God's Purpose of Grace

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1 Peter 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

“We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners (II Timothy 1:8,9); that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end (I Thessalonians 2:13,14); that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable (Ephesians 1:11,12); that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imi­tation of His free mercy (I Corinthians 1:26-31); that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree (II Timothy 2:10-13); that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel (I Thessalonians 1:4-10).”

When a person is saved, that person is not saved as a matter of chance or accident or fate; but through the eternal purpose of God. God saves men and women because He so intends.

Two considerations will help us to appreciate what the Scriptures mean by Election:

(1) When a sinner repents toward God, and believes on the LORD Jesus Christ, he does so because God has brought him to do so.  It is the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict men and women of sin (John 16:8-11).  When a Christian hears of someone turning to God from sin, the first expression to come to his lips is, “Thank God” (Acts 11:18; Galatians 1:24).  In the Bible, salvation is everywhere said to be of God, and from God.  To save is the work of God (Luke 19:10).  “He drew me, and I followed on...” (Oh, Happy Day).

(2) Election clearly means that God takes the initiative in our sal­vation.  It means that what God does in saving us He does because He purposed to do it (Ephesians 1:3-12).  The doctrine of Election is simply the recognition of the Biblical fact that the good that comes into our lives comes as a result of God’s purpose (James 1:17).

It is sometimes objected that Election makes the sinner helpless and dependent upon God.  That is exactly what it does, for that is just what the sinner needs to recognize (I Corinthians 2:1-5). Nothing else is faith!  Faith is entire dependence upon God.  Refusing to assume this dependence upon God’s mercy is what keeps arrogant sinners from eternal life (John 5:40).  The desire to be independent of God is the very na­ture of sin.

Because our salvation is of grace through faith, “and that not of ourselves,” the saved person boasts only in the goodness of the LORD (I Corinthians 1:29-31).  We cannot save ourselves, therefore we cannot boast of our worthiness or merit.  “Boasting excluded, pride I abase; I’m only a sinner, saved by grace” (Hymn).  Every saved sinner is led into an attitude of whole- hearted worship, gratitude, and obligation which demands the presenting of our bodies to the LORD (Romans 12:lf).  Because Philippians 2:12-16 becomes very real, very personal, the saved sinner is led to the next article in the declaration of our faith which is SANCTIFICATION BY THE TRUTH.

- - - - The Scriptures below are referenced in the doctrinal statement - - - -

2 Timothy 1:8-9  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (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,

1 Thessalonians 2:13-14  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (14) For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

Ephesians 1:11-12  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

2 Timothy 2:10-13  Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (11) It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: (12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (13) If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-10  Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. (6) And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: (7) So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. (8) For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. (9) For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; (10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

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