Election presupposes choice and discrimination. We are not speaking of an election of congressmen and governors, but of election as “preference”. It is about God’s choosing, not about men’s choosing. For example, Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaak; Ishmael, nevertheless, was rejected, and Isaak was elected, that is, he was chosen by God (Gen. 21:1-13). The text says that Ishmael mocked Isaak. And why was that? Because Isaak, elected of Jehovah, received the blessing, even though Ishmael was the first-born. It is obvious that Ishmael felt discriminated and despised.
In general terms, election discriminates and promotes injustice. Abraham, even though he had eight sons, gave all of the inheritance to Isaak, only, his elected and preferred (Gen. 25:1-5).
Jesse had eight sons, but David was the elected of Jehovah (1 Sam. 16:1-13). Jehovah’s election of David followed a strict criterion of selection. When Jesse put his first-born before the prophet Samuel saying, “Surely Jehovah’s anointed is before Him” (1 Sam. 16:6), Jesse said it because he knew the character of his sons, and the oldest had attributes that qualified him to be the elect of Jehovah. Samuel, though, answered: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his statures, because I have rejected him; for Jehovah sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:1-7).
David, the elect of Jehovah, whose heart was like Jehovah’s heart (1 Sam. 16:13-14), committed base sins, which his brothers might not have committed, that were: unfaithfulness to Jehovah, seduction of a married woman, concealment of the crime, treason against one of the best generals he had, scheming of the murderous plan that took the life of this loyal and faithful friend. We can draw a conclusion from this: two persons with similar hearts are capable of the same works, and Jehovah himself said that David had a heart according to his, and would execute his will “And after He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will’” (Acts 13:22).
In the same way that Jehovah discriminated the sons of Jesse choosing David, David also discriminated his sons by putting Solomon as king of Israel. In Israel, the right to the throne belonged to the first-born. If this one died, there was a scale of succession by age. We will give this sequence from Amnon, David’s first-born: Amnon, Daniel, Absalom, Adonijah, Sephatiah, Ithream, Shimea Shobab, Nathan, Solomon (this one was the tenth in the right of succession). The throne, by right, would belong to Adonijah, the fourth of David’s sons. But David, because of a vow made to his lover Bathsheba, dethroned Adonijah, who was already reigning, and skipped over five older brothers of Solomon, who unjustly became king of Israel, and who caused the division of the kingdom. David made a poor choice, and also did Jehovah, who was responsible for the election of Solomon (1 Chr. 3:1-5; 22:8,9). Jehovah, choosing Solomon, broke his own law by putting over Israel the greater idolater and the more carnal and lubricious of David’s sons. Jehovah either does not know the future, or he meant to divide the kingdom on purpose to put an end to it, for Jesus declared, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25).
The election and preference annul the right and justice (1 Kings 1:15-17). The election and preference are the mark of the Old Testament of Jehovah. Abel was elected and Cain was rejected. Jacob was elected in place of Esau, Isaak’s first-born (Gen, 25:19-23). Joseph was elected among the twelve sons of Jacob (Gen. 37:1-11). Ephraim was elected in place of Manasseh (Gen. 48:17-19). And so on. How do things happen in the New Testament? If election and predestination presuppose choice and discrimination, for it is not right to give differentiated rewards to undifferentiated people, there cannot be, in the New Testament, neither election nor predestination. Let us examine this:
- The grace of God is total, that is, for all, thus discrimination is nullified. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). Election or predestination would nullify grace.
- In the dispensation of grace, the worst of all men, which were rejected in the Old Testament, are the ones used by God, therefore, grace nullifies election. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God” (1 Cor. 1:27-29). Jehovah, on the contrary, chose the best, the strongest, etc.
- In the New Testament, the work is all of the Spirit, not of men, so any disabled person could be a giant. Wisdom, science, power to heal, prophecy, workings of miracles, discernment, etc., it all came from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-11). In the Old Testament, Jehovah forbade the disabled of serving in the Temple (Lev. 21:17-22).
- And if Jesus came to seek and save the lost, there is no election or discrimination “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
- Being so, why is there election in the New Testament? “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Rom. 8:33). Is grace for all? How, then, can we understand this?
WHAT IS THE ELECTION OF GRACE? (Rom. 11:5-7). There can be no predestination where there is no election. Nevertheless, Paul declares that there is election “Knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you” (1 Thess. 1:4).
The election of the Christian is different from the election in the Old Testament. Let us examine it:
- Christians were chosen to be holy and loving, different from being chosen to inherit heaven (Eph. 1:4).
- They were chosen to suffer for Christ, contrary to being chosen to enjoy life (Phil. 1:29).
- They were also elected to suffer tribulations, contrary to a choice for the pursuit of a live of pomposity (Acts 14:22).
- They were elected to take the cross throughout their entire lives (Matt. 10:36; 16:24).
- They were predestined to put to death the sensations of the flesh (Rom. 8:13; 2 Cor. 4:10-11).
- They were selected to suffer the afflictions of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:24).
- They were predestined to be what Jesus was (Rom. 8:29; John 2:6; 4:7).
“An so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12).
The election of Jehovah had in mind an earthly domain, and Christ’s election has in mind the preparation of the Christian to enter the kingdom of God. The tendency of men is to choose Jehovah’s election, not Christ’s election, because Jesus’ election means to renounce everything in this world, and Jehovah’s election means to seek everything one can. The chosen of Jehovah obtained great success, whereas the elected of Christ were all persecuted, and martyred.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira