Home > Calvinism, Election > The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIV- Personal assurance that one is among the elect

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIV- Personal assurance that one is among the elect

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXIV


l. Basis For Assurance. 2. Scripture Teaching. 3. Conclusion.


All true Christians may and should know that they are among those who have been predestinated to eternal life. Since faith in Christ, which is a gift from God, is the means of salvation, and since this is not given to any but the elect only, the person who knows that he has this faith can be assured that he is among the elect. The mere presence of faith, no matter how weak it may be, provided it is real faith, is a proof of salvation. “As many as were ordained to eternal life (and they only) believed,” Acts 13:48. Faith is a miracle of grace within those who have already been saved — a spiritual token that their salvation was “finished” on the cross, and certified on the resurrection morn. The truly saved know that the love of God has been shed abroad in their hearts and that their sins have been forgiven. In Pilgrim’s Progress we read that when Christian’s sins were forgiven a heavy burden rolled from his shoulders and that he experienced a great relief. Every converted man should know that he is among the elect, for the Holy Spirit renews only those who are chosen by the Father and redeemed by the Son. “It is folly to fancy that a sincere lover of Jesus Christ who trusts in Him as his Saviour and lovingly obeys Him as his Lord, can possibly lack the election of God. It is only because he is one of God’s elect that he can believe in Christ for the salvation of his soul, and follow after Christ in the conduct of his life…. It is impossible, that a believer in Christ should not be elected of God, because it is only by the election of God that one becomes a believer in Christ…. We need not, we must not, seek elsewhere for the proof of our election. If we believe Christ and obey Him, we are His elect children.” 1

Every person who loves God and has a true desire for salvation in Christ is among the elect, for the non-elect never have this love or this desire. Instead, they love evil and hate righteousness in accordance with their sinful natures. “Does a man do his duty to God and his neighbor? Is he honest, just, charitable, pure? If he is, and if he is conscious of the power to continue so, so far as he can depend on this consciousness, so far he may reasonably believe himself to be predestined to future happiness.” 2

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death,” 1 John 3:14. “He that is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God,” 1 John 3:9. That is, it is against his inner principles to commit sin. When he thinks deeply and soberly about it, sin is repulsive to him and he hates it. Just as a good American citizen does nothing which will be detrimental to his country, so the true believer does nothing which injures the kingdom of God. As a matter of practice, no one in this world lives a perfectly sinless life; yet this is the ideal standard which he seeks to reach.

Says Dr. Warfield, “Peter exhorts us, 2 Peter 1:10, to make our ‘calling and election sure’ precisely by diligence in good works. He does not mean that by good works we may secure from God a decree of election in our behalf. He means that by expanding the germ of spiritual life which we have received from God into its full efflorescence, by ‘working out’ our salvation, of course not without Christ but in Christ, we can make ourselves sure that we have really received the election to which we make claim…. Good works become thus the mark and test of election, and when taken in the comprehensive sense in which Peter is here thinking of them, they are the only marks and tests of election. We can never know that we are elected of God to eternal life except by manifesting in our lives the fruits of election — faith and virtue, knowledge and temperance, patience and godliness, love of brethren…. It is idle to seek assurance of election outside of holiness of life. Precisely what God chose His people to before the foundation of the world was that they should be holy. Holiness, because it is the necessary product, is therefore the sure sign of election.” 3

As Toplady says, “A person who is at all conversant with the spiritual life knows as certainly whether he indeed enjoys the light of God’s countenance, or whether he walks in darkness, as a traveler knows whether he travels in sunshine or in rain.”

How may I know that I am among the elect? One may as well ask, How do I know that I am a loyal American citizen, or how shall I distinguish between white and black, or between sweet and bitter? Every one knows instinctively what his attitude is toward his country, and the Scriptures and conscience give as clear evidence of whether or not we are among God’s people as white and black do of their color, or sweet and bitter do of their taste. Every person who is already a child of God should be fully conscious of the fact. Paul exhorted the Corinthians, “Try your own selves, whether ye are of the faith; prove your own selves,” 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

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