ARE GOD’S ELECT GOD’S ELITE?
BY: E. M. ‘ED’ DUPAS
Much has been said or written concerning God’s elect that has given the enemy an opportunity to place anger or bitterness in some believers’ minds. One such idea is that God’s elect, whoever they are, will be the only people who will be saved.
One thing is crystal clear from scripture—God called and brings forth a group of believers called the elect, or chosen ones. (Rom. 8:29-30, 33) It is also clear that they were called to a high standard (the image of Christ), and are specially gifted. In Matthew 24:24, Jesus warns his disciples that false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. This tells us that the elect, whoever they are, are not easily misled. The verse may even be understood to imply that it may not be possible for them to be fooled.
There can be no disagreement that there is a special group of believers, though not all of them, who are called to a special work. What may be in question is who they are, and whether they are to be the only ones saved, as some teach. I can’t help you with the question of who they are, but I can answer the question of whether they are the only ones who will see salvation. Consider the following verses:
- “For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1 Cor. 15:22-23) (KJV, emphasis added) What part of the word ALL has confused us? Surely Christ is more powerful than Adam! The Apostle Paul seems to think so!
- “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN, ESPECIALLY OF BELIEVERS.” (1 Tim. 4:10) (NASB, emphasis added) Can there be any doubt that God intends to save all, and that believers have special status or privilege? Anyone who contends otherwise must deal with this verse.
- “Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.” (referring to sheep who have gone astray) (Matt. 18:14) (NASB) What could be the basis for thinking that our omnipotent Father won’t get what he wants in the end?
- “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.’” (Rom 11:25-26) (NASB) Paul states unequivocally that ALL Israel will be saved, but Paul tells us elsewhere that Jews and Gentiles have become one man, who is heir to the promise.
- “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who DESIRES ALL MEN TO BE SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4) (NASB, emphasis added) If anyone believes that god won’t get what he desires, he ought to ask himself who has the final say—God (the creator) or Satan (the created)?
- “…that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11) (NASB, emphasis added). This passage says that every one in the spirit realm(s), the earth realm, and the realm below the earth (Hades?) will one day recognize Jesus as his Lord and confess it. Recall that no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’, but by the (indwelling) Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3) For those readers who are interested in ‘30/60/100-fold’ interpretations, this may be construed to include those whose lives are guided by the spirit realm (in heaven), the soulish realm (on earth) and the body or flesh realm (under the earth).
- “…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, NOT COUNTING THEIR TRESPASSES AGAINST THEM, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19) (NASB, emphasis added) Read this again, as if for the first time, and meditate upon it for a while. You should realize that for the Father to commit His children to eternal suffering because of sin would mean that He changed his mind since Calvary.
These verses pretty much clinch the fact that God will save all men. It’s neither reasonable nor wise to ignore these scriptures in order to accept a doctrine of eternal damnation. Because God has not revealed how and when he will accomplish the salvation of all his children, is not reason enough to invent our own end to the story. That is the curse of man—we can’t stand not having an answer for everything. If God’s complete plan for salvation is to be revealed to us, rest assured it will come through the indwelling Spirit, and not from the doctrines of men. For the time being there is still much that is a mystery.
“…AWAKE, SLEEPER, AND ARISE FROM THE DEAD, AND CHRIST (the anointing) WILL GIVE YOU LIGHT.” (Eph 5:14)
While we can clearly see from scripture that all will be saved, our experience in this world suggests that many go to the grave without experiencing salvation. Since the word of God is true, this must mean that salvation for many souls occurs or continues beyond the grave. I don’t plan to address those possibilities at this time, other than to say that since our souls are eternal, God is not bound by our limited time on this earth. Recognize that salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps. 3:8), and not to us. Therefore its completion is determined by His ability and not ours.
Now to the question of God’s elect… are they, as some claim, a privileged group? Not at all, at least not as we understand the meaning of privilege. If you recall the Apostle Paul’s words to the Romans concerning the elect, you will remember that they are to be “conformed to the image of Christ.” This means they must die to their own wills and be found absolutely at one with their heavenly Father. Quite possibly it means they will be called to literally give up their lives, as Christ did, for their brethren, or at least to be willing to do so.
Some years ago, while studying the saga of Gideon in the Book of Judges, it occurred to me that I was seeing a foreshadowing of the deliverance of God’s people in the last days. If you consider the circumstances of Israelites, who were “brought low” by the Midianites, it is not difficult to see that much of God’s church today is similarly oppressed. The enemy seems to be in control of most of the components of modern-day life in many parts of the world. Good people have been oppressed and robbed for so long that they have just accepted this treatment as the way things have to be. For example, in America, if you add up all the taxes imposed on income and property – direct or indirect, you may find that as much as 50-60% or more of our income is taken away from us, with much of it ending up in the hands or pockets of unrighteous or undeserving men. In a way this is similar to Israel’s plight with the Midianites and Amelakites. Like the Israelites, we have been “delivered into the hands of the enemy” because we have not obeyed God’s commandments. Still, like them we can be delivered if we will cry out to God.
God’s elect in the days of Gideon were 300 men who were chosen not for their skill, but because of the way they drank water. Those men, in the assault on Midian, went forward wielding no weapons, just trumpets and clay jars containing a flame. They were obedient to the ultimate degree, even to the death, if necessary. As you probably know, the strategy employed by God in the middle of the night brought terror to the Midianites, who struck out in the blackness, causing them to largely destroy one another. What is noteworthy about the story of Gideon is that, in the end, ALL the Israelites were saved, and all shared in the spoils of war. There is no evidence that the 300 men received a greater portion because of their performance.
I believe that God’s elect will be used some day in much the same way. It seems clear that today there is an ever-widening gap between the power and resources controlled by the enemy and those controlled by believers. Without intervention, believers may one day find themselves virtually powerless, and unable to prosper. Once again, the Lord may have to orchestrate our deliverance. If so, the elect may be employed by God to once again confound and defeat our enemies, using their own strength against them. Just like in the Gideon account, there is nothing in scripture to suggest that the latter day elect will receive favored treatment compared to other believers. That is a lie of the enemy, attempting to turn some believers against others. May I say that he has been greatly successful, in that at least one major church denomination holds the notion of a favored elect among their tenets, which separates them doctrinally from other groups?
No, my friends, God’s elect are not a favored or elite group. They have been prepared, from before the foundation of the world, for a special work. That work involves the “laying down of their lives” for the gospel. I will speculate that the Apostle Paul was referring to the appearance of God’s elect when he wrote about the creation groaning, awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:19) Surely the creation is looking forward to its deliverance, as the people are… the deliverance of the creation. Hm-m-m-m. Now what do you suppose that implies?
ARE GOD’S ELECT GOD’S ELITE [E. W. ‘Ed’ Dupas] Jan. 2006 1