All Christians must believe in the doctrine of election, because the Bible clearly teaches it. What not everyone agrees on is whether God's choice is conditional or unconditional. In other words, does the choice depend on whether we fulfill certain conditions, or is it entirely dependent on the sovereign will of God?
The reformed believe that the election of God is totally unconditional, meaning that there is no precondition for us to be chosen by God for salvation; while Arminians teach that people are chosen by God if they meet certain requirements. In the ría of the cases, those who teach a conditional election affirm that God chose based on the previous knowledge that He has of the future, including the actions and responses of man.
According to them, God saw beforehand who would respond adequately to the gospel and chose those. So according to this teaching the choice of God depends on the condition that I believe. As He knows in advance that I will believe then He chooses me.
One of the favorite texts of those who teach the conditional choice is Rom. 8: 29-30: "For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom he predestined, he also called; and whom he called, he also justified; and whom he justified, he also glorified. " According to this text, God predestined for salvation those whom he had known beforehand. But does this mean perhaps that God predestined those whom He knew beforehand that they would believe in Christ? Not really.
The word "know", both in Hebrew and Greek, does not refer merely to an intellectual knowledge, but can be used to denote a sovereign love. For example, in Amos 3: 2 God tells Israel: "I have only known you of all the families of the earth"; obviously this text does not mean that God ignored the existence of the Egyptians, or of the Babylonians, but rather that, of all the families of the earth in the old covenant He chose Israel to be His special treasure. So the progression of the chain that Paul poses in Romans 8 is as follows: to all those whom he knew (or loved sovereignly), he predestined; to all whom he predestined, he called; to all whom he called, he justified; and to all those who justified, those he glorified.
Note that the call is placed in this chain after predestination. According to the Arminians, God predestines those He knows in advance that they will respond positively to His call. According to Paul, God effectively calls those whom He predestinated to be saved. Not all men are predestined to receive this effective call that precedes justification. That is evident because all the calls are justified, says Paul; but we know that not all who receive the gospel message and are called to repentance respond positively.
And what is the means through which sinners are justified? Faith. The sequence of Romans 8:29 is then as follows: the first link is the sovereign love of God, the second is predestination, the third is the effective calling, and the fourth is the faith that justifies. Those who believe are not predestined, but those who are predestined believe.
We see that clearly in another of the favorite texts of the Arminians: 1Pedro 1: 1-2: "Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ, to the expatriates of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, chosen according to prescience of God the Father in sanctification of the Spirit, to obey and be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you ".
The word "foreknowledge" means "prior knowledge"; so Peter is saying here something similar to what Paul says in Romans 8:29: "Those whom he knew before". It is obvious that it does not refer to the fact that God chose those whom He foreknew that would obey the call of the gospel, because Peter teaches rather that such people obey the call because they were chosen: "elected according to the foreknowledge of God the Father … to obey, "not because He knew they would obey. This agrees with Paul's statement in Eph. 1: 3-5 that we were predestined "according to the pure affection of His will."
"Salvation belongs to Jehovah," he says in Jonah 2: 9. He designed it from beginning to end, He executed it in the history of redemption, He applies it sovereignly in the heart of every sinner who repents and believes. It was precisely considering all the aspects involved in the story of the redemption that the apostle Paul exclaimed in Romans 11:36: "Because of Him, and for Him, and for Him, are all things". The only possible conclusion is: "To Him be the glory for ever. Amen".
Author: Sugel Michelén
He studied for the ministry in 1979. Later he was sent by the Biblical Church of the Lord Jesus Christ (IBSJ), in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to the city of Puerto Plata, to begin a work there. But at the end of 1983 he was called to be part of the IBSJ pastor corps, where he serves the Lord since then, regularly exposing the Word on Sundays. He is also the author of the blog All Thought Captive.
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