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)
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."
As we examine this portion of Scripture we find the verse is really self-explanatory. The Christian has been chosen to do something and that something is to lead a righteous life as a testimony. The last part of the verse clarifies this:
"...that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."
This is in perfect accordance with God's Word and is substantiated by Ephesians 2:10. In Ephesians 2:8,9 we are told about salvation:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Now God's will for us after we are saved, as set forth in verse 8 and 9, is revealed in verse 10:
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
In order to make Ephesians 1:4 support "election to salvation" one would have to do away with the last part of this verse. But when you compare Scripture with Scripture concerning the same subject, they will always compliment one another. Just as Ephesians 2:10 does with Ephesians 1:4. Very simply, God's will, even before the foundation of the world, was that every Christian should walk the Christian life. To use this verse to support God's choosing only some to be saved would contradict other portions of His Word.
For example, if we say that Ephesians 1:4 is supportive of electing some to be saved, we find it would not agree with John 1:7,12:
"The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
You see Paul admonished young Timothy in 2nd Timothy 2:15 to...
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
If one simply seeks the truth of God's Word, they will always gather the Scriptures that speak concerning a certain subject and compare them. When they agree and compliment each other, then you have the proper interpretation and correct doctrine. The doctrine of "election to salvation" cannot be supported by Ephesians 1:4 as this verse and Ephesians 2:10 are complimentary--revealing God's will before ordained that His children should walk in righteousness.
"But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2nd Thessalonians 2:13,14
You see, predestinationalists are as excited over the words "chosen" and "election" as the Church of Christ are over water! They will swim through rivers, lakes and oceans of grace, faith and free will to stop at a rill of baptism and election for salvation. One would have to throw out the last half of verse 13 and all of verse 14 in order to "squeeze out" the doctrine of "election to salvation." On page 33 of Mr. Nettleton's book (chosen to salvation) he comments upon these verses by saying:
"God decides to have spiritual children and chooses from among the sons of men certain individuals and saves them. This is election. It is a mystery, but a fact to be believed."
"A fact to be believed" only if you disregard the Bible. Now notice that the believer is chosen to salvation on the basis of two things:
1. One of them is God's part "through sanctification of the spirit."
2. The other is man's responsibility. "Belief of the truth."
Verse 14 tells us how we are called, "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and it is by this that He calls all to be saved. Notice again in John 12:32:
"And I (Christ), if I be lifted up (crucified on the cross) from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
In John 4:42 it is made clear that His will is to see everyone saved:
"...for we have heard him (Christ) ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."
If we would read all of 2nd Thessalonians 2, we would find that this is speaking of the 7-year Tribulation Period when after the 3 1/2 years the Anti-Christ exalts himself in the Jewish Temple and declares himself to be God (verse 4). Then in verse 10, those that perish do so because of a decision they make. Verse 10:
"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not (i.e., they would not believe) the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Then in verse 11 and 12 God states He will send "The lie." This is the Anti-Christ whom they will believe since they willfully rejected the truth. Notice verses 11 and 12:
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Remember, Christ died for the sins of the world, therefore everyone is invited to come and believe in Christ. John made it perfectly clear that "whosoever" may come. Notice in John 11:25 and 26:
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
It taxes the imagination that this verse is used to support the doctrine of "election to salvation", but nevertheless, it is by some. The context of verses 1 to 9 of this chapter is concerning the respect of certain people because of their position. Notice in verses 2 and 3:
"For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:"
They were judging a person by their possessions, showing favoritism to the rich and despising the poor.
Notice again verses 6 and 7:
"But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?''
Verse 5 says why He has chosen the poor:
"...Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him."
If these verses were in support of "election to salvation," then all the poor would be saved or else God would be contradicting Himself. Then God would be guilty of the same wrong judgment that He was rebuking some of the Christians for exercising. This would be preposterous! The verse is self-explanatory and in perfect context with verses 1 to 9. They were chosen because they were rich in faith, and "heirs of the kingdom" which God had promised to those that love Him. God chooses or rejects all humanity depending on their faith. Notice in Hebrews 11:6:
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Now John says that it is the will of God that all should honor the Son. Notice John 5:22 and 23:
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him."
One of the basic principles of Biblical interpretation is comparing Scripture with Scripture. When this is done, the doctrine of "election to salvation" quickly vanishes.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1st Corinthians 2:14
Mr. Nettleton uses this verse to endorse his position on election on page 32 of his book. I would like to quote his statements concerning this under his heading of "Inability."
"...Neither can he know them..." (1st Corinthians 2:14). Natural man, apart from God, is unable to comprehend spiritual truth. He is dead (Ephesians 2:1). It is necessary for the Holy Spirit of God to reprove (convince and convict) him (John 16:6-11)."
Let us examine the whole chapter of 1st Corinthians, chapter 2, and we will find that verse 14 is not referring to salvation whatsoever. All one has to do is to read the whole chapter and you will find out what the natural man is unable to comprehend about the things of God. It is not speaking about salvation, but is speaking about the things of the Christian that God has prepared for them after they are a Christian. Those are the things a lost man cannot comprehend. Proof of this is found in the second chapter of 1st Corinthians, beginning with verse 9:
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
In this portion of Scripture, God is speaking concerning the saved. As we go into verse 10:
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
Here God is speaking about the things that He has prepared for those that love Him; that is, after they are saved. Things that God has prepared, even the Rapture, this is hard for a lost man to comprehend.
For example. The Second Jerusalem, a city 1200 to 1500 miles square, containing the Tree of Life that bears 12 manner of fruit each season. How the resurrected body of Christ could both eat and enjoy food and yet be a spiritual, resurrected body. How Christ's resurrected body could be seen, at times, and yet invisible, at other times, and yet that same body will never die. Or, how God could create new heavens and a new earth. It is hard for a lost man to comprehend the Great White Throne Judgment, and the fact that all Christians will be there as spectators--"so shall we ever be with the Lord." It is hard for a lost man to comprehend all these things that God has prepared for the Christian. A lost man is unable to do that without the Holy Spirit. A lost man can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because all through Paul's ministry he kept emphasizing the importance of using plainness of speech. In fact, he did this verse 4 of the second chapter of 1st Corinthians:
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:"
It was not "with enticing words" but words spoken in simplicity. A lost person can understand that Christ died in payment for their sin. A lost person can understand that God gives eternal life to anyone who will accept Christ as their Savior. No--God does not give you the faith to believe with, but rather gives His Word which we stand responsible for accepting or rejecting!
So--we see it would be out of context to use 1st Corinthians 2:14 as proof of "election for salvation." "...the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them (or understand them)." All one has to do is go back to the other verses in this chapter and they will find out it is the deep things that God is speaking about and the things that God has prepared for those who love Him, after they are saved. It is hard for the lost to understand and believe such things until they trust Christ as Savior and they are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables a person to see the things God has prepared for him.
Notice in verse 11:
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."
Notice the last part of verse 11, "even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." Notice the first part of verse 12, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world." The reason that we have not received the spirit of the world is that we possessed it from birth. We have received (the last part of verse 12) "...the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." So, what the context is referring to is very simple. We cannot understand the things that God has promised to freely give the Christian after he is saved and the promises He has made to the Christian, until we first believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and are then indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. In verse 12 as it says, "...that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
To say that 1st Corinthians 2:14 is inferring that a lost man cannot understand salvation, would be to eliminate the rest of the verses from the context and, also, violate a person's free will when God says "whosoever will may come." The "election" proponents use this one verse and then reason that God will only convict by the Holy Spirit those whom He has elected to be saved, then only those will believe because Go gives them the faith to do so. This can only be done when you take one verse and isolate the rest of the chapter. You see, the truth of the Word of God surfaces when the context of the whole chapter is examined.
In conclusion: After examining the context, verse 14 speaks about "the natural man receiving not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." The spiritual things that he cannot comprehend are revealed in verses 9 through 12 and these things are what God has prepared for the Christian after he is saved. It is these things that the natural man is unable to comprehend without the Holy Spirit of God, not salvation!
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering."
Mr. Nettleton has a habit of using little select quotes from verses in order to endorse his position of "election to salvation," without giving any context. One such instance is found on page 33 of his book and I should like to quote his comments. "God addresses us as 'the elect of God.' (Colossians 3:12).
'Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.' (1st Thessalonians 1:4)."
We are going to compare the whole verse of Colossians 3:12 and see if it agrees with the rest of the Scriptures given in the book of Colossians. Notice carefully, if you will, that Paul is addressing Christians at Colosse. He is speaking to those who have received Christ as Savior, as the elect, not that he is stating the mind of God to elect certain ones to be saved. Here, he is speaking to those who are already saved and instructing them as to what they ought to do since the are saved. This would totally agree with other Scriptures in Colossians.
For example. In chapter 1, verse 4, Paul stated in writing to the Colossians:
"Since we heard of your faith in Jesus Christ, and of the love which ye have to all the saints."
There are two things to be observed: It was their faith in Christ Jesus (they had testified), then they had showed that faith "which ye have to all saints." Therefore, they had shown that "which ye have." God did not predestinate them to be saved. He did not predestinate them as far as serving Him, but it was their free choice. It is God's will but He did not make it come to pass. He left that free will for the Colossians to exercise. Again we would like to emphasize, "Since we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all saints."
For anyone to just extract "the elect of God" out of chapter 3:12 without considering the rest of the verse or the context would be violating the very basic principles of biblical interpretation. We find out as we go on down to verse 28 of Colossians, chapter one:
"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man prefect in Christ Jesus."
It was evident that Paul did not believe in predestination--as far as electing some to be saved and some to be lost. Because he said that "We...warn every man." So it is God's will that every man would be saved.
"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."
1st Thessalonians 1:4
Since Mr. Nettleton, on page 33 of his book, included 1st Thessalonians 1:4 along with Colossians 3:12, it is imperative that we examine the context and see the meaning of this verse. Nettleton accused some men who disagree with him on election as avoiding these two verses. His statement on page 33:
"By now it ought to be clearly recognized that God uses language that some men avoid."
The only thing we seek to avoid is doing what Mr. Nettleton did. That is, taking one little phrase or verse out of context without considering the rest of the chapter or other verses that relate to the same subject. Concerning verse 4, you will find that God many times calls the saved "his elect" or "his chosen." But this is after the fact that they have put their faith in Jesus Christ. When a person accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, they are the chosen and referred to as the "chosen" or "the elect." Christians are referred to as "the elect" only on the basis of their acceptance of Christ.
Notice in verses 7 and 8 where Paul states:
"So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 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 anything."
If you will notice that it says, "but also in every place your faith." It does not say "God's faith in you," but "your faith in Christ." You see, the Scriptures mean exactly what they say. I do not know how one could get "election to salvation" out of these verses when Paul speaks to them and says that it is "your faith that is spoken abroad." Not--"God's faith in you." It is "your faith in God" that you speak about so freely and strongly.
In fact, Paul said that he needed not to speak anything. There was not anything that Paul could add to what those in Thessalonica were doing. They were that strong in the faith and knew what they believed and were ready to stand behind it. Not because they were elected. They were only referred to as "God's elect" because they had put their faith in Christ out of their own volition and free will.
"And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand."
May I quote Mr. Nettleton's concluding statement after he used a portion of this Scripture to support election to salvation:
"If a person is saved, he was elected and no reason for that election is revealed to us."
There is no question that the author is applying these verses to election concerning salvation--not service, as his quote clarifies.
If one will only take time to examine Revelation, chapters 7 and 14, which are the only two chapters in the Bible that mention the 144,000, one will find that they are sealed for protection while serving Christ. The word "sealed" is the Greek verb SPHRAGIZO and means ownership and security, together with destination. In other words, they are saved Jews, protected from harm until their testimony for Christ is finished here on the earth.
"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the lamb."
Calling the 144,000 the firstfruits, no doubt, is in reference to their being some of the first ones saved at the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation. To say that God elected them to salvation is absolutely contrary to the Scriptures. My Bible says "sealed" for service not elected for salvation. In fact, the words "elect, election, or elected" do not appear anywhere in the book of Revelation! This is no doubt the greatest evangelistic campaign ever launched on the face of the earth by 144,000 saved, Jewish men.
Mr. Nettleton goes on to say:
"Dare we omit such doctrines when God teaches them? Surely, all Scriptures is profitable (II Timothy 3:16)."
In answer to this we say affirmatively, "No! We do not omit any Scripture, but we do not take a Scripture that is speaking about service and teach it as applying to salvation which only causes confusion to the reader. No--We do not insert our word 'election' to replace God's word 'sealed'."
This is like taking the book of James and saying, "If you are not living the life, then you are not really saved." Some preachers try to use this as a scare tactic to attempt to scare people into living the Christian life. And yet, they have not reconciled the book of James with Romans which tells us we are saved by grace through faith. The book of Romans is justification in God's eyes by faith alone without works. And yet James says, "If a man say he hath faith and has not works, his faith is dead." Without recognizing that the book of James is justification in man's eyes, there is nothing but utter confusion in the believer's mind. James is not saying that a person is lost without good works, only the fact that his faith is dead. It is lifeless unless he is living the kind of Christian life that will support his witness for Christ. In fact, there are a good many Christians who are not leading the Christian life, but it does not mean they are not saved. One can derive any kind of doctrine they wish to endorse, by taking one verse and not correlating other Scriptures that shed light upon a particular subject. If one wills to know the truth of God's Word, then all Scripture on a certain subject must and will agree. Remember, the 144,000 spoken of in Revelation, chapters 7 and 14, is in reference to their service to Christ, not being elected by God to be saved. How simple God's Word is to understand if not infected by man's philosophy and doctrine.
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Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519
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