Question: The Bible seems to teach both the doctrines of Election and Free Grace. Which one is correct?
Answer: Calvinism promotes the doctrines of predestination, reprobation and election, whereas Arminianism promotes the doctrine of free grace. Calvinism, stressing God’s attributes of power and wisdom, teaches that God, out of His pleasure and for His own glory, predestinated unchangeably a few individuals of mankind’s billions to eternal bliss, and predestinated unchangeably the rest, the bulk of humanity, to eternal torment. Arminianism, on the other hand, stressing God’s attributes of love and justice, teaches that God loves all mankind, Christ died for all mankind and the holy spirit works on behalf of all mankind for salvation.
Both schools of thought quote large numbers of Scriptures in favor of its views and against the other, yet both views, as commonly taught, contain elements of truth and error. In order to arrive at the Scriptural Truth on the subject, the errors in each view need to be discarded, the elements of truth in each view need to be combined and then the elective passages need to be applied as operating in times prior to the Millennium, and the free grace passages as operating during the Millennium.
The Scriptures, contrary to Calvinism, teach that predestination, reprobation and election apply to classes and not to individuals. As an illustration: A government, by legal enactment, predetermines that there shall be a national army with so many corps, brigades, regiments, companies, etc., that the officers and privates shall have certain qualities as to age, size, weight, health, intelligence, etc. It predetermines the exclusion of all who do not possess these requirements, without at the time selecting or rejecting one individual for that army. The individuals are then selected afterwards through the application process, the training of cadets and the examination of recruits or draftees.
God uses the same method: before the world began He predestinated every feature of His plan, including as one of its features an elect Church as a class, divided into twelve groups, with certain characteristics fitting it for its intended use, without predetermining one individual of the class, but at the same time predetermining that none without these qualities should be of this class (Romans 8: 28, 29) (Ephesians 1: 3-11).
As in our illustration, just as there is a preliminary and contingent call and selection of the officers and privates, so there is a final selection of these – the cadets by their training and final examination, and the recruits by their final examinations following their preliminary examination. The Church’s preliminary call was justification, and its preliminary election was its consecration and spirit-begetting. Just as cadets and recruits who fail to qualify under final examination are rejected, so those who fail to be faithful are rejected from the finally elect, even though they had the preliminary call and election (John 6: 70) (John 17: 12) (1 Corinthians 9: 24-27).
The purpose for the Bible doctrine of the predestination of the classes and the selection of the individuals for those classes is to train the Elect to become the qualified deliverers of the non-elect. We do not select officials in our elections so that we may suffer all kinds of evils while they are blessed, but that they may make such legislative, executive and judicial arrangements as will bless us and advance our interests. So God, in making His selection of the legislative, executive and judicial officials of His Millennial Kingdom, is for the purpose of blessing the non-elect through those officials. All citizens are not selected for legislative, executive and judicial functions in our government, but only certain persons who are actually or supposedly qualified. So God does not select all mankind for legislative, executive and judicial functions in His Millennial Kingdom, but only certain persons who are qualified.
During the Millennium, when God’s free grace is made operative, all those who in this life were not given an opportunity to be of the Elect, and who therefore died as non-elect, lost under the Adamic condemnation, will be blessed with a favorable opportunity for obtaining salvation. At that time we will be able to see the glorious and harmonious display of God’s perfect wisdom, power, justice and love in the doctrines of predestination, reprobation and election, and in the doctrine of free grace. May we thank, praise and worship God through Jesus our Savior for such a glorious plan!