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Common Questions About Election

What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
–Romans 9:14

As Paul wrote Romans 9, he imagined his readers would have questions about the mystery of election. So beginning in verse 14, Paul answered commonly asked questions about election.

One of the most foundational objections to election is this: “Isn’t election unfair?” Isn’t it unfair that God would choose to offer some people salvation and pass by other people? After all, in a democratic country like ours, we think everyone ought to have an equal shot at salvation. We say it is unfair that God would choose some and not choose others. Before you make the charge that God is unfair in election, realize that it is a part of our fallen nature that we want to accuse God of anything. In fact, our default position when we do not understand something is to blame God. We got it from Adam. After Adam sinned, God confronted him with his sin, and he blamed God. Ever since then we have wanted to blame God and charge Him with unfairness.

Notice how Paul answered the question of unfairness. He said, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!” (9:14). God is not unjust. The doctrine of election is a perfect demonstration of both the justice and the mercy of God. God said, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (9:15). The Israelites deserved God’s justice, but instead God chose to show them mercy. Paul went on to say, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (9:16). When you understand the sinfulness of man and the grace of God, you realize the real question is not, “Why doesn’t God save everyone?” The real question is, “Why does God save anyone?”

When you are tempted to think that election is unjust, remember these two statements. First, God’s justice demands that everyone be sentenced to Hell. Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, not even one.” And Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Everyone who has ever lived deserves Hell because we have all sinned. Second, God’s mercy allows for some to enter into Heaven. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

How does God choose whom to save and whom to pass over for salvation? Is it that God looks at us and says, “I think you will be a good person; I choose you”? Or is the basis some capricious choice–does God sit in Heaven and say, “Saved, lost, saved, lost”? Ephesians 1:11 tells us the basis by which God chooses people for salvation: we have “been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” God’s choice in salvation is according to His secret plan. We do not know why God chooses some and not others, but we know salvation is all by grace. Is God unfair? No. There is no injustice with God.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Is God Unfair?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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