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Does God Trick People about their Election?
Note: In the following correspondence, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My replies are in red.
>When I read about predestination, I am reminded of the infinite Fear that engulfed me one time early in my Christian experience when I was sure I had blasphemed the Holy Spirit and sealed my fate.<
You should be falling on your knees and thanking God for your salvation. For that matter, thanking Him for giving you the very desire to be concerned about salvation.
> Forget about the matter of whether "this is fair", or any of those other tame questions that don't mean anything. I am going to ask you the ONLY obvious question, the one I can't understand why nobody asks.
What, if I am not one of the elect? Does it mean I am wasting my time praying to receive Christ? Am I stuck with a series of false conversions, even ones that exactly mimics a true one?<
If you were not one of the elect, you would not be concerned with your salvation. Election does not mean that God does not choose people despite their desire to be saved, it is God giving them the very desire to be saved. The non-elect would not truly desire salvation.
> Is this the real reason sometimes I don't "feel" saved-because in fact I never was, and God's trying to make that plain to me? "Why do you come to Me? I never drew you. You weren't ordained unto salvation."<
Again, you come to God because God draws you to Himself. In fact, if God wasn't drawing you, you wouldn't desire to come. Note also, you shouldn’t be depending on your “feelings” to decide if you are saved or not. You should be looking to God’s promises in His Word.
> You said you still believe in evangelization. But you must believe that the things said to your prospect will be different. You cannot tell them "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" - maybe He doesn't love you. You cannot say "You don't have to go to hell" - You do have to go if you're unelect.
If an Arminian examines himself, and concludes he never really got saved, he can act on it.<
And so can the Calvinist. There is no practical difference here. The only difference is, in the Calvinist view God would be the One giving His elect one the desire to re-evaluate himself, as opposed to the Arminian view that the person somehow works up that desire himself.
>If a Calvinist examines himself and concludes he never really got saved, he can only wait in abject horror, hoping - not praying, just HOPING - that in the future God will draw him. Praying to be numbered among the elect is of course a waste of time.<
No it's not. God's predestining grace works through means. And one of the means God uses is our prayers.
> The logical implication of double election is that you should try to reject Christ rather then receive Him. If you try to accept him, you can fool yourself due to wishful thinking. But if you try to reject Him, and you are one of the elect, you will find it impossible. There is no other way to filter out the possibility of being of having only a false faith.<
This is not logical at all. Election is not about God trying to "trick" people into thinking they're saved when they are not. It is about God giving people who do not desire Him the desire for Him.
> You can send me your responses, telling me if I'm right on in my understanding of election, or you may make point-by-point corrections on the things I have stated above.
You have a completely misguided idea of election. You seem to think it means God causing things to turn out the exact opposite of the way people desire things and that God actually “tricks” people into thinking they are saved when they are not. When in fact, election is God instilling in people the very desires you talk of. God gives His elect the desire to know Him. God gives His elect the desire to be saved.
>Thanks so much for clarifying these things for me. It sounds pretty much like the way R. C. Sproul would have explained it. When I'm at peace about these matters, I can walk closer to God rather than waste valuable time getting weak in the knees.
God bless you.
I’m thankful I could be of help. And I take it as a complement that you’re comparing what I have to say to what Sproul does. His book Chosen by God is an excellent introduction to this subject.
For a follow-up to the above discussion,
see the classic article An Improper Use of Self-Examination by William Wisner.
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