Doctrines of Grace – Unconditional Election

By affirming our belief in Unconditional Election, we accept the Bible’s teaching that God has elected unto himself a specific people from the entire fallen human race whom he will save because it pleased him to do so.  God’s choice is not contingent, conditioned or constrained by any goodness in the elect or any predisposition on the part of the elect to believe the gospel.

Advertisements

About Greg Coleman

I am a Particular Baptist who affirms the absolute sovereignty of the triune Godhead in all things. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Disposer and Judge of all that ever was, is now or ever shall be. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. He was made to be sin for his people and saved them from their sins by his substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross thereby satisfying the justice and wrath of God against them. The sufficiency of his death to the satisfaction of God’s justice is proven by his physical resurrection from the dead and enthronement in glory at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
This entry was posted in Doctrines of Grace, Election and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Doctrines of Grace – Unconditional Election

  1. Doesn’t the doctrine of Unconditional Election violate the second greatest commandment?

  2. You know, love your neighbor as you love yourself. The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10).

    Jesus (God) came to fulfill the law – which same will not pass away until all is accomplished (Matthew 5:17-18). This includes the second greatest commandment, on which – along with the first (“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND) ‘depend the whole law and the prophets’ – Matthew 22:40.

    In the parable of the Good Samaritan God explained the criteria for being a neighbor – thus fulfilling the second greatest commandment. And this criteria, that which is needed to be a neighbor, is simply having someone who needs a neighbor and doing unto them as we would have them do unto us. Someone who is helpless to save himself. That is what is to be the catalyst of our response in love. Just seeing those who need saving.

    Now the Samaritan was not a neighbor because he was successful at saving the man, he was a neighbor because he loved the man, and this love was expressed in his attempt at saving the man. This is supported by scripture in that God judges the heart, not whether our attempts at love were successful or not. The Samaritan would still have been a neighbor (and fulfilled this second greatest commandment) if the helpless man had awoken and rejected the Samaritan’s offer of love and salvation.

    Since God will fulfill this second greatest commandment (which He commanded us to obey), how can a doctrine be true that has God violating His own law? How can God (Jesus) fulfill this commandment and yet (God the Father) disregard it at the same time ‘for His good pleasure’?
    Will Calvinists have God telling us to ‘do as I say not as I do’ when it comes to issues of righteousness? Will Calvinsts have God disregard the criteria He set forth for us to follow in being a neighbor?

    Remember, this law will not pass away until heaven and earth pass away and all is accomplished. And all who will be dammed will have been so before this law passes away.
    Which means this law will be fulfilled by God unto men until such time.

    Thanks for listening.

  3. Greg Coleman says:

    Thomas,

    Thank you for taking time to expound. You have an interesting take on the parable of the good Samaritan.

    Since I’m not a Calvinist you’ll have to address the question regarding what one would have you think to someone else. I’m certain that there are plenty of our Christian brothers who are Calvinists that would gladly discuss it with you.

    The short version of my answer is that the purpose of the parable is in no way, shape or form related to the doctrine of unconditional election.

    It was specifically directed to an expert in the Mosaic law who instead of acknowledging his inability to keep the law had just attempted to justify himself to the Lord Jesus. It seems to me that the purpose of the parable was to instruct the lawyer that the command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” transcended all prejudice, including the hatred that the Jews had for the Samaritans.

    It seems to me to be a misapplication of the parable to conclude that the traveler who was victimized by criminals represents sinners and that the Samaritan represents God.

    Consider the following:

    1. God is not prejudiced toward any man. He has judged that we are all hell deserving sinners.

    2. Natural men are not innocent. They are sinners by nature and by choice.

    3. Natural men are not victims. They are rebels against the King.

    4. Natural men are not wounded. They are dead in trespasses and sins.

    5. Natural men don’t need spiritual healing. They need spiritual life.

    6. Justice does not demand that God help natural men. Justice demands that natural men be damned.

    7. Natural men do not deserve mercy. They are under the wrath of God because they deserve wrath of God.

    8. God would continue to be infinitely perfectly holy, just and righteous if He damned all men. He is under NO OBLIGATION to save anyone.

    9. Oh, blessed doctrine of unconditional election! God who is rich in mercy chose to save some, set His love upon them, placed them in Christ before the foundation of the world and by His Holy Spirit revealed Christ in them thru the preaching of the gospel!

    10. God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and compassion upon whom He will have compassion.

    11. By grace you are saved. For by grace are you saved though faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    Greg

  4. Hello again Mr. Coleman and thanks for you take on this.

    I believe it must first be understood that the second greatest commandment has nothing to do with justice deserved. It is a commandment to show mercy.

    I do agree with you in that nothing is said of who or what the injured man was or why he was there. Whether he was deserving of what happened to him or even what his reaction might have been to the love (mercy) expressed by the Samaritan. And I agree with you that the parable of the Good Samaritan was to instruct the lawyer in his specific situation of attempting to justify his prejudice but I would disagree with your conclusion that the parable stops there. For the parable was a picture of how the second greatest commandment was to be fulfilled. But perhaps I left the impression I was over analyzing the parable so let me attempt to clarify my view.

    The lawyer understood the commandment was to love. But he was asking in effect, ‘who am I to love’? In other words, what criterion am I to use in judging who my neighbor is? Jesus simply gave him this criterion and nothing more. And the criterion given was this – that the man who needed a neighbor was helpless to save himself. Jesus purposely left the one in need of love annonymous and without any other condition the lawyer could grasp onto to show love. This is the only condition that required the commandment to be obeyed. This was the only condition that required love to be expressed. But this was a condition. And it was directed not just to one man in history, but to all of us. In other words sinse the commandment applies to all men so does the parable. And the only criterion for the expression of that love which fulfills the commandment is for the potential recipient of that love – being in need of that love.

    Luke 10:36-37 > ‘Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” We see the commandment has nothing to do with justice deserved. It is a commandment to offer mercy to anyone who needs mercy. Even the ones who deserve justice.

    Paul interpreted the second greatest commandment to his readers in Romans 13:8 & 10 ‘…for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law’, and ‘love is the fulfillment of the law’. James 4:17 states, ‘Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin’. And 1 John 3:4 states ‘Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness’. So we see that not showing mercy when it is within our power to do so is lawlessness and is therefore sin. And of course God does not sin.

    But here is the question to ask – whether or not the parable is a picture of how God loves. Whether the one simply in need of love (mercy) is the one God offers mercy. Either it is – or it isn’t. If the parable is a correct representation of how God acts toward men, it definitely applies to the doctrine of Unconditional Election in that Unconditional Election has God commanding men to obey the law of love, yet at the same time choosing to ignore it Himself. This makes God out to be a hypocrite. It appears to me that this is a misrepresentation of the God of the bible, and is a violation of scripture.

    Thomas

    • Greg Coleman says:

      Thomas,

      The parable is not a picture of God.

      The command is to “love thy neighbor thyself”. Neighbor implies anyone who is our fellow man, regardless of race, nationality, etc. The key is “fellow”.

      We are not God’s fellows. We are not God’s peers or equals . It is a mistake to attempt to apply the Mosaic Law to God in anyway. The law was given to the Israelites because they were fallen, sinful human beings. It was not given to save them but to regulate their conduct and show them that they needed a Savior.

      God has commanded that we finite, fallen creatures love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy.

      The Transcendent, Holy, Sovereign, Infinite God of glory clearly states that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. (Exodus 33:19 and Romans 9:15). He unambiguously states that he loved Jacob and hated Esau (Malachi 1:2-3 and Romans 9:13).

      The scriptures referred to in the previous paragraph should be challenging to all professors of Christianity. They are difficult to process and absorb into our thoughts about God. However, they are not difficult to understand, their meaning is very clear.

      There is only one man who is God’s fellow, Jesus Christ.

      Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (Zechariah 13:7)

      Jehovah has chosen whom He will and placed them in the Lord Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

      Blessed doctrine of unconditional election!

      Soli Deo Gloria!

      Greg

  5. Greg,

    I do realize the parable is not necessarily a picture of God but it was a picture of how God operates. Specifically, it was a picture of how God would answer the question of ‘who is my neighbor?’. And so it was an explanation of how to correctly fulfill the second greatest commandment – as God expects us to. (Be holy for I am holy).

    But your take on the law as not being connected to God in any way is surprising. Are you saying the law is not a reflection or expression of His holy character to man? If this is so, why did Jesus fulfill the law on our behalf in order to bring us into His righteousness? God commanded men to be holy as He is holy and since Jesus’ fulfillment of the law on our behalf made His holinesss available to us, how is the law disconnected from His holiness? From His very character?

    Some atheists asked this very question. Whether our God is above His law. Whether He keeps His own law or not. The conversation was on the existence or source of absolute morality. Their argument was that if the law was not applicable to Him, (their words, I would rephrase it as ‘a reflection or aspect of His character of holiness) then He would not be the source of absolute morality as His law could change and be redefined by His whim (this would make morality only relevant, even if to an all powerful entity).

    By making the point that we are not God’s fellows, are you stating that He has a separate standard of righteousness for men than He has within Himself? As in commanding us to do that which He is not necesserarily inclined to do Himself (as in keeping the moral law given to us)?

    If God defines morality as separate standards, one for men and another for Himself – which is in direct contradiction to the one given to men, (as the doctrine of unconditional election is to the second greatest commandment), which one is right? They both can’t be right, I mean morally speaking. Is morality not absolute? Or does God say ‘I chose who My neighbor is’ after instructing men that they are to define their neighbor simply as the one who needs mercy?

    I know I haven’t provided scripture to back my stance of the law being a reflection of God’s holy character, I’ll be glad to do so if you need.

    Tom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s