One of the distinct doctrines of Calvin that separates him from other theologians is the doctrine of eternal election. As the America is restless with it’s own election many within the church become restless with the thought of God electing those who would be saved. Calvin calls this “God’s mere generosity.” (3:21:1 pg 921) Calvin lays the groundwork that eternal election is a display of God’s grace. To say that there is something humanity does in the salvation process undermines the grace of God. Calvin dives head first into the scripture when laying the foundation for the doctrine of Predestination is all about God’s grace and love. “At the present time, he says, a remnant has been saved according to the election of grace but if it is by grace, it's no more of works; otherwise grace would be more be grace. But if it is of works, it is no more of grace; otherwise work would not be work. “ Romans 11:5-6. God sought out Abraham and put eternal election into effect from the beginning. Separating a certain people group to draw close to and the manifest of love and grace which was on display through the nation of Israel. It was in the fullness of God’s plan that through Jesus the rest of humanity was able to partake into God’s grace and mercy. All gentiles have been grafted into the vine of Israel. When it comes to salvation no man would choose God first, God first draws near towards us. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in someone’s life we are capable of understanding scripture, hearing and perceiving God’s voice in our life and coming to a relationship with Jesus Christ. “Surely the grace of God deserves alone to be proclaimed in our election only if it is freely given. Now it will not be freely given by God, in choosing his own, considers what the works of each shall be. We therefore find Christ’s statement to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you,” (John 15:16) generally valid among all believers.” (3.21.3 pg 935)
The doctrine of predestination was not “created” by Calvin, but Jesus. Throughout Jesus ministry. Jesus indicates that God has given to him those who believe. And Jesus won’t lose them. “No one, he says, can come to me unless the Father draws him. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” John 6:44-45. When it comes to evangelism a believer's heart can be strengthened because when we understand the significant role that predestination has to a believers message. Too often Christians are worried about not knowing what to say, or how to approach conversations or what is a right or wrong way to do evangelism. With the lens of predestination doctrine the “responsibility” isn’t on the believer to save another’s soul. It is totally in the hands of God through the work of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life. Also, as the people in our lives rise and fall throughout life and we start asking ourselves questions like, “what could I have done differently, or could I have said something that would have changed that.” We can have confidence that God is still working, through our successes and failures. Jesus’ blood covers those who are elected. God will draw the elect with the Holy Spirit through all circumstances. Which is another comforting fact that no matter what life throws at us, God is able to use it for the very best and if something horrific happens but through that situation God uses those moments to turn a heart then we as believers can take comfort in the work of God through tragedy and triumph.
In light of scriptures like Roman 9:18, “God has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” I leave you with the final thoughts of Calvin. “Do you see how Paul attributes both to God’s decision alone? If, then, we cannot determine a reason why he vouchsafes mercy to his own, except that it is so please him, neither shall we have any reason for rejecting others, other than his will.” (3.21.11, page 947)
How does the doctrine of predestination sit with you?