Skip to Content

What Does The Bible Say About Election?

When the Bible says “election”, it refers to an act of God whereby, He has already chosen those who will be saved. Election is a term for a teaching or doctrine of salvation. The term election is found only in the New Testament, although it is illustrated throughout the Holy Bible. Election is basically God’s selection of certain people or particular groups to receive His unmerited grace and mercy. We see in the Old Testament that God chose the people of Israel in such a way. He is also the one who chooses Kings, leaders, messengers, and prophets. By studying the Old Testament, we discover that it is God who chooses certain people to rise up and become heroes of the faith, such as Moses, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, David, Isaiah, Jonah, and so many more.

There is no doubt that the Bible teaches about election and that God elects people to salvation. However, we can also find some disagreements as to the basis of election. There are many views that you can find or read today about the Biblical Doctrine of Election. Two of the most popular views of elections are conditional election and unconditional election. God forbids that Christians be disunited due to certain doctrines, but it is important that we are aware of certain doctrines so we can guard ourselves against false teachings. When working to understand the Bible and certain doctrines, the general rule that we should follow is, Scriptura Scripturae interpres, or let “Scriptures interpret Scriptures.”

Conditional Election vs. Unconditional Election

When we say conditional election, it means that God elects certain individuals for salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will put their faith in Jesus Christ. It argues that the omniscient or all-knowing God looks to the future and decides to elect individuals or human beings based on a future decision they will make to come to faith in Jesus. This version is called “conditional” because it is based on the condition of an individual doing something of his or her own free will.

Meanwhile, unconditional election means that God’s election of individuals to salvation is already done. There are “no conditions” attached to the election. God elects people to salvation not through the “free will” of man, but by His own sovereign will or choice. It is God Himself who chooses or elects people, and the decision is not because of some future action that the individual will perform. To put it simply, unconditional election means that those who come to Jesus become His children by His will, not by theirs. These people “were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:13).

What Does the Bible Say About Election?

What Does the Bible Say About Election?

Prior to our salvation, the Bible tells us that we are all dead in sin, or that we are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3), but if we are dead in our sin, how can we respond to any spiritual stimulus? How can a dead man respond to any kind of call? How can a dead man choose? When we are dead in our sins, we are unable to love God, we cannot obey Him, and we cannot please Him in any way, since we do not have faith. In fact, the Scripture tells us that as unbelievers, we “are hostile toward God” and we do not subject ourselves to God, for we are unable to do so; those who are in the flesh cannot please God,” (Romans 8:7-8). A spiritually dead person is hopeless and helpless. Therefore, it is impossible for him or her to choose Christ. 

Jesus says, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” (John 6:44). It is the Lord who opens our heart to respond to the Gospel of Christ (Acts 16:14). God chose us in Jesus before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. We have also obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose, who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:4-5,11). Romans 8:29-30 also tells us, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him

What Does the Bible Say About Election?


What Does the Bible Say About Election?

What Does the Bible Say About Election?

Soli Deo Gloria

God alone is responsible for our salvation, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have free will. Rather, God works in our hearts so that we come to Him willfully and not under compulsion. The Word of God affirms our human responsibility alongside the Divine Sovereignty of God. The question is not “Why is it that some were not elected or chosen?” but rather, “Why did God choose to elect some at all?” God could just leave us alone in our fallen state without ever receiving any good news. He could send us all to hell and still be called a just King, because all of us deserve to perish. However, by God’s grace, He chooses to save some instead. He elects some to be recipients of His love, mercy, wisdom, and grace. The more we understand the severity of our sins, the closer we will come to understanding the grace of God.

Election in Romans 9

Romans 9 systematically shows that God’s sovereign election has been in force from the very beginning.  In Romans 9:6, Paul tells us that not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. In other words, not all individuals of ethnic Israel (descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) belong to the true Israel (God’s elect). At this point, we may be tempted to accuse God of being unjust and we might ask, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” But the Apostle Paul has already anticipated such an accusation. Paul stated plainly that God is not unjust. God said in Romans 9:15, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”. Paul throws the question back to us, saying, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles?”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *