Did God setup salvation this way?
First Things First
We first must answer the question, “What is Unconditional Election?”.
Here is a quote from R. C. Sproul: “God does not foresee an action or condition on our part that induces Him to save us. Rather, election rests on God’s sovereign decision to save whomever He is pleased to save.”
Here’s a quote from Wikipedia: “Unconditional election is a Calvinist doctrine relating to predestination that describes the actions and motives of God prior to his creation of the world, when he predestined some people to receive salvation, the elect, and the rest he left to continue in their sins and receive the just punishment, eternal damnation, for their transgressions of God’s law as outlined in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
This is from gotquestions.org: “Unconditional election is a phrase that is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the predestination—or the election—of people for salvation.”
From these three common answers, we see the following:
- God’s sovereign decision to save whomever He is pleased to save.
- Before the world began, God predetermined whom He would save.
- It’s the predestination of people, chosen by God, for salvation.
Now, of course adherents to this doctrine have Bible verses they say proves the doctrine.
Second Things Second
What are these verses? Here’s a list:
Ep 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
Eph 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
There are several verses used to support Unconditional. I chose these verses as an example to give valid thought to an erroneous and dangerous teaching.
Third Things Third
Let’s take these verses, Ephesians 1:3-6, supposedly proving Unconditional Election.
The words indeed say what they mean, certainly so, since they were given by the Holy Spirit. But do they prove Unconditional Election? No.
First, Paul states a thanksgiving, saying, “Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is easy enough to understand. It’s like saying “Thanks God for Jesus and our salvation.” Remember, Paul is writing to Christians.
Second, God blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Those Christians living in Ephesus were the recipients of God’s blessings, all the blessings God has in store for us. But please note, that these blessings are in Jesus and that makes a world of difference. It’s important.
Therefore, we ought to be in Christ, if we want to receive salvation and enjoy those blessings. If that’s the case, the question arises, “How then do we get into Christ?”.
The Bible has the answer, of course. Faith (John 8:24), Repentance (Luke 13:3), and Confession, (Romans 10:9-10) are not enough to be in Christ. To be in Christ, we must be baptized, (Acts 8:36, 2:38) washing sin away, (Acts 22:16). In Galatians 3:27 we see: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” How do we get clothed with Christ? It’s only through baptism. This is the only way to be in Christ.
Next, Ephesians 3:4. When did God choose people for salvation? Many think it was before the foundation of the world. Does this prove Unconditional Election? No. But the Scriptures have the answer. You see, verse 4, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” Verse 3 is connected to verse 4, obviously. Once we are in Christ, we have salvation and heavenly blessings.
Now, did God choose Joe, but not Sally for salvation? Was Joe chosen for salvation, but Sally was not? Does God really want many members of His human creation to be lost? This is really the key to understanding the passage.
Consider these verses: 1st Timothy 1:15: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost”. Jesus came into the world to save sinners and, everyone sins. So, salvation is offered to everyone, not just a select few. Then, here’s 1st Timothy 2:3-4: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Ask the question, “How many people does God want saved?” The answer? All of them.
How about 2nd Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Does God want anyone lost? Of course not. He truly wants everyone saved and for all to come to the knowledge of the truth – God’s plan of salvation.
But what about Ephesians 1:5? Doesn’t that prove Unconditional Election? Once again, no. Here’s the verse “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
Well, what was predestined? Was it God’s plan for salvation that was predestined, or was it just for a select few to be saved? God wants every human saved. We’ve already seen that. He doesn’t want anyone lost. If that’s true, then Unconditional Election must be false. To answer our question, it was predestined that Jesus would come to the cross to save everyone who believed in Him.
Here’s John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” The “He” refers to anyone who believes. If anyone does not believe, they will not see eternal life in heaven, but they will see God’s wrath.
If one looks at John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
You see, the condition is that if one believes in Him, he will not be condemned and will enter heaven.
Now let’s see Ephesians 1:6, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” This is true but let’s take all the thoughts of salvation together. So then, If one is saved by being in Jesus, or clothed with Jesus, then we understand that the plan was decided upon before the world began.
How is one adopted as a son? It’s through Jesus, who takes all who believe to Himself. It is God’s kind will that set up His plan before there was a world. This, once again, proves that predestination of salvation for selected souls is false.
If we don’t get this right, we’ll miss heaven.
Here’s the last verse of our study: Eph 1:6 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Does this finally prove Unconditional Election? No.
God’s glory of grace is to be praised. He’s done more for us than we can imagine. But once again, He bestowed those great blessings on the saved through Jesus.
Every spiritual blessing God has given is through Jesus and God wants everyone to come to salvation and the knowledge of the truth. That’s it. That’s the plan.
Salvation is believing, repenting, confessing, and baptism in Jesus.
Unconditional Election is a false teaching. It’s not Bible. It’s not correct thinking about salvation. Imagine someone who believes they are among the predestined saved. There’s nothing he has to do, for God has supposedly already saved him. The truth of the matter is salvation is conditional. Salvation comes to those accepting God’s terms for salvation.
Garland Van Dyke