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2 Timothy 2:10 point of fact: Where the word elect is seen in Paul's letters this refers to the Jews not the Gentiles. The apostle had been preaching to the Jews, reasoning with them and proving from the prophecies of the OT (although this would not have been the title of the scriptures at that time) that Jesus is the Messiah. Yes he did say that because they deemed it not worthy of themselves to be saved that he was turning to the gentiles — however his statement that: "I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ…" this is a poor translation as the original Greek the word is not chosen but "the elect" (and is a reference to the Jews in Israel and those that were still ethnic but outside) Paul illustrates this further in his letter to the Romans from chapters 9-11 that is the plain literal reading of these chapters that God was and is still dealing with His chosen race (ethnos) that is a physical nation. No not all of Israel are saved, but a remnant will be. My argument with this using predestination or unconditional election to mean that God had already chosen those to salvation before even His Son was sacrificed for the sins of "the whole world" - "tasted death for every man" - "was the propitiation for our sins, and not only ours, but the whole world"... then by this theory it was already a done deal; certain individuals were already brought into His Kingdom even before they were born. Mind you they according to this teaching were perfected/sinless because God regenerated them... What is my point — OK my point is this: I came to a saving knowledge of the LORD Jesus through believing the Gospel. That He took my place on the cross of Calvary, taking the punishment that I deserved. I believed first, it was then that through God's grace that I was born from above. God's gift of salvation and the opportunity to either embrace it by faith (taking God literally at His Word) or reject it, is literally our choice. Salvation is the gift NOT faith, the only mention of faith being a gift is in 1 Corinthians 12 The extreme Calvinist argues that Christ must save everyone that He died for. They reason thus: "If Christ died for everyone, then everyone will be saved." Let’s think about the logic of this statement. This would be like saying, "If medicine is available for everyone, then everyone must be healed." This is obviously false. The medicine, though available, will not do any good unless it is taken. "There is more than enough cool, refreshing water for every thirsty person in the village." Does this mean that every person in the village will have his thirst quenched? Only if every person drinks! We need to make a difference between redemption accomplished and redemption applied.
The basic teaching of 'unconditional election' is that man cannot accept the gracious free gift of Salvation, nor have faith, due to man's total depravity. So, God chose (elected) some to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit so they would be able to believe/have faith and be saved. God chose not to spiritually regenerate others, so they cannot believe, and hence they stand condemned. However, in addition to complicating the simplicity of the gospel, there are several flaws with this theory: #1 Scripture nowhere states that man has the no ability to have faith. Indeed, faith is the persuasion that Jesus is the Messiah - basically, us trusting the testimony of Christ and those who witnessed Him) (Heb 11, Mk 11:22-23). Nor is fallen man 'unable' to do anything good. Contrariwise, scripture says that though our flesh is corrupted, we can still choose to obey and not chose sin (Luke 6:32-33, Luke 10:30-37, Gen 4:6-7, Rom 2:14-15, Josh 24:14-28). However, no man can be without sin (Rom 3:23), and the 'good' that we do is still as filthy rags (Is 64:5-6). This is why man cannot achieve salvation through works - because no man could follow God perfectly in action or heart. Hence, God sent Christ, so salvation would be through His sinless, covering blood (Is 63:5, John 3:10-21) and not by us trying to be perfect. #2 Scripture states that we receive the Spirit and are spiritually regenerated after we believe, and not before (John 7:38-39, Acts 5:32, Gal 3:2, Gal 6:13-25, II Cor 5:15-21). Through faith, we accept the gracious and merciful offer of salvation, and Christ then saves us from slavery to sin as well as God's judgement against sinners (Eph 2:1-10, Rom 8). #3 Scripture gives a very different presentation of 'election', namely that God's plan all along was to elect a people according to the promise of the Messiah, not according to the flesh. Understanding how God elected Israel in turn helps us understand how God elected the church, made up of both Jew and Gentile. The nation of Israel was elect due to God’s own choice (Ezek 16:5-7, Deut 10:15, Isa 45:4). Israel entered the covenant with God to confirm this (Deut 29:9-15), but they still rebelled, and thought salvation was by works and not the promise (Jer 4:22). In regards to salvation, God elected a people for Himself, the body of Christ, both Jew and Gentile. (I Pet 2:7-10, II Pet 1:2, Rom 1:1-3, II Tim 2:1-13, etc). His calling this people is by His grace, not by any of our own works (I Pet 2:9-10, Eph 2:8-10, Rom 11:1-6). [The Jews thought they alone were the 'Chosen People' of God, and were resistant to the idea of the Gentiles being brought into God's flock as well]. Jesus Himself was 'elect' (Is 42:1, Is 63:5), the Messiah chosen/appointed to bring salvation (Jn 10:36). Others God 'elected' to specific offices (Abraham, Saul, the Apostles), just as others were passed by (Esau, David's brothers, Hagar), typing works/appearances/law vs. Faith and the promise. We didn't chose the way of salvation (God did), nor did we chose our own gifts or ministries (God did). We are, however, to have faith and follow (John 15:16, John 12:25-26). The 'basis' for election is given in Eph 1:11-14. We are predestined according to the plan [of salvation], which was created because God works out everything in accordance to His will, so that all who put their hope in Christ will be saved! We then are included in Christ because we heard the message of truth [the plan of salvation] and believed. Then, not before, God sealed us with the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our future inheritance of eternal life! #4 Scripture states that all men can be saved, not that only some men can be saved (Is 45:22, John 3:16-17, Mk. 9:36-37). It also states that God *desires* all men to be saved, which is opposed to the idea of God only giving a select few the opportunity. (I Ti 2:1-4, II Pet 3:9, John 12:32, John 1:7-8)
God CHOSE Abraham and gave him orders to gather together a people in view of a promised inheritance, then sent Moses as His enforcement officer. God sent Jesus in fulfillment (absolute completion) of all that, with His promise of salvation by grace through faith. In the first instance, God gave instructions and orders and mandated that they be carried out. In the second instance he reversed ALL of that, announcing that we should believe, not obey! After Jesus ascended the Holy Spirit came to declare to all of us that salvation is by grace through faith, not of rules, commandments, laws, oral traditions. The Jews, who were His elect, failed. We Christians, who come to Him by grace through faith, in response to the call, the "wooing," of the Holy Spirit, come to him not because of an order but because of the realization that we need a Savior, otherwise we will perish. God SENT His Son, God SENT His Holy Spirit, God SENT the Apostle Paul with the offer of eternal forgiveness, for eternal security, without conditions! Our response is to BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and we, unlike the Jews and those who reject His free gift, enter into His Presence with joy and thanksgiving, and that forever! We are not consigned to the Great White Throne like those who rejected their Messiah, like those who reject Jesus as Savior. Glory, Hallelujah! We are destined for the Judgment Seat of Christ!
My very simple answer is this: GOD is outside our human ability to comprehend in the context of being *outside our concept/mental understanding of the word "time"*! God, The HOLY TRINITY simply is! Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, man has been given the choice to believe, trust and obey. Free will Choice was given at this "Birth of mankind's creation"! Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan's temptation in the Garden of Eden. The purity of faith in GOD is unblemished belief that He is our creator; our Savior, and our Redeemer for unto eternal salvation! It is God's grace that is only received by our responding to His Holy Spirit's calling to come unto Him and receive His free gift of Eternal Salvation! Every child of God has "first believed, then put their faith In God's only begotten son, asking for eternal forgiveness to have all their sins washed away "as far as the east from the West!" "God loves the little children; all the children of world! Red and yellow; black or white!...we are precious in His sight...Jesus loves the little children of the World"! ***God's "elect" is/are "anyone that calls out by faith to ask for forgiveness and puts their trust in God's only begotten son, Jesus Christ for eternal salvation will have an eternal home in Heaven! (See John 3:12 - 3:18) "Praise GOD that He provided a Savior! And, His name is JESUS CHRIST"!
I have considered this question for years and have arrived at the following biblical conclusion: Psalm 139:16 says, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." God in His sovereignty has predetermined exactly what each and every person will experience "every moment" of his or her life from birth to death and God did this even before we were born, which is before we could do ANYTHING to influence Him. Ephesians1:4-5: "Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure." So there is absolutely no way that our free will had anything to do with salvation, God did it all even before He created the world, and Revelation 13:8 says that Christ is the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," so our salvation was ordained by God "from the foundation of the world." You are currently reading this on a computer, but a computer that has not been programmed is just a pile of metal and chips. It MUST first be programmed by a programmer before it can do anything. Our brains are a living computer and our brains did have a Programmer that preprogrammed "every moment" of our lives "even before we were born." How does a baby know how to nurse at the breast? God programmed its brain to suckle. How does our bodies know how to breathe? Or how does the heart know to pump blood throughout the body? How do we "know" that God exists? Evolution? Instinct? No, God programmed these ideas in our brains "before we were born." Since we don't know that God has programmed us to salvation we think we received Christ out of the goodness of our hearts or we say it was because of our wonderful free will. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say we have "good hearts" in fact our heart is "desperately wicked" according to Jeremiah 17:9 and the only time Man's free will is demonstrated is when we don't do what God has commanded (in other words, sin.) Can anyone show me anywhere in the scriptures where God commanded one thing and the one who was commanded exercised his or her free will and God was pleased? How does a person gain eternal life? Chance? Through our free will? No, God pre-programmed our brains so that at just the right time we will trust in Him. Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." Receiving Christ is definitely "an activity under heaven." God leaves NOTHING to chance. He has everything under His control, including our salvation.
Genesis teaches the first commandments God spoke to mankind, "For this reason a man and woman will leave his mother and father to unite as one." then God gave the command not to eat from the tree of knowledge. God searches out mankind's heart, testing out our love for him, and faith turning to God. God is omnipresent knowing past, present, and future but He has not made robotic believers in the word or world. If this were true, those who robotically follow Jesus could not be used as a witness, so where, when, and how would God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost glorification be present? If we have an enduring faith, what would we endure if predestine to live a eternal life? What glory is there to grow as followers? If God gave us a will to choose, but have given a predestine plan to only a few would that not jeopardize or contradict what Jesus came to do? Abraham was accredited righteous by God due to his love for God's creation, same traits were found in King David. Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the cities in the region of Sodom & Gomorrah, why would Abraham request such if it were known how evil the cities have become? Because of the hope he had for them to turn from the wicked deeds, as Jesus stated, "And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day" Matthew 11:23 Was this the hope Abraham had during his request from God? Hades was not predestined for mankind, Abraham was filled with love for God's creation and what God saw in him was a passion that came from the will to trust God, believe the love God has for us all, and most of all the rewarding miracles from our obedience. If we believe a predestination or once saved always save, the comfort those of us would have in such doctrinarians could leave us to believe we are permitted sin without consequences. If we are convinced to believe then we can be convinced not to believe, it is only God who allows the glory of His works to be righteous. To be destined toward heaven would mean no sin nature would affect the person, this was only found in Jesus who still had endured sins temptations. He came to know sin and its effect on mankind to assure those who believed in Him would have eternal life because no one can defeat sin on their own.
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