Are people saved because of
the election of man by God or the selection of Christ by man? Both are
involved, of course. They are like the two rails of a railroad track
running side by side. Both rails are essential for the train. These
two truths are essential. If you try to bring both rails together or
put one above the other, you wreck the train. To magnify election out
of proportion can lead to fatalism. To overstress human responsibility
can lead to salvation by works. This is like all other truth in the
Bible. No doctrine contradicts or nullifies any other. There is a
place for all. It is like the love of God and the wrath of God. Both
are taught and they in no way contradict each other. To magnify either
above the other will create a lopsided Christian.
Election and the sovereignty of God are clearly taught throughout the
Word. Specifically God says "he hath chosen us in him [Christ]
before the foundation of the world" (Eph. I :4). Distinctly God
declares "he hath chosen us," not that man chose God. Jesus even more
emphatically states, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you"
(John 15: 16). On the other hand, the invitation irrevocably states,
"Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:
17). Over and over the call is to "whosoever" (John 3:16) without any
strings attached. It is true that "no man can come to me, except the
Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44), but God does this by
working in you "both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:
13); so that when one comes to Christ it is from within as though it
were all on his own. It is not a coercion from without but a
compulsion from within. I can witness to every person I meet and
sincerely say, "Whosoever will may come." Who will come, God alone
knows, and it is not my business to worry about that side but only to
fulfill my responsibility of witnessing to every creature.
A correct view of election will not quench a burden for souls. Paul
and Peter who wrote the most about election had great compassion for
the lost and did much witnessing. Election assures me some will be
saved, and so I witness, expecting people to respond.