The doctrine of election is one area where one is hesitant to go into, as this was responsible for major splits in the church over time. But not only did the church split up, but households were torn apart. But I do not think that the LORD wanted this to happen. His Word did not come to strike down believers, but came to build people in their faith. So what do we have to look at to find a Biblical answer to this question?
I must say that if you have a very strong view on this subject, you might not agree with me. All I ask is that you will think about the passages that I will share as well as my deductions made from these passages.
I want to start right at the beginning. Jesus is the one speaking. Now you might tell me that to quote from the book of Revelation is not at the start, but Jesus was there in the beginning and will be there at the end. Revelation 3 verse 9: “9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie;” We find that Jesus says to the church in Philadelphia that they have people there who call themselves Jews, but they are lying. This verse is a confirmation of a similar verse in Revelation 2 verse 9, which stated: “9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” These two passages give us a very important principle: Only Jews will be saved. This agrees with what Moses told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7 verses 6 and 7: “6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:”
This leaves us with a major question, as we know that God will never go back on His Word, and yet He says that he chose only Israel, the smallest nation to be His children. All the Jews are descendants of Israel. So what about other people? The answer comes from Acts 10 verse 34 and 35; “34 ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” This passage informs us that should we work righteousness and fear the LORD, we will be acceptable to Him. This however does not solve our dilemma of Revelation that only Jews will be saved. Our answer to that question comes from Numbers 15 verses 15 and 16: “15 One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. 16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.” Exodus 12 from verse 48 gives us the final answer: “48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.“
We find that in the history of Israel, if someone decided to stay with Israel, they were counted as being part of the nation of Israel. A very good example for us is Ruth. Although she could return to her own land, she chose to go with Naomi and be as her own daughter. The word that Ruth spoke, also shed more light on this truth: Ruth 1:16: “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth chose to become part of Naomi’s nation, and to accept her God. Who was Ruth? She was David’s grandmother. Who did Jesus descend from? David.
How do we fit all these pieces together? The LORD chose Israel to be His nation. We as gentiles must decide to join the nation of Israel to become part of the LORD’s nation. How is this achieved? In the time of Israel, it was through circumcision, which confirmed the covenant relationship. Today it is through becoming part of the New Covenant. Jesus declared it as follows: John 3 verses 5 and 6: “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This then confirms that we have to decide to become part of the New Covenant, and that only you can decide, not your parents or anyone else. Once you have decided to do this you have to follow the example we quoted earlier where Peter declared that everyone who does righteousness and fear the LORD, is acceptable to Him. You have to share communion to share in the covenant meal with Jesus as the bread is His flesh, and the wine is His blood. Cornelius and his family decided to put their trust in the LORD, and were baptized. So, we then have to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.
How does Paul answer our original question? Ephesians 2 from verse 11: “11 ¶ Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 ¶ For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”
I trust that this short argument on this very thorny issue, has clarified it for you. We can go on for days and weeks debating this subject. Remember Jesus also declared that we must become like a child to follow Him. I know people have written numerous books on this subject, but I trust that a child will even understand this short article.