. This is not a matter of self effort or good works that are done on our own. God the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within the believer, and has written the law of God on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10-12;10:15-18). This means that good now dwells within us. God’s love is poured out in our hearts by the gift of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5), which means we can now love God and love as God loves. Adding virtue then means that moral excellence should become a part of our lives. We are no longer in darkness, but in the light, and we are to walk as the children of light (Ephesians 5:8-11). We are also told, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:4–6)

The next thing to do is to add knowledge. The initial knowledge of God in salvation is sufficient to save; but we need to grow in knowledge if we are to be holy. We need to know God better if we are to enjoy the blessing of true assurance. Jesus’ call to us is as follows: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30) Those who are disciples are those who are learners: they are growing in knowledge. We are taught to crave the Word as a baby cries out for good, pure milk (1 Peter 2:1-3). Those who do not learn of the Lord will have little to no assurance of salvation.

Following knowledge is temperance. While temperance is self-control, in this context, it is the self-control which applies God’s Word to our lives. We are responsible to learn God’s Word for the purpose of believing and obeying it. Temperance is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), therefore we will have the power of the Spirit at work in us to help us grow in this area. By God’s grace we can become doers of the work which is commanded us in the Word (James 1:21-17). Knowing and trusting God’s Word brings great assurance, because we learn God’s promises, and we are changed to be more like Jesus in so doing.

Patience is also necessary, as we will certainly be tried by the world, our flesh, and the devil. It is those who are patient in faith who will inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12). Jesus spoke of true believers as those who bring forth fruit with patience: “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15) We will find that our faith will be tried, but adding patience, which is endurance, will help our assurance by demonstrating that our faith in Christ is a real faith (See also Romans 5:1-5).

Godliness is the next virtue, or attribute, that we are to add. Godliness is not focused primarily on the external appearance, but upon the heart: godliness is about worshiping God well. We are told that there is one God, and that we are to worship Him alone (Matthew 4:10). Worship is described as refusing to trust self, being from within, in the spirit, and rejoicing in Christ. In short, we are to worship God by growing in our faith in Christ, and thereby finding our joy in Him alone. As our faith is tried and our patience increases, God will give us abundant reason to worship Him, because we will have found that He is ever faithful and gracious in every circumstance of life. Let us notice that worship is essential to Christianity, Christian living, and Christian assurance: where there is no worship of God in Christ, there is no Christianity.

How will godliness make itself manifest: in brotherly kindness. This is because those who are born of God will have the nature to love the family of God (1 John 5:1-2). We are taught to be kindly affectioned toward one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10). Seeing that this shows the nature of Christ within us, it increases our assurance that we are His. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1 John 3:14)

Finally, we come to charity, which is love. Charity is not simply brotherly love, but it is the love that is most Christ-like, because we show love to those who may even be our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48): it is a sacrificial love (John 3:16;Romans 5:5-8;Titus 3:1-7) that gives itself for the sake of the one loved (Romans 15:1-3). Love is essential in our Christian lives, because, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:7–8) Where love is present, assurance of eternal life is also present, because God is love.

God’s Word tells us that the presence and abundance of these things in our lives will cause us to be fruitful in the knowledge of God (:8), which gives us all that pertains to life and godliness, and gives to us God’s great promises, which purify us and bring about godly character (:3-4). This, then, gives us assurance. These are the things that we must add if we are to have assurance. What a wonderful blessing it is to know that we are saved, and to have a way by which we can steadily grow in that assurance, because we can observe God’s transforming work in our lives!

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!