4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Election


(See ELECT.)


The idea of election, as expressive of God's method of accomplishing His purpose for the world in both providence and grace, though (as befits the character of the Bible as peculiarly 'the history of redemption') especially in grace, goes to the heart of Scripture teaching. The word 'election' itself occurs but a few times (Ac 9:15 'vessel of election,' Ro 9:11; 11:5,7,28; 1Th 1:4; 2Pe 1:10); 'elect' in NT much oftener (see below); but equivalent words in OT and NT, as 'choose,' 'chosen,' 'foreknow' (in sense of 'fore-designate'), etc., considerably extend the range of usage. In the OT, as will be seen, the special object of the Divine election is Israel (e.g. De 4:37; 7:7 etc.); but within Israel are special elections, as of the tribe of Levi, the house of Aaron, Judah, David and his house, etc.; while, in a broader sense, the idea, if not the expression, is present wherever individuals are raised up, or separated, for special service (thus of Cyrus, Isa 44:28; 45:1-6). In the NT the term 'elect' is frequently used, both by Christ and by the Apostles, for those who are heirs of salvation (e.g. 24/22'>Mt 24:22,24,31; Lu 18:7; Ro 8:33; Col 3:12; 2Ti 2:10; Tit 1:1; 1Pe 1:2), and the Church, as the new Israel, is described as 'an elect race' (1Pe 2:9). Jesus Himself is called, with reference to Isa 42:1, God's 'chosen' or 'elect' One (Mt 12:18; Lu 9:35 RV, Lu 23:35); and mention is once made of 'elect' angels (1Ti 5:21). In St. Paul's Epistles the idea has great prominence (Ro 9; Eph 1:4 etc.). It is now necessary to investigate the implications of this idea more carefully.

Election, etymologically, is the choice of one, or of some, out of many. In the usage we are investigating, election is always, and only, of God. It is the method by which, in the exercise of His holy freedom, He carries out His purpose ('the purpose of God according to election,' Ro 9:11). The 'call' which brings the election to light, as in the call of Abraham, Israel, believers, is in time, but the call rests on God's prior, eternal determination (Ro 8:28-29). Israel was chosen of God's free love (De 7:6 ff.); believers are declared to be blessed in Christ, 'even as he chose' them 'in him'

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??????, 'choice.' Spoken of :

1. the Lord Jesus: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect (bachir) in whom my soul delighteth." Isa 42:1; 1Pe 2:6. He was fore-ordained to be a mercy-seat through faith in His blood. Ro 3:25, margin; 1Pe 1:20.

2. Cyrus, who was called by God to be His 'shepherd' to work out His will, saying to Jerusalem, "Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." Isa 44:28; 45:1-4. It was Cyrus who released the captives to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Ezr 1:2-3.

3. When Jacob and Esau were born, Jacob was elected for blessing, and his descendants as the only nation chosen by God for His special favour. Ro 9:11-13; Am 3:2.

4. When God again restores Israel into blessing it will be a remnant that will be chosen, whom He calls His 'elect.' Isa 65:9,15,22; 24/22'>Mt 24:22,24,31; Ro 11:28.

5. Elect angels. 1Ti 5:21.

6. Election of persons to eternal life. Ro 8:29-30,33; 11:5,7; Col 3:12; 1Th 1:4; 2Ti 2:10; Tit 1:1; 1Pe 1:2; 5:13; 2Pe 1:10; 2Jo 1:13.

The reason Christians feel a difficulty as to the doctrine of election to eternal life, is because they do not see the extent of the fall of man, and his utterly lost condition. Were it not for election, and the prevailing grace that follows it, not one would be saved. Christ died for all, and the gospel is proclaimed to all, Ro 3:22; Heb 2:9; but alas, except for the election and grace of God, none would respond. Lu 14:18. God must have all the glory.

Another error that has caused a difficulty as to 'election ' is the idea which some maintain that as some are ordained to eternal life, others likewise are fore-ordained by God to perdition, called 'reprobation.' But this is not taught in scripture

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ELECTION. Of a divine election, a choosing and separating from others, we have three kinds mentioned in the Scriptures. The first is the election of individuals to perform some particular and special service. Cyrus was "elected" to rebuild the temple; the twelve Apostles were "chosen," elected, to their office by Christ; St. Paul was a "chosen," or elected "vessel," to be the Apostle of the Gentiles. The second kind of election which we find in Scripture, is the election of nations, or bodies of people, to eminent religious privileges, and in order to accomplish, by their superior illumination, the merciful purposes of God, in benefiting other nations or bodies of people. Thus the descendants of Abraham, the Jews, were chosen to receive special revelations of truth; and to be "the people of God," that is, his visible church, publicly to observe and uphold his worship. "The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." "The Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you, above all people." It was especially on account of the application of the terms elect, chosen, and peculiar, to the Jewish people, that they were so familiarly used by the Apostles in their epistles addressed to the believing Jews and Gentiles, then constituting the church of Christ in various places. For Christians were the subjects, also, of this second kind of election; the election of bodies of men to be the visible people and church of God in the world, and to be endowed with peculiar privileges. Thus they became, though in a more special and exalted sense, the chosen people, the elect of God. We say "in a more special sense," because as the entrance into the Jewish church was by natural birth, and the entrance into the Christian church, properly so called, is by faith and a spiritual birth, these terms, although many became Christians by mere profession, and enjoyed various priviledges in consequence of their people or nation being chosen to receive the Gospel, have generally respect, in the New Testament, to bodies of true believers, or to the whole body of true believers as such. They are not, therefore, to be interpreted according to the scheme of Dr. Taylor of Norwich, by the constitution of the Jewish, but by the constitution of the Christian, church.

2. To understand the nature of this "election," as applied sometimes to particular bodies of Christians, as when St. Peter says, "The church which is at Babylon, elected together with you," and sometimes to the whole body of believers every where; and also the reason of the frequent use of the term election, and of the occurrence of allusions to the fact; it is to be remembered, that a great religious revolution, so to speak, had occurred in the age of the Apostles; with the full import of which we cannot, without calling in the aid of a little reflection, be adequately impressed. This change was no other than the abrogation of the church state of the Jews, which had continued for so many ages. They had been the only visibly acknowledged people of God in all the nations of the earth; for whatever pious people might have existed in other nations, they were not, in the sight of men, and collectively, acknowledged as "the people of Jehovah." They had no written revelations, no appointed ministry, no forms of authorized initiation into his church and covenant, no appointed holy days, or sanctioned ritual. All these were peculiar to the Jews, who were, therefore, an elected and peculiar people. This distinguished honour they were about to lose. They might have retained it as Christians, had they been willing to admit the believing Gentiles of all nations to share it with them; but the great reason of their peculiarity and election, as a nation, was terminated by the coming of the Messiah, who was to be "a light to lighten the Gentiles," as well as "the glory of his people Israel." Their pride and consequent unbelief resented this, which will explain their enmity to the believing part of the Gentiles, who, when that which St. Paul calls "the fellowship of the mystery" was fully explained, chiefly by the glorious ministry of that Apostle himself, were called into that church relation and visible acknowledgment as the people of God, which the Jews had formerly enjoyed, and that with even a higher degree of glory, in proportion to the superior spirituality of the new dispensation. It was this doctrine which excited that strong irritation in the minds of the unbelieving Jews, and in some partially Christianized ones, to which so many references are made in the New Testament. The were "provoked," were made "jealous;" and were often roused to the madness of persecuting opposition by it. There was then a new election of a new people of God, to be composed of Jews, not by virtue of their natural descent, but through their faith in Christ, and of Gentiles of all nations, also believing, and put as believers, on an equal ground with the believing Jews: and there was also a rejection, a reprobation, but not an absolute one; for the election was offered to the Jews first, in every place, by offering them the Gospel. Some embraced it, and submitted to be the elect people of God, on the new ground of faith, instead of the old one of natural descent; and therefore the Apostle, Ro 11:7, calls the believing part of the Jews, "the election," in opposition to those who opposed this "election of grace," and still clung to their former and now repealed election as Jews and the descendants of Abraham; "But the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." The offer had been made to the whole nation; all might have joined the one body of believing Jews and believing Gentiles; but the major part of them refused: they would not "come into the supper;" they made "light of it;" light of an election founded on faith, and which placed the relation of "the people of God" upon spiritual attainments, and offered to them only spiritual blessings. They were, therefore, deprived of election and church relationship of every kind: their temple was burned; their political state abolished; their genealogies confounded; their worship annihilated; and all visible acknowledgment of them by God as a church withdrawn, and transfer red to a church henceforward to be composed chiefly of Gentiles:

and thus, says St. Paul, "were fulfilled the words of Moses, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish," ignorant and idolatrous, "people I will anger you." It is easy, therefore, to see what is the import of the "calling" and "election" of the Christian church, as spoken of in the New Testament. It was not the calling and the electing of one nation in particular to succeed the Jews; but it was the calling and the electing of believers in all nations, wherever the Gospel should be preached, to be in reality what the Jews typically, and therefore in an inferior degree, had been,

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