“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4).
God does not choose in the same way that we, men, choose. The election of God is different and very particular. His election is otherworldly, completely out of this world and not based on the principles of men.
Many of us are well aware of the tensions and debate that go on during the elections. The press and social media networks are motivated to discuss the character and abilities of all candidates who are running for a particular office.
So much careful analysis is done on the candidates. We examine their behavior, the schools they attended, their intellectual capacity, their communication techniques, without mentioning the weight of their answers to questions about the promises they made during their campaigns.
The above criteria are just a few in a list of a plethora of criteria and qualities that a candidate must have in order to have the chance to be elected.
These are, on the one hand, the conditions under which we, men, choose. We choose according to certain established rules. We choose according to what suits us and aligns with our personal interests even before considering a candidate. But God, on the other hand, does not choose the same way we choose as we have already mentioned. The election of God is very different from ours.
One of the passages in the Bible that illustrates the mechanism by which God chooses is the first chapter, verse 4 of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him”(Ephesians 1:4).
The concept of election is a doctrine rooted in the Bible. If we consider, for example, a few passages in the Bible to study and try to understand the implications of this doctrine, we might consider: Deuteronomy 7: 6; Isaiah 45: 4; John 6:44; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29; Romans 9:11; 1 Thessalonians 1: 3-4; 2 Timothy 2:10.
It can be seen that, from these references aforementioned, God has always been selective. Throughout the Bible, there are people he has chosen, families, and even nations for a definite purpose. Whether it is the New or the Old Testament you will come to realize that God has always been selective. The doctrine of election is undeniable and inescapable through the Scriptures.
A) Let’s try to understand the word “election” and its implications
The form of the Greek verb “elect” used by the Apostle Paul in “Ephesians 1:4” indicates that God chose for Himself and for the glory of His name.
We must also note that the doctrine of election is a very delicate doctrine. There is so much confusion about this doctrine; that if you do not analyze it properly under the lenses of the Bible, you will be entangled in a dilemma that may even contradict what the Word of God teaches; and ultimately find yourself pitting Scripture against itself.
Therefore, it is necessary to clarify some of these confusions resulting from misunderstandings around this doctrine; so that we can grasp and understand the love of God for us in Jesus Christ through His election.
We can identify what the doctrine of election does not mean:
The doctrine of election does not mean that man is not responsible for accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; and put their trust in him. If we consider Matthew 3: 1-2; Matthew 4:17; and John 5:40 it is clear that there must be repentance. Men have and will always have the responsibility to repent, that is, to confess and turn from their sin to come fully to Jesus Christ.
We can indicate what the doctrine of election does not imply:
The fact that God has chosen His people since eternity does not mean that the gospel should not be preached. On the contrary, Christ says in Matthew 24 that his gospel is to be preached throughout the world to the end of the world (see Matthew 24:14). Moreover, it is a commandment that Christ gave his disciples; testify that he does not preach the gospel in every corner of the earth (see Matthew 28:19, Acts 1: 8). The gospel must always be preached. The apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, “If I proclaim the gospel it is not for me a subject of glory, but necessity is imposed on me” (see 1 Corinthians 9: 16-18). It is during the proclamation of the gospel that those whom God’s elect will make the decision to accept, by the grace of God, Jesus Christ. Acts 13:48 tells us that after the preaching of the gospel by Paul and Barnabas, and all who were destined to eternal life believed. Thus, the responsibility to accept and believe in Christ, as well as the preaching of the gospel, must always be present and are always valid in the context of the election doctrine.
B) Clarify some confusion about the divine election
Often, people who are confused about this doctrine no longer have a clear interpretation of it. For example, one of the misinterpretations comes from the word ‘prescience’ which, etymologically, gives rise to many confusions.
Take for example 1 Peter 1: 2 to illustrate the confusion that surrounds this word. In 1 Peter 1: 2 we see the word ‘prescience’, which is what we call prior knowledge in English which means “foreknowledge”. It’s a word that says something you know before it happens.
Now, if we interpret the first part of 1 Peter 1: 2a according to the etymological definition of the word ‘prescience’, we can say that: “We are the chosen ones of God according to what he knew beforehand concerning you and me. ” You can see the confusion that this translation implies. It is not just a problem of etymology that poses this problem; because I do not want you to understand that the problem is simply in a word; but rather the connotation of the person of God.
Let me explain more.
According to this connotation of the word ‘prescience’, we can say that God chooses His elect according to some prior knowledge He possesses about them before the foundation of the world. And when God, according to his prescience, sees that they will accept Jesus Christ, and that they will be Christians anchored in God according to the profession of their faith; therefore, God uses this as the basis or criterion for choosing these elect.
This is a completely erroneous interpretation of a misinterpretation of the word ‘prescience’.
Errors of interpretation can give rise to an enigma to the point of causing us to modify our understanding of the character of God which, in itself, is a blasphemy against God, his person, his character, and his attributes.
Because if God chose us according to the observations he would have made about us and our future choices; it suggested that he is no longer sovereign; to such a point where he is obliged to observe our future choices so that he can act within the framework of his election. This would indicate that he is no longer sovereign.
I think it is important for us to analyze this misunderstanding in order to reject it and completely erase it from our minds.
The Bible teaches us that God is sovereign and does what He wills, as He wills, with whom He wills, when He wills it at His pleasure, with His own authority and greatness, regardless of our choices. And this is the point of refutation of the interpretation of the word prescience which has attributed to the will of God a kind of dependence on the choices of men. God does not react to our choices. He is completely sovereign and sublime.
The word ‘prescience’, which Peter used in 1 Peter 1: 2 has the meaning of “plan ahead regardless of our choices.” In this sense, God has chosen us regardless of our future or past choices. God has simply chosen us according to his sovereign will, of his own authority, for the praise and glory of his name.
It is not because God has seen or observed since the beginning of time that we will accept Jesus Christ; and based on this fact chose us. Far from there!
It has nothing to do with us. Indeed, there is nothing that can draw God’s attention to man. What advantage would he have in man? what can we offer to God who will cause him to thank us? There is absolutely nothing. But God in His grace and His love has elected us. God has prepared it and planned in advance since before the foundation of the world.
So, the biblical interpretation of the word prescience in the context of the electoral doctrine is: “pre-determine in advance regardless of our actions.”
Thus the apostle Luke explains the word prescience or pre-determination in Acts 2:23 and Acts 4: 27-28; which shows how God pre-determined even before the creation of the world the death of his Son Jesus Christ. By his death and resurrection we could have life and fulfill the plan of our election that God had planned in advance in Jesus Christ for the praise and glory of His name.
- C) An assured election in the Father’s love
God does not choose as we are human. It does not look at appearance, quality, what we can offer, what we do or can do. God chooses him for his good pleasure and his glory. This means that the election of God has a definite purpose.
God chose us for a definite plan. The Epistle to the Romans teaches us that those whom he predestined, he also called them; and those whom he called, he also justified them; and those he justified, he also glorified (see Romans 8:30).
What is most extraordinary in this doctrine; it is because elected officials have not been elected for four or five years. But they were elected for eternity. This is why the Holy Spirit of God through the Apostle said, “Will the God’s elect be accused, it is God who justifies” (see Romans 8:33) Paul goes on to say “who can they be separated from the love of Christ, are they tribulation, trouble, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? “(see Romans 8:35 )
Paul goes on to say that the assurance of those who are in Christ is not something that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor dominations, nor things that arise, nor things to come, neither the powers, nor the height, nor the depth, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God manifested in Jesus Christ our Lord (see Romans 8: 33-39).
Jesus says that all those whom his Father has given him will come to him because they have been chosen according to the will of the Father. The Father’s will is to lose none of those he has chosen, chosen for the Son (see John 6: 37-39).
The hope we have in Christ is ensured by God who keeps us with His infinite power (see 1 Peter 1: 3-5).
God wants him to keep, watch over, and protect for Jesus Christ those whom he has chosen (see Jude 1, Jude 24, Jude 25).
Is it not good to know that we who are in Christ are the candidates of this glorious election? An election that is based on the Father’s love for the Son so that God can present us to Him as a love gift.
It is in this same love that Christ invites all those who are tired and loaded to give them rest. A love that brings rest, joy and peace forever through the glorious election of the Father.