“Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.”
V. God’s Purpose of Grace    The Baptist Faith and Message

Before the dawning of creation, omniscient God knew that man would sin and need to be saved. This foreknowledge did not mean God caused it. It resulted from man exercising his free will given him by our sovereign God. A pre-creation Trinitarian council concluded the method of this salvation. Therefore, Jesus Christ was “the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.”
Several things are essential in considering God’s grace. Primary among them is God loves all people and it is His will to save as many as possible. It should not be thought of as God designing arbitrarily to save just a few He selects. Such an attitude leads to fatalism. Such an attitude reduces the incentive to evangelize. Some argue it doesn’t – and it doesn’t for some, but it decidedly does for most. An appraisal of churches where a restricted view of limited grace prevails shows there to be little or no evangelism. Consider the protestant churches of Europe and many in America.
At no place in Scripture is election presented as mechanical with man simply being a marionette on God’s strings. Election is never represented as violating man’s free will.
“No man comes to me, except the Father…draws him”
(John 6:44).

God lovingly “draws.”  Man freely “comes.”
God’s sovereignty is clearly taught in Scripture. This means He can do whatever He desires. He is free to establish boundaries and enforce His desire. He has all power to act according to His divine nature. His love and grace prompted Him to create human beings with the authority to choose on their own behalf. This free will is indicated in many Bible accounts.
Evidence of the power of choice is seen in God’s instructions to His ancient people.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil….I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…” (Deuteronomy 30:15 & 19).
On behalf of the Lord Elijah gave the people a choice: “How long will you falter between two opinions” If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18: 21). This “either — or” calls on the people to choose. They had freedom of choice.
This freedom of choice is seen in Joshua’s charge to his followers: “”…if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24: 14, 15).
The same courses open to ancient Israel in these instances is available to the “whosoever” of John 3:16. That is, those who believe in Him. It is a choice, a matter of free will given man by our sovereign God.

God in His sovereign will designed man to have a free will. He would not have a free will if God did not allow it.

If this truth is not allowed:
a) man is not a free moral agent capable of fellowship with God.
b) God Himself would be accountable for man’s sinful acts.
C) If all things are arbitrarily predetermined by God there is no need to pray.
Laws of nature illustrate this spiritual law.
God in His sovereign will has designed certain laws of nature. Human beings are free to live according to these laws or in violation of them. Though free man is still responsible for the consequences of his actions.
The same is true of God’s spiritual laws. Man can either obey or disobey them but still suffers the consequence or enjoys the blessings.
Before creation God took the initiative of seeking and saving. The marvel is not that man is seeking God but that God is seeking man: “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are both taught in Ephesians 1: 3-13.
God is represented as “He chose us” and “predestined us” (vss. 3,4).
“Chose” can also be translated “elected.” This choice by God was made before “the foundation of the world.” Thus, the word “predestined” means a predetermined destiny. What determines this destiny? The word translated “predestined” translates a verb meaning to mark off a boundary (vs. 11). It was a surveyors term used to distinguish a territory. In love God marked off the boundary as being “in him.” Election is “in Christ.”
In these eleven verses “in Christ” or the equivalent is used 10 times. Christ is the boundary fence. It has been predetermined that all who are “in Him” are predestined to share His destiny.
God did not ask the council of anyone regarding this. He did it of His own sovereign will.
God purposed and provided to make salvation available to all persons. He took the initiative and gave man a free will to make the choice as to whether to be “in Christ.”
God is glorified by the fact man had this hope beforehand (Vs. 12).
Man’s free will is seen in the expression “in whom, having believed” or in another translation “in whom also after that ye believed‘ (Vs. 13). Meaning you freely believed.
Salvation occurs when a person believes “in Christ.” This belief is more than mere intellectual ascent. It involves submitting to Christ as His servant and obeying Him as Master. It is belief that results in a life change, a transformed life that produces fruit of repentance.
The fact God foreknows who will and who won’t willfully be “in Christ” does not mean He makes it happen.
Before creation God established for Himself the standard that He would not violate man’s free will. God Himself elected, that is, chose the plan of salvation.
“Election is not to be thought of as a bare choice of so many human units by God’s action independently of man’s free choice and the human means employed. God has elected, chosen, to reach people through their native facilities, the church, evangelism, education, and missionary endeavor.”
If God’s sovereign election and man’s free will are not considered together we split God’s decree and of necessity leave out one part.
“One is strangely insensitive to the throb and pulse beat of the whole New Testament if he thinks that each man’s fate is determined for him in advance. This is not a rigged television show. God is not playing with toys and manipulating gadgets; He is seeking men who stand in awesome freedom where they may accept or reject the salvation which God alone can offer.” Frank Stagg

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