Why Did God Choose the Elect?

by Mike Ratliff

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 NASB)

I listened to an attack on “Reformation Theology” today in which the preacher based his entire case upon one single charge. He said that a Monergistic interpretation of the Bible is based upon a faulty presupposition. That presupposition is in two parts. The first part is that we say man is dead in trespasses and sins and incapable of obeying all commands to come to God in his own ability. The second part is that we say God takes the initiative and regenerates those whom he has elected before the foundation of the world enabling them to repent and believe and come to Christ and be justified by faith. This fellow totally ignored the fact that this theology is based upon God’s free choice before the foundation of the world and the redemptive work of Christ in the obedient life and keeping the Law and going to the cross to the become the propitiation for those elect. That’s right, he totally ignored what was actually accomplished at the cross. Instead, his interpretation of all those “difficult” passages like John 6:44 are best to be seen as God’s people being those who come to him in repentance and then he saves them. So, totally ignoring all these passages about election and imputation, he says salvation is a totally Synergistic system which man kicks starts by coming to God in repentance first and then God takes over from there. He gave examples of genuine converts he had seen who came in brokenness and he could tell they were saved because they grasped the truth and walked in repentance, et cetera. He contrasted that with false converts who were simply religious who never walked in repentance. Right, could it be that he is confusing the order of things? Could it be that those he is seeing coming in repentance have been regenerated by God first and now are able to believe because they are the elect of God?

God does not elect people because they repent. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. At the end of v4 into v6 we see, “In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” Why did God choose or elect those who are in Christ? It was in love. Love is at the very root, the very heart of God’s election. Here is this same passage from the Greek text, “ἐν ἀγάπῃ, προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ, εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ.” Which translated says, “In love, He predestined us to sonship through Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace by which he favored us in the Beloved.” The word “love” translates ἀγάπῃ (agapē), “a self-emptying self-sacrifice.” Αγάπῃ is a word I am sure we have all heard numerous sermons and teachings about. The essence of this passage and Paul’s usage of ἀγάπῃ here to explain why God elected all who are saved in Christ is that he does not deal with us only according to his sovereignty and holiness. If he did, all of us would be doomed. God also deals according to love.

God’s election flows from his love and this is found throughout the Scriptures (Deut. 7:7-8; Deut. 31:27; Jer. 17:23). Why did God love you or me? Are we not just as stiff necked, depraved, rebellious, and self-centered as the nation of Israel described in those passages? That’s right, we do not know. All we have is what is given to us in passages like Ephesians 1. God elected us because he loves us. In Deuteronomy 10:15 we learn that, “Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.” Now let’s take this to the New Covenant.

16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 “This I command you, that you love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:16-19 NASB)

As we not only stand firm in the doctrines of truth don’t we experience the wrath of those who cling to the man-centered, easy-believism non-gospel that has decimated the visible church? That mess is no different than the world. Of course, the attacks from unbelievers who hate the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are just as vicious at times. Our Lord had it right.

God loved us before the foundation of the world. He loved us according to his gracious purpose, his good pleasure. Don’t we love him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19)?

Soli Deo Gloria!

17 thoughts on “Why Did God Choose the Elect?

  1. That post greatly blessed me. It goes hand in hand with what I was reading in Romans 8. In that God “foreknew” all his children and out of that He predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies them. It is spoken as though all those things happened already too. I love this chapter because it talks about how we long for our hope to be fulfilled and God gives us assurance of that being fulfilled. And Romans 8 makes the point that we can be assured in our hope because ultimately God loves us. And there is nothing that can change that. Our being indwelled by the Spirit is evidence that He loves us and will complete our salvation.

  2. Amen, my brother. He chose us to bring honor and glory to His name and loved us because He chose us. John 3:16 is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible, but clearly shows that God love the world BY sending Jesus to save the believing ones. The word, “so” in that verse can only be an adverb, not an adjective as the free will bunch thinks.

    Press on, my brother!

    BTW – I am collecting Reformed (mostly Baptist) articles & books, managed by a free library tool. Various formats – all of which can be read with the library tool, which has a Windows and Mac version. If you would like a copy, send me you address and I will drop a DVD in the mail early next month.

    You can email me at sbrogden at gmail dot com

  3. My oh my how we like to hold on to that original “mistake” of being as God! We of course not only can eat of the tree of the knowlege of good and evil, but we are bright enough to live by this as if it were our tree of life. Thankfully by this system, we are able to save the savior from failing to be our propitiation, since he also is handcuffed till we do our more important part, choosing him first so that he can then respond to our invitation…hmmm!
    How’d we miss that Mike? Guess we need an annointed one to teach us.

  4. I love Him because he first loved us! Very thought-provoking post Mike. You are going to blow some people’s minds though you know… LOL

  5. We are truly FREE w00t!!

    It’s just so great. We are so depraved so DEAD and God’s word says so. We are dead in our trespasses and sins. I’m not sure how the freewiller’s circumvent that verse.. We cannot even chose and we do not even seek God-Romans 3:11 so how can we choose when we don’t even seek? God’s word also clearly says that it is not of “human decision”–John 1:13

    How can a ROTTEN to the CORE person even have any ability to chose. To choose implies that we have some good afterall.
    I think many hold to the free will that they chose God because they are fearful knowing that they may not be saved. So they hold onto that concept with all their MIGHT especially if they’ve been working at it for many years. It is a scary thought to people

    It is ONLY because of his GREAT LOVE that we are not consumed-
    Fine writing Mike

  6. Reblogged this on Justification by Grace and commented:
    My dear friend and beloved brother, Mike Ratliff, wrote a rebuttal of sorts at his blog, “Possessing the Treasure” addressing criticisms hurled against God’s free and sovereign election. I had written an article myself a few days ago but hadn’t got around to publishing it. I’ll probably post it next week in order to keep the traffic going to Mike’s well-written article this week. Enjoy and be blessed.

  7. Sorry, but I had to add this to this post.

    John 1 >>
    King James Version 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
    6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

    9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    19And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

    24And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

    29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

    Here we have John the baptizer, Jesus’ cousin, about His same age. Probably at His Bat Mitzvah, when Jesus and His extended family went to the temple at age 12. Mary and Joseph might even have thought Jesus was with Him on the return trip when they had to return to find Him teaching in the Temple. John filled with the Holy Spirit from before birth, and whom leaped in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary came to her aunt with Jesus in her womb, forknown and predestined to be the voice crying in the wilderness…Telling the Pharasees sent to question him, “There is One among you whom you do not know, who I am sent to declare to you, who is Messiah…And John, by his own testimony, did not know, his own cousin was the Messiah, except by the revelation of the father regarding the descending and staying Holy Spirit, that His own cousin was Messiah! He, John could not make a decision for Jesus…called of God to declare his own cousin as Messiah, yet prevented from seeing Him as Lord…till God revealed Him to him…and you or I can make a decision for Him before we are accepted by Him? It is pretty plain here again that God Alone calls and reveals to Whomever He chooses!
    Please go back and read the account from John till you see this wonderful truth!

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