Let’s begin with a question. Is the Bible the inspired and inerrant word of God? If you answer yes to this question, then the rest of this should be easy. I say should be because your flesh wants to reject the topic for today, Election and Reprobation. As John Piper says, “No one is born a Calvinist.” Since the fall, man has been grasping for the fruit of autonomy. Let’s start with definitions.
Election - “an act of God before creation in which he choose some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure.” (Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology).
Reprobation – “the sovereign decision of God before creation to pass over some persons, in sorrow deciding not to save them, and to punish them for their sins, and thereby to manifest his justice.” (Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology).
Are these two definitions Biblical? First let us begin by recognizing that the word “elect” is not a Grudem word, nor a theology word (like “Trinity”). Elect is a Bible word. It is used more than 24 times in the New Testament. In fact, just this morning during my family’s morning Bible reading we read this verse, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7). The Greek word for elect is “eklektos” which means picked out or chosen.
Another use of eklektos is found in Matthew 22:14 when Jesus says, “For many are called, but few are chosen (elektos).” Time does not allow me to go through every verse, but if you want to read a few more verses that speaks of God’s choosing look at (Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12, 2 Timothy 2:10, 1 Peter 2:9)
Therefore, there should be no debate that God is the one who chooses us. Likewise there should be no debate that God wants us to know that he chooses us, hence why he continuously reveals this specific truth to us repeatedly in His Word (Pastors beware). In fact, Jesus displays this in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.”
The other side of the coin of election is reprobation. If God has chosen some, but not others, that means he decided not to choose some. As Grudem says, he passed over some persons. This is reprobation.
This leads to the questions 1) When did God choose those whom he would save (thereby passing over others) and 2) why did he choose those whom he would save. Both of those questions are answered in Ephesians 1:3-6, the Scripture above.
Verse 4 tells us “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” God choose us before there was an us. Second, why did he choose us? Look at verse 6 “to the praise of his glorious grace.” Our election is not built upon works, it is built upon grace. His election is not founded upon anything we do, but on God’s sovereignty. If you want to read more about this, I would also encourage you to read Romans 8-9.
Therefore, let us go back to the first question I posed, “Is the Bible the inspired and inerrant word of God? If you answered yes, then you should accept what God reveals about who gets the glory for your salvation.