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Volume 20, Number 3, May, June, July 2002 Editor: Robert Johnson

Are You One Of The Chosen?

The Doctrine of Predestination or Free Will?
Who Are Those Chosen For Salvation By God?
Who Does God Desire To Be Saved:
Becoming One Of The Chosen:

Throughout the New Testament, the followers of Jesus are identified with many different terms. Each of these terms emphasize an important aspect of what it means to be a Christian. Followers of Jesus are called “disciples” which means they are followers or learners. They are called “Christians” which implies their belonging and loyalty to Christ. They are called “brethren” , the “brotherhood” or the “household of faith”, all emphasizing the idea that believers are the family of God. By simply looking up a term we can often understand something the inspired writer is emphasizing about being a Christian.
But some descriptive terms are a little more difficult to figure out, because instead of looking up their original meaning in the Biblical context, we tend to interpret them on the basis of how the terms are used or explained in more recent history. For instance, members of the church were often referred to as “saints” (Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Jude 1:3; etc.) Despite hundreds of years of human teaching and misapplication, the word “saint” simply means one who is set apart for a special purpose. In other words, every true Christian is to be holy, separated and set apart from the world for God’s service, making them by Biblical definition a “saint.” Nowhere in the Bible is a “saint” some super Christian who has performed a miracle, died and gone through years of investigation before being qualified for the title. (There were many saints alive and well in New Testament times).
The truths revealed by God in the scriptures are basically simple and self explanatory. But, when you add to God’s Word hundreds of years of human teachings and commands, it can become complicated indeed. According to Jesus, the addition of man’s teachings and traditions can so distract from God’s truth that one can end up not really worshipping and honoring God at all (Matt 15:8,9).
In this article, we will deal with the term “chosen” as it is applied to those who were members of the church of Jesus Christ. The teachings of men such as original sin, total depravity and faith only salvation have caused many to misunderstand what it means to be “chosen” today.

The Doctrine of Predestination or Free Will?
It is interesting how one false idea must of necessity lead to another and another for justification. The doctrine of original sin first found in the Roman church contends that we are at birth totally depraved and incapable of any good thing. While the Bible describes sin as a transgression of God’s law (something an individual does; 1 John 3:4; Rom 3:23), total depravity proposes that sin is something we are. It teaches we are born condemned, having inherited the guilt of Adam’s sin. Space does not permit a detailed rebuttal, but let it be known that while we might suffer many of the consequences of Adam’s sin, God does not condemn anyone forever for the guilt of another (Ezek 18:1-4).
This doctrine of human invention raised several important issues which men throughout history have tried to work out. What can be done for all the babies who are born sinful and condemned to hell? Since the early religious world still believed baptism to be essential to salvation, they began the practice of infant baptism (Not really, because Biblical baptism was always an immersion in water). Then someone must have noted that Jesus taught that things like understanding, believing and repentance were required before baptism. Okay, baptize the babies based on the parents’ faith and they can confirm their approval of their parents actions when they are old enough. It should be noted here that the Bible teaches that only repentant believers are proper subjects for baptism. Try as they may, the false teachers can find no commands or examples for infant baptism in the Bible. One cannot inherit Christianity against their own will.
Another issue which came up was the matter of free will itself. How can a person who is born totally depraved ever make a decision to become a Christian? Calvinism says they cannot unless God grants them some special grace by the Holy Spirit. Then, we have another issue to deal with. Why does God miraculously grant some people the ability to be believers and not the majority of others? The false conclusion is that God does not love everyone, nor does He really want everyone to be saved. (I have heard Calvinists teach this with my own ears).
Here then is the history of the human teaching known as individual predestination or election. There is yet another issue which required a human doctrine. If a person was granted the ability to be a Christian apart from their own free will, then what about those who become Christians and then fall away? Enter the doctrine of eternal security or “once saved always saved.” It is logical. If you had no part or decision in receiving salvation, then certainly you have no ability to lose it. The common explanation for those who fall away is that they were only pretending to be saved in the first place.
Let us sum up what we have noted about these false teachings. You are made a sinner against your will. You are saved apart from your will with apostasy being impossible. Or God just created you and planned for you to burn in hell for no fault of your own. If these doctrines were truth, how is one to know if they are one of the ones God has chosen to save? The confirmation of being one of the elect, is usually said to be some personal experience (better felt than explained) like speaking in tongues, etc.. When you read the title of this article asking if you were one of the chosen, it may be the above teachings which came to your mind. But what does the Bible say about being one of the chosen?

Who Are Those Chosen For Salvation By God? Predetermined and Foreknown In Christ:
God did make a decision before the world began about who would be saved and who would be lost. Mankind had no influence or part in this decision because we did not yet exist. Of His own will and only His will God decided who would be saved and who would be lost. BUT, there is one very important distinction between what the Bible says and the false teachings above. It is very helpful to our understanding to realize that God did not hand pick individuals to be saved or lost despite their own will, but God predetermined to save a group or a body of souls. The Bible teaches that God gives man a free will when it comes to faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Before the world began, God decided that He would send His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world. God chose before he created us that whoever would hear and submit themselves to Jesus and His teaching would be saved.
Mark 16:15-16: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
The offer of salvation is given to all, but only those who become Christians can enter the group known as “the chosen.” God also predetermined that all who refuse to believe and obey the message of Jesus will be damned. What God really predestined was His plan to save the lost. Our individual destiny is determined by our response to the preaching of the Gospel. Note how this simple truth helps explain the Bible. It is through or in Jesus Christ that the chosen are made acceptable by God’s good favor.
Eph 1:4-6: "According as he hath chosen us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
2 Tim 1:9: "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us IN CHRIST JESUS before the world began,"
2 Th 2:13: "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and BELIEF OF THE TRUTH:"

It should be noted that these verses are addressed directly to members of the church of Jesus Christ. They were people who had heard, believed, repented, confessed and had been immersed into Jesus for the remission of their sins (Rom 6:3,4). By their faith and submission to the Gospel message inspired by the Holy Spirit, they had become a part of the group of people God had planned to save from the beginning.
1 Pet 1:21-22: "Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:"

Who Does God Desire To Be Saved:
To say that man has a part or decision in the salvation process does not reflect some lack of strength on the part of God to save who He wants. It was God who gave man a free will and it is God who chose to save those who would follow Jesus. Because of His Own decisions, it is possible for God to desire that all be saved by obeying Jesus, but leave the outcome to individual decision. One thing is sure. If God had not first chosen to love and make a way of salvation for us, we would certainly have no choice, but to be lost. Who does God want to be saved?
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
2 Pet 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance."
Acts 10:34-35: "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."

God has chosen to save “all” who will obey His Son Jesus. They are the elect and those predestined to be saved.
John 14:23-24: "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."

Becoming One Of The Chosen:
God’s chosen method of calling or inviting the lost to become part of the saved is through the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God to bring about individual salvation.
Rom 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.”
Rom 10:11-14, 17: "For the scripture saith, WHOSOEVER believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto ALL that call upon him. 13 For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?...So then FAITH COMETH BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD."

God has chosen to give each person a choice: To become a part of the chosen or to be a part of the damned.
Mark 16:15-16: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Gal 3:26-27: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

God’s part in our salvation is so enormous that it should never be compared with what is required on our part. But, God did will that man have a small part to play; to receive or reject His Son Jesus. Calvinist shutter when it is suggested that man has anything to do with his salvation. But, this is the will of God. He neither saves, nor condemns apart from the individuals decision to accept or reject the faith. But to those who hear and are willing to submit themselves to the truth, God gives them by His own will the ability and opportunity to become His children.
John 1:12-13: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
When a sinner hears and obeys the Gospel of Jesus, he is saved according to God’s predetermined will and has no room for boasting or taking credit for his own salvation. When we believe, repent, confess and are baptized into Christ, we are only submitting ourselves to God’s will. When we submit to baptism, it is not a work that we do, for someone else does it to us. It is simply God’s predetermined and ordained way for us to let Him know we have true Biblical faith. Baptism is no more significant than belief or repentance, but because of the human doctrines mentioned above, it is not considered essential to salvation. When asked the purpose of being baptized in water, most denominational people reply it is “the outward sign of an inward faith.” In a sense, that is true for people who get baptized usually have some kind of faith (except infants). But according to the scriptures, God has made baptism His chosen way of accepting salvation and the point at which He graciously applies remission of sins by the blood of Jesus. To reject baptism as essential for the remission of sins is to blatantly reject God’s predetermined plan to save man. If baptism is an “outward sign of an inward faith,” then a failure to be Biblically baptized is the “outward sign of NO inward faith.” When a believer has enough faith to be baptized, at that point they are placed into Christ and their sins are washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16). If you have submitted to God’s will in these things you can know that you have entered the group of saved souls known as the “church”, the “elect” and the “chosen.” R. Johnson

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