That God knows in advance who will respond to his call of salvation is clear (Rom. 8:29; 1 Pt. 1:1-2). However, God’s choosing is not based upon his foreknowledge (knowing in advance) of how some will respond (contra Arminian, Wesleyan theology). Rather, God’s choosing of the elect is in accordance with his cognizance of who will respond (taking foreknowledge as the rational in addition to behavioral activity of God; see 1 Pt. 1:2). While foreknowledge in Scripture does carry the idea of intimately, actively, and affirmatively choosing, it necessarily bears the idea of prescience (knowing in advance), since God’s choices are cognitive and never made in the dark (Jn. 10:3). God specifically calls those whom he has chosen (Jn. 10:3; Acts 2:39; Rom. 8:28-30; 16:13; Eph. 1:188; 1 Thess. 1:4; 1 Pt. 2:9; 2 Pt. 1:3). The idea that all have the latent ability to respond to God’s universal call for salvation (prevenient grace) is implicitly denied by Scripture (Rom. 3:9-11). God calls the elect solely on the basis of his love and integrity (Deut. 7:7-9), not on any human merit or effort whatsoever. Only those whom the Spirit of God enables can and will become the elect of God (Jn. 6:44, 65; 15:16; 1 Thess. 1:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pt. 1:2).

Some would assert that election is an unjust doctrine; viz., God chooses some and not others. However, given the fact that all people everywhere and at every time deserve only condemnation (Rom. 3:7; 5:16, 18), God is not obligated to dismiss anyone’s guilt. Instead, because God is just, he must act in accordance with his character and condemn the condemned. And so, extending mercy to some in salvation is amazing grace indeed and strictly of God’s own choosing (Rom. 9:18). Not to pardon others because of self-incurred guilt (unbelief) is an act of justice. Election would be unfair if God is required to be both just and merciful to all. Yet, the Scriptures, and an honest assessment of the human heart, are among the reasons why God is just. But only God’s mercy, pleasure, and will are the reasons for there even existing an elect of God (Rom. 9:16, 22-23; Eph. 1:5). God’s justice and mercy are impartial since he does not look to any qualities of the elect or the condemned in distinguishing between them (Rom. 2:11). His choices are purely free and purely full of justice, grace, and mercy! Any other view misses the biblical mark.

There…I said it!


  1. When I finally understood the clarity of the scriptures in God’s providing salvation for me and calling me from death to life I was overwhelmed. I still am. It brings new meaning to the song, Amazing Grace. To know that I completely and utterly deserve death and now to know He provide grace, apart from anything I have ever done or will do. I wish more believers could rest in this knowledge. It truly has caused me to view my relationship with Christ differently and even how I approach reading scripture. Most people who disagree see it as God being “Mean” and only choosing certain ones, which is so far from scripture. It is truly b/c of his grace, mercy, and compassion on a few.

    For those who would like to understand more on the grace-driven, compassionate, sovereignty of God, I highly recommend the book, Sovereignty of God, by AW Pink.

  2. To “rest in this knowledge” is where true peace lies and the beginning of a healthy, heavenward soul. To be gripped by grace as you have, Zac, is an eternal grip that will never let go.

    To charge God with being “mean” as some may: If our starting point is our depravity, then God choosing to save even just one would be above and beyond what is just, since all deserve punishment (Rom. 3:10, 23). Seems to me that anyone who suggests God is “mean” or unjust is an instance of the pot calling the kettle black! Anyone making this charge does not take seriously or has completely ignored Romans 9:11ff, which reads…

    11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” [d] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
    “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

    16 It [God’s choosing in salvation] does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

    19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for disposal of refuse?

    22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory.”

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