Unconditional Election: A Catalyst for Worship, Humility, and Evangelism

Jerod Gilcher | March 20, 2019

Whether you are reading or preaching through the Bible, the outcome is inevitable.

Eventually you will encounter the unshakeable truth of unconditional election. This is not an obscure doctrine; it is not tucked away in the ambiguous passages of the minor prophets; it is not a confusing compilation of questionable inferences.

As Charles Spurgeon aptly wrote, “[The doctrine of election] is written in the Word of God as with an iron pen, and there is no getting rid of it.”

Election is everywhere in the Bible.

Unconditional Election, Defined

What is the doctrine of unconditional election? It is the Biblical teaching that in eternity past, God appointed a number from every tribe, tongue, and people to be saved by Jesus Christ. Before time, the Father hand-selected specific souls and entrusted them to His Son. Jesus then willingly went to the cross to purchase the elect with His own blood.

The Gospels make it abundantly clear that Jesus had the elect engraved upon His mind during His earthly ministry. In the Gospel of John, Christ regularly speaks of the souls given to Him in the dawns of time by the Father (cf. John 6:37; 10:29; 17:2, 6, 9). When questioned about coming times, Jesus’ mind went to the purity and preservation of His elect (Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 27).

The doctrine of election should lead to an overpowering realization that life is not your own

The doctrine also fills the preaching and letters of the apostles, as seen in Acts, when Paul preached to the Gentiles and “as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). The author diligently explains that the Gentiles did not believe and then were appointed to eternal life. Rather, they had already been appointed to eternal life, and then they believed.

Paul also taught this beautiful doctrine in his letter to the Ephesians, explaining that God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (1:4). Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God chose you from the beginning for salvation and faith in the truth.” And, finally, in the book of Revelation, John writes that before the foundation of the world, the names of all those who would ever be saved were written in “the Lamb’s book of life” (13:8).

While many in the church can articulate the tenets of this doctrine, few understand its far-reaching implications. Sadly, many believe if election was in fact true, it would empty prayer, preaching, and evangelism of purpose.

For this reason, I have compiled nine implications of unconditional election that prove this to be one of the most profoundly practical doctrines of the Bible.

9 Implications of Unconditional Election

1. A Reminder of Ownership

The doctrine of election should lead to an overpowering realization that life is not your own. You exist for the glory of Another—for the majesty of Jesus Christ and His coming kingdom. Election is the most blatant reminder of this.

2. Evidence of God’s Love

The doctrine of election is one of the greatest evidences of God’s love. God did not forfeit salvation to random selection. Salvation is eternally intentional. Election means that He chose you. Not someone like you, but you. He called you by name and gave you to His Son Jesus Christ, who would die to purchase you with His blood. Your salvation has always been deeply personal to God.

3. The Richest Security

The doctrine of election is the richest security that the elect will not only be saved, but will stay saved. The phrase “once saved, always saved” is true, but it halts short of completion. It is not too strong, but too imprecise. It neglects the beautiful in between – the reality that between election and glorification, God secures all the means for the believer to persevere in the faith.  

4. The Deepest Root of Humility

The doctrine of election is the deepest root of humility. The believer must humbly confess that he made not the least contribution to his salvation. Salvation then pivots from being man-centered to God-centered.

5. Enjoyment of God Himself

The doctrine of election reminds us that salvation is not a reward for faith in Christ. Salvation is not a commodity to be enjoyed independently of God. Rather, salvation is the everlasting enjoyment of God Himself. Salvation is the Triune God allowing believers to share in the mutual affection that each Person of the Trinity has for the other.

6. A Cataylst for Worship

The doctrine of election is one of the greatest catalysts for heart-felt worship because, had God not initiated redemption, you would reject Him still.

7. A Refuge for Hope

The doctrine of election is one of the safest refuges of hope for despairing sinners who feel that they have fallen too far from grace. God’s eternal choice is not determined by one’s sinfulness or lack thereof. It is not based on man’s actions, thoughts, feelings, or choices.

God alone decides the elect. No man has the right to declare himself beyond God’s election. None of an unbeliever’s filth or stains prove the absence of his election. Rather, the unbeliever must drink deeply from the bidding of Jesus: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

8. A Signature of Guarantee

The doctrine of election has profound implications for global missions. The missionary can have confidence that even in the darkest corners of the earth, God is calling His elect to Himself to build His church. God’s plan will be accomplished, the nations will be reached, the darkness will be penetrated, and the church will be built – the doctrine of election is God’s signature of guarantee.

9. Assurance of Gospel Effectiveness

Rather than diminish the need to pray, preach, and plead with sinners to repent, election assures the effectiveness of the proclamation of the gospel. Mysterious and contradictory as it may seem, election removes not an ounce of the believer’s responsibility to plead with sinners to repent. Instead, it provides the confidence that Gospel-proclamation will not return void. In other words, election doesn’t make evangelism meaningless, rather, election guarantees that our evangelism cannot fail.

Unconditional Election: Worth Your Meditation

Although election is a challenging doctrine for many, it is a glorious catalyst for worship, humility, and unwavering evangelism. If you want to grow in godliness and strengthen your effectiveness for the Great Commission, the doctrine of unconditional election is well worth your meditation.

All too often we have the habit of thinking that the “deep things” of the Bible are beyond our grasp and have no practical value for everyday life. The truth is, it’s just the opposite. The secret to a thriving soul is not to avoid thinking deeply about God, but to push deeper than ever into God and His ways. Because the more we see the sovereign majesty of God over our lives and the world, the more stable, secure, and satisfied our lives become. And when our lives become like that, they become lethal instruments in the hand of the King.


Jerod Gilcher avatar
Jerod Gilcher is a graduate of The Master's Seminary (M.Div. '09) and the lead pastor at Christ Community Bible Church in Arlington, Texas.

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Although election is a challenging doctrine for many, it is a glorious catalyst for worship, humility, and unwavering evangelism. If you want to grow in godliness and strengthen your effectiveness for the Great Commission, the doctrine of unconditional election is worth your meditation.