Not Chosen To Salvation
By Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573| Walnut Grove, MN 56180 | Telephone (507) 859-2519
CHAPTER ONE (continued)
“The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.”
1st Peter 5:13
Mr. Nettleton uses this portion of Scriptures in support of his position of election to salvation and quotes this portion of Scripture on page 34 of his book. I would like to call your attention to the fact that the church at Babylon, when Scripture states “was elected together with you” was elected as far as being a group of believers in Babylon.
They were elected because they had first received Christ as their Saviour. A similar situation occurs when many boys “go out” for a basketball team. Only those that make the team are elected to play the game. We find out that in God’s army, only those who choose to put their faith in Christ are elected to be soldiers. At times Christians are referred to, collectively, as the universal church; or, at times, they are referred to as a church within a local city made up of all believers in that city. At other times they are referred to as an individual Christian. They are referred to as “the elected” only on the basis of their faith in Christ. This is backed up in the same chapter. Notice in verse 8:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
In verse 9, Peter warns:
“Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Not by election, but by Christ Jesus. And we find out that, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6b).” “…If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:32).” That is through the cross. “…after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, established, settle you (1st Peter 5:10b).”
Notice again in verse 9, “Whom resist steadfast in the faith.” That is the responsibility of the believer. No, we are not elected in the sense of God taking away our free will to serve Him. We are told to resist! How do we do this? By choosing to obey the word of God. Now if we were elected and not going to backslide and have no free will, then why put this warning in the Word of God? One can see that election over-riding man’s free will holds no Scriptural foundation whatsoever, because it is built upon man’s philosophy and not upon the Word of God. When 1st Peter 5:10 says that God “…hath called us unto his eternal glory,” He tells us how He calls us--“…by Christ Jesus.” We have a choice, then, to believe or not believe when He calls us by the gospel. In Romans 10:17 we are told:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The Word of God testifies of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We have the opportunity to accept it or reject it according to our own free will.
I would like to quote Mr. Nettleton’s statements from page 133 of his book. Here we have a classic example of the reverse psychology that he used. Let me quote what he says:
“It is always helpful to know what others believe. Good and holy people have studied and have stated their findings, their doctrines. Inasmuch as the doctrine of election is a Biblical truth, we profit from studying what good men have stated regarding it. Let me emphasize that these creeds and confessions are not quoted as proof of Bible doctrine, but as proof that good men have held these truths in high esteem.”
I hasten to point out--even though men are “good” and “holy” as Mr. Nettleton states, if they hold views contrary to Scripture they are still wrong! And it would seem that if Mr. Nettleton was not going to quote these men as far as proof of Bible doctrine, then why go ahead and quote them at all? This is just a little bit of twisting and reverse psychology that appears to have been used. The statement made by Mr. Nettleton that these confessions and creeds are “proof that good men have held these truths in high esteem” would be of no value unless they were supportive of his position. Then why give them, if it is not to add “clout” to his position? May I point out a case for consideration. In Nettleton’s book in support of his position of election to salvation, the following appears:
- Pages 51 to 79 contain two sermons by two preachers who support his position.
- Pages 87 to 102--eight men are quoted who adhere to his same position.
- Pages 105 to 130--under the chapter heading of “Theologian’s Statements”, six men are quoted.
- Pages 133 to 140--under the chapter heading “Confessions of Faith,” there are many quotes.
- Pages 147 to 157--“A Case In Point, The G.A.R.B.C.”
Mr. Nettleton has devoted approximately 88 pages of his book to quoting men and institutions in agreement with his doctrine. It is true, as he says, “Good men do not prove the Bible true.” By word Nettleton would justify himself, but by deed he would draw on 88 pages to convince me by other men’s words that his position is correct. I would have been more interested in 88 pages of his personal exposition of this doctrine instead of the 19 pages he devoted to it in a book of 180 pages. As I attempted to feed on a statement of truth, I found I was digesting a little reverse psychology. The act did not correspond with the words.
There would be no problem filling this book with numerous pages containing theologians, Bible colleges, and et cetera that support the position of this author, but it is not my purpose to see who can get the most noted authorities on their side. That is why I have stayed with the Word of God as we examine verses in their context, along with other Scripture. Then what you choose to believe is based upon God’s Word and not that of men, no matter how well known they are. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8)
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
As we examine this portion of Scripture (Matthew 22) we find in verses one and two that this is a parable:
“And Jesus answered and spoke unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.”
This parable is used of an earthly situation to illustrate a divine truth. You will notice in verse 4 that He sent His servants out with the Gospel and instructed them:
“…Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.”
And then in verse five:
“But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.”
We find out that they treated the servants badly. And then in verse nine:
“Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.”
“As many as ye find.” This is everyone! Everyone you come in contact with.
“So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found.”
“All” is equivalent to “as many.” The word “many” is used in reference to “all” many times in the Bible. Notice, they were to invite both the bad and the good. God is not prejudiced. “The bad” were the ones visibly practicing sin and “the good” were the self-righteous. Both were lost, or both would not have been invited.
We continue and find that some came to the wedding but they had to wear wedding garments, picturing the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Many came, the bad and the good. The good came in their own righteousness.
Suddenly, in verse 12 and 13, we see a guest who lacked the proper attire:
“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
So we find that the good came in their own righteousness, and they were rejected. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5). That is what this parable illustrates.
The verse that is used in saying that God called us to salvation is found in the conclusion of this parable. I’ll quote the verse again, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” He is referring to the “many” who are also the “all” in verse 10. To gather all or as many as they found. “As many” and “all” are used interchangeably here for “everyone.” Then “Many are called” or ‘all are called,’ but few are chosen.” The “many” here are as many as they could come in contact with, but everyone they came in contact with was “all” of them so they invited everyone.
You could read this with words used interchangeably, “For all are called, but few are chosen,” and only those chosen are chosen on their acceptance of the righteousness of Christ. The others were rejected because they chose to stand before God in their own self-righteousness. This has nothing to do with God choosing to save some and choosing to condemn some, or He would not have called all. This, again, would be mutilation of the Scriptures. Those chosen were chosen on the basis of how they came to the supper and presented themselves, out of their own free will!
A good example of the terminology also used is found in Romans 5, where we find the contrast here between “all in Adam die” and “all in Christ are made alive.” The important thing is about using the word “many” along with “all” as used interchangeably here. “Many” does not mean “some to the exclusion of others.” “Many” is referring to “all” and we will see that here. Notice in Romans 5:15:
“But not as the offense, so also is the free gift: For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
You will find out here that “through the offense, many be dead.” Notice if you will, as we look down to verse 18 the contrast continues:
“Therefore as by the offense of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation.”
So “all” and “many” are used not contradictory to one another, but complimentary to one another. Just read the rest of the context and this becomes clear.
We find the interchangeability of these words carried on in this passage also concerning Christ. We find in verse 15 that “…by one man, Jesus Christ (this gift in grace), hath abounded unto many.” Notice again in verse 18, “…even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” So here you have the words “many” and “all” used interchangeably and both referring to “entirety” or “everyone.” You see, it would be distorting God’s word to eliminate “all” and say that it means “many except those whom God has predestinated to Hell.” This would not be honest with the context of Scripture whatsoever. No, this does not mean in Matthew 22:14 that “Many are called, but few are chosen” to salvation. “All” are called, this is the word used interchangeably with “many.” “Few are chosen” as only those are chosen that come as a sinner with the righteousness of Christ and not their own righteousness.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
2nd Corinthians 5:21
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”
These were God’s instructions to Ananias to go unto Paul and instruct him. Here we find that Paul was a chosen vessel for service! And it says, “…to bear my name before Gentiles.” It does not say, “You are a chosen vessel to be saved.” Paul was a chosen vessel to bear God’s name to a specific people, “before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” God had a specific purpose in mind for the Apostle Paul. That is why you find that Paul begins his Epistles the way he does. For example:
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”
Not called to salvation, called to be an apostle! One that was sent with the Gospel of Christ. That is what Paul was called to do. In fact, he stated this in the heading of most of his letters as others were constantly challenging his calling as an apostle. He had to constantly reaffirm it. This is similar to the situation in many churches when men in a church will not accept the authority of the pastor who has been called and placed in that church. Paul had to constantly defend his apostleship as many pastors have to defend their pastor-ship in the church God has led them to and in the position to which He has called them and placed them.
We find in 1st Corinthians 12:12:
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
Paul goes on to liken the body--the foot, the head, the arms, the mouth--to the church or Body of Christ. We find out in verse 18:
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleaded him.”
He also says in verse 11:
“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
Remember--this is for service, not salvation! Going to verse 6 we find:
“And there are diversities of operation, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”
God does not call all of us to be evangelists nor does He call all of us to be preachers. He does not call us all to be Sunday School superintendents, teachers, choir directors, singers or musicians. But God has called us and given each one of us at least one gift and perhaps more than one. Here we find in Acts 9:15 that Paul had, very simply, been chosen of God for a specific service. Just as we are a chosen generation and chosen to serve Christ in the particular avenue to which He has led us and for which He has enabled us. We are to covet earnestly the best gift with which to serve Him. Paul was to be an apostle and an evangelist. That was what God had designated him as a “chosen vessel” for--not for salvation. It is unbelievable that those who build their doctrine of election to salvation would use these Scriptures, taking them out of context to support their own philosophy.
“Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.”
It is inconceivable that some would use this verse to endorse their doctrine of election, but nevertheless they do. All one has to do is read the context of chapters 10 and 11 and you will find out that this is a meeting that God brought about between Peter and Cornelius, who was a Gentile. In verse 34 where Peter begins to speak:
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”
Continuing in verse 35:
“...in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
He then reviews the situation in verse 39:
“And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree.”
We find out here that these are chosen witnesses that Christ would appear to and who would, in turn, testify of His resurrection. It has absolutely nothing to do with salvation. Only that God had elected certain ones to whom Christ would appear first. We find out in 1st Corinthians 15:6 that:
“After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
God had selected certain ones to whom He wanted Christ to appear after His resurrection and that only is what the “chosen” in Acts 10:41 is in reference to. They were not chosen for salvation, but to be those to whom Christ should appear after His resurrection.
The amazing thing is that whenever predestinationalists come to the word “chosen” they apply it that God has chosen someone for salvation. There is no way you can get that out of Acts 10:41 even if you stretch the verse from here to China like a rubber band (without it breaking)! A tendency of those who endorse election to salvation whenever they come to the words “chosen”, “choosing”, or “election” is to do the same thing that Church of Christ theologians do when they come to the word “water.” They apply it to water baptism! This is the same thing the “election people” do whenever they find the words “chosen” or “election.” They will stretch that word a hundred miles out of context to fit it into their man-made doctrine!
“And he said, the God of our Fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
“For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”
As we examine this we find that we must go back to the 21st chapter and take the entire context to see what the situation was. In Acts 21:15 we find out that Paul had gone to Jerusalem against the will of the disciples. In Jerusalem we find that he had gone into the temple and the mob came, along with the Roman soldiers, and took him out of the temple. Paul was then called upon to give his testimony. We pick up the story in verse 38 of Acts 21 as they were trying to find out who Paul was:
“Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?
But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tartus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.”
Then he continues with his testimony of what had happened. Actually, this is just rehearsal of the conversation of the Apostle Paul found in the 9th chapter of Acts. Here in Acts 22, he gives his testimony of how God had dealt with Ananias in sending him to Paul.
“And one Ananias, a devoted man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked upon him.
And he said, the God of our fathers hath chosen thee…”
Notice carefully, the Bible does not say “chosen thee to salvation.” This agrees, again, with Acts 9:15:
“…He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.”
That is what he was chosen for. It does not say anything about “chosen to be saved.” “…chosen…that thou shouldest know his will.” That is what Paul is chosen to do as the Scriptures clearly state:
“…and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth, For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”
As we said, this is only a repeat of Paul’s testimony before the people in Jerusalem, rehearsing what actually took place in Acts 9. Again, Acts 9:15 and 16 clearly state:
“But the Lord said unto him, go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel (not for salvation) unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
This is what he was chosen for. As we have said before, he continually had to defend his apostleship. In almost all of his epistles he begins with, “Paul, an apostle of Christ,” because that apostleship was not accepted by some of the other disciples and many other men.
Table of Contents | Previous | Next
Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519
Am I Going to Heaven?
Books by Dr. Max D. Younce
100 Bible Questions and Answers