Thursday, February 17, 2011

What Is Reformed Theology?: Sovereign Election

     "How blessed is the one whom you choose and bring near to You"(Psa. 65:4a)

     "You did not choose Me but I chose you" (John 15:16)

     "Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity" (2 Tim. 1:9)

     "Those of mankind that are predestined to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto."  Chapter 3:5 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
(Ephesians 1:4, 9, 11; Romans 8:30; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 9:13, 16; Ephesians 2:5).

     Moving along in our video study of Reformed Theology with R. C. Sproul, we now come from the doctrine of total depravity to look at unconditional election.  The issues before us in our study of Reformed Theology are in the area of biblical hermeneutics, which is simply bible interpretation.  We want to know what the Bible teaches, rather than hold to preconceived notions.  And since the Word of God clearly teaches the doctrine of election (no Christian I have met has ever disputed this), we should aim to know this doctrine as we would all others.
     The crucial question to answer in election is: does God choose His people for salvation in a conditional or unconditional manner?  Does God in His eternal foreknowledge predestine sinners whom He knows will choose to believe in Christ from their own free will and moral ability?  Or does God elect sinners in eternity past with the foreknowledge that they are His by His own sovereign choice, and then predestine the elect to be saved in time through the means of the gospel and regeneration by the Spirit?  Yesterday, we took a biblical look at the doctrine of total depravity and free will.  A Reformed understanding of total depravity leads us right to unconditional election!  As you recall, since the sinner in his natural condition is both unable and unwilling to come to God on His terms, God certainly does not save anyone because they warrant it through free-will faith or otherwise.  The logical conclusion regarding election is if God is to save elect sinners before He created the world, He must save sovereignly and unconditionally by His grace alone.
     In today's video lesson, Dr. Sproul looks at a crucial passage in Romans 9.  Before they were born, the twins Jacob and Esau characterize the doctrine of God's unconditional election perfectly.  God's purpose in granting Jacob His blessing and not the firstborn Esau were not contingent upon anything but God's sovereign choice.  Why?  Because He is the Potter of His clay is Paul's argument in Romans 9:20-23.  In eternity past, God chose certain one's to be saved even though there was nothing inherently better about them than others.  As R. C. said well, "We are saved by free-will, but it is God's not ours."  This is the doctrine of unconditional or sovereign election!  All to the praise of His mercy and grace through Christ!  John Piper agrees that he has no merit in anything God has done in his life!

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