28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew (προέγνω) he also predestined (προώρισεν) to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those whom he predestined (προώρισεν) he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Did you ever hear the old joke about the Baptist women who heard that the Presbyterian minister down the road was going to teach on predestination? They went that Sunday to hear him. When they returned the following Sunday, all of their friends wanted to hear about the message. Their reply was classic, "Well, the preaching wasn't so bad, but the Scripture verses were just awful!"
As someone who was raised Baptist, you can imagine my trained aversion to such horrible doctrines like 'predestination'. Even as I grew older, it seemed to go totally against my logical belief. Does this mean that God elects some for Hell?- never be! Doesn't this remove all motivation for evangelism and the Great Commission? Is there a free offer of the gospel?
Even my early years in Seminary were filled with push back and panic. As I studied the Scriptures, though, it became clear to me that not only was this doctrine of unconditional election Biblical, it was also logical and glorious.
By the way, the largest and fastest growing branch of the Baptist church right now are those who teach God's sovereign plan in unconditional election including John McArthur, John Piper, Steven Lawson (Mobile, AL) and the head of the Southern Baptist Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler
Let me point out a few of these points that finally clicked with me:
A God who planned all of this before the foundation of the world is more powerful and glorious than the 'hand wringing bystander' who hopes it all goes OK.
The ordering of my salvation is more secure in His plan than it resting on my strength and faith.
I have done nothing to merit my salvation- it is a free gift.
Without God's merciful election, I would have no hope of turning to Him. He can offer all He wants to... I'm not taking. A dead man can't repent.
I have no boasting to do at all about my conversion- this glorious doctrine humbles me.
I am free in evangelism- it is not my prayer or my effort or successful technique- I have a privilege of sharing the gospel guilt free.
His plan is foolproof- I am secure.
His offer of the gospel stands... those who reject Him send themselves to Hell. He is letting them have their way. Hell is a prison locked from the inside.
God is not fair...AMEN- He is merciful.
I pray to Him because He alone can elect. If it is up to me, why pray?
I don't know who the elect are, so I eagerly seek out the lost- It hastens the return of Christ!
Still unconvinced? Try spending some time on the texts below. It jumps off the page in an unmistakable way... God planned, God executed, He chooses, He will lose not even one of those who is in that plan.
How awesome is your God? Can he do even that which seems to defy your natural thinking?
Happy hunting and thinking!
Biblical Examples and Texts for Unconditional Election
The Election of Abraham (Joshua 24:2-3, Gen. 12:1-3, Gen. 15:6, Gen. 17:7)
The Election of Jacob (Gen 25:21-22- 25:23- 28:15- Romans 9:10-13- Mal. 1:2-3)
The Election of the Nation of Israel (Deut. 4:37- 7:6-8-10:14-15- 14:2)
Election in Synoptic Gospels (Mark 13/Mt 24- Mk 13:20 especially)
Election in the Gospel of John (Jn 6:35-45/ 10:26-30/ 15:14-19/ 17:2,6,9-10,24)
Election in Acts (Acts 13:48- 18:9-10)
Election in Revelation (Rev 3:5/17:8/20:12,15/17:8/ 3:5,13:8,17:8, 20:15, 21:27)
Election in Paul’s Letters (Romans 8:28-30/ Ephesians 1:4-5,11/ Romans 9:6-24)
These texts are from Dr. Robert Peterson “Why I Am Not an Arminian” IVP 2004
We must crush the spirit of this age under our feet that says, “I don’t want to think, I want to feel”. You may say, “Who can understand domain of theologians?” But theological lumber is something you cannot live without. It is not a philosophical conundrum for the intellectual elite. God’s sovereignty is a soft pillow for a weary head. To comfort a church under attack and Christians facing opposition, even martyrdom. Come up to the control tower and watch what must take place. People are not stupid; they just don’t have enough experience to know categories they can’t even imagine.”
Rev. Art Azurdia