What are the views of Evangelical Focus readers on the refugee crisis, marriage, ecumenism, sexual exploitation and the reliability of the Bible? We have selected the answers to some of the questions asked on our website.
A closer look at the doctrine of election.
The problem I have with the view that God saves us due to His prescience is that it ultimately turns salvation into a question of works and not of grace. The typical prescience perspective is that God saves us because in His divine foreknowledge He sees who will accept Him and who will reject Him. God then saves those who are willing to receive Him whereas those who aren’t are passed by.
This system of thought means that God gives saving grace to those who choose to cooperate with Him. In other words, man is saved on the basis of what he does (or is yet to do). The Lord extends His mercy to those who He knows are going to want to accept it.
Now before we go any further I want to make it very clear that I do believe that God foreknows who will trust Him and who won’t. But He does so because He has decreed that it be so.
If God had not chosen a people to be saved by grace, no one would have ever opted to decide for Christ. Every one of us is sold under sin. We are all born God-haters. We despise the light of the Gospel and crush the Lord’s holiness under foot. We are all of the same mass.
This means that none of us has anything that would ever be predisposed to be pro-God. And the Lord knows that. The only difference between a saved soul and a damned one is that the Holy Spirit overcame the enmity of the believer’s heart so that he (she) put faith in Christ.
Without this sovereign blowing of the Spirit of God, salvation would never have been possible.
To put this all in personal terms: God doesn’t save me because He knew I would believe in Him. He saved me because He was pleased to do so. It was His will. And I believe in Him precisely because God decided to rescue me from the vile condition in which I found myself.
I never would have resurrected from my spiritual death where it not for His vital breath of life and the blessed offering of the blood-stained Christ.
Any other doctrine, in my opinion, brings glory to man because it leads us to believe that the ultimate determining factor in eternal salvation is man’s glorious free-will. Not so, my friends! Not so! Our free-will is a total misnomer. There is no such thing.
As Luther reminded us back in the sixteenth century, we are all in possession of an enslaved, hideous will that hates God. We only turn to righteousness because God leads us to. John Owen quipped, “To suppose that whatever God requires of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect”.
Salvation is all of grace. That’s right: all of grace. We’re not saved by our will but by the gracious will of God Almighty. God doesn’t redeem us because He foresees we will turn to Him but rather because He was pleased to turn us to Him. That way- and that way alone- God gets all the glory!