Who are the elect of God?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Simply put, the "elect of God" are those whom God has predestined to salvation. They are called the "elect" because that word denotes the concept of choosing. Every four years in the U.S., we 'elec...

July 01 2013 11 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
Put differently, the question can be rephrased thus: Has God already decided on the final list of those he has predestined for eternal life?

I appreciate that the predestination doctrine advanced by Calvinism carries a difficult theology. I believe that God perfectly knows all things and causes His divine will to be executed among men but I also recognize that John 3:16-17 and a host of other Scripture passages assign the sinner the responsibility to make a choice to accept or reject God's saving grace. There are several illustrations in Scripture that affirm this position including but not limited to the parables of Jesus and more specifically the parable of Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22). 

While it is granted that God sees the future from the beginning and does know the full list of all those who will be saved in the end (and perhaps holds one in his hand, so to speak!), this is largely informed by His perfect omniscience rather than His causative predestination of some sinners to either eternal life in Christ even as other sinners are consigned to eternal damnation in hell. 

I believe that God's omniscience is unlimited. He knew all things, even the fact that Adam and Eve would fall to Satan's temptation but no text or passage of Scripture teaches or implies that God influenced Satan to achieve the outcome of the fall. My view is that those who hold to this deterministic theology effectively misrepresent the revelation and authority of Scripture on God's moral character and His redemption works in Christ. 

Yes, God is sovereign, but in His sovereignty, He has permitted His creatures the exercise of free will. It is therefore inconsistent with the revelation of Scripture to teach that God chose a group of sinners ahead of and outside the works of Calvary and to the exclusion of others. 

My view is that the elect of God, if that term is adopted, consist of all believers present past and future who will consciously and willingly accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. All sinners who hear the gospel proclaimed have an equal opportunity before God. I am persuaded that no class of sinners is more privileged than another. God's grace reaches out to all without discrimination.

August 04 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
The elect are the people of God joined together under the headship of Christ (1 Peter 2:4-9). We as individual believers do not actually know who all the elect are until Christ returns and we inherit what has been promised us; a glorified body, that we might have eternal life with Christ. (Rom 8:19-30, Matt 13:24-29, Heb 6:1-12, 1 Pet 1:3-9).

Throughout the Bible, election has always been a testimony of God's sovereignty and eternal perspective. It is meant to be a comfort, to be a testimony of the fulfillment of prophecy, to show God's power and knowledge, and to show how none of God's good purpose is frustrated by the actions of man.

For example, when God called ('elected') Israel from among all the nations (1 Chron 17:21), it was so that Israel might be blessed among nations and all nations be blessed through Israel. It also was the nation God chose to work His eternal plan through. It's true and final purpose was for the physical nation of Israel to stand as a type for the eventual 'spiritual' people of God, and for God's redemption of Israel to stand in as a type for the redemption of Christ for all men. 

However, the Jews became arrogant in their position as 'the chosen people of God'. They expected a Messiah who would set up the Jews as the actual rulers of all nations, and were infuriated by the early church gospel expansion to the gentiles. They could not understand how the gentiles could be "elect." And yet, God had chosen the gentiles to be brought into the fold of God long before Christ came to man. (1 Pet 2:10, Rom 9:6-26)

Rom 9:26 hearkens back to a very important time in Israel's history (Hosea 1:9, Hosea 11:1-4), where God's wrath against Israel's unfaithfulness caused him to declare "You are not my people". God's choice of Israel did not guarantee their obedience. In the same way we always have a choice between endurance in faith, or faithless abandonment (II Tim 2:8-13, Col 1:21-23, Rev 3:1-6, Heb 3:6).

Hosea 11:2 is especially convicting: "But the more they were called, the more they went away from me". Many are called, but few are chosen. (Matt 22:1-14)

The Jews placed their hope in being the chosen people of God while simultaneously ignoring the commands of God. Conversely, Jesus states "If you love me, keep my commands", (John 14:15) and " Whoever belongs to God hears what God says." (John 8:47), and "...the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14-17)

We should continually examine ourselves to see if we are growing in relationship with Christ (II Pet 1:3-11); thus confirming our calling and election. No man or principality of the heir can take our hope away. If we are subject to Christ, then we are part of the people of God. God is purifying for himself a people all His own (Titus 2:11-14). This refinement process is hard, with many trials - but so long as we keep faith God's power will guard us, and we will overcome. (1 Pet 1:3-9, 1 John 5:1-5). Our abiding faith in Christ will lead us to grow (John 15).

The important take away is that our hope is not based in an abstract concept of hoping we have been chosen in God, or faith in being among the elect vs. Being in Christ. Rather, our hope is a concrete assurance of the Ressurection. We know, *concretely*, that we are the elect of God due to our abiding faith. We rest in Christ alone as Savior and Lord! (1 Tim 1:1, 1 Tim 4:10, Eph 1:12, Titus 2:11-14). 

God predestined the process, Christ, by which He would choose and redeem a people for Himself, a plan for salvation that God chose in His foreknowledge and wisdom. As such, we become part of the people of God by faith - not because God looked to the future, or because God chose that we as individuals would have faith while others would not - but because through Christ God chose to give us the right to be His children (I John 2:24-29, I John 3:1-10, Rom 8:1-16, Rom 9; Rev 21:13, II Sam 7:22-24, etc.)

July 28 2016 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
In my opinion:

Does God Forechoose those who are to be saved or does He make Salvation available to all? Kind of a Calvinism verses Armenianism question. I think both are correct. I believe there are those who God has forechose and as the Calvin camp teaches, they have/will receive an irresistible call because they have been chosen to accomplish something specific in God's plan. 

However the Bible says that God wants all to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. (1Timothy 2) And wants all to be saved. (2Peter 3) Everyone has the opportunity to accept Jesus. It is true that God knows whether we will make that decision as he can see the end and the beginning. But it is still our decision. 

So Calvinist and Armenianist are BOTH correct, they just apply to two different groups of people. 

So who are the elect? Maybe the term applies to just those who God forechose. That kind of makes sense to me when the Bible says "even the Elect will be deceived if that were possible". (Matthew 24:24) It seems to differentiate between "the elect" and other Christians. Or maybe it applies to all Christians. Or maybe it applies to only the most devoted Christians. Regardless the verse in Matt. 24 is a warning to us to be on the watch for false prophets and false signs and wonders in the end days, which we could be living in today.

October 26 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Bongani Cele
I Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV
For 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.

II Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

These two bits of Scripture are very critical to the answering of this question. Reason being is that it has follow up questions or statements a person might ask? 

If God chooses then why bother living a Holy life, He's chosen anyway. Or on that day those "not chosen" could simply say You didn't choose me & so forth.

So I will answer this question by posing another question: how does God choose the elect? The answer I find here...
1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are ELECT exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, FOR OBEDIENCE TO JESUS CHRIST and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

God has already chosen us but not by flipping a coin but by His FOREKNOWLEDGE; knowledge about what? OUR "obedience to Jesus Christ". 

So in effect or in a sense we choose ourselves whether we are chosen by God. 

God sent Jesus to die, not for some, but for the all. 

John 1:11-12 GNT

He came to his own, but his own people did not receive him.

Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God's children.

November 10 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
The elect of God are those who have believed on Him as the only way of salvation plus nothing. 

Roman 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that BELIEVETH, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

God made the way of salvation before the foundation of the world. He also gave man a free will. So salvation is by man's choice to believe what God has said. John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me HATH EVERLASTING LIFE.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, that WHOSOEVER, BELIEVETH in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

So election is by man's choice, not Gods. He made the way of salvation by grace, but we have to believe it to be saved. John 3:18.

First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

July 07 2019 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
"The elect of God" are those who are elected by God to salvation. "God's elect" occurs only twice literally in the ESV New Testament and 0 times in the ESV Old Testament:

1. Romans 8:33 ESV: "Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies."

We are God’s elect—chosen in Christ and accepted in Christ. God will certainly not accuse us since it is He who has justified us. For Him to accuse us would mean that His salvation was a failure and we are still in our sins.

2. Titus 1:1 ESV: "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,"

“God’s elect” are those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior (Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:1-5).

S. Michael Houdmann already referred to Eph. 1:4. And two others above have referred already to my 1 Peter 1:1-5 passage, Bongani Cele and Jennifer Rothnie--Supporter, Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious.

The exact phrase, "the elect of God" occurs in Colossians 3:12 in the Legacy Standard Bible --

"So, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."

March 23 2020 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The ‘elect of God’ are believers, but not by the process of election. The word ‘elect’ is a word supposedly transliterated from the Greek, ‘eklektos.’ It is an unfortunate transliteration because a closer English word is ‘eclectic’ which means something selected for its value or worth. The believers are God’s special people because of their value. So the better translation than ‘elect of God’ is the ‘choice ones of God’ or the ‘favored ones of God.’ 

With this understanding, there is no concept of God randomly or deliberately choosing one to be saved. Instead God considers believers His elite people. In the same token, I Peter 2:4 says Christ is the living stone “chosen by God...” ‘Chosen’ is the same word ‘eklektos’ but this does not mean that God chose Him, but that He was the choice One of God or perhaps better, the choicest One of God. 

Other usages of ‘elect’ confirm it is not a process of electing or choosing, but the consideration of those people or angels to be favored or special. Elect angels are those who did not rebel along with Satan. Elect people are those who have already believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

The whole discussion about election and predestination is a dilemma because everyone has their idea of how God chooses, when it is not even a matter the Scriptures bring up. Sure, anyone can round up verses, many out of context, to build up their position on the matter. These discussions are age-long debates over man-made philosophies about salvation. But one significant problem is that these arguments and debates should never have been raised in the first place. I illustrate it this way: 

Suppose a number of graduates gather for an alumni reunion. At one point, one of them asks, “Who chose us to be graduates? Was it the Board of Education or was it us?” Those that hear him are either amused or confused because the question is not relevant at all. Everyone knows that they fulfilled the requirements for graduation and because of that the institution conferred the degree with all its rights, responsibilities, and privileges. 

In like fashion, theologians wonder who chose them to salvation. Was it God or was it they themselves, or was it perhaps both? Again the response has to be one of confusion because it is not relevant at all. Believers are sinners who fulfilled the one and only simple requirement to believe on the Lord as presented by the Lord Himself in John 6:47, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Then God bestowed on them, who now qualify, all the rights, responsibilities, privileges and blessings that He had planned and predestined even from the beginning of time. By the way, all the references to predestination are about what God has determined for His people, not for them to be elected to be His people. With this new perspective no one has to worry which is correct, Calvinism or Arminianism. They do not have to doubt if they are one of the elect. Furthermore, the understanding of salvation is made simple.

November 21 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Andy  3 photo Andy Mangus I am a Christian since October 1979 & devoted truth seeker.
To me, there is specifically one scripture that very definitively answers this question: To me, it is JOHN 3:16! To me, GOD could not be more loving, caring or more direct! "JESUS paid it all. GOD, The Father; GOD, The Son; and GOD, the Holy Spirit are ONE and IS TOTALLY OUTSIDE THE HUMAN UNDERSTANDING OF *TIME*! We humans can't comprehend that what we understand as 'predestinate (predestination)', is a mental conceptual challenge at it's very, very least! And, is beyond our humanness; in the flesh capability of TRUE MENTAL understanding! GOD told us all in HIs Holy Word that He created everything; and, that includes time! *** God Knew, Knows and always will know who and whom will "freely" choose by 'hearing His calling; realizing their sinful self is in dire need of being saved and by their free will choice will heed God's calling to accept His free GIFT OF ETERNAL SALVATION!

MAJOR POINT OF EMPHASIS IS THIS BIBLICAL TRUTH! GOD KNOWS ALL; SEES ALL; HAS ALWAYS EXISTED and WILL FOREVER EXIST! And, HE is totally outside our 'human capacity to fully understand'!

For simplicity and....sanity!.....my approach is this: We can't truly comprehend the true magnitude of God until we meet our LORD in Heaven Above!

"Praise God that He provided a Savior! And, His name is Jesus Christ!--ANDY--

October 13 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Internet image Ben Jones Retired Professional Photographer
Are there two ways that people can come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? Possibly. God chooses us. John 15:16: “You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” In the NKJV the words choose, chose, chosen and elect occur 26 times speaking only of those that God chose, has chosen, will chose, chooses or elects to salvation. 

The second way is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Believe (or belief) in Christ is found in 32 passages where “belief” or “believe in God and/or Jesus” is absolutely necessary for salvation.

I believe that God gives us the faith we need to believe in Him and that faith births our belief. James 1:17: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..." Faith and belief are definitely good and perfect gifts! Heb 12:2 "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..." Jesus authored our faith, we did not.

My experience was that even as a very young child I felt a peculiar closeness to God. I loved going to church. I loved singing the hymns, (I still do!). Every Sunday when I walked into that beautiful old church building I felt a “Presence” that I attributed to God. Our pastor was a gifted orator; using his deep baritone voice he thundered from the pulpit. As a young boy I was in awe of him. But none of my siblings felt as I did, even though they sat under the same preacher, at the same church for about the same amount of time as I did. 

I was always aware of God’s presence in my life even though I ignored Him until I was 27. However God was in my life even before I came to a saving knowledge of Him. Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” He has protected me and loved me from creation. However in talking with some some of my other Christian brothers and sisters, that was not their experience. Some hated God up until they were saved.

God chose the Jews to be His chosen people. Deuteronomy 7:6: “For you [Jews] are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” So does that mean some Gentiles at that time could NOT be one of God’s chosen people? Let's look at Isaiah 56:3 and 6-7: “Don't let foreigners [Gentiles] who commit themselves to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will never let me be part of his people.' I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve Him and love His name, who worship Him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to My covenant. I will bring them to My holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” 

So it appears to me that "non-elect" [Gentiles] could seek for God, however Romans 3:11 states that "no one seeks for God." So it is entirely possible that God chose these "non-elect" Gentiles "before the foundation of the world."

May 23 2024 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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