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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell -

MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter II: Examining God's Predestination Throughout Scripture
E. Pertinent New Testament Passages
  1. Our view that God's election does not result in justification would lead some to ask how we would handle a verse like Acts 13:48 KJV that says: " . . . as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
  2. We answered this, and now answer more questions by viewing pertinent New Testament passages:
    1. Acts 18:9-10
      1. God told Paul He "had" many people in Corinth. The fact God told Paul this to encourage him to keep on ministering in Corinth implies these were folk who were unknown to Paul as people yet to be saved.
      2. However, we can not tell from this statement just how these people would come to Christ, whether God knew they would author their own faith or if God had chosen them to believe.
    2. Romans 9:6-33
      1. Paul concluded this chapter in verses 30-33 by claiming the sovereign choice of God involves not who is chosen to believe (as doctrinaire Calvinists have often concluded), but that God sovereignly chooses to save men based on faith and not other criteria, and that without saying how faith is even authored.
      2. True, Paul mentions Pharaoh as a vessel of wrath God hardened, Rom. 9:17-18, but we established Ex. 3:19-20 teaches God achieved this by externally letting Pharaoh's rebellion run its course unimpeded.
      3. Even the Jeremiah 18 potter and clay illustration used in Romans 9:20-22 can show man might repent on his own: were the lump to repent, God would relent of His planned judgment against it, cf. Jer. 18:8.
      4. Thus, Romans 9:6-33 offers no proof of a divine authorship of human will.
    3. Romans 10:13-21
      1. This passage describes God's turning from a ministry to Israel to minister to Gentiles.
      2. However, this is not a description of a predestination regarding who will be justified, but is a national judicial hardening of a heart already turned against the Lord, cf. Rom. 10:21.
    4. Hebrews 1:14
      1. The author of Hebrews here alludes to those who are about "to inherit salvation."
      2. Hebrews 6:1-8, 12 argues these to be those who are yet to be glorified, meaning "salvation" could well be the believer's glorification in keeping with our finding at 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
      3. In any event, nothing in the passage indicates a divine authorship of human will.
    5. 1 Peter 2:8
      1. In this verse, Peter mentions those who were appointed to stumbling over Christ, the Rock.
      2. In keeping with the theme of Romans 9:6-33, we find that to which the disobedient are appointed is not to reject Christ, but to judicial hardening (as in the case of Pharaoh) which is the result of unbelief.
      3. One has to look elsewhere to discern why such folk respond to Christ in unbelief and not faith.
    6. Revelation 7:3-10
      1. The precise number of 12,000 people who are sealed as God's bond slaves appear in this passage with no word on how they become justified en route to becoming God's sealed servants.
      2. The Old Testament parallel of God's sealing Hebrews in Ez. 9:4-6 and the New Testament parallel of His sealing Christians unto the day of redemption in Ephesians 1:13-14 argues for the sealing to occur only to believers, and for blessings not affecting the authorship of their wills.
    7. Revelation 13:8; 17:8
      1. In these passages, the Lamb's book of eternal life is seen to exist from the foundation of the world.
      2. However, the basis for why the names of the redeemed are listed from eternity past is not given, so we must still look elsewhere for insight into the relationship of divine and human wills in justification.
    8. Revelation 17:17
      1. This verse mentions God's work to cause the ten kings to conform in heart to the antichrist's will.
      2. This work is very possibly one of judicial divine hardening of an external nature akin to what we know of Pharaoh's case or of the unbelievers in the Great Tribulation as per 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.
      3. Again, we must thus look elsewhere for evidence of divine authorship of the human will.