Can you briefly explain Unconditional Election in Calvinism?

Posted by on Feb 13, 2011 in Questions and Answers, Text | Comments Off on Can you briefly explain Unconditional Election in Calvinism?


As taught by Calvinism, Unconditional Election is the doctrine that says God chose from before the foundation of the world whom he would save and whom he would damn, regardless of whether they want to be saved or not.  However, by studying the scriptures, we will find that election is never unto salvation.  When a person is elected, he is elected to rule or hold an office.  That is he is elected to reign!!

In Is 42:1, we find the first occurrence of the word “elect.”  It is a reference to Jesus.  Jesus certainly did not have to be saved.  So his election could not apply to salvation.  He was elected to rule.  He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He was born king of the Jews [Matt 2:2].  However, he was rejected by the Jews, so he is not ruling on earth yet, but he will rule when he returns.  So, he is Jesus “elect” in the same sense that the man elected to be president of the United States is president “elect” between his election and his inauguration.

In Is 45:4, we find the second mention of the word “elect.”  Here it refers to Israel.  Israel has been elected to rule when Jesus does (Is 60:11-12, Zech 14:16-19; Is 49:22-23).  Now notice, that just because Israel is elect doesn’t mean therefore that all Jews are saved, because election is not to salvation.  Korah, Dathan and Abiram were Jews who perished in Num 16:31-35.  The rich man in Lk 16 was a Jew who died and went to hell.  Jesus came to the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24).  He came to “save” that which was “lost” (Matt 18:11).  If election were to salvation, these Jews would not have been “lost” and some of them would not have wound up in hell (Matt 23:33).

In Is 65:9 (see the context of 65:8-12), the elect inherits God’s mountains.  There are some who don’t inherit these mountains.  They are the ones who “chose” not to answer when the Lord called.  They were not unconditionally elected to damnation.  They chose not to respond and, therefore, missed the benefits of their election.

Now according to 1 Pet 2:1 and 2 Pet 1:10, you and I are elect.  That means that we are going to rule with Jesus when he rules, (Rev 5:8-10; Rev 1:6; Lk 19:12-27 [in verses 17 and 19 these citizens are given authority over cities]).  Thus, we are not elected to salvation, but we are elected to reign.  Notice that as the man who hid his pound in a napkin (Lk 19:20) lost the pound and his reign, even so we can also lose our reign.  That’s why Peter said to make your calling and election sure.

Listen, many Jews who could have reigned with the Lord because of the election lost their opportunity.  Look at Judas.  He was there when Jesus pronounced that the disciples would sit on 12 thrones (Matt 19:28).  He lost his opportunity to reign when he betrayed the Lord.  Jesus could have missed his opportunity to reign, though he had been elected, if he had bowed down and worshipped the devil in the wilderness (Matt 4:8-10).

Likewise, you can lose your opportunity to reign if you do certain things or fail to do certain things.  That’s why you have to make your election sure.  Here’s what you need to do (or not do as the case may be).

If you want to reign with Jesus you need to suffer with him [2 Tim 2:12 and Rom 8:17].  This is not self-imposed suffering but simply enduring that which comes along with being saved (1 Pet 4:12-14) and denying worldly lusts (Tit 2:12).  Notice the disciples’ reign was conditioned upon forsaking all and following Jesus (Matt 19:27-29).

You also need to get a return on your pound (Lk 19) and you need to give diligence to the things in 2 Pet 1:5-11.

You can lose your reign if you do any of the following:

Matt 10:33 – deny Jesus

2 Jn 7-11 – wish Godspeed to a heretic [like a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon]

Eph 5:5; Gal 5:19-21, 1 Cor 6:9-10 – commit these certain kinds of sins that will strip you of your reign

So, you see from the scripture that election is about a reign and never about salvation.  Any person who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ desiring to be saved will be saved.  And all that are saved are elected to reign with him.  Under certain circumstances mentioned above they can forfeit that reign since it is not unconditional.

Hope this helps,

Pastor Bevans Welder


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