"It isn't loving for God to elect some for salvation but not others. It seems unfair and unjust of God."
Actually, this is a common objection to the doctrine of election, but not a new one. The apostle Paul himself dealt with this objection.
In his magnum opus, the epistle to the Romans, Paul sets forth his thesis, the purpose for why he wrote the book.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith."(Romans 1:16-17)
There it is. Plainly and clearly. The Gospel. The power of God for salvation. The righteousness of God revealed!
And as part of this glorious Gospel, Paul, the seasoned theologian, unfolds the doctrine of election.
"And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that
God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works
but because of him who calls: she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I
hated.” (Romans 9:10-13)
Like a hammer driving a nail through a 2 by 4, so Paul drives the divine truth of election to the very center of one's soul. Like a lawyer in a courtroom, his argument is seamlessly woven together by the Scripture. He takes his readers back to the story of their forefather Isaac, how his wife Rebekah had conceived 2 sons.
Paul highlights two seemingly obvious but deep truths about Jacob and Esau. First, before they were born and second, before they had done nothing, good or bad. Why? Here's a little Greek lesson. It's free. Paul uses what's called the hina clause to introduce the purpose for which he just stated those twin truths...of the twins. And what was it? "In order that God's purpose of election might continue"!
You see, on the one hand, Paul highlights the fact...before they were born...in order to show God's purpose of election. And then on the other hand, Paul highlights the fact...before they had done anything good or bad...in order to show that it is "not because of works but because of Him who calls"!
After unequivocally declaring the truth of divine election, Paul knew that in the mind of his readers they would be thinking of this common yet age old objection.
"What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part?"
(Romans 9:14, emphasis added)
And then Paul answers the objection with the strongest Greek negative. "By no means" May it never be. Perish the thought. And once again he goes to the Scripture for support.
"For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have
mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have
compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or
exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to
Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I
might show my power in you, and that my name might be
proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on
whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills."
(Romans 9:15-18, emphasis added)
Paul uses Moses and Pharaoh now to illustrate the truth that
"it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." If salvation, after all, depended on human will, none would ever be saved because unbelievers are captured by the devil to do his will(2 Timothy 2:26 - Paul).
"You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your
father's desires."(John 8:44)
And the apostle John wrote
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he
gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not
of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man,
but of God."(John 1:12, emphasis added)
Divine truth demands human response. The Word of God calls and beckons us to submit. Granted, reading a portion of Scripture like this is a hard pill to swallow. But nonetheless it is Scripture, God's written revelation, His inerrant, infallible, authoritative and sufficient Word. And as such the real question is:
Will you submit to the Word of God?
After his exposition of the divine truth of election, Paul continues his exposition of the Gospel of God.
"For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not
believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they
have ' never heard? And how are they to hear without someone
preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?
As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach
the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For
Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from
us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the
word of Christ.(Romans 10:13-17, emphasis added)
God is holy and perfect, so He cannot, by His own very nature, turn a blind eye to sin. And you, like all others, are sinful and thus stand condemned in the divine courtroom before God, the Judge. You can only have one advocate to defend you. And it's not your religiosity. It's not your good works. It's not your confirmation or your baptism. It's not your priest or your pastor. The only one who can be your Advocate is Jesus Christ. Why? Because He alone lived the perfect, sinless life that God demanded of you. Because He alone willingly went to the cross to pay the penalty for sin and bear the wrath of God. And He alone conquered sin through His resurrection.
Will you call on Him and trust in Him alone
to save you?
“The fallen human mind tends to think it is unjust for God to choose some but not everyone – as if we had a right to demand His grace. That’s not fair! is the typical response. But it’s not supposed to be fair. We wouldn’t want it to be fair. “Fair” would mean everyone is eternally condemned.”
-John MacArthur, Ashamed of the Gospel
Hariton Deligiannides is the pastor of Mendon Communiy Church. Pastor Hariton proclaims the truth of Scripture in order to help people come to a knowledge of the truth, namely that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, and to then get grounded and rooted in the deep truths of Scripture.