4.5.3 God's free election by grace

Election is a gift of God that is either accepted in faith or rejected in unbelief.

No one can earn election through deeds, much less lay claim to it. It cannot be explained by reason. Divine election is a mystery of God that can only be grasped in faith. God grants election to those whom He has foreordained (Romans 9: 10-20).

Human beings are not forced to accept or secure God's election. It is the individual's own decision whether or not to believe and heed the divine call and faithfully fulfil the tasks assigned to him.

In this respect, there exists an area of tension–which cannot be resolved–between God's act of election through grace (which is independent of human conduct) and man's free decision to accept or reject God's election.

God elects human beings for their own salvation as well as for the salvation of others. They are chosen to work along in His plan of salvation. Whenever God elects someone, this election is linked to a task or purpose.

Therefore those who have been baptised and who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour are called and elected to be Christian. They are to spread the gospel. Beyond that, those Christians who are reborn out of water and the Spirit have fulfilled the condition for becoming firstlings. It is from this group that the bride of Christ is prepared in order to comprise the royal priesthood in the kingdom of peace (see 10.6).

By no means can the doctrine of election be taken to mean that an individual's actions are predetermined from the start, or that a human being has no decision-making power at all [2]. Rather, this freedom of choice is an essential element of man's being. Likewise it cannot be concluded that the election of one person to the bridal congregation signifies the rejection of those who have not been chosen for this purpose. Rather, all human beings have access to future salvation–all the way up to and including eternal fellowship with God in the new creation.

Acceptance of one's election in faith means following Jesus Christ conscientiously. Election also has eschatological effects: when Jesus Christ establishes His kingdom of peace as the King of all kings, the royal priesthood will proclaim the glad tidings of salvation in Christ to all human beings. Those who participate in the first resurrection are elected to this purpose (Revelation 20: 6).

Human beings demonstrate that they have made this election sure by accepting this grace in belief and by remaining loyal to God and His work.

Election is an act of God's love. He remains faithful to His elect. No external influences are capable of separating them from the love of God (Romans 8: 29, 37-39).

SUMMARY

Election is founded upon the will of God. God calls individuals for a specific purpose decided by Him. Out of all His creatures, God has chosen human beings and given them a commission, namely to subdue the earth. (4.5; 4.5.1)

No one can lay claim to God's electing grace, nor can it be comprehended by human contemplation. This is demonstrated by many examples in the Old Testament. (4.5.1; 4.5.3)

Out of the circle of His disciples Jesus called the Apostles and sent them into the entire world with the commission to teach and baptise. God then elected the people of the new covenant from among both Jews and Gentiles. (4.5.2)

Election is a gift of God's love, which is either accepted in faith or rejected in unbelief. This freedom to choose is intrinsic to man's being. Acceptance of one's election in faith signifies following Jesus Christ diligently. (4.5.3)

God chooses human beings for their own salvation as well as for the salvation of others. Whenever God elects someone, there is a certain task or purpose associated with it. (4.5.3)

Election does not mean that the actions of human beings are predetermined. (4.5.3)

[2] Election is frequently associated with the doctrine of predestination. Predestination was at various times interpreted as divine providence of fate upon an individual human being. However, predestination does not relate in a definitive way to the course of human life on earth, but to the fact that God has predestined human beings for salvation.

See also