Jan 23

Resources on the Doctrine of Election

2013 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s Message, “How God Makes Christians,” Ryan unpacked the doctrine of election from 1 Peter 1:1-2. For Peter and his readers, the truth of God’s election of sinners to salvation was not understood as a matter for controversy, but for comfort.

At the close of Ryan’s sermon he mentioned several appropriate responses to the sermon. Some need to resolve to study this more from Scripture. Some need to accept what they have seen in Scripture. Others need to cherish what they’ve accepted.

Here are some resources to help you see, embrace, and cherish the doctrine of God’s electing love:

In addition, it may also be helpful to read the Elders Doctrinal Statement, which is more narrow and doctrinally specific than the doctrinal statement required for membership at DSC. Both are available on our Beliefs page. This document expresses the doctrinal understanding of Scripture that our elders share together and the doctrinal commitments that govern the teaching ministry of our church. Several sections will be helpful for you to read, including Section 3, “God’s Eternal Purpose in Election,” Section 7, “The Saving Work of Christ,” and Section 8, “The Saving Work of the Holy Spirit.”

Section 9 of the Elders Doctrinal Statement addresses a specific question raised by the doctrine of election: the relationship of gospel preaching and human responsibility.

9. The Offer of the Gospel and the Responsibility of Man

9.1 We believe that human beings are genuinely responsible for their decisions, actions, and motives. God’s providence mysteriously involves human wills and real choices in such a way that neither God’s sovereignty nor human will is violated or sacrificed for the reality of the other. This mysterious harmony is sometimes called “compatibilism” or “concurrence,” indicating that divine sovereignty and human responsibility are compatible and run concurrently through every decision and event. Often times in the Scriptures, complete divine sovereignty and genuine human responsibility are unblushingly affirmed in the same passage.

9.2 We believe that genuine human choices, though simultaneously and intimately involving God’s active providence, are made according to ability and desire. Sin’s effects have devastated our spiritual abilities and desires, so that it may be rightly said that “no man seeks after God.” Our spiritual waywardness, then, is the free, conscious, and repeated choice of those born into sin and under condemnation.

9.3 We believe that the gospel should and must be proclaimed in all the world and among all men. The legitimate gospel offer and genuine call to “believe and repent” is an offer to all, and a reality for those (and only those) who consciously and passionately confess, repent, believe, receive, and seek Christ—all synonyms for faith. God’s gospel call, in the Bible and through His people, is a genuine call to come, and those who do not come to Christ do not come precisely because they do not want to, choosing according to their wayward desires.

9.4 We believe that belief unto salvation is one of innumerable instances in the Scriptures where “concurrence” is essential to a proper and biblical understanding of divine sovereignty and human responsibility—neither negated, overruled, or dismissed by the other.

As we ponder the Word of God, meditate on God’s gracious election of sinners, and pray for the conversion of the lost, let’s keep in mind these important words from the famous 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon: “There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promoting of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.”