Unconditional Election

Last week Pastor Robert wrote about ‘Total Depravity’ of man. This week, we shall look at the doctrine of “Unconditional Election.” Westminster Confession of Faith concerning the decrees of God states, “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass. … God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, hath chosen, in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto: and all to the praise of His glorious grace.” Some of the truths that can be distilled from this are:

  • His decree is according to the counsel of His own will and according to his eternal purpose. The source of his decree is from himself. No one or anything in the created world coerces him to act or decide. Instead he freely plans or acts according to his good pleasure.
  • The ultimate purpose of his decree is for his own glory. Our salvation is not just for our benefit but ultimately it is for God’s own glory.
  • His decree is his foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass. Foreordination is to mark out beforehand. It has to do with the planning of things that do come to pass.

Is this biblical? Here is how the New Testament presents the doctrine of election:

  • The doctrine of election as an encouragement to evangelism. Paul says, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2Tim. 2:10). We do not know who the elect are. However if we understand biblical election rightly, we will be zealous to preach the good news to all so that they may be saved. It is not our task to determine who the elect are. Ours is to preach the good news to all so that those who are called will respond.
  • The doctrine of election as a comfort to believers. This is seen in Romans 8:28-30. From eternity to eternity God has acted with the good of his people in mind. If God has always done so, then will he not also in our present situation work every circumstance together for our good as well? In this way this doctrine is seen as a comfort for believers in their daily lives.
  • As a reason to praise and glorify God. In Ephesians 1:5-6, Paul praised and thanked God for them because he knew that their salvation was ultimately due to God’s choice of them.

Understood in this way, this doctrine does increase praise and glory given to God for salvation. At the same time it also humbles us before God because we realize that we have no claim on God’s grace whatsoever. Our salvation is not the result of anything we have done. All credit and glory must go to God our Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be glory forever, Amen!

Rev. Mark Tay