As weird as it may sound, I believe we need to “reframe” our thoughts and definitions regarding election, predestination, foreknowledge, and eternal security. I am convinced we need to start over by going back to the scriptures alone. We need to use the Apostle’s definitions, and get rid of definitions that came from some of the more well-known old “Church fathers”, not saying they were wrong regarding many things. Still, I believe they were wrong when it came to applying methods or “lenses” that they, and now we, impose upon the scriptures in order to categorize and simplify terms. This mistake also happens when we go straight to systematic theology before applying Biblical theology. What I mean is, by using westernized methods to study the Bible before using the Bible’s own method taught by the Bible writers themselves. Not that systematic theology is wrong or bad in any way. It’s just that we must build a solid foundation before we try building the walls of the house. So, I believe they (some of our past Church fathers) may have misinterpreted the way election, predestination, foreknowledge, and eternal security are related or even unrelated. Once we examine these it will cause the scriptures to be unified and there will be no need to “explain away” certain texts or passages. Why is this important? Because not only does an individual’s salvation, and being assured of that salvation, depend on this, but our unity under the banner of truth and submission to the authority of scripture also. It was these subjects that brought me much grief over the years as I would listen to Bible Teachers teaching about them and then I would go home and read my Bible or listen to it during the day on my iPod and I would recognize that in my spirit, and if I was truly honest, I could tell there were contradictions between what these teachers taught vs. what I read or heard from scripture. Therefore, I have spent many hours which led to many years researching, praying, seeking, and asking the Holy Spirit to give me the wisdom to understand the Word of God, including these difficult topics. So, in reality, there is no contradiction regarding these subjects in scripture. Therefore the only true problem is with our own lack of understanding, and actually, our “loss over time” of understanding that which was the framework for how the authors of the New Testament viewed these subjects. Part of the “loss of understanding” over the centuries came from Pastors and Bible teachers who failed to stay rooted in what the apostle Paul passed on the young Timothy when he said, “you then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:1-2, emphasis mine) and, “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed” (1 Tim. 4:6, emphasis mine). The things that got lost over time were: What Paul actually taught, and correct doctrine in all things biblical.
To begin, while researching the subject of Election and exactly “who” the Elect of God are I discovered that we must go to the Book of Daniel in order to grasp the foundation for the idea of election. I am convinced that when Jesus in the gospels speaks of “the elect, who will endure to the end and be saved” He is using Daniel 12:1 and 12:12 as His framework. He is saying, “at that time this will be fulfilled”, and the Elect will be delivered. This would mean the elect are “first” Jewish Christians alive at the very, very end and who escape or who endure to the end of those days. And second, “by extension” of the example found in Daniel, and what appears to be used by Paul in the New Testament, Gentile Christians will also be included in this group of the elect. But remember, “election” is a word connected with a generation which is delivered during a time of Judgment on earth. Therefore, the “Elect” are those who will be alive at the very end and will be found worthy to escape the Antichrist, or the Judgment of Christ, on earth. Yes, I could be wrong about “who” exactly the Elect are. But I believe this lines up with how the subject of election is used beginning with the gospels and ending with Revelation. However, in the gospels specifically, when election is discussed, or statements by Jesus similar, which have an eternal “choosing” nature to them like, “no one can come to me unless the Father draws them” and words similar, these occasions are all fulfillments of something found in predictive prophecy in the Old Testament which was meant to be fulfilled when the Messiah would come on the scene. So the gospels are unique in the way that Jesus is always confirming prophecy from the Old Testament which specifically pointed to the reality that He was the promised Messiah of Israel. And those prophecies from Isaiah and many other prophetic texts explained that the Fathers sheep would hear the Anointed Servant of the LORD when He arrived on earth. But that those who had not been the Father’s sheep, due to hardness of heart, would not be willing to hear Jesus. Therefore, we must look beyond the four gospels to understand the subject of election if we are to see the whole picture [THIS is key: So, just as there was a “generation” of Elect alive at Jesus first coming so too there will be a “generation” of Elect alive at His second coming]. I do not seek to confuse anyone, but only to be aligned with what the Bible “really” teaches and how the Apostles understood these concepts. Oh yes, this here is also important to remember: Since the writers of the New Testament viewed themselves as part of that “very, very last” generation when Christ would come, therefore they speak to those they are writing to who are living faithful lives in Christ as those who are elect. This would be designed by the Holy Spirit to be understood this way, if it is true, that every generation should expect Christ to return and if the Bible is meant to prepare us for the rapture and the coming of Christ! So, we need to try to disconnect the subject of election from the subject of one’s eternal security. Because I believe they are unrelated. Because it appears that Election is not about salvation but about “a people or generation” who will escape, and who are alive at the very, very end. And only “that” generation will “escape, or be delivered and saved” because they are the ones alive at that time. Got it? So that is it for now, just for the subject of election specifically. The reason why I did not “quote passages” of scripture on election is because the passages themselves do not contain the context (that is key here!) regarding the subject. To get at what the Bible writer is saying you have to read the whole letter or book in which the subject is contained. But what I did here hopefully gives you reason to read the Word of God from a fresh perspective and to “re-examine” these subjects. I have addressed some of these in other posts in the past on this webpage (my blog site). And the best idea would be to read my post explaining the framework for reading the Bible found in the post, “Please Understand How Important This Is!” Anyway, thanks for reading this. I will be adding more posts on these subjects since this was just the beginning. If you have questions or concerns after reading this, PLEASE don’t hesitate to write them in the comment section so I can answer you! I do not want anyone troubled by this. Since it should never be troubling to be grounded on biblical truth alone! But I do know it can be troubling to have to adjust long-held views.