Bible Study

What Election Does and Does Not Mean

Michael Beck

So many in the church have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the election of God refers to.

The election of God speaks of God’s sovereign right to decide what way His salvation, His promotion, His blessing or anything else from His hand will come.

If God has chosen that His means of salvation is through the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law, so it is. If God has chosen to count righteous those who put their faith in Jesus, instead of those who seek righteousness through their adherence to the law, so it is. If God has chosen to give grace to the humble, rather than the proud, so it is. He is sovereign, He decides.

Man cannot navigate his own way to God or the blessings of God. He cannot choose the way that suits him. He will come God’s way or he will not come at all. Despite what he thinks, wants, or claims, the man who insists on coming “some other way” will not arrive at the “destination” he has set out for.

The election of God does not refer to God’s choosing of certain individuals to be saved, while choosing not to save others. This is an unbiblical understanding of election that does not have its foundation in the apostles and prophets, but in the “wisdom” of the early church fathers and reformers.

Contrary to this unbiblical understanding, it is God’s will to save all who come to Him by His appointed way. Those who do so are God’s elect, not because they have chosen Him and are saved by their will. They are saved because God has chosen to save all who come to Him by His appointed way.

No one can be saved simply because of their decision to believe in Jesus. That any should be born again is a work of the Holy Spirit, but this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is only sent to selected individuals who God wants to be saved, while He chooses not to send the Holy Spirit to others who He has chosen to pass over and send to hell. This means that the Holy Spirit is at work to bring individuals to true repentance. The “gospel truth” is this: God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

God will not save any outside of His appointed way and work, but it is His good pleasure to save all those who forsake their own way and submit to the way of His choosing.

But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have NOT SUBMITTED themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 9:20-10:3)

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, ELECT, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (1 Peter 2:6)

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.