Non-Election is Not Conditioned on the Sinner
Ephesians 3:9-11. “To make all (even gentiles) see what is the fellowship/union of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places would be known by the called out elect the manifold wisdom of God according to the permanent purpose which He decreed in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ…”
It is wrong to say that non-election is conditioned on sin: both the elect and the non-elect are sinners–if sin were the cause/condition of non-elect, then all sinners would be non-elect. The reason for non-election is like the reason for election. God’s justice is no less sovereign than God’s grace.
The texts in Ephesians remind us that there is more to know about God than His sovereign justice: His glory is also revealed in His sovereign love and in His sovereign wrath. To know His name is to know Him as the one who has mercy on some and who hardens others.
I deny that non-election is conditioned on sin. God’s very first concern is to manifest His glory in discriminating between sinner and sinner, so that election in Christ from the beginning is an election of sinners. To be outside Christ from the beginning is to be non-elect sinner.
God does not wait for sinners to sin, and then decide to pass some of them by. In the very purpose to elect and to not elect for His glory, God is the Subject and sinners are His objects. God’s choice is the first thing.
Sin is not the first thing, and then God reacts. Neither is creation the first thing, and then God reacts. Sin is necessary if God is to choose between sinners. Only because of God’s choice to choose between sinners, does God ordain sin.
We often hear the phrase “election is not salvation” so that “election is UNTO salvation”. Or that “election is not the gospel” but that election is what causes people to believe the gospel. I want to criticize these often-stated contrasts.
Of course the word “salvation” can be used in different senses. But if the righteousness Christ earned is not for the elect until the elect believe, it makes no difference if you say that the righteousness was earned only for the elect or also for others besides the elect. In any case, it is not the righteousness which is the cause of believing.
The effect of denying election in the gospel is to make Christ’s work of obedience not be the ONLY cause of salvation. It makes the work of the Spirit in the sinner causing the sinner to believe becomes not a result but a condition of Christ’s work.
This false gospel will end up not glorying in the cross but putting the Spirit’s work in the sinner in the determinative place. This false gospel, in which Christ‘s work is not the cause, will also say that “election is not the gospel” but only that which makes sinners believe the gospel.
II Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, in order that those who live will no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Jonathan Gibson, “The Glorious, Indivisible, Trinitarian Work of Christ”, From Heaven He Came, p 35
p 352—”Some conclude that the efficacy of Christ’s work occurs only at the point of faith, and not before. This ignores the fact that union with Christ precedes any reception of Christ’s work by faith. It is union with Christ that leads to the efficacy of Christ’s work to those who belong to Him.”
ps: One common dodge of election is to deny that God knows about or cares about time. Instead of saying that God is both outside time and inside time, the typical procedure is to deny that God is concerned with order and sequence and time.
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