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Exploring the Grace of God By Kevin Smead
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. ESV text edition
WeThree Publications: P.O. Box 650, Glenwood, AR 71943
This study booklet is dedicated to my son Haddon. May you always walk according to the light given us in the Word of God!
And to my wife Michelle: Studying the Word of God with you and our son has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
The word “sovereign” means supreme ruler. A sovereign is a person who has no one over him and who can do whatever he wants to, when he wants to, how he wants to, and for whom he wants to – and no one has the authority to question his plans, actions, or motives. God is the only absolute supreme ruler. He rules over all the angels, over all the universe including all physical and spiritual matters, over all animals, over the devil and all of his host, and over all mankind, including the heart, mind, soul and will of every man. God is absolutely sovereign. The word “grace” means unmerited favor. It is a favor which cannot be bartered for, earned, or purchased. It is an absolutely free gift given to mankind. It is given to those whom He sovereignly chooses. As the sovereign ruler over His universe He has the power and the right to dispense this free gift to whomever He pleases, and no one can question His sovereign will. When we put these two biblical concepts together, Sovereign Grace, we have a wonderfully biblical picture of God’s plan of redemption for His people. He, as the Sovereign, determines from all eternity to dispense His grace to the people of His choice, and none can question Him or thwart His purpose. His grace is sovereign, because He is sovereign. God says to Moses in Exodus 33:19, that which is repeated by Paul in Romans 9:15, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” That is “sovereign grace!” This wonderfully biblical doctrine teaches us many things. To begin with, Sovereign grace means that He has determined to glorify His Son in the salvation of a vast multitude which no man can number and He is not at the whim or the free-will of man to get it accomplished. Sovereign grace means that God is never frustrated in His purpose but that He always does what pleases Him (Psalm 115:3 and Psalm 135:6). Sovereign Grace means that heaven is filled by God, not by man’s free will. Sovereign Grace means that God actually saves people, rather than just putting them into a savable state. Moreover, when we talk about grace being sovereign we are saying that ultimately all the credit for the salvation of any individual goes to God alone (Psalm 115:1). Sovereign Grace means that salvation is not just supplied by God’s grace, but it is applied by God’s grace as well. God is the alpha and the omega. God not only elected His people for Himself when none of them sought Him (Romans 3:10) and granted them a Redeemer to die on the cross when they were without strength (Romans 5:6), but then He provided the Holy Spirit to come to them in time and to give them a heart of flesh for a heart of stone. The Holy Spirit turns them from darkness to light by His omnipotent power, and sweetly but irresistibly draws them to faith and repentance in Him who was set forth as a propitiation for their sin. That is why a sinner who is saved is said to be “born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8). Christians are saved not because they are smarter than a lost person, softer hearted than a lost person, or luckier than a lost person. God set His love on
would give us little reason to think that they would ever turn. sovereign grace means that when we pray to God about our lost loved ones. Sovereign grace means that we do not just ask God to wait patiently upon our loved one’s stubborn free wills. Furthermore. if God “began a good work in you.” and as Philippians 2:13 says. sovereign grace means that if you are saved you can have absolute assurance of your salvation. but for the grace of God.” Our friends or our loved ones who. He determined to save them and He therefore determined that we would pray for them. He works “all things according to the counsel of His will. If your will is not in the hands of a sovereign God. but we ask Him to change their stubborn wills so that they will offer themselves freely to Him. If you were the one who began with God at the point of conversion then you might at some point drift away from God and be lost. we are not just sharing our frustrations with a mutually frustrated God. In other words. Sovereign grace means that when we look at lost sinners in the world around us we can truly say with the 16th century Christian John Bradford. when you hear a preacher say in the service something like. as he observed a criminal being led to execution. Sovereign grace is a recognition that when God calls sinners they will respond (Joel 2:32). “O LORD. you might decide to no longer be a part of God’s family.” In addition to what has been said. As Ephesians 1:11 says.them from eternity and by His grace alone called them into the fellowship of His Son (1 Corinthians 1:8). Sovereign grace is also a recognition that people are not just lucky to have Christian parents. In other words. friends. Therefore we can have hope for the “worst of sinners. As Isaiah 26:12 says. we are praying to a God who can save them if He wills. “For it is God who works in you. If faith were your idea instead of being the gracious gift of God then you might lose your faith. the God who in eternity past chose of His own free-grace to save you is the same God who can carry out that purpose 4 . or pastors to pray for them. but that God is sovereign over this as well. if left to their own free will. Even our prayer and witnessing is wrought in us by God and He gets all the glory. go I.” Finally. “God will have His way in the service this morning” he is stating the doctrine of sovereign grace and is telling you the truth. both to will and to work for his good pleasure. you will ordain peace for us: for you have indeed done for us all our works. Sovereign grace also means that God’s Word will not return to Him empty but it will accomplish that which He purposed (Isaiah 55:11). If God is the one who gave you to Christ (John 10:29) then He will not take you away from His Son. But. but that God does. Sovereign grace means that we do not decide who goes to heaven by our prayers and our witnessing. “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). may yet be turned by the sovereign grace of God.” (Philippians 1:6) and if He is the one who gave you the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) then we can be confident that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). When we pray.” Or as the great Apostle Paul said. “There. (He) will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Not only can no one else pluck you out of His hand. pick up several copies and pass them out. If you find it does. I have quoted at length from various passages.today. This booklet is a collection of passages from the New Testament that plainly teach the doctrine of free and sovereign grace. but if you are His child He has given you a heart to fear Him so that you will not turn from Him yourself (Jeremiah 32:38-40). The only part that I have contributed is the discovery questions after each passage to help the reader “key in” on certain concepts that are in the text. To God alone be the glory (Soli Deo Gloria)! 5 . This has led to spiritual pride. others focus on the doctrines of election and predestination themselves. These ideas compliment and complete one another and they all establish what we mean by the concept of sovereign grace. I hope that this booklet will be both helpful to you and will glorify our sovereign God. it is this biblical doctrine of sovereign grace that is presented in this booklet. To prove God’s irresistible power in converting sinners is to prove election and predestination (since He doesn’t save everyone). Only as we see the fullness of this teaching will we really give the Lord the glory that is due Him. I have not taken verses out of context or engaged in the sometimes superficial method of proof-texting. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide your reading. It has also led to faithless prayers as people utter prayers they really do not believe God can or will answer. To prove election and predestination is to prove God’s irresistible power to open the hearts of sinners (since He is able to infallibly bring in His elect). It is in His light alone that we see the light. Please note that while some of the verses below focus on the issue of God’s irresistible power to do what He wants in the salvation of sinners. Too many people in the modern church attribute their faith to their own softness of heart or higher intelligence. I have not sought to establish this doctrine upon philosophical arguments or even upon human experience (although that would not be difficult to do). As evident from the title.
“I thank you. Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon.The Sovereign Will of God – Matthew 11:20-30 20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done. for such was your gracious will. and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 23 And you. and learn from me. will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. all who labor and are heavy laden. Discovery Questions: 1. 29 Take my yoke upon you. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom. because they did not repent. and I will give you rest. Capernaum. Lord of heaven and earth. 22 But I tell you. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you. that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children. it would have remained until this day. Sidon. Father. and you will find rest for your souls. Chorazin! Woe to you. 30 For my yoke is easy. why did they not get to see them? Did God have the right to give to one and not to another according to His own good pleasure? In what way is this example an illustration of God’s sovereignty? 6 . and my burden is light. 21 “Woe unto you. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. Father. for I am gentle and lowly in heart. they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. It shall be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 28 Come to me.” 25 At that time Jesus declared. 26 yes. and no one knows the Son except the Father. If Tyre. and Sodom would have repented by seeing the mighty works that these cities in the days of Jesus saw.
2. God hid these things from some – namely. while revealing them to “little children. What can we make of the words “to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” in verse 27 when read in context? Does Jesus not choose to reveal Him to everyone? 7 . What can we learn from Jesus’ response to this mystery in verse 26? Is it possible that this submission to the Father’s secret will in verse 26 is precisely what He intends in verse 28-30 that we should learn in order for us to find rest? 5. How does the teaching that God hid these things from the wise and understanding fit with the modern church teaching that God is trying His hardest to bring everyone into the fold? 4.” Had you noticed that before now? 3. the wise and understanding.
the Son of the living God”? Is this truth concerning His person (the Son of God) and His finished work (the Christ) the rock upon which the church would be built? 2. in your opinion. is it possible for a person from his or her own nature to sincerely confess Jesus as God and Christ? 3. Do you believe that Matthew 16:13-18 teaches Sovereign Grace? 8 .” How. others say Elijah. and on this rock I will build my church. Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you. he asked his disciples. “Blessed are you. According to verses 22-23. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said. and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. If even Peter’s basic beginning in the faith could only come by a special revelation from heaven. According to the words of Jesus in verse 17. you are Peter. and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. and had to be rebuked because of his misunderstanding. how deeply dependent are we on God each step of the way? 4. Peter was still very weak in the faith and in His understanding of who Christ was. but my Father who is in heaven.” 17 And Jesus answered him.” Discovery Questions: 1. is 1 Corinthians 12:3 related to Matthew 16:17? 5. “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied.” 15 He said to them. “Some say John the Baptist. “You are the Christ. How significant was Peter’s confession concerning Jesus – “You are the Christ.Revealed From Above – Matthew 16:-13-18 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi. 18 And I tell you. the Son of the living God. 1 Corinthians 12:3 says that “no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.
keep the commandments. but with God all things are possible.All Things Possible With God – Matthew 19:16-26 16 And behold. Is it difficult for a rich person to be saved? Why? 2. saying. sell what you possess and give to the poor. and come. “Teacher.” Discovery Questions: 1. “Truly. a man came up to him. follow me. Is it difficult for other people to be saved as well? 3. saying. it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this. You shall not bear false witness. they were greatly astonished. You shall not commit adultery. and you will have treasure in heaven. 23 And Jesus said to his disciples. “All these I have kept. 19 Honor your father and mother. “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said. If you would enter life. only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. for he had great possessions. “With man this is impossible. 24-26 is it possible for anyone on his or her own to turn from their sin and self-righteousness and be saved? 4. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. You shall not steal. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him. “You shall not murder. Based on verse 26 can God accomplish His purpose and save whomever He wants? 9 .” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful. what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him. go. According to vv.” 18 He said to him. 24 Again I tell you. “Which ones?” And Jesus said. and. I say to you. “If you would be perfect.” 20 The young man said to him.
9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them. for behold. because he was of the house and lineage of David. 10 And the angel said to them. to the city of David. Did the angels appear even to others in Judea? 10 . which is called Bethlehem. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee. 6 And while they were there. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. the time came for her to give birth. because there was no place for them in the inn. Would it have been possible for the angels of the Lord to appear to lost sinners all over the world that night? What reason can you give that God did not send them to do that? 2. who was with child. “Fear not.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying. who is Christ the Lord. keeping watch over their flock by night. to Judea. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Discovery Questions: 1. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger. 5 to be registered with Mary. his betrothed. and they were filled with fear. from the town of Nazareth. each to his own town. 14 “Glory to God in the highest. and the glory of the Lord shone around them.Unto You – Luke 2:1-14 1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 3 And all went to be registered. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field.
3. When you consider that in that day and time Shepherds were considered vagrants and even dishonest (their testimony was not even accepted in a court of law). is it surprising that God chose to appear to these shepherds? 4. “on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” while the NIV translates it “to men on whom his favor rests. Was there any reason in yourself that you were made to hear the gospel while millions of others perish in heathen darkness? 5. The ESV translation says in verse 14.” Do you believe that this is speaking of sovereign grace in election? 11 .
if he has lost one of them. having a hundred sheep.) 12 .) 5. 6 And when he comes home. I tell you. “This man receives sinners and eats with them. rejoicing. 1-2) and the application of it (v. he calls together his friends and his neighbors. for I have found my sheep that was lost. saying.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you. and go after the one that is lost. he lays it on his shoulders.’ 7 Just so. If this parable is indeed a description of the rescue of sinners by the great Shepherd. Since the shepherd went after the sheep until he found it. Based on the occasion of the parable (vv. What part does the sheep play in coming back to the shepherd in this parable? Do you believe this also indicates what part the sinner plays in coming to Christ? 4. do you believe that Jesus will succeed in bringing His “sheep” into the fold? (See Matthew 1:21 and Hebrews 2:12-13. 7) do you believe that this parable is describing Jesus as the Shepherd Savior? 2. Do you believe that all lost people are sheep? (See John 10:24-29. saying to them. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled. until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it.” Discovery Questions: 1.The Savior Shepherd – Luke 15:1-7 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country. then who does the seeking when it comes to salvation – Jesus or the sinner? 3. ‘Rejoice with me.
which enlightens everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness. whether by God’s power or their own self-determination. What does it mean to receive Jesus? What benefit are all of those given who receive Jesus? See verse 12-13. nor of the will of man? Is this a denial of free will as the causal agent in the conversion of a sinner? 4. nor of the will of the flesh. 12 But to all who did receive him. but of God. 10 He was in the world. 13)? Does it have to do with what Jesus said about being “born again” in John 3:1-7? 3. 6 There was a man sent from God. 9 The true light. and the darkness has not overcome it. yet the world did not know him. and his own people did not receive him. 8 He was not the light. but came to bear witness about the light. but it says nothing about how they came to be willing. that all might believe through him. and the Word was with God. Can you name one Scripture that says man has free will? ( Consider that the promise “whosoever will” is to those who are willing to come to Christ. not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man. 13 who were born. who believed in his name. and without him was not any thing made that was made.) 13 . and the life was the light of men. to bear witness about the light. 3 All things were made through him. 2. was coming into the world. and the world was made through him. Discovery Questions: 1. and the Word was God.Born of God – John 1:1-13 1 In the beginning was the Word. 11 He came to his own. What does it mean that people who receive Jesus have been born (v. What does it mean in verse 13 when it says that those who have been born again (and have thus come to faith) were born not of blood. 4 In him was life. he gave the right to become children of God. whose name was John. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 7 He came as a witness.
5. or did God break your heart and lead you to faith by His omnipotent power? 14 . did you decide of your own free will to stop loving your sin more than God that day. The moment that you were born again.
Jesus says that the time is now in which it is taking place. I say to you. so that you may marvel. If spiritual resurrection is intended in the context. Discovery Questions: 1. etc. and those who hear will live. but has given all judgment to the Son. 23 that all may honor the Son. those who have done good to the resurrection of life.. then verse 21 would teach that Christ gives spiritual life to whom he will. so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.John 5:20-29 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. Concerning verse 28. 28 Do not marvel at this. Do you think that the first resurrection is speaking of a spiritual resurrection of people who are dead in sin (see Ephesians 2:1)? 2. 22 The Father judges no one. He says that the hour is coming in which it will take place. Does this show the sovereignty of the Son in calling whom He wants to quickening and salvation? 3. and is now here. but has passed from death to life. because he is the Son of Man. He does not come into judgment. And greater works than these will he show him. Concerning verse 25. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. an hour is coming. just as they honor the Father. or would life have to be imparted by God first? 15 . and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. One is described in verse 25 and the other is in verse 28. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life. truly. so also the Son gives life to whom he will. whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out.The Sovereign Son -. Can a spiritually dead man do spiritual acts such as believing. These verses talk about two resurrections. 24 Truly. 25 Truly. 26 For as the Father has life in himself. I say to you. truly. when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. repenting. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment.
4. Here it is described as God raising the dead. and each individual has to ultimately decide the final outcome by his or her own free will. how is conversion a demonstration of God’s resurrection power? 16 . If God has done the same for all. In Holy Scripture conversion is described as a manifestation of God’s mighty power.
” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves. as he taught at Capernaum. “This is a hard saying. not like the bread the fathers ate and died. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. 57 As the living Father sent me. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me. ‘And they will all be taught by God. “Truly. 60 When many of his disciples heard it. and I will raise him up on the last day. truly. 55 For my flesh is true food. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me – 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. saying. 48 I am the bread of life. you have no life in you. unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. he will live forever. he also will live because of me. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. truly. If anyone eats of this bread. 45 It is written in the Prophets. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven. so whoever feeds on me. whoever believes has eternal life.Drawn by the Father – John 6:44-66 44 “…No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. and they died. 47 Truly. he has seen the Father. and I live because of the Father. and my blood is true drink. they said. and I in him. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. I say to you. I say to you. who can listen to it?” 17 . so that one may eat of it and not die. And I will raise him up on the last day.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
said to them. Why did some of those who professed faith walk away from Jesus in verse 66? Was it something that He taught? If so. knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this. does the “all” being taught of God mean every individual in the human race or “all” of God’s elect people? (See Appendix #1 – “The Use of the Word All.61 But Jesus. Why did you come to Christ when you were saved and another person did not? Were you smarter than the other person? Softer hearted? Was it chance? Or was the desire to come given to you by the sovereign grace of God? 18 . Discovery Questions: 1. According to verse 65. “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life.” 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe. and who it was who would betray him. comes to me.) 65 And he said.” Since everyone does not come to the Father. what was the doctrine? 5. Can anyone come to God in faith and repentance by their own free will according to verse 44? 2. Verse 45 says that “they will all be taught by God” and that “every man who has heard. and learned from the Father.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe. how does a person come to Jesus? 4.”) 3. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. the flesh is no help at all. “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.
Christ’s Flock – John 10:24-29 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him.” 25 Jesus answered them. What does it mean in verse 29 when Jesus says that the Father “gave” the sheep to Him? Does this verse seem to favor free will or sovereign grace? 5. 29 My Father. but who are certain to be saved. and I know them. Doesn’t the fact that Jesus says He gives them eternal life in the next verse show that verse 27 is not talking of people who are already saved. and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand…” Discovery Questions: 1. couldn’t it take us out of Christ as well? 19 . Most people apply the word “sheep” in verse 27 to people who have already been converted. is greater than all.) If our own self-determination brought us to Christ. Is there anything in this passage that indicates the same truth? 4. “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ. and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life. tell us plainly. though currently among the lost? In other words. and you do not believe. and they will never perish. “I told you. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me. According to verse 26 does a person become part of his flock by believing or do they believe because they are part of his flock? 2. What part do you believe the doctrine of divine election plays in the security of the believer? (See 1 Peter 1:3-5. who has given them to me. 27 My sheep hear my voice. aren’t these elect people who will certainly hear His voice? 3. We saw in Luke 15 that Jesus will get all of His sheep.
but I have called you friends. so have I loved you. What obligation does God’s choice of you place upon you in areas such as praise and thanksgiving? 20 . Is that an arbitrary distinction. you will abide in my love. you were chosen by God to be so. 15 No longer do I call you servants. the world would love you as its own. that you love one another as I have loved you. just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. Abide in my love. is God’s choice based on yours? 2. but because you are not of the world. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide. for the servant does not know what his master is doing. 19 If you were of the world. 12 This is my commandment. that my joy may be in you. know that it has hated me before it hated you. why are Christ’s disciples not of the world? 3. therefore the world hates you…” Discovery Questions: 1. Some people say that the words. 16 You did not choose me. 11 These things I have spoken to you. 17 These things I command you. but I chose you out of the world. According to verse 16. especially considering that they do not say that about other passages that are spoken to the disciples? Could someone make the same argument about the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20? 4. so that you will love one another. According to verse 19. so that whatever you ask the Father in my name. 10 If you keep my commandments.Chosen out of the World – John 15:9-19 9 “…As the Father has loved me. 18 If the world hates you. If you are a believer. is your choice primary? That is. “I chose you” apply only to the immediate disciples whom Jesus was talking. 13 Greater love has no one than this. and that your joy may be full. he may give it to you. that someone lay down his life for his friends. for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Yours they were. having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. Father. even as we are one…” Discovery Questions: 1. he lifted up his eyes to heaven. 4 I glorified you on earth. the hour has come. and said. 6 I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh. 10 All mine are yours. 3 And this is eternal life. “Father. and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you. 5 And now. that they may be one.Given by the Father – John 17:1-11 1 When Jesus had spoken these words. and yours are mine. What does it mean in verse 2 that Christ has authority over all flesh? What does Jesus say that this power enabled Him to do? 2. that they know you the only true God. Holy Father. Does the work of Christ depend upon the will of man for its success. and they have kept your word. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me. for they are yours. 9 I am praying for them. glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. and they have believed that you sent me. and I am glorified in them. glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you. How many times in these verses does Jesus make reference to those whom the Father had given Him? 3. and you gave them to me. but they are in the world. 11 And I am no longer in the world. to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. and I am coming to you. keep them in your name. or does He accomplish His purpose by His sovereign power over the will of man? 21 . which you have given me.
) If God is not sovereign over the will of man (able to turn it where He desires).4. Does the fact that God is the one who gave them (selected them to be saved to the glory of His Son) help us to understand how He can keep them by His own power? (See verse 11. could He keep believers from falling away? 22 .
39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes.. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all. “Brothers. 47 praising God and having favor with all the people..” Does this seem to indicate that the word “all” does not always 23 . and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. saying. Do you see anything in these verses that demonstrated the sovereignty of God’s grace? 2. to the breaking of bread and the prayers. and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles. as any had need. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized. and there were added that day about three thousand souls.“Additions from the Lord” -. “Save yourselves from this crooked generation. what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them. Peter first says in verse 39 that the promise is “for all” and then says “everyone whom the Lord our God calls. would Peter’s words in verse 39 about “everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” make any sense? 3.Acts 2:37-47 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart. 46 And day by day. everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them. and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If God called everyone in the same way. 43 And awe came upon every soul. Discovery Questions: 1.
Do our church growth methods in modern churches often overlook the fact that only God can add genuine believers to our numbers? 24 . who is responsible for people being added to the number of believers? Does that mean that God is the one who converts sinners? 5.”) 4. According to verse 47.mean “every individual of the human race” in every instance? (See appendix #1 – “The Use of the Word All.
he approached Damascus. “Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision. “Who are you. for behold. he is praying.” 13 But Ananias answered. why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said. went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus. and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city. hearing the voice but seeing no one. 9 And for three days he was without sight.A Chosen Instrument – Acts 9:1-15 1 But Saul. and although his eyes were opened. 8 Saul rose from the ground. so that if he found any belonging to the Way.” 25 . 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight. for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel…. I have heard from many about this man. Lord?” And he said. “Go. “Here I am. “I am Jesus. men or women. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him.” And he said. how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. and neither ate nor drank. “Lord.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name. he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. “Rise and go to the street called Straight. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. he saw nothing.” 11 And the Lord said to him. Lord. and you will be told what you are to do.” 15 But the Lord said to him. still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. 3 Now as he went on his way. Saul. “Saul. 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias.
What does verse 15 say was the reason that God appeared to Paul out of His grace and mercy? 7. Do you think there may have been other Pharisees around in the days of Paul who would have spiritually benefited from a visit from the Lord such as Paul received? Were there others who would have been saved if they had received such a visit? 2. Why didn’t God wait for Paul to turn to Him of His own free will? 6. Was it unjust for God to do this for Paul and not for others? 5. Was God’s treatment of Paul an unjust violation of Paul’s freedom? 4.Discovery Questions: 1. Is God “trying His hardest” to save as many as possible? 26 . Why do you think God did not appear to others like He did to Paul? Why do you think He does not deal with everyone in that way today? Is this an example of “sovereign grace?” 3.
‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles. and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: 41 ‘Look.Acts 13:38-48 38 “…Let it be known to you therefore. the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. But to what does verse 48 say they were appointed? 27 . therefore. like the opportunity to hear the Word of God. for I am doing a work in your days. saying. who. Discovery Questions: 1. urged them to continue in the grace of God. reviling him. Some have argued that predestination is just to outward privileges. as they spoke with them. that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul. behold. According to verse 48. 40 Beware. etc. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life. what was the reason that people believed? 2.Appointed to Eternal Life -. be astounded and perish. that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 42 As they went out. saying. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas. we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds. brothers. even if one tells it to you. you scoffers.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this. “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. a work that you will not believe. 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
How should the truth of verse 48 affect us today as we share the gospel? Should it not encourage us today to know that God has a people that will hear and believe because He has appointed them to eternal life? 28 . or did He choose them and then give them the gift of faith? 5. Could this imply that it was a well known and commonly accepted doctrine in the early church? 4. Luke just briefly mentions this doctrine of predestination.3. According to verse 48. do you think that God just foresaw these people’s faith and chose them.
” Discovery Questions: 1. which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. setting sail from Troas.An Open Heart – Acts 16:6-15 6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia. Could God have opened the hearts of all the other people at the river side if He had wanted? 29 . “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord. 8 So. 11 So. they attempted to go into Bithynia. immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia. but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. come to my house and stay. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Why did Lydia attend to the things that were spoken by the apostle Paul? 3. who was a worshiper of God.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision. concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. and her household as well. and the following day to Neapolis. Why do you think God did not allow Paul to preach the gospel in Asia at that time? Is that an example of God’s sovereignty in distributing His gospel and His gifts according to His own good pleasure? 2. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside. she urged us. 12 and from there to Philippi. where we supposed there was a place of prayer. We remained in this city some days. they went down to Troas. passing by Mysia. “Come over to Macedonia and help us. urging him and saying. from the city of Thyatira. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there. 15 And after she was baptized. 7 and when they had come up to Mysia. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia. we made a direct voyage to Samothrace. saying. a seller of purple goods.” And she prevailed upon us. and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
who was it that opened your heart? 6. Lydia is described by Luke as a woman already inclined to religious matters. a worshipper of God. Is it unjust on the part of God to do something for one person that He does not do for others? How do you personally feel about God’s sovereignty at this point? 5. When you were saved. Does the fact that it took the power of God to open Lydia’s heart show the utter necessity of a work of the Spirit of God for anyone to be saved? 30 .4.
because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. Discovery Questions: 1. If faith is just a decision of the free will of man and not the gift of God. 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations. 8 First. do you think that such a distinction is valid? 3. why would Paul thank God for this? 4. called to be an apostle. Many theologians make a distinction between the general call of God (which goes to everyone who is blessed with the outward preaching of the gospel) and the effectual call (the special call of the Holy Spirit that always is effective). In verse 8 Paul says he thanks God for the Roman believers. Is faith your contribution to the plan of salvation or is it something God gave you? 5.Called to Belong – Romans 1:1-8 1 Paul. Why did Paul describe the believers at Rome as “called to belong to Jesus Christ” in verse 6? Is everyone called to belong to Jesus in this way? (see Joel 2:32. 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. a servant of Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ our Lord. Based on Paul’s greeting to the church at Rome. set apart for the gospel of God. or do you thank those people? 31 . I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you. Have you thanked God for bringing a sinner like yourself to faith and repentance? Are you thankful to God for generating faith in others. 3 concerning his Son. who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24) 2. 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. He specifically says that he is thankful for their faith. Romans 8:30.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us. nor anything else in all creation. Discovery Questions: 1. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that. and those whom he justified he also glorified. or sword? 36 As it is written. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation. in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. or nakedness. Many people argue that verse 29 teaches that God looked down through time and chose people based on foreseen faith. we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. and those whom he called he also justified. or famine. or distress. who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. or danger. will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. “For your sake we are being killed all the day long. or persecution. 39 nor height nor depth.Called According to His Purpose – Romans 8:28-39 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” 37 No. Does the passage actually say that God foreknew something about the people – or does it say that He foreknew the people themselves? Can you indicate any passage of Scripture in the Bible that says God chose based on the fact that He saw people would believe on Him? 32 . nor things present nor things to come. nor angels nor rulers. who indeed is interceding for us. nor powers. how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life. for those who are called according to his purpose. who was raised – who is at the right hand of God.
The word “know” in the Bible. how many did he glorify (i. when used of God. Do you find it significant that in verse 28-33 Paul had been talking about the calling. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth. or is God’s call to particular people? 4.e. how many people did He predestinate? 500 billion! If God predestinated 500 billion people. predestination. how many did He justify? 500 billion! And if He justified 500 billion people. indicates more than a bare factual knowledge of people. or love. “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19) or “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23) The obvious meaning of the word “know” in those contexts is that of an intimate knowledge. Based on verse 30 is every person who is called certainly going to be justified and glorified? Is everyone called (which would be universalism). and electing? Is there any security for God’s people if these doctrines be denied? 5.” With that meaning of the word “know” in mind. predestinating. or calling in the near context? 6. For example. Do you think it is significant that almost every security passage in the Bible has election. In verse 38-39 we have one of the greatest statements of the security of those who are God’s people. If God foreknew 500 billion people. the word “foreknew” in Romans 8:29 would mean that he had known them as His choice beforehand. how many did He call? 500 billion! If He called 500 billion people. In Amos 3:2 we read. keep eternally for Heaven)? 500 billion! How many did He lose in the process? NONE! 33 . Have you ever considered this meaning of the word before? 3.2.
but on God. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.” 13 As it is written. Based on verse 16. Do these verses elicit an emotional response from you upon first reading them? Do you fight feelings of anger that God would choose some and not others? Why could that be? 2. our forefather Isaac. Discovery Questions: 1. “Jacob I loved. is the church as a whole teaching what Paul taught? 3. “The older will serve the younger. but Esau I hated. not because of works but because of him who calls – 12 she was told. but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man. and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. is salvation based on free will? 34 . From verse 14 we learn that Paul understood that his teaching would elicit the question. 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God’s purpose of election might continue. Is mercy really mercy if a person deserves it or has a claim on it? 5. who has mercy. “Is there injustice on God’s part?” Is there anything in the teaching of today’s modern church that would make anyone ask that question? If not.Sovereign Mercy -. How did Paul answer the question about the possibility of injustice on God’s part? 4.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses.Romans 9:10-16 10 And not only so.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion.
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking.The Chosen Remnant – Romans 11:1-10 1 I ask.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. it is no longer on the basis of works. but the rest were hardened. 8 As it is written. a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see. In verse 4 we see that God said He had kept for Himself seven thousand who did not worship Baal. chosen by grace. they have killed your prophets. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. a member of the tribe of Benjamin. when He wants – as He pleases? 2. then. Who does Paul say in verse 7 had obtained salvation? 35 .” 9 And David says. and I alone am left. does this prove that God can save whom He wants. how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord. eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear. What does Paul say of the remnant in verse 5? 3. 6 But if it is by grace. “Let their table become a snare and a trap. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant.” Discovery Questions: 1. Paul says in verse 5 that God also has a remnant in his own day. a descendant of Abraham. and they seek my life. has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite. Did God just see that there would be a remnant or did He make sure that there was a remnant? If so. they have demolished your altars. otherwise grace would no longer be grace. and bend their backs forever. “God gave them a spirit of stupor. The elect obtained it. down to this very day.
do you think that He simply foresaw that there would always be believers. When Jesus says in Matthew 16:18 that the gates of hell would never prevail against His church.4. converting grace? 5. or is He going to convert them by His own power (see Romans 11:26) and thus make that certain? Could God convert them even now if He so chose? 36 . The Bible seems to indicate that there will be a mighty turning back of the Jews at some point in the future. or do you think that it was made certain by God’s sovereign. Do you think God just foresees that.
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.Called and Chosen – 1 Corinthians 1:23-30 23 But we preach Christ crucified. “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus. What do you think that Paul means when He says “because of Him you are in Christ Jesus”? The King James Version says it this way. and the weakness of God is stronger than men. boast in the Lord. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. “Let the one who boasts. a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.” Based on these words. brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards. not many were powerful. who became to us wisdom from God.” But what does verse 29 give as the motivation of God’s call? Does He only call those He can get. 24 but to those who are called. If God calls someone with the call mentioned in verse 24. Does verse 26 and 27 show a close relationship between being “chosen” and being “called”? 4. is faith (which puts you in Christ) of yourself or of God? 37 . 26 For consider your calling. will they fail to truly come to Christ and know Him? 3. even professing Christians. righteousness and sanctification and redemption. even things that are not. to bring to nothing things that are. or is there a great purpose in whom He calls? 5. as it is written. According to verse 24 are all people called to salvation by God? 2. both Jews and Greeks. not many were of noble birth. say that God saves the poor and weak because “that is all He can get. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus. 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 31 so that.” Discovery Questions: 1. Many people. 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men.
according to verse 4. 6 For God.Let there be Light – 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 1 Therefore. Is Paul saying something about our natural condition? Is he saying something about God’s absolute power? 5. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers. to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful. we do not lose heart. does Paul say that Christians distinguish themselves from lost people by their own activity or willingness. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word. Paul compares the work God does in our hearts to God’s command that light shine out of darkness in the original creation. do people reject the gospel? Have you experienced this blindness as you have tried to share the gospel with other people? 2. Discovery Questions: 1. it is veiled only to those who are perishing. or must He wait on man? 38 . who is the image of God. In verse 6. but Jesus Christ as Lord. Why. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled. underhanded ways. having this ministry by the mercy of God.” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. who said. “Let light shine out of darkness. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves. or does he say that it was something God does? 4. with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. Why did you accept the gospel? Did Satan not blind you as much as he did others? 3. Is God’s power in conversion resistible by man? Could the light have refused to shine in Genesis 1:3? Do we pray to a God who can save whom He wants.
in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. Describe Paul’s calling. How likely was it that Paul would become a Christian based on what is taught in verses 13-14? Did he appear to be softer hearted or more inclined to the things of Christ than others? 2. 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me. 12 For I did not receive it from any man. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism. What did God do in Paul’s calling to bring Him to a saving knowledge of Christ ? (See verse 16. When was Paul set apart according to verse 15? 3. When Scripture so often attributes people’s conversion to the awesome power of God.When God was Pleased – Galatians 1:11-16 11 For I would have you know. To whom does Paul attribute his call in verse 15? 4. brothers. nor was I taught it.) 5. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born. so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. I did not immediately consult with anyone…. and who called me by his grace. but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. When was Paul converted according to verse 15 and 16? Was it when he decided to be saved by His own free will or was it at the time that God decided? 6. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people. how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. why do so many in the modern church attribute conversion to man’s own free will? 39 . Discovery Questions: 1.
that we should be holy and blameless before him. Based on the fact that Paul wrote this in his letter to a very young church. When did God choose us as believers (see v. 8 which he lavished upon us. what do you make of the claim made by many that election is a doctrine too complicated to be taught in our churches? 4. according to his purpose. which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time. according to the riches of his grace. things in heaven and things on earth. According to verse 11. 4)? 2. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance. to unite all things in him. with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 6 to the praise of his glorious grace. in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will. 5)? Do you think He saw anything in us that caused Him to choose us? Is it by our will or His will that we were chosen? 3. Why did God choose us (see v. according to the purpose of his will. Discovery Questions: 1.Before the Foundation of the World – Ephesians 1:3-12 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood. What should our response be to the doctrine of God’s choosing us? 40 . how many things does God work after the counsel of His own will? 5. who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. the forgiveness of our trespasses. having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.
following the course of this world. 10 For we are his workmanship. because of the great love with which he loved us. 4 But God. would that leave room for boasting? 41 . 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. carrying out the desires of the body and the mind. made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. so that no one may boast. repent and turn to Christ of our free will while others were not.Not of Yourselves – Ephesians 2:1-10 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked. created in Christ Jesus for good works. If we were able to overcome our love for sin. are we as believers any better than many others who will die in their sins and go to hell? 3. is faith our contribution to the plan of salvation. being rich in mercy. According to verse 8. or is it itself a gift of grace? 4. like the rest of mankind. the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience -3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh. In and of ourselves. following the prince of the power of the air. it is the gift of God. If we were “dead” (vs. 9 not a result of works.” Discovery Questions: 1. 1) could we have helped or participated in our quickening? According to verse 5. and were by nature children of wrath. is the reason that we are now alive something that we did or something that God did? 2.
Paul says in verse 10 that we have been “created in Christ Jesus.5.” Did the universe help in its own creation? Did any created being? Did we assist in the new creation of our spiritual life? 42 .
as the Lord has forgiven you. humility.has any validity? 4. Do you think the criticism that many have leveled against the doctrine of election . Many people today teach that God has done the same thing for everyone. to which indeed you were called in one body. forgiving each other. meekness. humility. Does that teaching promote humility. 15 and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. How should understanding the doctrine of election lead to compassion. so you also must forgive. 13 bearing with one another and. Could a failure to accept what the Bible says about election be one reason that many in the church are puffed up. In view of this great blessing. 14 And above all these put on love. kindness. or at least impatient toward those who are outside the kingdom? 5. and ultimately leaves it up to the individual to be able to come to Him. and forbearance? 2. and patience. if one has a complaint against another.God’s Chosen Ones – Colossians 3:12-15 12 Put on then. and if so. And be thankful. forgiveness. as God’s chosen ones. compassionate hearts. Discovery Questions: 1. he urges them to live holy lives. They would have us believe that He chooses the ones who rise above their addiction to sin and selfrighteousness to lay hold of Christ. Paul prefaces his list of Christian virtues (which the Christians in Colossae should put on) by first pointing out that they have been chosen by God. holy and beloved. how? 43 . which binds everything together in perfect harmony. How has your own belief in the doctrine of election been part of the development of your Christian character? 3.that it would necessarily lead to ungodliness and arrogance .
constantly mentioning you in our prayers. Based on the teaching of Paul in this passage. 4 For we know. Brothers – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 1 Paul. According to the above verses. Can individuals know that they are elect? 2. Why would some people characterize the teaching of Sovereign Grace as being destructive to true assurance of salvation? 5. 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word. how can people know that they are elect? 3. Have you personally received the Gospel of Jesus Christ as described in verse 5? 44 . You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. that he has chosen you.We Know. and Timothy. Discovery Questions: 1. but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. brothers loved by God. 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Silvanus. 2 We give thanks to God always for all of you. does anyone who responds to the Gospel in sincere faith and repentance have any reason to believe that they are not elect? 4.
and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you. brothers. from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. and Timothy. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. isn’t the creation of something out of nothing much more difficult than its increase? 4. What is it about the Thessalonians for which Paul thanked God? (See verse 3.A Growing Faith – 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4 1 Paul. If we cannot even increase our faith on our own. as is right. Do you think that God gets the glory which He should receive from today’s churches or is too much attributed to man’s freewill? 6. because your faith is growing abundantly. To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you.) 2. is gratitude enough of a priority in your prayers? 45 . Silvanus. Which belief is more likely to lead the Christian worker to look to God in gratitude – the belief that free will is the generator of faith. Have you thanked God lately for the spiritual increase in your life and the life of your church? 5. Based on this teaching. or the belief that faith is the gift of a sovereign God? 7. Discovery Questions: 1. Why would Paul thank God for their growing faith? Is God the one ultimately responsible for the fact that their faith was strong and vibrant? 3. and peace. is there any way that we could have ever started it on our own? After all.
dwells in you as well. Paul points to the doctrine of God’s sovereign grace. and able to accomplish His purpose. that I may be filled with joy. that imparts courage to Christians? 4. Do you hear Christian people referred to as the “called” in today’s church? Do professing Christians ever credit their salvation to the call of God? If not. Discovery Questions: 1. which is in you through the laying on of my hands. Having heard the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation characterized as merely speculative points. a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now. as did my ancestors. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God. 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling. 7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. In verse 9 we again see reference to the “call” of God – twice. are you surprised . which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord. Is there something about knowing that God is all powerful.seeing that it is talked about so much in the New Testament? How can we bring our belief system and then our testimony more in line with the teaching of the Bible? 2. When was grace given to us as God’s people? 3. I long to see you. After encouraging Timothy to be courageous.God’s Purpose and Grace – 2 Timothy 1:3-9 3 I thank God. not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace. and their eternal security? 46 . nor of me his prisoner. Jonathan Edwards (the great colonial preacher) responded by saying that “all devotion greatly depends on a sense and acknowledgement of our dependence on God. whom I serve. their sanctification. as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” How important do you believe it is for Christians to acknowledge how much they owe to God for their salvation – their new birth. with a clear conscience. 4 As I remember your tears. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith. I am sure. but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.
Does it encourage you to share the Gospel with hardened sinners knowing that God can give them repentance whenever He sees fit? 47 . 11:18).” Is there any way that this “God may perhaps” statement of Paul fits with today’s teaching that God is trying His best to get as many as possible saved? 3. Paul teaches in verse 25 that God has to “grant” repentance (see also Acts 5:31. Is this in anyway surprising for you to learn? Has anyone taught you this so far in your Christian discipleship? Has this booklet helped you to see this truth? 2. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. after being captured by him to do his will.” and “gentleness” to describe how we are to teach others. Paul uses words like “kind.God May Perhaps – 2 Timothy 2:24-26 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone. He specifically uses the words “God may perhaps grant them repentance. Does understanding that God has to change the heart of the sinner help you to be more patient while teaching lost sinners? 5. Does God have the right to give or withhold repentance to whom or from whom He chooses? 4.” “patiently. able to teach. In verse 25 Paul says that God may or may not give repentance. patiently enduring evil. 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil. Discovery Questions: 1.
” Was being born again your doing. undefiled. kept in heaven for you. Galatia. Guarded -. an apostle of Jesus Christ. Do you believe the concept of foreknowledge is based on the covenantal and affectionate use of the word “know” that we find in such places as Amos 3:2.”) 2. and unfading. he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Peter says in verse 3 that God has “caused us to be born again. Asia. what do you think of the popular teaching about “foreseen faith?” 3.” Is faith something that we continue to generate so that we stay in the hand of God. according to the foreknowledge of God. 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. and Bithynia. To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus. Ephesians 2:4-7. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy.1 Peter 1:1-5 1 Peter. in the sanctification of the Spirit. for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable. or is it something that He is continually generating so that we will stay in His hand? 48 . 2 Timothy 2:19? In other words. Discovery Questions: 1.” This cannot be referring to a simple knowledge of their persons or all would be elected. In verses 1 and 2 Peter refers to the believers as “elect …. Cappadocia. Matthew 7:23. or God’s? Would Scripture frequently refer to the new birth as something God did to us (Titus 3:3-7. Born Again. Peter says in verse 4 that God guards us “through faith. James 1:18) if it were really something we do of our own initiative? 4. Is it significant that Peter says in verse 2 that they were elected “for obedience to Jesus Christ” and not “because of obedience to Jesus Christ?” Since Peter says they were chosen to faith and not because of their faith (see Romans 10:16 for example of the word obedience being used of believing).Elected. 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. do you believe that the concept of “foreknowledge” means that God set His special love upon them before time began? (See appendix # 3 – “Foreseen Faith a Farce.
5. If we cannot keep our faith. could we have ever started it in the first place? 49 .
A Chosen People – 1 Peter 2:1-10
1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Discovery Questions: 1. How does verse 8 account for the fact that people stumble at Jesus Christ? In other words, why does Peter say they disobey? 2. God’s predestination of people to disobey the word in no way denies human responsibility. It is simply acknowledging that God chose not to grant them the grace to believe and repent. If left to ourselves we would all have continued to disobey the gospel because we are all totally corrupt. Do you think it is wrong for God to leave
3. 4. 5. 6.
people who willingly hate Him and rebel against His ways to the evil of their own choices? If you believe it is wrong, what explanation would you give to Paul’s teaching in Romans 9:14-24? In what way does verse 9 prove that God is sovereign in the distribution of salvation? Did God choose you because you chose Him or did you choose Him because He chose you? How can God’s children show forth “the excellencies of him who has called (them) out of darkness into his marvelous light”? Are we thankful enough for God’s grace? Does verse 10 give any reason for anyone’s becoming part of the people of God other than His mercy alone? Does human merit, achievement, or self-will enter at any point into the cause of our conversion?
Are you convinced? If so, I hope that this doctrine will affect you, not just intellectually, but devotionally as well. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty should drive us into the dust in humility and lift us up to the highest heavens in praise and admiration. If this material has had the effect upon you that I have desired, you will find a place to get alone and pour out your heart before God and thank Him as never before that He chose you from the foundation of the world. You would still be lost and still in your sins if it had not been for grace. I also hope that you will become more courageous about sharing your faith because there are some who will receive the gospel according to the eternal plan of God. The fact that results are not in your hands but in God’s mighty power should give you encouragement and confidence. Perhaps you are still skeptical. I know that there are a lot of questions and things to think about when considering this doctrine. You may even feel that you were able to answer the questions and deal with the text in a way that was consistent with a more Arminian approach. I do not think that is possible from a contextual standpoint, but be that as it may, I am still thankful that you have spent time with these passages and tried to answer the questions. I pray that in the process of dealing with these passages you will at least have a greater understanding and appreciation for what is called “Reformed Theology” (that school of thought that teaches sovereign grace) and that your knowledge of God and His ways has been expanded along the way. May it be so to the glory of Almighty God!
So it is clear that the “all” is all of the elect. however. then. that Paul writes his letters to churches. By way of illustration it should be noted that this way of interpreting the word “all” does not apply only to Scripture. grace upon grace. This use of the word “all” also holds true in other places in Scripture as well. Another example of the importance of examining context and considering these various uses of the word all is seen when we come to Romans 8:32. that it means that God is doing His best to save every individual of the human race and in pursuing that goal.” Not every human being comes to Christ so the first part of the verse cannot mean everyone of them is taught by God. the word is sometimes used to refer to “ALL OF A CERTAIN KIND. It is a simple matter of examining the context. Otherwise.” But one has only to look closely at the context to see who the “us all” is. for example. Secondly. It is the same as the ones in verse 28 – “the called according to His purpose. I have dear friends who have argued with me that Christ gave Himself up as a universal atonement for the sin of all men (rather than just the elect) based on Romans 8:32 where Paul says that God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.). if I were to write a letter to family and say to them.” it is 53 .” Of course. Below are a few different ways that the word “all” is used in Scripture (besides meaning every individual): First. we would have universal salvation. not everyone has received grace so it is clear that John is speaking of himself and all believers. But as you read the New Testament you will begin to see that “all” does not always mean “every individual of the human race” each time that it is used. we read in John 1:16. There we read that “they will all be taught by God. the word “all” is referring only to “all of the believers”(See Romans 1:8.” a stranger would have no right to read that and think that I was coming to see him too.” This is one example of how interpreting the word “all” to mean “every individual of the human race” each time it is used can lead someone far away from the plain sense of Scripture. In many cases.” We must remember. He has done the same thing for all. I had a particular audience in mind when using the word “all. the word “all” is sometimes used of “ALL KINDS. For example. “I cannot wait to see you all.Appendix #1: The Use of the Word “All” By Kevin Smead Many argue that when the Bible says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “all” refers to “all of the elect.” as in John 6:45.” When Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For example.” At other times. “And from his fullness we have all received.” That it does not mean every individual of the human race is evident from what follows: “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
I came home and told my family that “all the world was in the city. While I cannot go through and point out every use of the word “all” in Scripture. 54 .” No one really believes that every individual in that region went out to be baptized. “And I. When I once travelled from our small town to a large city as a young man. the word “all” is sometimes used for “KIND OF ALL” (that is. we often use the word “all” and the word “world” in the same sense. What happened? All kinds of people were drawn. a Cyrenian proselyte who probably became a believer (compare Mark 15:21 with Romans 16:13). Yet another example of this use in Scripture is seen in John 12:32 where Jesus said.” Paul is referring in this place to people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). when compared with 1 Timothy 1:5-7 you can see that Timothy was likely dealing with Jewish heretics that wanted everyone to come under the law and become Jews to be saved. The meaning of the words “all people” are best interpreted by what actually did happen when Jesus was lifted up. “I grow this stuff in my back yard all the time. In the Gospel narratives we read of what was probably a Jewish thief being saved (Luke 24:41-43). and a Roman Centurian that confessed Him as the Son of God (Mark 15:39). That is the context for Paul’s statement about “all men. As with the previous uses of the word. Thirdly. will draw all people to myself. I knew what she meant because I am familiar with how the word “all” is often used. In fact. I hope that this will encourage you to consult the context and pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit to see how it is used in each particular place.” By “all people” cannot be meant every member of the human race because some people never even have the opportunity to hear the glad tidings of the gospel.” I did not mean for them to think that every individual in the world was there. when I am lifted up from the earth. No Bible interpreter takes it that way. or never took walks with her family. 2) and Gentiles as well as Jews (v. In Mark 1:5 we read of John’s baptism that “all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan.obvious that he is speaking of all kinds of people: kings as well as paupers (v. 7). were drawn to Him and it has been happening ever since. She simply meant that she grew it quite often. All it means is that a lot of people came out. Again. Neither did I believe that she meant even that she grew it year round. here is an example of how we often use the word “all” ourselves: My wife was watching a cooking show the other day while I was writing and the host of the show said of a certain ingredient. or never went shopping. a lot of people). I think that it is clear that to interpret the word “all” to mean “every individual of the human race” in every instance is incorrect. that is. All people. all kinds of people. but that representatives from every country seemed to be present.” Now upon hearing this I did not jump to the conclusion that she never slept.
” 55 .” “ALL KINDS.” or “KIND OF ALL. The word all can be used for “ALL OF A KIND.So there you have it.” May God use this study to enable you to see how precious His electing love is that included you in His “all.
I would just point out that John 3:16 is not the only verse in the Bible. Moving forward from that basic recognition. and the fact that the Bible says He loves the world.” This. It is certainly a blasphemous insinuation that other parts of the Word of God are not needed. and to interpret it in a way that does justice to all that it says and not just part. This becomes increasingly obvious when we consider that no one can deny that the word “world” is used in several ways in the Scriptures. “John 3:16 says ‘God so loved the world.” To that I simply reply that John 3:16 is not all a believer needs. If it were. there goes worship (to a certain extent). second. there goes believing prayer for our lost loved ones. I mean after all. Luke 2:1 says. The “John 3:16 is all I need” mentality comes dangerously close to taking from the Word of God. redemption. This seems like a simple matter. of course. Most people resolve the tension by denying the sovereignty of God altogether and choosing to teach that He is “trying” to save as many as possible. Those who feel that this cost is too high (to which number I certainly belong) have decided that. But for some people. Besides being used of every member of the human race (Romans 3:19). but this writer has had numerous people say to him. rather than denying God’s sovereignty in salvation. there goes assurance. comparing Scripture with Scripture. God would not have given us a Romans 9 or an Ephesians 1 or numerous other texts of Scripture that teaches God’s sovereignty. I would point out that we do not have the right to assign whatever meaning that we want to the word “world” in John 3:16.’ and John 3:16 is all I need. and calling of His people. God has given us His entire word and it is our duty to study it. which would place one under the curse of Almighty God (see Revelation 22:18-19). The best place to look at the word “world” is in John 3:16. denying the sovereignty of God is a cost they are unwilling to pay. the word is used in the following ways as well: 1. There is a tension for most people between the idea of God saving whom He wants to. we should take a closer look at the word “world” and what it is meant to communicate to us. “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. So what exactly does John 3:16 teach? First of all. is speaking of the taxation that 56 . This is where most people go when they deny sovereign grace and say that God is trying to save as many as possible. and there goes many precious Scriptures that assure us of God’s sovereign choice.Appendix #2: “The World” By Kevin Smead One of the biggest problems people have when it comes to thinking about the doctrine of God’s sovereign grace is the word “world” that is often used in Scripture.
“Now before the Feast of the Passover. or the world with its principles which are anti-God. then all would be given life by the Son.” Here the word world is used of the earth itself from which Jesus departed. John 6:33 says.’”It would be hard to argue that this could mean every individual in the world. the shepherds. So the word “world” here is used to be inclusive of Gentiles as well as Jews. Not every individual in the world was ruled by Satan. now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” If the word world meant every single individual in the world. If you were of the world. but because you are not of the world. the Lamb of God. and not the individuals of the human race. would ultimately lead Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. who takes away the sin of the world. 4. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me. Obviously.” Here Jesus is speaking of the unbelieving world. “If the world hates you. know that it has hated me before it hated you. John 13:1 says. John 1:10 we read. 8. Here the word “world” would either refer to the whole world of God’s elect. “Now is the judgment of this world. 7. John 17:9 – Jesus says. therefore the world hates you. or of Gentiles as well as Jews. and said. “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father. John 15:18-19 – Jesus says. but I chose you out of the world. did know Him. John 1:29 says. That cannot be the case. and the world was made through him. 3. This makes a perfect picture of Christ. let alone taxed by Caesar. John 12:31 reads. ‘Behold. Simeon. having loved his own who were in the world. “I am praying for them. for then no one would be lost.” Here it is obvious speaking of the world as it is in opposition to God.” When Jesus says He is 57 . So what does it mean? It will help us to realize that John makes an allusion here to the Jewish Passover when the lamb was offered up and its blood applied to the door post. What does it mean? It simply means a whole lot – or even most – people. “the next day he saw Jesus coming toward him. he loved them to the end. “He was in the world. and Anna. Mary.” The word “world” here does not mean every individual because Joseph. the world would love you as its own. while the gospel of Jesus Christ has to do with people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). except for one thing. The Passover only pertained to the Jews. for they are yours.2. yet the world did not know him. 6. 5. It is not necessarily speaking of individuals. let alone judged at that time. every human being in the world was not under the control of the Roman Empire.
Lest this illustration lead his Jewish audience to a strictly Jewish interpretation of the work of Christ on the cross. We simply do not have a right to assign whatever meaning we want to the word “world. I would say that the context of John 3:16 seems to favor a particular use of the word “world.” Third. John was a Jew writing to Jews. that of the serpent in the wilderness. It was for all – Jews and Gentiles alike. he makes this glowing reference to the entire world (see explanation of John 1:29 above). but in the words preceding John 3:16 he has pointed his readers to a very Jewish concept – namely. God brings His elected people in through the general invitation.” especially when we consider one important fact that many people overlook when reading this verse. Since this is true it should be at once obvious that John’s purpose in using the word “world” was to pull his audience out of their “Jewish only” mentality and show them that God’s purpose was much more comprehensive than the Jewish race (Revelation 5:9). then. the Jews of that day believed that the Messiah would come just for them and would destroy every other nation under heaven and establish them in worldwide domination.”) Not only was John writing to Jews. who seemed to be pillars. but those Jews were very nationalistic and ethnocentric. keeping in mind all that has gone before. Here we come face to face with problems much bigger than John 3:16. but that His purpose of grace is not limited to any one people group. Fourth. With the word “world” being used in so many different ways. it should be pointed out that the generic term “the world” (rather than “His elect among Jews and Gentiles”) serves a purpose that is completely consistent with sovereign grace. We know that he was writing to Jews because Paul says in Galatians 2:9 that John’s calling was to “the circumcised” (“And when James and Cephas and John. As a further evidence of John’s using the word “world” in contrast to the “Jews only” way of thinking. If Jesus was speaking of every individual then He prays for absolutely no one. it should be observed that not only is John writing to a Jewish audience. What is that purpose? It assists God’s elect in coming to faith in Christ and takes down any barriers that would discourage their faith by assuring them that whoever comes to Him is accepted. especially for those of us who are Gentiles according to the flesh. The question has often been asked why a general invitation (“whosoever will”) when there is a particular intention (God saving His elect)? The answer is that for God’s people to exercise faith in Jesus Christ (which is what He elected 58 . that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. not every individual. In fact.not praying for the world He is speaking only of the world of unbelievers. is not only that God has chosen to save some. This is certainly a cause for rejoicing. they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me. The marvel. we can see how important it is for us to look at the context in each instance to see how the word is used. perceived the grace that was given to me.
To God be the glory for our salvation! 59 .them to do) they must not look at election but at Christ. then. but thank God that He loves some (Jeremiah 31:3). Faith cannot look two ways at once. No one can truly celebrate the saving love of God except those who hold to sovereign grace. I could stop my son from running into the highway but wouldn’t because I wanted free-will to have its due. If God said. Arminianism is the one that portrays God as unloving. He still loves as much as Arminians believe that He loves anyone. So to accomplish His purpose of His people looking at Christ alone.” He is giving that general invitation that He will use to bring all who were predestined to come. Since God does not work with His people as pieces of wood but as moral and rational people. Calvinists do not believe that He loves all with an electing love. it could not have been otherwise. The way. When God says “world” and “whosoever. Granted. “All of my elect need to come to me” the individual would look at or for election instead of looking at Christ. If God leaves people to free will then he doesn’t love them (even the ones that come to Him – because He would have let them go if they wanted) but their free will. for He simply leaves them to their own will. And those whom He doesn’t love with an electing love. God gives a general invitation. It has been said by some that Calvinists promote an unloving view of God because they teach that He does not love the whole world with an electing love. Yet Calvinism presents the most loving view of God the world has ever seen. that God accomplishes His particular intention is through a general invitation. If for example. then it would not be my son but free-will that I loved most.
there are two views that are commonly held: (1) conditional election. 2. and those He redeems. among those who do teach something about this doctrine. Those He chooses. That would lead to the idea that all are predestinated and would not fit with the rest of Scripture. then.” When we do look at Scripture for its use. The Bible never says election is based on foreseen faith. Foreseen faith is a doctrine which is fabricated out of the mind of man. The fact that the word election or predestination is seldom or never mentioned in most churches today shows you how unconcerned most are with being biblical. Hence the term “conditional.” Many people point to Romans 8:29 which says. “The 60 . and then chose them. Conditional election: this is the Arminian view which teaches that God makes salvation available. The verse only says that he foreknew the people. we find that it uses that word in the covenantal sense of “knowing someone in relationship” or “intimately and lovingly. but ultimately leaves it up to each man’s own self-determination what to do with it.” But where does it say in that verse that He foreknew their faith? You might as well teach from that verse that He chose them because He foresaw their hair color as to teach that He chose them for foreseen faith.Appendix #3: Foreseen Faith a Farce By Kevin Smead Every church that wants to be biblical has to have some kind of teaching about election. They believe that when the Bible talks about election that God simply looked down the corridor of time and saw who would choose Him. He regenerates. This is clear for the following reasons: A. nor on anything foreseen in man (for there was only sin and unbelief to be seen) but according to His own good pleasure. not based on foreseen faith. 1. Where the Arminian would say that believers are elect.that God chose. but solely upon the good pleasure of God. That this does not mean a simple knowledge of their persons is evident from the fact that He knows all people in that way.” since he chose them on the condition that they would believe. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…. Many churches and denominations are concerned with nothing more than fitting in with the surrounding culture. Let’s look at each one. What we must do. Calvinist would say that the elect believe. Election therefore is based on nothing foreseen in man. or (2) unconditional election. Nevertheless.” Consider 2 Timothy 2:19 which says. is look at the biblical use of the word “know. Hence the title of this paper – “Foreseen Faith a Farce. He redeems. I think it is clear that Scripture teaches unconditional election . Unconditional election: this is the Calvinist view which teaches that God not only makes salvation available. but that He actually saves.
Psalm 14:2-3 makes it plain that when God looked down upon the sons of men. The teaching of the Arminians is that God could not choose to regenerate and give faith to whom He wanted. Now. but simply looked down the corridor of time and chose those whom He foresaw would believe at some point in their life. It is an election of individuals. Moreover. Therefore.” Obviously then “those whom he foreknew” are those whom He knew beforehand in relationship because of His determination to save them. Election is said to be an “election of grace” – Romans 11:5. There certainly doesn’t seem to be the kind of choice that Scripture would celebrate and repeatedly call our attention to. Election in the Bible is very personal. C.” Especially when he learns that it means turning his back on sin and acknowledging that he has nothing and needs Christ to be his all in all. That is precisely what the natural man is unwilling to do. D. We are not left in the dark about what kind of election we are dealing with. True saving faith and repentance are spiritual acts. But when you have two groups (hypothetically). Only by an act of God changing the sinner’s nature is He willing to have Christ on the terms that God sets forth.it is based on grace alone. but he does not want to when it means being saved “from your sin. Lord knoweth them that are His” or Matthew 7:23 where it says of the lost “I never knew you. E. Almost every natural man would want to be saved if it meant escaping hell. Therefore faith is not simply foreseen but foreordained. Faith is not something the natural man can come to on his own. by their own will. we are not to interpret this as a literal leafed book but rather metaphorically. God did not choose a category but people.B. election is based on foreseen faith then God would not be choosing people but the category of faith. Since the sinner is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) he is unwilling to do this. one group of obstinate rebels who refuse to repent and accept the gospel. Election is not based on anything in man . Otherwise a choice is no 61 . there doesn’t seem to be much of a choice there. For there to be a legitimate choice you would think that there would be legitimate options. and another of penitent souls who acknowledge their need and submit to the claims of Christ. In other words. To say that He elected because of foreseen faith would be to take election out of the realm of grace and into the realm of human achievement. The metaphor is meaningful in that we are meant to see how personal election is. there were none that sought Him. A choice based on foreseen faith is really no choice at all. There would have been no faith to merely foresee. the doctrine of foreseen faith is a farce. We read of people’s names being written in heaven. That is too impersonal to measure up to the loving doctrine of the Bible. If. He entered into covenant relationship with them from before the foundation of the world. however.
F. then God’s choosing us based on faith would be choosing us based on our holiness. “But you do not believe. “you did not choose me but I chose you. If the heart is purified by faith. What does holiness have to do with faith? Scripture says that the heart is purified by faith. Let’s consider the same truth in a different light. I hope that this short discussion helps you see some of the issues involved with election. then what more was there for God to choose. This is an election that truly does promote humility and elicit praise and adoration from those who were elected. not because we were holy.” and in John 10:26 He said. and the sinners foreseen met said conditions. I also hope that it helps you see that an election based on what God foresaw in people would totally 62 . but of His own good pleasure He chose those who currently make up His elect. G. He could have as easily chosen others if He had willed to do so. But in this lost condition. but Jesus said they do not believe because they are not of His flock. which is an essential part of holiness.choice. In other words. along with the conditions by which they would be saved – namely. This would be a denial of Ephesians 1:4. How else could people be seen to accept the Savior upon God’s conditions unless both the Savior and the conditions were set forth? But if there were already a Savior set forth. no one would have thought it would be otherwise. God chose. along with the conditions. faith and repentance.” The Arminians change that around and say that people are not of His flock because they do not believe. to save some. because you are not part of my flock. Therefore faith depends on election rather than election depending on faith. If God foresaw that there would be a people who would choose the Savior. This kind of teaching makes election to be little more than a word with no corresponding reality behind it! But if unconditional election (the Calvinist position) is true. then all sinners were equally lost and beyond hope in and of themselves. why would Scripture make such a big deal about God choosing those who choose Him? If conditions were such that some would believe and some would not (by their own free will). That makes God’s choice of sheep previous to the sheep’s belief. The Bible flatly denies that our choice was previous to God’s choice. In John 15:16 Jesus said. and were therefore already in the Savior. Now here is a choice that is worthy of the title. based on nothing foreseen in them. Paul says in Ephesians 1:4 that we were chosen to be holy. then it is obvious that a Savior was already set forth in the purposes of God for people to choose.
overthrow salvation by grace alone. Therefore. Election is an “election of grace” and is therefore unconditional! 63 . foreseen faith is indeed a farce.
$7.00 Timeless Wisdom from Thomas Watson: Great Quotes from a Great Puritan is a collection of quotations from the Puritan Thomas Watson concerning most of the major doctrines of the Bible.00 My Journey to Geneva: From Free Will to Free Grace is a 39 page booklet that chronicles Pastor Smead’s spiritual journey into the doctrines of God’s amazing grace. In addition to pastoral ministry. Other Titles by Kevin Smead Poems from a Pilgrim’s Heart is a collection of Christian poems written over the course of several years. AR with his wife Michelle and Son Haddon.A. in Christian ministries. -.00 The Doctrine of Election: Questions and Answers is a 32 page booklet which seeks to answer 17 of the most commonly asked questions about the doctrine of election in a simple and understandable way. AR. Kevin also writes Christian poetry and serves in evangelistic ministry. He is currently serving as the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Glenwood.00 Defending Calvinism: One Question at a Time is a conversational defense of the doctrines of God’s grace.$5. Christ centered. -. -.About the Author Kevin Smead is a native of Arkansas and has pastored Southern Baptist churches there for the past ten years.00 For ordering information please call (870) 451-3343. and evangelistic.$7.com (put “ordering information” in the subject line) 64 .$7. -.$5. He resides nearby in Daisy. -. These poems are Scriptural. or email us at ksmead3@yahoo. He is a 2004 summa cum laude graduate of Ouachita Baptist University where he earned a B.
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