Who are “the elect”?

Calvinist, Erwin Lutzer, writes: “When D.L. Moody quipped, ‘The elect are the whosoever wills and the nonelect are the whosoever wont’s,’ he was right. Calvinists could not agree more. Does this mean that God has violated man’s freedom? Again, I must stress that fallen man’s freedom is one-sided, that is, he is free only to choose various shades of evil.” (The Doctrines That Divide, p.192, emphasis mine)

However, Arminians do not agree. 

​The elect are not the whosoever-wills.
The non-elect are not the whosoever wont’s.

The elect are the whosoever-has. (Romans 8:1, 33)
The non-elect are the whosoever hasn’t. (John 3:18)

Romans 8:33-34: Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

This follows Romans 8:1: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

​Question: Who are “God’s elect”?

Answer: The elect are those who are “in Christ Jesus.”

Calvinists believe that the reason why God created all living beings was for the purpose of making a demonstration of His various attributes, and in so doing, had eternally decided to create an Upper Caste of men and angels for the express purpose of demonstrating His loving attributes, while also creating a corresponding Lower Caste of men and angels to embody His attributes of hate, wrath an eternal condemnation. The Upper Caste is denoted by Calvinists as “the elect,” which I often clarify as the “Calvinistically elect,” since I do not believe that it accurately represents the biblical teaching of who God’s elect really are. Jesus is the Elect One, and His body, the Church, is “elect” insomuch that it is an extension of Himself, which is why Christians are referred to as being “in Christ Jesus.”

Lawrence Vance: “There is no such animal as an ‘elect unregenerate’ child of God.” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.336, emphasis mine)

​Question: Can any unbeliever ever be “elect”?

Answer: No. They are mutually exclusive. The elect are in Christ, and free of condemnation, whereas unbelievers remain under condemnation. (John 3:18)

Consider two verses and then consider a revised definition of “The Elect”:

We must have a spiritual funeral in Adam in order to have a spiritual wedding in Christ.

Our spiritual funeral in Adam and resurrection in Christ is found at Romans 6:4: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” 

At Galatians 2:20, Paul speaks of our spiritual enjoinment with Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

For additional discussion on this subject, see also Romans 8:33.

One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians: “When we are joined to Christ, His election becomes our election. Since Christ was elect from eternity, we can also be said to be elect from eternity, as we are identified with Him. In that sense, His history becomes our history, just as we can be said to have been crucified with Him, etc.” (SEA)

Election comes from somewhere. The Jews have their election from Abraham, being “in Abraham,” so to speak. Of course, the Jews misunderstood the nature of that election, but suffice it to say, election comes from somewhere. As Christians, our election comes from Jesus. We are “in Christ,” and that’s where our election comes from. Put it this way: Jesus is the Elect One. We know that this is true because God personally said so: “Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!’” (Luke 9:35) Now as an illustration, imagine if a man won the lottery, and then turned to his wife and said, “It looks like I won, but you didn’t.” Well that would be ridiculous, because as his wife, she has a legal claim. In effect, they both won, because they are married. Similarly, as Christians, and as the Bride of Christ, we have a legal right to what is Christ’s. He is the Elect One, and now so are we. The favored status of Christ also belongs to His Bride, and His Bride are those in the Body of Christ, being His believers. However, Calvinists have imagined a type of election where they are “in the Father,” in having been chosen to be the Father’s special people, which is interesting in light of John 14:6, in which Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through the Son. So Calvinists would, in effect, have circumvented Jesus. 

Calvinist, John MacArthur: “We are chosen unto salvation. We are chosen to belong to Him. When you look at your salvation, then thank God. Thank God! Because you are a Christian because He chose you. I don’t understand the mystery of that. That’s just what the word of God teaches. That is the most humbling doctrine in all of Scripture. I take no credit, not even credit for my faith. It all came from Him. He chose me. He selected people to be made holy in order to be with Him forever. Why he selected me, I will never know. I’m no better than anyone else. I’m worse than many. But He chose me.”  (Understanding Election, emphasis mine)

Calvinists have an election [in the Father] that they cannot explain. Arminians have an election that is easily explainable, because it is derived solely from knowing Jesus, being associated with Jesus, being identified with Jesus, and being legally “in Him,” in His living Trust. That’s the difference. The problem with Calvinism is that it makes its adherents believe that they are independently elect, by decree from the Father, with the result that these secretly elect ones are given to the Son:

Calvinist, James White: “I just also believe the undisputed and unrefuted fact that I come to Christ daily because the Father, on the sole basis of His mercy and grace, gave me to the Son in eternity past.”  (Debating Calvinism, p.306, emphasis mine)

James White: “God elects a specific people unto Himself without reference to anything they do. This means the basis of God’s choice of the elect is solely within Himself: His grace, His mercy, His will.” (The Potter’s Freedom, p.39, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “Paul further confirms this, declaring that God was moved by no external cause; He Himself and in Himself was author and cause of our being elected while yet we were not created, and of His afterwards conferring faith upon us.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.69, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “Then, when Paul lays down as the unique cause of election the good pleasure of God which He has in Himself, he excludes all other causes.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.69, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “Christ therefore is for us the bright mirror of the eternal and hidden election of God, and also the earnest and pledge. ... We see here that God begins with Himself when He sees fit to elect us....” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.127, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “The calling is therefore a certain and specific calling, which seals and ratifies the eternal election of God so as to make manifest what was before hidden in God.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.70, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “First he points out the eternity of election, and then how we should think of it. Christ says that the elect always belonged to God. God therefore distinguishes them from the reprobate, not by faith, nor by any merit, but by pure grace; for while they are far away from him, he regards them in secret as his own.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.393, emphasis mine) 

John Calvin: “Christ certainly counts none among His own, unless he be given by the Father; and He declares those to be given who before were the Father’s (ibid. 17:6).” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.147, emphasis mine)

John Calvin: “God has chosen His own to be holy and without blame (Eph 1:4).” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.134, emphasis mine)

God has chosen those in Christ. We are chosen in Christ, or chosen in connection with Christ. 

Next consider the emotional problems associated with Calvinists being unsure of being secretly drafted:

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon: “I frequently meet with poor souls, who are fretting and worrying themselves about this thought—‘How, if I should not be elect! ‘Oh, sir, they say, ‘I know I put my trust in Jesus; I know I believe in his name and trust in his blood; but how if I should not be elect?’ Poor dear creature! you do not know much about the gospel, or you would never talk so, for he that believes is elect. Those who are elect, are elect unto sanctification and unto faith; and if you have faith you are one of God’s elect; you may know it and ought to know it, for it is an absolute certainty. If you, as a sinner, look to Jesus Christ this morning, and say—‘Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling, you are elect. I am not afraid of election frightening poor saints or sinners.”  (Election, emphasis mine)

Here you have people who claim to trust in Jesus, but yet do not know whether they are saved, because they might not be “elect.” Spurgeons answer: “Have faith you are one of God’s elect.” Calvinists will rage that this is a mischaracterization of the faith of Calvinists, but guess what? This is documented history. Calvinists were, in fact, trusting in a process moreso than a person. This is something unique to Calvinists. Arminians no such such fear of an eternal draft. Arminians can simply trust in Christ.

Spurgeon concludes: “Let your hope rest on the cross of Christ. Think not on election but on Christ Jesus. Rest on Jesus—Jesus first, midst, and without end.” (Election, emphasis mine)

Calvinist, Mark Kielar: “Forget about the fact of whether I am elect or not. ‘Maybe I’m not elect?’ Forget about that, because regardless of any of that, God commands all men, everywhere, to repent and believe.” (How Do I know If I’m One of God’s Elect?)

First of all, this exactly what Spurgeon recommended for doubting Calvinists. Just forget about Calvinism, and take on the same approach as Arminians, by just focusing on Jesus and repentance. Second of all, what is the point of telling all men, everywhere, to repent and believe, if Jesus didn’t die for all men, everywhere? By telling them to repent and believe, you are implying that God loves them, and Jesus died for them, and is willing to receive their repentance. So that wipes out Limited Atonement. 

Mark Kielar adds: “Cry to God for converting grace.” (How Do I know If I’m One of God’s Elect?)

So what happened to Calvinistic Monergism? Also, by Calvinistic standards, can one cry out for Irresistible Grace, without already having it? (This is how Calvinism constantly tortures logic.) So instead of confessing your sins and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead (as per Romans 10:9-10), the Calvinist method is to beg for Irresistible Grace. I conclude that Calvinism doesn’t do anyone, any bit of good. I’ve even heard Calvinists recommend that people should believe like Calvinists but live like Arminians. Well how about just believing and living like Arminians? Calvinists need works as a way to personally affirm a secret election. The peril of Calvinism is that it turns your mind from Christ, and over to secret decrees, a secret draft and begging for Irresistible Grace, all of which has the effect of making God’s grace more unlikely, than likely.

Question:  How should “God’s elect” be viewed?

Answer:  By ourselves, we are not elect. It’s all about Jesus. Jesus is the Elect of the Father, and believers are merely piggybacking on Jesus’ election. Yes, believers are elect, but only insomuch as being identified with Christ, as the Bride of Christ, as the Body of Christ, and in Christ. It is only our identification with Jesus that makes us elect with Christ. Another way to understand it is through Abraham. It is true that a Jew belongs to the chosen race, but only insomuch as piggybacking from Abraham, all based upon God’s promise to Abraham. We are elect, in the same way, based upon God’s eternal plan to make Jesus Christ, His Son, the place of grace.