If we have Faith Alone, do we need For the Elect Alone?

Is faith alone important? What’s the point of it? According to Scripture, faith alone is “not works”. The point of faith alone is “grace alone”. And according to Scripture, we cannot say grace alone without saying “for the elect alone”. Romans 9:11, “though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call.”

I want you to see the connection between “not because of works” and election. When evangelicals attempt to leave out the “for the elect alone” and discuss the gospel without talking about election, then mostly all they can do is say “not because of works but because of faith alone”.

Even if you believe the false gospel that Christ died for every sinner, Reformed evangelicals will tell you that God effectually called you to believe that heresy. Of course they won’t tell you it’s heresy, but in select groups (for examples, conferences that charge you big dollars) they will explain a more educated and precise view of things which you might want to add on to what you already believe without needing to repent of a false gospel.

Before you believed in a faith alone gospel, and now you still believe in a faith alone gospel but now you know that the faith came from God,

Galatians 3: 5-8, “ Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. I know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham….

Since this text does not talk about election, and since it does talk about faith four times, what then is the gospel preached to Abraham that we should preach? First, notice that faith is a hearing produced by God by means of the gospel. The power is in the true gospel, not a false gospel. I Corinthians 1: 18, “for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, IT is the power of God.”

The true gospel needs to be proclaimed to all sinners (and not just those who have the bucks to get into Reformed conferences). The gospel is only good news for the elect, but we don’t know who the elect are until they have believed the gospel. The promise of the gospel is not for the children of the flesh but for the children of the promise, but we don’t know who the children of the promise are until they have been called.

As Romans 9: 7 reminds us, not all are offspring of Abraham because they are his offspring. As Acts reminds us time after time, the promise is for “as many as“ are called. (2:39, 4:4 ). Since Romans 8:30 teaches us that as many as He called were also predestined, I see no reason to leave out the idea of election from the idea of calling

It is not enough to talk about calling and election, if election is simply to make sure that some sinners have faith alone. If the object of the faith alone is a false gospel which says that Christ loves everybody and desires to save everybody but that faith is some kind of condition of this salvation, then this faith alone is not in the true Christ but is instead in faith alone.

We don’t bring faith to the true gospel, because the true gospel brings faith (hearing) to the elect. The message (for the elect alone) is to be proclaimed to elect and non-elect alike. This message of good news is the power of God to the elect alone.

I Corinthians 2:12,“ Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we would understand the things freely given us by God.” Freely given by God does not mean that God has made an offer of a free gift if we accept it by faith alone. Freely given by God does not mean that we don’t have to work for it, but that the alone condition is faith.

“Freely given” means “sovereignly given”, given ‘”without a cause”, given by God to the elect chosen and loved in Christ. I Cor 2:12 explains that the elect are given the Spirit to UNDERSTAND the things freely given us by God. The elect don’t bring faith to the gospel, because the power of the gospel brings hearing to the elect, so that they understand not only that things are given by God, but also that these things are given freely, sovereignly.

Faith alone is not the condition, but to see that, we need a message which tells us about God’s election.

Romans 1:16, “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Evangelicals understand this as teaching that salvation is conditioned on faith alone. Evangelicals don’t understand the gospel. T

Election is God’s idea. This idea goes along with the idea of not works. Romans 9:11, “In order that God’s election might continue, not because of works.” Romans 11: 5, “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would be no more grace.”

Doesn’t the apostle Paul understand that you can say “not by works “ without talking about election? Why doesn’t he just say: “by faith and not by works”? Why does he bring in this idea of a remnant? Paul writes about election in order to explain what he means by faith. Paul does not regard faith as a substitute for works.

Galatians 3:5-8 quotes Genesis 15:6, which tells us that Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him as righteousness. Everybody from Martin Luther to John Murray reads this as saying that faith alone is imputed as the righteousness.

Of course there are different explanations. Luther reminds us that to have faith is to have Christ indwelling, and tells us that God really is pleased with the faith God has given us, and this faith is really righteous in God’s sight. But Luther does not explain how this righteous faith (produced by God in the water of regeneration) satisfies the law of God . And since Luther taught that, if you were a sinner, Christ had died for you, then Luther’s message cannot be that the elect were saved by Christ’s death alone.

John Murray not only taught that Christ died in some sense only for the elect, but also taught that faith alone for nine reasons could not be the righteousness imputed. I like his reasons, and you can look them up in his commentary on Romans. But still, at the end of the day, Murray claimed that every honest exegete would have to agree with him that Genesis 15 does teach that the faith alone is what God imputes.

No matter if we have gone to great lengths to say that it is not credited as righteousness but only unto righteousness, what is “it” and why is God imputing “it”?

“It” has an antecedent, but the antecedent is not faith alone. God imputes the righteousness revealed in the gospel unto the righteousness of a person justified by the gospel. In context, “faith” in Galatians 3:5-8 is defined in two ways: not by works of the law, and the gospel preached to Abraham.

God’s conditional covenant with Abraham is not the gospel God preached to Abraham. God did not say to Abraham: if you believe, then I will bless you. God said, I will bless you without cause, not only so that you will believe but also so that in your offspring there will be one who will bring in the righteousness for the elect alone required by the law.

The “it” which is imputed by God to Abraham is the obedient bloody death of Christ Jesus for the elect alone. The righteousness of God obtained by Christ is imputed unto the elect alone.

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2 Comments on “If we have Faith Alone, do we need For the Elect Alone?”

  1. David Bishop Says:

    Paul’s question in Romans 3:29, concerning whether God is the God of Jews only, is a hypothetical question meant to produce an answer so silly that it would illicit laughter. Hypothetically speaking, if God were the God of Jews only, then justification for the Gentiles would have to come by the works of the Law. This would have to be so because a: God cannot justify them (He would be the God of Jews only), and b: we have Rahab, a Gentile, justified in the OT. In our hypothetical world then, how would she have been justified? Not by God’s grace, for God would be the God of Jews only. Only answer is by works of the Law. Of course, no one is justified by the works of the Law, for everyone is under sin. Hence, ha-ha-ha.

    And well should we laugh. Even Jesus meant us to laugh at the very thought of such absurdity. The idea of a sinner being able to justify himself is silly. So silly in fact, that it is easier to imagine a camel squeezing through the eye of a needle than it is to consider a sinner being able to justify himself.

    Of course, few if any of the speakers at those high-priced conferences bother to explain that the only Jew or Gentile that will ever be justified are those Jews and Gentiles who are elect.


  2. I see you have a very good grasp of the grace of God so that we can see the grace thru faith that is indeed grace in itself. It is not given to all men to see the truth of the faith of grace. The elect alone will be saved. We are to proclaim the Gospel to every nation not that we can or should offer the Gospel to all man, only proclaim and watch as God provides the increase.


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