“Election” Part 1
First, I want to start with the best (and most concise) definition of "elect" that I've ever found:
“Typically, 1588 /eklektós ("select, chosen") describes people who choose to follow the Lord, i.e. become God's choice by freely receiving faith (4102 /pístis) from Him. Accordingly, these two terms ("faith" and "elect") are directly connected (see Titus 1:1; Luke 18:7,8).”
I began writing this message because there's a real problem with this certain teaching some denominations call “election”. The way I’ve seen this generally taught is that certain people are marked out from birth to never be saved. That would mean that certain people are born to go to hell. So, what these teachers begin to do is attempt to prove that there actually is no “eternal hell” which then also nullifies any need to fear God. This is how false doctrines snowball. In this message here, I’m going to make what I believe is a very strong argument against this doctrine of election which in my opinion, attempts to turn a loving God into some kind of unjust monster.
I’ve been studying Bible for over 20 years and have never believed God brought people into this world to face an eternity in hell with no chance at salvation. However, I have been stumped by certain verses in Scripture. Especially in Romans chapter 9. There are verses in Romans chapter nine that have traditionally been translated a certain way. But I feel they are traditionally translated incorrectly. Or at least in a way that isn’t clear. And these scriptures clash with many other verses in God’s Word. And God’s word will never, not once, ever contradict itself (or Himself!).
“For judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” ~James 2:13
Another verse showing us the conditions of being the Elect of God. The Whole Bible is FULL of these conditions. We must STRIVE with all our heart, mind, soul and strength in the freedom, grace and power provided to us through being set free by the SON of GOD!
I tell you, it hurts to see God misrepresented this way. And I know God does not like this. He wants everyone, “all”, to be saved.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
1. First of all, then, I urge that entreaties [and] prayers, petitions [and] thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2. for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4. who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”
This is the same exact apostle who wrote Romans. We cannot ignore this fact. And we cannot ignore the fact that Romans 9, or the teaching derived from a misunderstanding of Romans 9 contradicts these two verses, and many more throughout Scripture.
I know that there are many challenges in translating ancient Greek into English. Not only words, but grammatically as well. Various grammatical interpretations can cause significant differences in meanings of the text. I also know that some of Paul’s writings are difficult to understand. And that was to his contemporary Greek speaking Jews and Gentiles. Peter said they were wresting his words 2000 years ago. “…Unto their own destruction…” (2 Peter 3:15-17)
I am by no means an expert on Greek or English grammar. So, what I did was diligently search out respected scholars and experts of ancient (Koine) Greek and I studied everything they said about Romans chapter 9, and especially the more difficult verses in Romans chapter 9. Some of which I will also use to present my case here on “election.” I also studied every Greek word underneath the English translation (something we all can do to get a better understanding of what is being said in God’s Word).
I’ve been wanting to write this for a few months now. But these verses are complicated and challenging to grasp with the understanding and appear to say what they don’t actually mean, what they CAN’T mean. As it’s impossible for God who “shows no partiality” and loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die for it. A God who laments over the death of the wicked in Ezekiel 18; Isaiah 1:18-20, and cried tears of sorrow through the Messiah as He approached Jerusalem (Luke 19:40-42). And so many other verses clearly show that this is NOT God that is being taught. It is a misrepresentation of God. A warped and perverted misrepresentation.
I can see why so many have erred on these verses. However, God will hold everyone accountable for incorrectly presenting His Word. Especially when it comes to this damaging doctrine of men and women who are born to destruction with no chance at salvation. It would have been better had they simply closed their mouths and said, “I don’t understand these verses” than to wrest these words, possibly, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16)
The Bible was broken up into chapters in the thirteenth century:
“A man named Stephen Langton divided the Bible into chapters in the year A.D. 1227. Langton was a professor at the University of Paris and later he became the Archbishop of Canterbury.” The verses were added in the sixteenth century:
“Robert Stephanus (Stephens), a French printer, divided the verses for his Greek New Testament. It was published in 1551.”
I don’t always agree with how the Bible was broken up, but I agree that the beginning of chapter 9, Paul abruptly changed the course of his letter to the church in Rome and began lamenting over the spiritual condition of a majority of his fellow countrymen.
1. “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2. that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3. For *I could wish* (but doesn't ACTUALLY wish) that I myself were accursed, [separated] from Christ for the sake (in exchange, if possible!) of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4. who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the [temple] service and the promises, 5. whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”
If you could only see the difference of opinion by the so many scholars I’ve looked at regarding this prologue to chapter nine. But I first would like to comment on the term used by Paul “adoption as sons.” This Greek word, υἱοθεσία, is significant. It was originally a legal technical term for adoption as a son with full rights of inheritance. Unfortunately, I cannot find this term used in the Old Covenant writings to describe Israel’s relationship with God. Not in the LXX at least (which would use the same Greek word Paul used in Romans 9). However, this thing is true. God did adopt the children of Israel as His own peculiar treasure. However, they turned their back on God and persecuted His prophets and rejected the Anointed Son of God and Savior of the world. God began adopting the nations as we see in the book of Acts through first, Cornelius the Centurion, and then many others. God now has an open invitation to all. Everyone is invited. And God has put this work of ambassadorship in the hands of His newly adopted children. But I believe Paul was stating that this sonship of the Israelites to God was actually an adoption. An incredibly wonderful thing. A thing taken for granted. It hurts to write this as it is painful to speak of.
I myself was adopted in 1997 by God through Christos Yeshua. I knew I was an unworthy sinner. To me the blessing was glorious. A treasure. An unspeakable gift. Beyond words, and exceedingly terrifying. As Messiah, the Son of God has died for us. That means MUCH has been given to us. And MUCH is required by us. This is no game. I knew this was a special blessing being that I was a gentile. An added unworthiness attributed simply by manner of birth as God saw fit. And now that we know Jesus died for us, we have a tremendous responsibility to seek God’s power growing within us so we can better represent Him here and be able to convince others their need for salvation through Christ. And this duty is real. And we can make a difference. And what we all do makes a difference. The Bible speaks of this many times throughout scripture. That we can cause souls to stumble and fall. Or we can do things to save more and lead them to the fold or back to the fold if any are falling away.
This teaching of election nullifies the responsibility of the man or woman of God. There is no need to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus if this teaching of election is accurate. There is no need to persevere and strive to be zealous, sober, kind, compassionate, merciful, poor in spirit, meek, humble, filled with humility, lowly, to walk as He walked, to love our neighbors a ourselves or even love God or seek Him or pray or read the Bible! After all. You are either the elect or you aren’t. You are predestined or you aren’t. No need to do ANYTHING.
Except, God’s word tells us the exact opposite. That we CANNOT be lukewarm or we will be spit right out of the body of Christ. (Revelation 3:16)
The New Covenant is an agreement between two parties. God does it all and gets all the glory for everything and anything we do of value as only His Spirit in and through us can do anything of value. However, due to the nature that we are in an agreement with Him, we now walk according to the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. AND, we go along with HIM as we are yoked up together with Him and learn more and more of Him hopefully, every day. Paul speaks this very clearly throughout Scripture that he treated his body roughly and made it do what God wanted rather than what he wanted (1 Corinthians 9:26, 27). This is very powerful and we need to receive what Paul said. Paul told Timothy,
“…Be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:15, 16
The “elect” are those who take up God’s offer of salvation through Christ. Those who are able to see their spiritual condition for what it is, and what that means for them in the judgment. The “elect” are those who respond to God as God is calling and reaching out His hand to everyone on earth. Listen to what Peter says of the elect; “Therefore, brethren, be diligent, rather, to make your calling and election sure. For practicing these things, never at any time shall you stumble., and you will receive a lavish reception into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10, 11
There are things we have to DO. That means this distorted (and common) teaching of election is satanic! As it is what the devil said to Eve in the Garden of Eden (“thou shalt not SURELY die [if you disobey God]” Genesis 3).
The Bible tells us our decisions and God’s reaction are real time. In other words, you do something, God reacts. Or He will react on judgment day (John 5:24-29). Jesus warned us in order for us to strive to prepare ourselves. “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle (argos: lazy, thoughtless, unprofitable, injurious.) word you speak.” (Matthew 12:36) God warns us all throughout Scripture (including Paul) that every deed we do will be judged! That means we need to strive, and adjust ourselves, prepare ourselves, stay in prayer, fast, study God’s Word, with all our heart. That’s “Walking in love”.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” Ephesians 5:1, 2
More to come...
May God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah bless you all!
Read Part II of this message
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."