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WHAT IS?
THE ELECTION OF GRACE

by Jacques More



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Paul wrote of,

. . . the election of grace.

Romans 11:5

What did he mean by it?

Paul is talking about something contrary to or in opposition to something else. This other, this else, is "works":

We see this as he continues the mention of "the election of grace" by saying,

And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Romans 11:6

This "grace", this "election of grace", is that choosing based on faith in God with an individual; it is not choosing based on relying on works. It is a decision contrary to one based on works.

Paul had already well stated, to existing saints,

…we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…

Romans 5:2

This is "the election of grace". A decision to believe is election of grace. It is not a reliance of works.

Paul went at length to explain this in using Abraham's faith as an illustration and an example in Romans 4.

It is also important to note that Paul in contrasting faith versus works, he is saying the exercise of faith is not a work.
       It is one's own decision, as it is based on a reckoning of the mind and will. Abraham reckoned what God said to him was possible - to have a son from Sarah, his wife, and for his posterity to be as numerous as the stars - and that God would be faithful to do it. This was Abraham deciding to believe. Just as later, this reckoning is seen in his obedience of offering up Isaac, his only son from Sarah.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Hebrews 11:17-19

This "accounting" involved reasoning on Abraham's part that "God was able to raise him up" so we know his thinking and his will was involved. This faith was Abraham's decision.

              The election of works is an election of debt:
              You are owed something because you have worked for it.

              The election of faith is the election of grace:
              You are given access to grace because you have faith.

Now, other translations into English of this text render "the election of grace" differently, a decision of grace, as it is explained above, cannot be seen from this other rendering.
Now, the phrase came in this sentence,

Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Romans 11:5

Others read in Romans 11:5, "God has chosen because of his grace" (GNB), "chosen by grace" (NIV), "because of God's grace-his undeserved kindness in choosing them" (NLT), "according to God's gracious choice" (NASB).

All these other versions, "chosen because of his grace", "chosen by grace", "because of God's grace-his undeserved kindness in choosing them" and, "God's gracious choice" make no sense with the ongoing text.

And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Romans 11:6

Paul is talking about a type of decision. An election, a choice of grace is a decision connected to grace, unlike a decision connected to works.

If God is making this decision, as per these other renderings, then what work can be contrasted as from God, exactly?

It makes no sense.

If this "election of grace" is contrasted to "works", as Paul clearly does, then if you make this God's decision, what works can God do in contrast?

An election-a choice-a decision of grace is not a decision-a choice-an election of works.
       The type of decision, of grace, is in contrast to another, of works, Paul tells us.

We know this is not a decision of God, a choice of God, because Paul in the preceding verse told us,

But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

Romans 11:4

Who did "not bowed the knee to Baal"?
God or "seven thousand men"?

This is the context.
And in the flow of thought, this decision of faith: to believe, no matter the odds like denying a false god, is a decision of grace. To believe against all odds, like Abraham did, was accounted to him for righteousness (Romans 4). This is the decision of grace, the election of grace. This is not a choice of God, but a choice of the individual. This continues to tie in with Paul's next mention of "election" in the ongoing context.

What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

Romans 11:7 KJV

["election" here is the same Greek word EKLOGÉ as in Verse 5]
"The election" here are the ones who believe. Israel did not obtain it, but the remnant that believe do, as these are "the election".
       This grace is about their belief. And being a Jew by birth or relying on the works of the law does not save you, but your belief does.

We know this is Paul's thinking as he goes on, that (the rest of) Israel can obtain it too, if…

And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

Romans 11:23

Unbelief is the disqualifier. Belief is the qualifier.

This is the election of grace in contrast to works.


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A note
For those finding this article hard to read, or finding as they read "pressing" or "harassing" or "vexing" thoughts.

You may find these difficulties disappear after you pray sincerely (earnestly) the prayer at the end of this article.



Ref. S.079

Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from
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© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979,1980,1982.
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NIV material is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version

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Good News Bible New Testament copyright © 1966, 1971

American Bible Society, New York
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Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible

New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013

Used by permission of Tyndale House Foundation. All rights reserved.
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Marked NASB Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®,

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Marked KJV Scripture is taken from the King James Version

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© copyright Jacques More 2019. All Rights Reserved.



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