During the 2020 Election, I decided to take a study into the topic of election in the Bible. To me I found this as a refresher course to be enlightening and energizing to get away from some of the politics and get to some good Biblical theology. In this Column I am going to share some thoughts on what I have studied. There is no way to cover everything in one Column, so I encourage you to seek the Lord as He will guide us into truth.
Reformed Theology can be summarized by the acronym T.U.L.I.P. The letter U stands for Unconditional election. This topic basically covers the question, “Who are the elect?” In other words, “Did God select a certain people to be saved and other to be doomed to destruction.” While those who teach Calvinism have great churches and teach great truths, I believe there is an alternative to it. I believe that the Bible teaches that salvation is offered freely to anyone is willing to receive Christ as their savior. No one is without excuse; we can all choose Jesus.
According to Pastor Jeff Durbin, Calvinism holds to the belief that every event that occurs in the history of the world was planned by God. Once you hold to this idea, you will hold to the idea that God wrote in the history book who would be saved and who would not be. John Piper describes it by saying, “Unconditional election is God’s free choice before creation, not based on foreseen faith, to which traitors he will grant faith and repentance.” While it may be seemingly true to some, this is not what the Scripture teaches us.
Those who are not saved are the goats and those who are saved are the sheep. Yet in Reformed Theology, people are basically born either sheep or goats. What the Bible shows us is that we choose to be converted and be saved, a sheep. Jesus makes many, “I am” statements about who He is. He is the light of the world, the living bread, the door, the resurrection, and the life. Each of these points to the idea that we have a part to play in our own salvation. We choose Jesus.
The key to understanding the topic of predestination is to realize that subject in no letter to the Jews. They already know that they have been included. They have been the chosen people for years. Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1,2, and 3John, and the other books never mention this subject. Paul was a leader called to speak to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. He mentions this topic because they had never been picked. If this were baseball, they would be the ones sitting on the bench. Yet Paul gets up and begins to proclaim that this message of Salvation is not just for Jewish people, it is for all the nations of the Earth! It’s time to get off the bench and into the game.
The Apostle Paul once wrote, “And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17-18). Who were the ones who were far away? It was the Gentiles.
Jesus died for the sinner and the saved. He died for rich and the poor. The ones who would reject him and for the ones that would accept him. Let’s use the measure of faith God has given to us and receive God free gift of salvation, peace, hope, and love.