Unconditional Election

The Coffee: The coffee in my mug today is from the Don Pablo Coffee Roasting Company. This signature blend is a medium-dark roast that brings out a full flavor. I was surprised that the bold taste was followed by a smooth finish. I enjoyed the coffee’s mellow acidity; which is a nice touch to a coffee that comes off strong. This is the type of coffee I picture drinking on a cold day or around a campfire as a compliment to the full flavor.

One of the keys to making sure you are getting the most out of your roast is the water temperature. Auto-drip machines attempt to regulate temperature without any user modification. However, if you are trying to achieve the full flavor from your roast that is brought out with a French Press or a Pour Over, it is crucial to be aware of the temperature of the water you are using. The ideal water temperature when brewing coffee lies between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides enough heat to bring out the flavors of the roast while staying cool enough to not burn the grounds and turn the coffee bitter. Different roasts can react differently to water temperature, but staying in this range should maximize your coffee’s flavor.

The Theology: In the previous post we discussed total depravity. That in our fallen state, we are dead in our sin and in rebellion against God’s will. In this state, we cannot hope to save ourselves. This is what made the crucifixion as an atonement for our sins crucial. Now we move to the next step in the study of Calvinism. While unregenerate, we are unable to bring ourselves to God’s grace. This can only be accomplished through unconditional election by God. In God’s infinite knowledge, he chose to regenerate believers and predestined them to be reinvigorated with the Holy Spirit and to follow God’s plan for their life for his glory.

Many denominations and theological viewpoints within the Christian faith believe in some form of election and predestination. That the sovereign God had a divine plan for each individual before their birth. That plan could be for salvation, or to be passed over and left to their sinful nature. The area of distinction in unconditional election is the criteria for this election by God. The unconditional nature of the election indicates that it is not based on our merit or our good deeds. God had a plan, and he carried out that plan outside of our own actions. If we believe in the truth of total depravity. This is the logical next step. If we are corrupted and in rebellion, we cannot possibly hope to fulfill certain conditions and requirements for our own election. Those dead in sin cannot carry out this plan for salvation on themselves, we need a sovereign God who chooses us unconditionally.

Unconditional election is evidenced throughout scripture. Ephesians 1:3-5 states: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” This passage clearly states that before time, God predestined believers out of love and that we are considered free from the burden of sin through the faith that this election brings about. Nowhere in this passage does it mention that we are predestined due to our own actions. This is further evidenced in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. In Romans 8:29-30 Paul states: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” This passage shows a chain of events for the believer: God foreknew us. He had a plan for our salvation according to his will. He, therefore, predestined us to be called to follow him and to be justified by our faith. Due to this justification, our glory can be found in him.

God’s sovereign election is the first step for a regenerate believer. God’s choice to elect a believer unconditionally causes our hearts, once hardened by sin, to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This regeneration causes us to seek after God when called. The 1689 London Baptist Confession summarizes this process as: “Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, He is pleased in His appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving to them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.” I find the idea of this effectual call and regeneration of our corrupt heart liberating. 1 John 4:19 states: “We love because he first loved us.” It is truly great that God chose me out of his own love for me, and because of his sovereign plan for me, not because of anything I did. If my salvation was left up to my understanding and obedience to a Holy God’s perfect law instead of God’s choice I would be far lost in my sins. The great theologian and preacher Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying: “I must confess I never would have been saved if I could have helped it” and I agree with him. If you are a believer, I urge you to reflect and give thanks to God for his sovereign choice and regenerating your heart to follow him. Find comfort in this fact, then go forward in God’s plan for your life. Do all things for the glory of God, and create disciples of others who have been called.

All scriptures from the ESV Bible

Sources:

  • What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics R.C. Sproul-Baker Books-2016
  • Lansphere, L. (Director).(2017). Calvinist [Video File]. USA: Broken Stone Studio.
  • The Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689 Banner of Truth Trust-2012

If you have any comments, further discussion points, or suggestions for future topics I urge you to use the contact function; or email pourovertheology@gmail.com

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