Divine Election as a Pastoral Doctrine

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The doctrine of election, like every truth about God, involves mystery and sometimes stirs controversy. But in Scripture it is a pastoral doctrine, brought in to help Christians see how great is the grace that saves them, and to move them to humility, confidence, joy, praise, faithfulness, and holiness in response. It is the family secret of the children of God. We do not know who else he has chosen among those who do not yet believe, nor why it was his good pleasure to choose us in particular. What we do know is, first, that had we not been chosen for life we would not be believers now (for only the elect are brought to faith), and, second, that as elect believers we may rely on God to finish in us the good work that he started (1 Cor. 1:8–9; Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 5:23–24; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:18). Knowledge of one’s election thus brings comfort and joy.

Packer, J. I. (1993). Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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