I want to express few words on the doctrine of election from Ephesians 1:4.
When we speak of the sovereignty of God, we understand that to mean he does whatever he pleases and that he is under no obligation to anyone except to himself. This also means he does not answer to anyone, surely, not to his own creations and creatures. God is God, and he rules all things under his rulership, and nothing happens without his direction or permission. He works all things after the counsel of his own perfect will for his own glory. For instance, God is sovereign over his creations including what happens in this universe, nature, nations, and our history.
However, what is more intriguing and mind-boggling is God’s sovereignty in our salvation, namely, as Paul says in our text “He (God) chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” In Christian theology, this is called the doctrine of election.
And what I love about the doctrine of election is because of what it does, its results. For instance, the doctrine of election shatters all the erroneous views of the gospel and salvation, namely, that somehow salvation is a result of what I do – e.g., whether I prayed the prayer, raised my hand and gone forward at the altar call, and etc. It’s not that those things are inherently evil or sinful, but that’s not how this glorious letter of Ephesians is mentioned. As a matter of fact, such notion and practice as raising hands and going forward at the “altar call” or praying the prayer is found nowhere in Scripture.
The opening chapter of Paul’s letter to Ephesians shatters any false idea that I am a Christian because of what I have done or what I do. The truth of the biblical gospel is not about me. The focus is not about me. And that is exactly the Paul’s point here in chapter 1. In other words, the gospel does not begin with me and you. It begins with God. And such example is all over the place here in chapter 1 – e.g., “He chose us” (v. 4), “He predestined us” (v. 5), “He freely bestowed on us” (v. 6), “He lavished on us” (v. 8), “He made known to us” (v. 9), and so on.
The biblical gospel is about God. It begins with God, sustains by God, and finishes with God. From the beginning to the end, it is all about God. But when I examine the today’s gospel it’s amazing how far the churches have drifted. The today’s gospel is not so much about God and his glory, but all about what I could get, how I can maximize my life for me, and etc. The gospel is no longer God-centered, but largely, man-centered. But as you can see from the Bible, it is far from being man-centered.
So what I love about the doctrine of election is because of what it does, such as, shattering all my self-centered and sinful ways of looking at the gospel. It truly strips me bare. As I begin to have a proper low view of myself, it is only then that I begin to see and possess a high view of God. A test whether a person is a friend of this doctrine or a foe is to watch how a person reacts when an individual hears about it. And I pray that you become a dear friend to the doctrine of election.
When discussing the doctrine of election, there are about three views.
1. Denial of the doctrine of election altogether.
This view says that people can obtain salvation by their own free will or by their choice. Thus election simply does not enter into the factor of salvation.
2. Election is based on foreknowledge.
The proponents of this view say that God elects someone to salvation, but God does that on the basis of God foreseeing some goods in them or goods that they would do in the future.
3. Election is biblical and it’s not by man’s any merits.
The proponents of this view believe that election is a divine revelation, not a human speculation. Moreover, the proponents of this view believe that salvation is completely the work of God and not anything that man does or will do. And this is the very reason why Christians praise and worship God.
Stay tune for Part 2.