Election Keeps No One Out of Heaven

Posted: September 16, 2011 in calvinism, election, god, gospel, soteriology, theology

A helpful explanation of the biblical doctrine of divine election:

…God stands at the door of heaven with His arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction toward hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to Himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams…

HT: Mark Altrogge

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Comments
  1. AMG says:

    Calvin’s theories are not God’s word. The devil has ensnared you with a lies. Love the truth only found in God’s word and repent of all else. I tell you this out of true sincerity. God bless.

    • Matt Tully says:

      If I may ask, what Christian tradition are you a part of?

      • AMG says:

        What do you mean what Christian tradition am I part of?

      • Matt Tully says:

        What church do you belong to? Are you a part of any particular denomination? I only ask to get a clearer understanding of where you’re coming from. You may say that you only follow the Bible. But many people claim to follow the Bible, and yet disagree on a great number of things. Interpreting what the Bible means is the hard thing…

        I, like you, am only trying to follow the teaching of the Bible. When I quote Calvin, Augustine, Luther, or anyone else, I only recite their words in so far as I believe they accord with the Scriptures. I do not follow any man other than Jesus.

        Personally, I believe that John Calvin was a great man of deep and genuine faith. He studied the Scriptures very carefully and wrote an extremely helpful guide for lay Christians in an effort to help them better understand God’s Word. He was, through and through, concerned for the well-being of Christ’s church and the glory of God.

  2. kevinwilkening says:

    Matt, thank you for posting this. I think this is very helpful in explaining John 6, 10 and many other texts that speak of the necessity of the Father to draw men to Himself. In addition, it shows the heart of the God to chase after us as lost people, and to reconcile us to Himself. I love the heart of God to save the nations!!!

  3. AMG says:

    Hi Matt,
    I only follow God’s Word. It is true that many denominations claim they only believe in what the Bible says, yet they really believe in additions, additions that actually go against God’s word. What John Calvin teaches about no one can believe in God without the Holy Spirit enabling them—that is not in the Bible. It is not so hard to only believe in God’s Word if we check on everything we are taught. If it is not in the Bible, then do not accept it as scripture. It is that simple. Do not add or subtract from God’s word; do not lean to the left or to the right; and do not go beyond what is written.
    I wonder why someone like you, a person who seems to want to please the Lord believes in something that is not in the Bible. I feel frustrated at taking the time to discuss patiently with others…yet they just do not ever seem to want to give up the falseness.

    • Matt Tully says:

      I agree that some people do indeed add to God’s Word, saying what it does not say.

      However, I do not believe that the doctrine of election (let’s forget about Calvin for a moment) is one such teaching. I believe that God sovereignly elects certain individuals to salvation because I believe that is what the Bible teaches. And I believe it teaches this in many different places. One of the most clear passages where I see this is John 6:

      All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” … No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. – (Jhn 6:37-40, 44 ESV)

      What do you take Jesus to be saying in this passage?

      Again, I want to make it clear that I believe in election precisely because I believe it is taught in God’s Word (very clearly and in many places). Also, I would still like to know what church you are a member of? Do you attend a church?

      • AMG says:

        Do you not believe like other Calvinists that humans cannot believe in God on our own? That is a false doctrine. That is not in the word of God.

        Of course, God elects those he will save. God chooses to save those who believe and obey His Word. I can give you scriptures on whom and why God saves some and not others. As for you understanding about John 6, you misunderstand it.

        About John 6…

        The Old Testament believers in God were God’s people. Not all Old Testament Jews were true believers. The people who believed in God, God gave them to Jesus. God’s people who believed in Him, they now had to go through Jesus in faith to continue with God, this faith in Jesus made them perfect. They are the people who God enabled to come to Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth. The Jews who did not believe in God, God hardened them so they were not able to come to Jesus. The people who are drawn to Jesus, they are drawn because they are all ready believers in God the Father. The people who believe in God, they recognize what Jesus says as God’s word, and in this, they are drawn. John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:44, 45 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”
        EVERYONE WHO HAS HEARD THE FATHER AND LEARNED FROM HIM COMES TO ME.

        The people were already God’s, now they would become Jesus’ people. Those who did not believe in God, they were hardened. God did not allow them to come to Jesus. Only a remnant, the lost sheep of Israel would come to Jesus (John 10:6; 15:24). John 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. See also, John 3:37, 39; 6:65; 10:28; 15:21-24; 16:3; 17:2, 9, 24; Romans 11:4, 5, 7; Hebrews 12:23; 11:39-40). John 8:19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

        Matt, I have shown you the word of God, and I would like to know if you now believe? You ask what Church I belong to. I belong to the body of Christ, and the Holy Spirit teaches me.

      • Matt Tully says:

        Yes, I believe (with the vast majority of Christians throughout history) that man is totally depraved and thus cannot come to Christ without God’s enabling grace. To not believe this is to follow the heretical teachings of a man named Pelagius. Some Christians believe that God extends grace to all people, enabling everyone to choose whether or not to exercise faith in Christ (Arminians). Others (like myself) believe that God only extends this efficacious grace to the elect, those whom he chose before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-5). Both of these positions, however, are orthodox and in line with the vast majority of Christians throughout history. Your view that people can come to God completely on their own is not.

        You really need to stop referring to Calvin in your posts. The post was not about Calvin, nor his teaching. It was about the Bible. Additionally, John Calvin was not the first, nor the last, to talk about the doctrine of divine election and to affirm that man cannot come to God without His grace. To think that he is the sole progenitor of this teaching is simply bad history.

        In regard to John 6, I believe that you have misunderstood the passage. I hold to a different interpretation. If you would like a more detailed explanation of what I believe the passage is saying, see the book Still Sovereign, chapter 2 (“Divine Election in the Gospel of John”).

        Your refusal to actually tell me what specific, local church you belong to makes me wonder if you are even a member of a local church. Perhaps you see all local churches as misguided and prefer to study and interpret your Bible alone. Is that correct?

  4. AMG says:

    Matt,
    The blog you posted, Election Keeps No One Out of Heaven…is a perfect example of people (in this case John Calvin) teaching a mistake in understanding of the scriptures, then others come along, believe the mistake and continue to write really insightful essays on the false doctrine, which further alienates others from the truth.

  5. AMG says:

    You are the one, who says you follow mere men, so why do you accuse me of being a follower of Pelagius and Arminius? I have the words of God, and I have the Holy Spirit. I do not interpret the Bible on my own; I have the Holy Spirit. In addition, other people know the truth too, though probably not many do. I would not claim to follow any man. Arminius was a believer in infant baptism, and he believes in real blood and real body in the wafers. The Bible says not to say I follow mere men. If you believe the truth, then it is Jesus’ words, not anyone else’s. Pelagius probably did too. I am not interested in what they believe. I am talking to a Calvinist. As for Calvinism, Augustine did try to start some falseness that Calvinism took off with, but their beliefs have to be taught. As Calvinists say all the time that they once believed like me, yet they learned the truth later. Except that you did not learn the truth later, the devil led you out of the truth, because you follow men’s word s and not God’s. I follow Jesus’ words. You believe in total depravity of all men—what do you not get about it NOT BEING IN THE SCRIPTURES. What do you not get about humans not being able to believe in God NOT BEING IN THE SCRIPTURES? Show me scriptures that say that. Those are man’s assumptions, thoughts put into man’s thoughts by demons. The men who believe in falseness or those who believe in God’s words, they CHOOSE to do so.
    As for John 6, how can you possible deny the truth. I have explained it to you carefully. It is the words of God! You deny the truth. At least I know that I have tried, and you can never say to God that no one ever told you the truth.
    As for you trying to put me down for not claiming a denomination…do you not know that the Church is the body of Christ? Denominations will never admit error, ever. I will not join and claim a denomination that does not grow in the Lord. Why do you put a denomination above the Lord? You go ahead and proudly proclaim your denomination; you go ahead and continue to be misled. There is a time when men do not love God’s truth, and you are one of them.

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