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The Doctrines of Grace: TULIP Revisited
by Carol Berubee

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Unconditional Election, Part V

Faith is a Gift
Ephesians 2:8-9
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Those whom God foreknew (foreloved), He predestined. He elected this group of people unconditionally. There was nothing within a person that caused God to elect that person. God elected based on His own will and His own purpose. By God's grace, the elect is born again; while dead in sin, the elect is transformed. Now, the elect is able to understand the things of God; he is able see who he is spiritually. He is now born again and able to take that step toward God. This step is enabled by faith, the faith that God has just given him. Faith is a gift; there is nothing within the elect that deserves this gift. Faith is freely given by God. We all know that we cannot earn grace; likewise, we cannot earn faith. There was nothing we could do to garner God's grace; He gave it freely. Faith is given the same way, so that no one may boast.

Before salvation, we all worked, but none of it was good. It was not until God intervened and regenerated His people that anything good was done in or by those people. God does not draw and regenerate people just to leave them to go their own way. Those whom He regenerates, He completes. He does not dole out the ability to choose (which is part of the good work) to all people and hope that some will ask Him to complete it. No, every single person in whom He has begun the good work (regeneration, ability to choose Him) will come to completion in Him. Whom he foreknew, He predestined, called, justified, and glorified; that is, we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.

John 5:21
"'For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.'"

Ephesians 2:5
"...even when we were dead in trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)..."

Here, Yeshua says that He is sovereign in giving life. Does He give life to those who jump up and down with their hands raised? Yes, but who would be able to jump up and down if they were still dead in sins? Paul says the giving of life comes while death still reigns. It is to the one born again of the Spirit that faith has been given.

Common Questions
You may be asking if this "determinism" by God means that God has created people just to send them to Hell. No. Because of Satan, Adam and Eve fell. Adam's offspring were born in his image (Genesis 5:3) and all were sinners on their way to Hell. God has not sent people to Hell. But I would ask you: If God created men and chose them based on their foreseen acts of faith, and God knew some of these would reject Him, then why did God go ahead and create them to begin with, knowing that they would choose Hell? In other words, their eternal destiny is fixed by some kind of impersonal fate since the future cannot be changed if God already knows it. If whether or not someone chooses God is already known by God then the future is certain. The Biblical view is that it is certain because of the eternal plan of a merciful and loving personal God. The foreseen faith view is based on an impersonal determinism. Something is determining their future choice, in that scheme, but not God.

If God already knows the outcome, meaning the future cannot be changed, then the future is fixed and there is no real freedom. Their choice is determined. So why did God, then, go ahead and create them? Whether you take the "Arminian" or "Calvinist" position, the same question has to be answered. The "Arminian" "foreseen faith" position offers no help here. In that position, God saw that men would reject Him and be condemned to Hell, but He went ahead and created them anyway. The "Calvinist" position would say that God is sovereign; we do not understand all of His plans, but we do know that He has a reason for allowing billions of people to be born whom He has not chosen for salvation.

When Adam sinned, God could have just ended it there. Not one person would have been born and no one would be in Heaven. Or how about Noah? God spared Noah in the face of world-wide evil. God could have just ended the whole thing there and not called Noah. But He spared Noah's family and now here we are. Millions more people are in Heaven now who would never have been born.

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