What is election?


It is God’s goodness as revealed in his grace by choosing certain sinners for salvation.

As we learned with the word “atonement,” the Bible is a great big book about our great big God, and it sometimes uses great big words to describe him! For the next eight questions, we will look at some big and important words from the Bible. Each of these words has something in common – they are all words to describe the different things God did to save us from our sin.

The first of these important words is “election.” Normally, when we use this word, we think about voting. When a country holds an election, all the people vote for who they want to lead them. It’s a time for the people to choose who’s in charge.

When we talk about election in the Bible, we’re also talking about choosing. But this time, it’s not the people doing the choosing – it’s God! All through the Bible, we see God choosing some people, but not choosing others. In Genesis 12, God chose to make a mountain of special promises to a man named Abram, but not anyone else. Later, when Abraham had a pair of twin grandkids, God chose to pass his promises onto Jacob, not Esau. And in Exodus 19:5, God says to the people of Israel, “Out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” It’s simply a fact we see in the Bible: God chooses some people, but not others.

As our answer says, election is “God’s goodness as revealed in his grace by choosing certain sinners for salvation.” Just like God chose Abram to receive his promises, just like he chose Israel to be his chosen people, God also chooses certain sinners like you and me for “salvation,” to be saved. Ephesians 1:4 says, “For he (God) chose us in him (Jesus) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 tells us, “God chose you as firstfruits to be saved.

As we’ve already learned, we are all law-breaking sinners. God didn’t have to choose any of us to be saved – every last one of us deserves forever death for what we have done. But our God is a God of grace; he loves us even when we don’t deserve it. He’s chosen and elected some of us to be saved. And he didn’t pick us because we are such great people. He chose us “before the creation of the world,” before time began. Before our universe was made, God chose us to be part of his forever kingdom. He chose us even though he knew every sin we would ever commit. The Bible uses a special word to describe those God chose to be saved: they are called “the elect,” those who God elected.

From before time began, God chose us. And Jesus did all the work to save us. So what do we do? What does God want from us? We’ve talked about it already – he wants us to believe the good news and trust that he’s got everything else taken care of! We don’t need to worry, “What if God didn’t choose me? What if I’m not one of the elect?” If you believe the good news, you can be certain – God chose you to be part of his forever kingdom. What an incredible privilege!


+ Read Colossians 3:12. What does God tell his chosen people, the elect, to do?

+ Read 1 Peter 2:9. What does Peter say about God’s chosen people?


Eph. 1:3, 4; 1 Th 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:1, 2

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