I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
Question: Who are the “chosen angels”
and what does their title imply?
Answer: It may reference the holy angels
(Matthew 25:31, Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26
and Revelation 14:10), or perhaps signify
archangels, such as Michael who rebuked
Satan (Jude 9), and Gabriel who announced
the birth of Christ. (Luke 1:19, 26) Seven
angels were appointed to hold the seven last
plagues of Revelation (Revelation 21:9), and
one was assigned to show the apostle John
The New Jerusalem, whom John mistakenly
worshiped. (Revelation 22:8-9)
Notice that Christians are similarly referenced as a “chosen race” and a “holy nation,” according to 1st Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Calvinists infer Calvinism, but their inference ultimately breaks down:
In other words, Calvinism for humans works the same way for angels. But does it work?
John Calvin: “Paul calls these angels elect, not to differentiate them from the reprobate angels, but because they are such excellent angels, whose testimony may stir up deeper reverence.” (1&2 Timothy & Titus: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.93, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “...they stood fast because they were elect....” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.160, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “Paul gives the name of elect to the angels who maintained their integrity. If their steadfastness was owing to the good pleasure of God, the revolt of the others proves that they were abandoned. Of this no other cause can be adduced than reprobation, which is hidden in the secret counsel of God.” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, section 4, emphasis mine)
In other words, John Calvin believes that “because they were elect,” the angels were prevented from falling, perhaps by an Irresistible Grace, rather than being declared Elect on account of not falling:
Question: Although the Westminster Confession of Faith
includes a reference to “angels,” most Calvinists are
unwilling to draw comparisons with men and angels in
terms of Election and Reprobation. Why is that?
Answer: Recall that Calvinism is supposed to be a 5-link
chain, and that if any one link is broken, the chain snaps.
Considering the angels, were they Total Depraved?
Without dispute, they had Free Will. Thus, you should
expect most Calvinists to shy away from building a case
of Calvinistic Election and Reprobation around the matter
If Calvinists wish to suppose that there was an Unconditional Decree of Election for Angels, on par with an Unconditional Decree of Election for Men, then consider the implication:
John Goodwin: “...if God loves no more men than those who come to be actually saved, he might properly and truly be said to be...a lover of angels, rather than a lover of men. Because if we shall restrain his love towards men only to those comparative few who will be actually and eventually saved, he will be found to love a far greater proportion of angels than of men....” (Redemption Redeemed, p.135, emphasis mine)
While 2/3’s of the angels have kept their faithfulness, a far less percentage of mankind has been saved. Therefore, if God’s redemptive love is expressed only in those who are actually saved, then the angels would rightly be said to be more loved by God than men. Furthermore, when Calvinists retreat from confessing an Angelic, Unconditional Decree of Election, they thus admit more to the meaning behind the term “elect,” which at 1st Timothy 5:21 is “elect angels,” than they care to elaborate upon further, and thus the Arminian naturally desires to carry such a meaning into the discussion of 1st Peter 2:9.
4-Point Calvinist, Ron Rhodes: “All the angels were originally created good and holy, just as God made and pronounced all His creation good (Genesis 1:31; 2:3). For God to create anything wicked would be inconsistent with His holy character. Jude 6 affirms that originally all the angels were holy creatures. God did not create Satan and the fallen angels (demons) in a state of wickedness. Though all the angels were originally created in a state of holiness, Scripture indicates that they were subjected to a period of probation. Some of the angels remained holy. Others did not--following Lucifer’s lead, they rebelled against God and fell into great sin. Once the angels were put to the test to remain loyal to God or to rebel with Lucifer, their decision seems to have been made permanent in its effect. Those angels that passed the probationary test will now always remain holy. Those who failed the probationary test are now confirmed in their evil state. This is the reason the good angels are called elect angels in 1 Timothy 5:21. They are not called elect because they sinned and then were elected unto redemption (they never sinned during the probationary period). Rather, they are called elect because God intervened to permanently confirm (elect) them in their holiness so they could not sin in the future. Good angels are now incapable of sinning. The lines have been drawn, and the lines are now absolute.” (Commonly Misunderstood Bible Verses, pp.255-256, emphasis mine)
In other words, the angels are deemed elect and holy and chosen on account of having not fallen, such that their election is actually God’s appraisal and designation of the holy angels in an approved status.
Laurence Vance: “God ‘chose’ the angels that didn’t fall, hence they are denominated as ‘elect angels.’ The use of the term elect as applied to angels parallels that of Christ. The significance is not of selection but of appraisal or assessment. This is why they are also denominated as ‘holy angels’ (Mat. 25:31).” (The Other Side of Calvinism, p.367)
The obvious correlation, therefore, is that we are “elect,” not from the standpoint of being preselected unto faith, but elect from the standpoint of God’s appraisal or assessment of the believer in Christ, in an approved status before God. That’s what Calvary does in redeeming man.
Steven Hitchcock: “The necessary conclusion for the Calvinist is that God created many angels and humans without real love for them, because His love is exclusive to election. Would God create what He does not love? Never! For God to create one who bears His image whom He does not love is for God to not love Himself. Consequently, everything that God has created He has done so with everlasting love that is uniquely personal. Every human and angel is a marvelous miracle of God’s creation, created in love, and for the greatest purpose imaginable.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.183)