Divine Election is…

In thumbing through some of my notes on Ephesians, I ran accross these seven points concerning the doctrine of unconditional election. They largely follow what John Piper lays out in his chapter, “The Pleasure of God in Election” in The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God (Oregon: Multnomah Press, 2000), 121-57. I find them quite helpful for the church and our understanding of this precious biblical teaching. I pray they are a blessing to you too.

Election is… 

  1. Biblical. God gave us His word as a revelation of who He is, and He longs for us to read it, that we might marvel at His grace, His glory, and His freedom.
  2. Humbling. Election is not based on how good we were, but simply upon the fact that God loved us and chose us in Jesus Christ for Himself.
  3. Effective. Because of divine election, people will be saved, and not merely made save-able. The cross not only purchased the Gospel going out to all peoples, but with it the faith people must have in the gospel in order to be saved.
  4. Personal. Election is not robotic, it is relational. God loves us, His church, personally, with a great electing love.
  5. Persevering. Not only does divine election guarantee the initial justification of those who believe the gospel, but it ensures that they will be kept by God to the end.
  6. Preserving. The doctrine of election keeps God, not human autonomy, at the center of the Gospel and the Church. That is, it preserves God-centeredness and defeats man-centeredness. 
  7. Triumphant. Election gives awesome hope for missions and evangelism. Apart from God’s electing grace, no human being would repent or respond to the missionary’s preaching. In other words, election ensures that some will meet the conditions of the Gospel: repentance of sin and faith in Christ. Therefore, preach!

4 Responses to “Divine Election is…”

  1. Billy Marsh Says:

    This is a good list. What I like about it is that Piper takes a doctrine like election, which to many seems so distant and impersonal, and makes it the exact opposite and shows how it is necessary, not just as theological concept, but also as part of our everyday Christian walk. I remember this chapter in The Pleasures of God being very illuminating for me. I read it several years ago when I was still an infant in the Reformed doctrines. Praise the Lord for his obedience and commitment to being both a theologian and a pastor.


    I love Piper, listening, reading, and personally interacting with him.

    He’s a gem across the board, but far and away The Pleasures of God is my favorite among the many contributions he’s made.

  3. Chuck Says:

    A great list from what must have been great notes, Bret. I love the last one…Triumphant! And I love watching it unfold before our eyes at camp. It is why I love its ministry. I know that some of the counselors who do not understand the doctrine of election are probably disappointed when substantial expressions of faith are not heard from more campers at the end of any given session. But those of us who are certain of the reality of this Biblical principal rejoice when the irrisistability of grace is brought to a conscious level in the new believe, and are content that the time was not yet right for those who appear unmoved. But seeds of faith have been planted through the hearing of the Word. And for those who are outside the family of God and His election…I rejoice that even in THAT, our sovereign God will be glorified.

  4. Bret & Rachel Says:

    Hey guys,

    It has been a joy to read your responses. I am glad that we can rejoice together in our sovereign God and lift our voices in unison to the God of all grace as Paul did in Ephesians 1…and in the rest of his letters 🙂



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