Are you a member of the family of God? During this tumultuous time in our Country where we are staunchly divided into members of the Democrat family or Republican family, only one family makes a difference in the big picture. President Obama famously said, “Elections have consequences.” He was correct. The outcomes of elections here in the USA will determine what type of Country we will be and how it will be run; however, this is a temporary situation. New leaders will inevitably be chosen, and they will have their ideas of how things will be. But one day, it will all end. There will no longer be Democrats or Republicans or even a United States of America. But when this all ends here on Earth, there will still be an eternity. Then, the question will be, “Are you a member of the family of God?”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. He left Heaven, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect, sinless life, was tortured, crucified, and killed, paid the penalty of sin, was buried, rose from the dead, and in now sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding for His family. To become an adopted member of this family, all you have to do is believe that Jesus paid that price for you and believe that He was resurrected from the dead, defeating death, and now intercedes on your behalf. But what about all this election and predestination stuff? Let’s take a look.
Election and predestination are both biblical teachings. The English “predestination” is translated from the Greek word proorizo, which means 1) to predetermine, decide beforehand; 2) in the NT, of God decreeing from eternity; 3) to foreordain, appoint beforehand. Predestination, then, is the biblical teaching that God predestines certain events and people to accomplish what He so desires. The word proorizo occurs six times in the New Testament, each time demonstrating that God is the one who is foreordaining and bringing about specific events:
- Acts 4:28, “to do whatever Your hand and purpose predestined to occur.”
- Romans 8:29, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren;
- Romans 8:30, “and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:7, “but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”
- Ephesians 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
- Ephesians 1:11, “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”
The word “election,” or “elect,” comes from the Greek word eklectos and occurs about 25 times in the New Testament. It signifies “to pick out, choose, to pick or choose out for one’s self, a choosing one out of many.” The one who does the choosing, the electing, is God.
- John 13:18, “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ˜He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.”
- Ephesians 1:4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”
- 1 Timothy 5:21, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.”
Again, there is debate within Christianity as to the means and purpose of God’s election. Some say that God elects individuals and others say He only elects nations and/or groups of people. If God elects individuals, this means that God is predestining them, electing them into salvation, and He is not electing others. This does not sit well with many Christians. On the other hand, some Christians state that God elects based upon a foreknowledge of what an individual will do.
Whichever side you believe, remember that predestination and election are biblical concepts. You must also not forget that how you believe in predestination and/or election does not affect your salvation. Therefore, you should be gracious to other Christians who differ from you on this subject.
While there are numerous ideas of precisely what election means regarding salvation, the fact that believers are chosen is indisputable. Simply put, the doctrine of election is that God chooses/determines/elects/predestines who will be saved. Therefore, the question is, “How can I know if I am one of the elect?” The answer is exceedingly simple: believe!
The Bible nowhere instructs us to be concerned regarding our status of elect vs. non-elect. Instead, God calls us to believe, to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, by grace through faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). If a person truly trusts in Jesus alone for salvation, that person is one of the elect. Whether belief secures election or election causes belief – that is another debate. But what is sure is that belief is evidence of election. No one can receive Jesus as Savior unless God draws him or her (John 6:44). God calls/draws those whom He has predestined/elected (Romans 8:29-30). Saving faith is not possible without divine election. Therefore, saving faith is evidence of election.
The idea of a person wanting to be saved but being unable to do so due to not being one of the elect is foreign to the Bible. No one seeks after God’s plan of salvation on his own accord (Romans 3:10-18). Those without Christ are blind to their need for salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4). This only changes when God begins drawing a person to Himself. It is God who opens eyes and enlightens minds to the need for Jesus Christ as Savior. A person cannot repent (change the mind about sin and the need for salvation) unless God grants repentance (Acts 11:18). Therefore, if you understand God’s plan of salvation, recognize your need for it, and feel compelled to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, then believe, and you are saved.
If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior, trusting Him alone for salvation, believing that His sacrifice is the full payment for your sins – congratulations, you are one of the elect.