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  • Writer's pictureVic Bernales

Comfort and Assurance from the Doctrine of Election

I believe in the doctrine of election. I really do. I believe in His unchangeable purpose by which, "[b]efore the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, God chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race, which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin. Those chosen were neither better nor more deserving than the others, but lay with them in the common misery. God did this in Christ, whom he also appointed from eternity to be the mediator, the head of all those chosen, and the foundation of their salvation" (Canons of Dort, First Main Point of Doctrine, Article 7).

This teaching may not be popular but definitely it is attested by the Holy Scripture. The apostle Paul, for example, praises God for "[He] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace" (Eph. 1:4-6).

Without God's sovereign act of electing some unto holiness and salvation, none of us will ever know and experience what it means to be brought from death to life and to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light in Christ.

But blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Christ who, "being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-6).

Our salvation from sin and the coming wrath is all the work of God, from beginning to end. It is all by the grace of God. It does not depend on our effort or work no matter how good it may be. Yes, God's saving work results in every good work and godly life for us who have been saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ, but we should not forget that our entrance to glory and the gift of eternal life is all God's merciful work in Christ.

Thus, "[b]ecause salvation does not hang upon the thin thread of their own initiative and perseverance, but upon the solid chain of God’s electing purpose in Christ, believers may be assured of their salvation. Sovereign and merciful election furnishes believers with the occasion to give thanks to God on the one hand, and rest confidently in his gracious favor in Christ on the other. For the authors of the *Canons of Dort,* the teaching of election serves 'the honor of God’s name … and the comfort of anxious souls.'" (Dr. Cornelis P. Venema, 'THE ELECTION AND SALVATION OF THE CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS WHO DIE IN INFANCY: A STUDY OF ARTICLE I/17 OF THE CANONS OF DORT,' in Mid-America Journal of Theology 17 (2006), 57-100).


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