The Doctrines of G.R.A.C.E
God’s Sovereign Choice
That God is sovereign is an undeniable truth taught throughout the Bible. He is sovereign over all things from the rain that falls on the earth (Amos 4:7) to the kings who reign in the earth (Prov. 21:1). There is no place to which His sovereignty does not reach. This includes the election of human beings unto salvation. The Bible is clear that, as Christians, God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:4-5). We are elect by God not because we ran so hard or willed so strongly, but because He is merciful (Rom. 9:15-16). If God is sovereign, then He must be as sovereign in election as He is in the changing of the weather.
There is no questioning that the Bible represents humans as being in rebellion and even at war with God. This warfare is the manifestation of sin, which when it entered by Adam (Rom. 5:12) pervaded our entire existence. So that now all people are reckoned, apart from Christ, as being spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Apart from Christ we are perpetually engaging in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and are by nature, that is birth, children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The grip of sin on the natural human being makes him not only unwilling, but even unable to submit to the will and ways of God or to please God by his good deeds (Rom. 8:7-8). This is to say that humans are morally corrupt, even radically depraved.
The coming of Christ into the world had an intentional divine purpose. He came to save sinners from their sin. This was the purpose of Christ on the earth because it was the purpose of God from all eternity. The Bible speaks of Christ’s death on the Cross as being intentional and designed. He is spoken of as saving His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). He is said to have been the shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:14-15). He is understood as having given His life for the church (Eph. 5:25). His people, His sheep, the church are just synonyms for the elect whom God had chose for redemption before the foundations of the world (Eph. 1:4-5). We are not to think of Christ making salvation possible for His sheep, His people, or the church. We are to understand that the redemption He came to bring to the elect, is the redemption He accomplished, once and for all for His people (Heb. 7:27).
Those whom the Father sovereignly elects from eternity and those whom the Son redeems are those whom the Spirit calls and transforms from dead sinners to alive saints. All those whom God has appointed unto salvation (Acts 13:48) not only receive the outward call of the gospel (all who hear the preached Word thus receive this external calling), but also will inevitably receive the inward call of the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:14; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9). By this work of the Holy Spirit they are drawn to God for salvation (Matt. 11:25-27; John 6:37,44; 10:4, 14-16). This regenerating call of God in the heart of a sinner is not thwarted or compromised. For if God determines to save someone, who can deter His purpose (Isa. 14:27)? As the Scriptures declare, Moreover, whom He predestined these He also called, whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified these He also glorified (Rom. 8:30).
Endurance of the Saints
The final point is a fitting culmination of the previous points. It states that God preserves and perseveres with those who come to faith through the efficacious work of God in redemption. Those whom God has called and justified by His grace will be glorified for His glory. And none of those whom He has ordained unto salvation will be lost. They will endure in grace, because He who has begun a good work in them will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). The saved endure because they are secure; they are those kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet. 1:5). In other words, we are not elected by God only to be rejected by God. We, who are elected in eternity, are protected in time.