Election Ensures the Concept of Salvation by Grace
â€œSo too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.â€ Romans 11:5, 6
From an article entitled, â€œWhat Difference Does it Make? A Discussion of the Evangelical Utility of the Doctrines of Grace,â€ Mark Webb writes:
The most casual Bible student admits that scripture indeed employs the language of election when speaking of Godâ€™s eternal purposes. Yet most seek to dodge the implications of that language by fleeing to the refuge of â€œconditionalâ€ election (i.e. that Godâ€™s choice, or election, of certain men to salvation is â€œconditionedâ€ by his foreseeing faith in those men). Iâ€™ll leave the task of showing that this â€œtime tunnelâ€ hypothesis will not fly to the many excellent works on the subject. Better yet, see it yourself by getting out your Bible and thoroughly studying the many references of scripture concerning this subject. I intend to deal not so much with the proof of the doctrine as with its ramifications.
If â€œconditionalâ€ election is trueâ€”if Godâ€™s choice of me is determined by my choice of Himâ€”the practical effect of this teaching is no different than if there were no election at all! The proof of this assertion is seen in the fact that the groups who hold this view seldom, if ever, mention the subject. And why should they? To what purpose? Since itâ€™s taught that God has done all He can do to save, and now itâ€™s up to man, the will of man becomes the determining and dominant factor in salvation. Whenever you make Godâ€™s choice of men to salvation hinge upon what He foresees in manâ€”be it his work, his faith, or his choiceâ€”you have effectively undermined the whole concept of salvation by grace alone! Either salvation depends upon Godâ€™s free choice and good pleasure, which is the principle of â€œgrace,â€ or it depends upon something man himself produces, which is the principle of â€œworks.â€ It really matters not whether this â€œthingâ€ which God foresees is something tangible, seen outwardly in the manâ€™s life, or something intangible, seen inwardly only by God. It matters not whether itâ€™s a huge thing, or whether itâ€™s a tiny thing. So long as manâ€™s part is the critical, determinative part, you have a system based upon â€œworksâ€ not grace.
Let me illustrate. Suppose you came to me and said, â€œMark, I have a $15,000 car here. If youâ€™ll pay me $15,000, Iâ€™ll give you the car.â€ Weâ€™d all agree, thatâ€™s not â€œgrace,â€ thatâ€™s â€œworks.â€ But suppose you said, â€œMark, Iâ€™ve a $15,000 car here, and Iâ€™ll simply give you the car.â€ Weâ€™d all agree, thatâ€™s â€œgrace,â€ not â€œworks.â€ But now letâ€™s try to mix the two concepts. Suppose you said, â€œMark, hereâ€™s a $15,000 car. Iâ€™ll be $14,999 gracious to you if youâ€™ll simply pay me $1.â€ Have we succeeded in mixing â€œgraceâ€ and â€œworks?â€ No! For whatâ€™s the practical difference between that last offer and you simply saying, â€œMark, hereâ€™s a $15,000 carâ€”Iâ€™ll sell it for $1?â€
Do you see? Youâ€™re still coming to me on the basis of â€œselling,â€ not â€œgiving.â€ Youâ€™ve not changed your principle, youâ€™ve simply lowered your price! This is precisely Paulâ€™s point in Romans 11:5-6. An â€œunconditionalâ€ election is the only concept of election consistent with salvation by free grace!
Election Excludes Manâ€™s Boasting
Scripture tells us in passages like Rom. 3:27, I Cor. 1:26-31, and Eph. 2:8-10, that God intentionally designed salvation so that no man could boast of it. He didnâ€™t merely arrange it so that boasting would be discouraged or kept to a minimumâ€”He planned it so that boasting would be absolutely excluded! Election does precisely that.