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Thread: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

  1. #1
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    For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Personally, I see scripture as supporting both sides of the coin - God predestines and elects AND we choose and are told to choose. I have no doubt that God is sovereign and yet His passive will allowed for mans free-will. There are those who can express this idea much better than I can, so I won't even begin to, and my purpose in this thread isn't to debate the two positions. If I lean, its towards free-will, but I see the scriptures teaching both and, IMO, neither can be completely denied satisfactorily.

    So that brings me to one of the questions I run into when looking at things from the free-will perspective. Who are the "elect?" Not "what are their responsibilities?" but "why are they called elect?" I haven't done a lot of studying on it and don't have any concrete thoughts on the matter.

    The next couple of weeks are going to be unusually busy for me, so I probably won't be able to engage, but would love to be able to check back whenever I have a few minutes to see what I can glean from those in the free-will camp who may have studied the matter, or even from those who haven't really studied it, but have some (scripturally based) thoughts about it.

    Thanks!


  2. #2

    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    The word 'elect' has the literal meaning of 'chosen'. To understand the use of 'chosen' in the NT, we have to understand the use of 'chosen' in the OT.

    Old Testament. On an individual level: Abraham was 'chosen' by God to be the father and founder of a people who would 'keep the way of Yahweh'. Saul was 'chosen' by God to be King over Israel. Later, David was 'chosen' by God to be King over Israel. On a corporate level: Israel was 'chosen' by God to be 'a people for his treasured possession', for the purpose of being loved by God and receiving his blessings.

    But each of these had a condition. Although Saul was 'chosen' by God, his eternal kingdom was contingent upon his faithful obedience to God. Saul was not faithful, so God revoked the promise of Saul's eternal kingdom. (See 1 Samuel 13.13-14.) On the other hand, David was 'chosen' by God, to have an eternal kingdom contingent upon faithful obedience. David was faithful to God, so his kingdom continued. Israel was 'chosen' by God, but in order for Israel to receive the blessings from God, Israel had to follow the Covenant Law given to them.

    New Testament. On an individual level: Jesus, the twelve Apostles, the replacement for Judas, Paul, Rufus, etc. On a corporate level: the whole Church, the 'exiles of the Diaspora', the faithful remnant of Israel, and individual church congregations.

    But there are at least two examples here to make note of. First, is Judas. He was among the twelve 'chosen' by Jesus. But he failed his responsibilities. Second, is the individual church congregations. John speaks of the 'elect lady' and her 'elect sister'. Local churches are referred to corporately as being 'elect', but we know that individuals within them, and sometimes entire local churches, could falter and turn away from God.

    From what we can see, although many different people are 'chosen' by God, not all of them remain faithful to him. Saul and Judas were each 'chosen' (i.e. 'elect'), but that did not guarantee their ultimate obedience or salvation. On the individual level, they were 'chosen' but failed their responsibilities (as king and as apostle, respectively). On the corporate level, the ended up being cut off from the rest of God's chosen people (Israel / the Church).

    The usual proof-text for traditional Calvinist understanding of election and predestination and foreknowledge (i.e. that God chooses beforehand who will be saved and who will be condemned, and none of us has a choice in the matter, because it is God's sovereignty over his creatures) is found in Romans 8.28-30. There, Paul says:

    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
    Stop and read that over again. Focus on the 'foreknew' part. Paul says that 'those whom God foreknew he also predestined'.

    'Those whom God foreknew.'
    Meaning there were others whom God didn't foreknow.

    If 'God foreknew' means 'God intellectually knew about beforehand', the traditional interpretation implies that God only knew about some people beforehand, specifically those who would be saved. To 'know' here is not being used in the sense of knowledge. The word for 'chosen' in the above examples: it means 'to know' in Hebrew. So when we read that Abraham was 'chosen' by God, the Hebrew text is really saying that Abraham was 'known' by God... that God foreknew Abraham. The Biblical basis we have is elect / chosen = know = foreknow. It's pretty clear. We can all agree on that, right?

    But wait. Saul was 'chosen' by God. Saul was 'known' by God. God foreknew Saul. Even though Saul ended up falling away from God anyway.

    In that case, being 'elect / chosen / known / foreknown' does not mean God determined who was saved and who was condemned beforehand on an individual basis. Otherwise individuals like Saul and Judas, who were 'elect', would be saved when the Scriptural witness heavily suggests that Saul is not and is nearly explicit that Judas is not.

    Let's look at the examples of Saul and Israel again, one an individual, the other a corporate group. Saul was elect / chosen / known / foreknown by God, but he fell away in the end anyway. Saul being 'chosen' did not guarantee Saul's salvation. He left his 'chosen' purpose. Israel was elect / chosen / known / foreknown by God. But many individuals within 'chosen' Israel (e.g. Saul, Judas, Korah, etc.) have fallen away over the centuries despite their original inclusion. And many individuals outside of 'chosen' Israel (e.g. Ruth) have joined into the group despite their original exclusion.

    Being elect / chosen / known / foreknown refers not to one's guaranteed salvation, but to one's intended purpose from God, which the individual can then freely follow or abandon (included Israelites), or join or reject (excluded Gentiles). Abraham followed. Saul abandoned. Ruth joined. Jezebel rejected.

    Romans 8.28-30, the usual winning proof-text for the teaching of 'God determines who is saved and who is condemned beforehand', is not saying that. Instead, Paul is saying that those whom God foreknew / knew / chose / elected, are 'calling according to his purpose'. That predestined purpose is 'to be conformed to the image of his Son'. Paul is not speaking on the individual level, that God decided beforehand every individual that this applied to. Rather, Paul is speaking on the corporate level, that God decided beforehand what the ultimate purpose and conclusion would be for those that were a part of (Israelites) or joined into (Gentiles) God's 'chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession'.

  3. #3
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    That is probably the best explanation of "the elect" that I have ever seen.

    Thank you so very much!

  4. #4

    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post

    Old Testament. On an individual level: Abraham was 'chosen' by God to be the father and founder of a people who would 'keep the way of Yahweh'
    Just to start with Abraham, what choice did he have regarding being choosen?

    I don't see any?

    What do you think?

  5. #5
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by tea View Post
    Just to start with Abraham, what choice did he have regarding being choosen?

    I don't see any?

    What do you think?
    Abe believed and somehow knew what God was saying, he picked up on the Spirit of truth and wasnt an idoliter. He was always going to be Gods man, just as Noah was.

  6. #6
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lily View Post
    Personally, I see scripture as supporting both sides of the coin - God predestines and elects AND we choose and are told to choose. I have no doubt that God is sovereign and yet His passive will allowed for mans free-will. There are those who can express this idea much better than I can, so I won't even begin to, and my purpose in this thread isn't to debate the two positions. If I lean, its towards free-will, but I see the scriptures teaching both and, IMO, neither can be completely denied satisfactorily.

    So that brings me to one of the questions I run into when looking at things from the free-will perspective. Who are the "elect?" Not "what are their responsibilities?" but "why are they called elect?" I haven't done a lot of studying on it and don't have any concrete thoughts on the matter.

    The next couple of weeks are going to be unusually busy for me, so I probably won't be able to engage, but would love to be able to check back whenever I have a few minutes to see what I can glean from those in the free-will camp who may have studied the matter, or even from those who haven't really studied it, but have some (scripturally based) thoughts about it.

    Thanks!

    The free will of man can exist with the predestination of God. Because God has foreknowledge of what we shall choose according to our free will. He knows the end from the begging, He is the Alpha and Omega.

    May God give you understanding.


    All Praise The Ancient Of Days

  7. #7
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adstars View Post
    The free will of man can exist with the predestination of God. Because God has foreknowledge of what we shall choose according to our free will. He knows the end from the begging, He is the Alpha and Omega.

    May God give you understanding.


    All Praise The Ancient Of Days
    Amen. The elect are those who hear the Gospel, repent, believe, and receive the gift of eternal life.

    I believe that God calls everyone to repentance, He does not will that any should perish, and He is willing that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He sent His Son to die for all, He sent the church to proclaim the gospel to every person, and sends His Spirit to convict all the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. Everyone who hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then repents and believes becomes one of God's elect.

    Romans 1:16- For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
    1 John 1:7- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    2 Corinthians 7:1- Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    "My heart was once hard and dark. Then God turned on the Light and the Water."

  8. #8
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lily View Post
    Personally, I see scripture as supporting both sides of the coin - God predestines and elects AND we choose and are told to choose. I have no doubt that God is sovereign and yet His passive will allowed for mans free-will. There are those who can express this idea much better than I can, so I won't even begin to, and my purpose in this thread isn't to debate the two positions. If I lean, its towards free-will, but I see the scriptures teaching both and, IMO, neither can be completely denied satisfactorily.

    So that brings me to one of the questions I run into when looking at things from the free-will perspective. Who are the "elect?" Not "what are their responsibilities?" but "why are they called elect?" I haven't done a lot of studying on it and don't have any concrete thoughts on the matter.

    The next couple of weeks are going to be unusually busy for me, so I probably won't be able to engage, but would love to be able to check back whenever I have a few minutes to see what I can glean from those in the free-will camp who may have studied the matter, or even from those who haven't really studied it, but have some (scripturally based) thoughts about it.

    Thanks!

    As it relates to salvation the elect refer to all saved people. That's who Paul refers to in Romans 11 when he refers to "the elect". Christians. God's people. You get the point. To be elect means you are chosen for salvation and to be one of God's chosen people. Scripture teaches that those who are chosen are chosen as a result of accepting God's invitation to become one of the chosen, as Jesus illustrated in the parable of the wedding invitation in Matthew 22:1-14. Jesus said that "many are called, but few are chosen". God calls/invites and the ones who are chosen are the ones who answer/accept His call/invitation. God did not take it completely upon Himself to predetermine who would be saved and who wouldn't without requiring anything of man. Instead, He offers salvation and the opportunity to become one of His elect to all people and all people are required to choose whether or not to accept His offer.

  9. #9
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    The elect are the "whosoevers".

    Election starts and ends with Jesus Christ, Isaiah 42. We who are saved, the "whosoevers", are grafted into Jesus and His election.

  10. #10
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by glad4mercy View Post
    Amen. The elect are those who hear the Gospel, repent, believe, and receive the gift of eternal life.

    I believe that God calls everyone to repentance, He does not will that any should perish, and He is willing that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He sent His Son to die for all, He sent the church to proclaim the gospel to every person, and sends His Spirit to convict all the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. Everyone who hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then repents and believes becomes one of God's elect.

    Romans 1:16- For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

  11. #11
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galatians 2:21 View Post
    Thanks for the thumbs up!
    1 John 1:7- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    2 Corinthians 7:1- Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    "My heart was once hard and dark. Then God turned on the Light and the Water."

  12. #12

    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo View Post
    That is probably the best explanation of "the elect" that I have ever seen.

    Thank you so very much!
    I have to agree, this has really opened my eyes. Thank you

  13. #13

    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    basically, you are asking just what is the basis for God determing that one is now among the Elect?

    calvinist tend to see the basis as being God Heimself freely deciding to call out and save a people unto Himself

    arminianists tend to see it as either God basing election upon His knowlege of them making the decision to acept jesus , or else see it as being God elected the body of Christ/church, and we place ourselves into that election by faith in Christ

    others tend to see us having free will, and the Gosepel produces saving faith in us when we hear it, up to us to accept/reject!

  14. #14

    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Dare I say the elect are those mentioned in my signature... Acts 13:48
    When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

  15. #15
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    Re: For those who lean towards free-will, who do you believe the "elect" are?

    Election has more to do with the plan(Jesus Christ) than us individually. We who are saved, are grafted into His election.

    God chose to save those who believe.

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