Questions About Salvation: The TOP 100 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Salvation
Have Questions, Find Answers on Otakada.org – Election and Predestination – Daily, people turn to the Internet to find answers to their questions about spiritual matters. Topics related to spirituality are the second-most searched subjects online. Sadly, websites that present false teachings far outnumber those that proclaim the truth of God’s Word. We will provide answers as the Holy Spirit leads us from a biblical perspective. You will also need to pray to secure answers to any question you may have because one of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth – John 16:13. Today, we look at Questions About Election and predestination and questions that relate to this with biblical answers.. Enjoy
How does God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will work together in salvation?
How can I know if I am one of the elect?
How are predestination and election connected with foreknowledge? What is sovereign grace?
Question: How does God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will work together in salvation?
Answer: It is impossible for us to fully understand the relationship between God’s sovereignty and humanity’s free will and responsibility. Only God truly knows how they work together in His plan of salvation. With this issue, it is important to admit our inability to fully grasp the nature of God and our relationship with Him. Going too far to either side results in a distorted understanding of salvation.
Scripture is clear that God knows who will be saved (Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2). Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God did more than know us; He chose us “before the creation of the world.” The Bible repeatedly describes believers as
the “chosen” (Romans 8:33; 11:5; Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 3:12;
1 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9) and the “elect” (Matthew 24:22, 31; Mark 13:20, 27; Romans 11:7; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1). The fact
that believers are predestined (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5, 11) and elected (Romans 11:28; 2 Peter 1:10) for salvation is clear.
The Bible also says that we are responsible for receiving Christ as Savior. All we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ and we will be saved (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10). Belief is a command (John 14:11). God knows who will be saved, God chooses who will be saved, and we must choose Christ in order to be saved. How these three facts work together is impossible for a finite mind to comprehend (Romans 11:33-36). Our responsibility is to take the gospel to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). We should leave the foreknowledge, election, and predestination up to God and simply be obedient in
sharing the gospel.
Question: How can I know if I am one of the elect?
Answer: There are numerous ideas of precisely what election means in regard to salvation, but the fact that believers are elected is indisputable (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4-5, 11; 1 Thessalonians 1:4). Simply put, the doctrine of election is that God chooses/determines/elects/predestines who will be saved. It is not within the scope of this article to determine how election works. Rather, the question at hand 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. Rather, 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 it is sure that belief is evidence of election. No one can receive Jesus as Savior unless God draws him or her (John 6:44). 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, due to not being one of the elect, is absolutely foreign to the Bible. No one seeks after God’s plan of salvation of his own accord (Romans 3:10-11). 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 his 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—you are one of the elect!
Question: How are predestination and election connected with foreknowledge?
Answer: Certainly, since God knows everything, it would have been possible for God to base His predestination and election of individuals upon His knowledge of the future. In fact, that is the exact position many Christians hold,
as it is the Arminian view of predestination. The problem is that the Bible does not teach that God made His choice based on merely knowing the future. Let’s consider a few verses that deal with God’s election or predestination of people to salvation.
Ephesians 1:5 tells us that God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” According to this verse, the basis of our being predestined is not something that we do or will do; rather, it is based on the will of God for His own pleasure. As Romans 9:15-
16 says, “T will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (See also Romans 9:11.) In Ephesians 1:11 we see that people are “chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” Scripture consistently teaches that predestination or election is based upon on God’s sovereign will. He did not choose us because He knew we would believe; He chose us because He wanted to. God predetermined or predestined our salvation from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
But what about Romans 8:29 where it says that “those God foreknew he also predestined”? This verse does teach that predestination is based on the foreknowledge of God. But what does the word foreknowledge mean? It cannot just mean “God’s knowledge of the future,” in this case. If God simply looked into the future, saw who would believe the gospel, and then predestined them based on that knowledge, it would contradict the verses above.
Fortunately, God does not leave us to wonder. In John 10:26, Jesus said, “You do not believe because you are not my sheep.” The reason one person believes and another person does not believe is that one person is part of God’s “flock” and the other is not. The truth is that the word foreknew in Romans 8:29 is not speaking of God’s knowing the future. The word foreknowledge is never used in terms of God’s omniscience. What it does describe is a predetermined relationship; God brings the saving relationship into existence by decreeing it ahead of time.
The word know is sometimes used in the Bible to describe an intimate or personal relationship between a man and a woman (see Genesis 4:1 ESV). In a similar sense, before God ever created the heavens and earth, and a long time before we were ever born, God “knew” His elect in a personal way and chose them to be His sheep, not because they would someday follow Him but in order to guarantee that they would follow Him. His knowing them and choosing them is the reason they follow, not the other way around. The issue is not whether or
not God knows who will believe, but why some believe and others do not. The answer to that is God chooses to have mercy on some, and others He leaves in their sinful rebellion.
The following quote by John Murray is excellent in dealing with this issue: “Even if it were granted that ‘foreknew’ means the foresight of faith, the biblical doctrine of sovereign election is not thereby eliminated or disproven. For it is certainly true that God foresees faith; He foresees all that comes to pass. The question would then simply be: whence proceeds this faith, which God foresees? And the only biblical answer is that the faith which God foresees is the faith He himself creates (cf. John 3:3-8; 6:44, 45, 65; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Peter 1:2). Hence His eternal foresight of faith is preconditioned by His decree to generate
this faith in those whom He foresees as believing.”-
Question: What is sovereign grace?
Answer: The idea of sovereign grace combines two of God’s attributes: His sovereignty and His graciousness. Both of these characteristics of God are so vast that many volumes have been written about each. The teaching of sovereign grace is the melding of the two.
The fact that God is sovereign means that He has total control of all things past, present, and future. Nothing happens outside of His knowledge and control. All things are either caused by Him or allowed by Him for His own purposes and in accordance with His perfect will and timing (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6). He is the only absolute and omnipotent ruler of the universe and is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption.
The grace of God is His unmerited favor toward those who have not earned it. There are numerous examples of God’s grace in the Bible, both to His people and to those who reject Him. Mary found grace in the eyes of the Lord who bestowed upon her the privilege of bearing the Savior of mankind (Luke 1:28). She may have been a godly young woman, but nothing she could have done would have made her worthy of such a blessing. She was the recipient of God’s grace. The apostle Paul admitted that he was a servant of God by His grace and it was by that grace that he labored effectively for the cause of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:10). As Christians we know God’s grace firsthand: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). Our very salvation and position in Christ are due to His grace through the faith He gives us (Hebrews 12:2). Even those who hate God receive His grace in every breath He allows them to take and through His common grace to all creation: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous
and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). Even the atheist enjoys the effects of God’s grace through His beautiful creation and His provision of the resources necessary for food, clothing, and housing. God doesn’t owe these things to us, but He provides them to exhibit His grace.
The sovereign grace of God is noted most often by theologians in the matter of election. God saves people by His grace, and He is absolutely sovereign over His distribution of grace. We see this best explained in Ephesians 1:5-6: “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” God sovereignly chose those He would save through His gracious act of sending His Son to die on the cross. The predestined were unable to save themselves or to merit God’s favor because of their transgression of His Law. “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20). Therefore, Christians are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
God in His sovereign grace has chosen to save those on whom He has set His love (Romans 9:8-13). They are picked out of the stream of sinful men and women cascading into hell. That is a humbling truth and should result in immense gratitude on our part. Why did God bestow His sovereign grace on believers? Not because we deserve salvation but to demonstrate “the riches of His glory” (Romans 9:14-23). Therefore, our only proper response is “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Links to Other Q and A on Salvation
Top Questions About the Plan of Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Jesus and Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Who Can Be Saved with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Assurance of Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Salvation and Works with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Salvation Terminology with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Life After Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Election and Predestination with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Salvation and the Old Testament with Biblical Answers
Top Miscellaneous Questions About Salvation with Biblical Answers