HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE ONE OF GOD’S ELECT?
This is a question that I have asked myself and have been asked by others. How do I know that I am one of the elect? The truth is, no one can know that they are amongst the elect until they are born again. The ‘elect’ are not born with any visible marks on their body, or in their character. Neither can one assume that because a man is very poor or severely afflicted that he could be one of God’s chosen, and that in spite of the fact that Scripture tells us that for the most part God hath chosen the poor of this world rich in faith to be heirs of the kingdom [James 2:5] . Again Scripture affirms that not many wise, mighty, or noble men are called but God has chosen the foolish, the weak, the base and the things which are despised. [1Cor 1:26-28] But this is not to say that all who are such are His elect.
Both history and everyday life show us that there are many foolish, poor and others who have literally reached the ‘end of their ropes’ in every way but have no desire to call upon God or any interest in the true gospel.
Writing to the Thessalonians, the Apostle wrote – “Knowing brethren, beloved, your election of God.” [1Thes 1:4]
How did the apostle know their election of God? Let it be most particularly observed that this assurance of his was obtained not by any immediate revelation from Heaven, not by a supernatural vision or angelic message, nor by the Lord Himself, directly informing him to that effect. No; rather was it by what he had witnessed in and from them. It was by the visible fruits of their election that he perceived them to be “brethren beloved.” In other words, he traced back those effects of grace which had been wrought in them at their conversion, to the source thereof in God’s eternal purpose of mercy.
Those tiny rivulets of grace in their hearts the apostle traced back to the ocean of God’s everlasting love from which they proceeded. Therein, he indicted to us the course which we must follow, the method we are to pursue in order to ascertain our predestination to glory. [A.W. Pink]
What was the change that occurred in me when God saved me?
There are three. And I shall briefly state them and later expound on them.
1. There was a time I hated the Lord and His commandments. But now I love Him with all my heart, mind and soul and am willing to die for Him!
2. There was a time I hated true Christians and couldn’t stand them. Now I long for their company and feel like a ‘fish out of water’ in the company of unbelievers!
3. There was a time when the little Bible that I knew was a DEAD BOOK! But NOW when I read it God speaks to me through it personally and comforts, edifies and challenges me!
1. I got involved in the occult at a very young age and by the time I went to college, I was a practicing Satanist. As an occultist I quite naturally hated the name of the Lord Jesus and did not want anything to do with Him. But when the Lord in His mercy saved me by His free mercy and love, something happened. There arose an unexplainable love for the Lord and a perfect hatred for the devil.
Now you might say, “I have never been an occultist and I have never hated the Lord. In fact I have always loved God”. But is this God whom you have all along loved the God of the Bible? Is He the Sovereign discriminating God whom the Bible speaks of?!
A Sovereign who is answerable to none but Himself. A God who doeth according to HIS WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou? [Dan 4:35]A Sovereign who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will! [Rom 9:18] A Sovereign who knows the end from the beginning, and calleth those things that are not as though they were and makes His people willing in the day of His power! A Sovereign who hath created ALL THINGS for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil, and causes the wrath of man to praise Him!
Few who claim to be Christians know THIS God! The God THEY believe in is a frustrated idol who keeps hoping and wishing and wringing his hands helplessly as man and devil rule by their ‘free will’.
But not so my God! Of my God it is written -“Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not EVIL AND GOOD”?[Lam 3:37,38]
My God “is in one mind, and who can turn HIM? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth. For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with Him. Therefore am I troubled at His presence: when I consider, I am afraid of Him”! [Job 23:13-15]
This God cannot be known by ‘walking an aisle’, ‘saying a little prayer’, signing a ‘decision card’ or getting baptized when you are old enough, but only by REVELATION!
“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED THEM unto babes”. [Matt 11:25]
Again – “Unto YOU (His elect) it is GIVEN to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [why?] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them”. [Mark 4:11,12]
Now THIS is the God I came to know shortly after my salvation. THIS is the God of the Scriptures! To the unbelieving heart and even the nominal religious Christian THIS God described above is nothing short of a monster!
A.W.Pink once wrote to a brother he was ministering to – “Preach Election, and you will know who the sheep and the goats are!” I would say a hearty “Amen!” to that, for I am convinced that the doctrine of divine predestination is not some high doctrine only to be understood by ‘older divines’ and ‘Fathers’ in the lord, but a truth that can be grasped even by a babe in the Lord.
I have personally labored much to present the truth of divine Predestination in many a pulpit in our land as the Lord gave me the opportunity. But I was to them as one who spoke in a strange tongue. And the reason for this is that very few in Christendom today are regenerated Christians who know the Lord or rather are ‘known of Him’. A great majority (99%) of those who warm the pews are ‘natural men’ who worship a God of their own making. Only a babe in Christ will desire the ‘sincere milk of the Word’. And believe me, what is preached in the existing ‘pulpits’ of our day is not even ‘milk’ let alone ‘meat’. It’s just plain hogwash!
The Christ of nominal Christendom is not the Sovereign, All-powerful, discriminating God of the Bible!
In one of his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son. Nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. I, too, pose the same charge against the vast majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teachings of their Seminaries. The most dishonoring conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even professing Christians, the God of Scripture is quite unknown.
Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel,
“Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself” (Psalm 50:21).
Such must now be His indictment against apostate Christendom. Men imagine the Most High is moved by sentiment, rather than by principle. They suppose His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan can thwart His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s free will and reduce him to a machine. They lower the all-efficacious atonement, which redeems everyone for whom it was made, to a mere remedy, which sin-sick souls may use if they feel so disposed. They lessen the strength of the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an offer of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.
All that to say, whether it is our salvation, our knowledge of God and His ways or our works for Him, in every thing all the glory is due to Him and Him alone. This is one reason why I am convinced that I am one of His elect. For His Spirit has in His grace and mercy revealed to me WHO HE IS!
And the doctrine which he has taught me gives God all the glory and puts man where he belongs ….in the dust!
This is how I know that I am one of His elect! And this is how I recognize others who are elected with me. They have come to believe the God of the Scriptures as he is revealed in the Scriptures!
2. Another mark that I am one of God’s elect is that I love the brethren. Scripture says – “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death”. [1John 3:14]
The word ‘brethren’ here must be defined. Does this mean all who call themselves Christians are my brothers and sisters in the Lord? No! the Bible speaks of some who are ‘false brethren’ [2Cor 11:26; Gal 2:4]
They are not all ‘brethren’ who claim to believe in Jesus. The Apostle said – “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”. [1Cor 1:10] Another apostle warned – “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds”. [2John 1:10,11]
It does not help to say that one’s creed is just ‘Jesus Christ’. For there are many Christ’s! We have the Romish Christ, the Mormon Christ and every other cult which defends its authority by Scripture claims to believe in ‘Jesus Christ’.
So it behooves us to define the Christ we believe in by Creed and doctrine!
There are those who complain, “Oh but doctrine divides”! Oh yes it divides! It divides between the sheep and the goats and those who are elect and those who are not!
Is the Jesus I believe in the third person of the Godhead?! Is He very God of very God and one substance with the Father!? Is He the absolute sovereign who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will!? Is he the frustrated saviour who desires the salvation of all men hoping that they will choose him of their own ‘free will’ or is He the Omnipotent Lord who makes His people willing in the Day of His power!?
The right answer to just the above questions will eliminate and expose the myriads of false Christ’s that pervade the land!
The Master told His disciples whom he had chosen –“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you”. [John 15:19]
Do you know how I am convinced that I am one of God’s elect? Because the world hates me! What world? Which “world” is specifically in view here? Let the previous verse answer: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”
What “world” hated Christ and hounded Him to death? The religious world, those who pretended to be most zealous for God’s glory. So it is now. Let the elect child of God turn his back upon a Christ—dishonoring Christendom, and his fiercest foes and most relentless and unscrupulous enemies will be those who claim to be Christians themselves!
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you… for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad” (Matthew 5:11,12).
Ah, my brother, it is a healthy sign, a sure mark that you are one of God’s elect, when the religious world hates you. But if, on the other hand, you still have a “good standing” in the “churches” or “assemblies” there is grave reason to fear that you are not one of His chosen! [Paraphrased from A.W. Pink]
3. Another clear sign that I am one of God’s elect is that the Bible which was once a dead book is now a living one. I was so thrilled when God saved me to know that He was now speaking to me through His Word! This was the first time I truly heard His voice. It wasn’t an audible voice (NEVER HAS BEEN). But I KNOW His voice! All the Elect know it. It couldn’t have been clearer if the Lord stood next to me and said it audibly!
The Master said – “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice”. [John 18:37]
It’s the still small voice of His glorious word full of majesty and power. It blows your mind (pardon the phrase). When you hear something like this no one can convince you that He didn’t speak to you! “Blessed is the people that know the JOYFUL SOUND: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of Thy countenance.” [Psa 89:15]. There is such a thing as the ‘voice of His Word’ [see Psa 103:20].
I know I am one of His elect because I do not read His Word as a religious duty or to gather information to debate, but because it is my necessary food! [see Job 23:12]. Only an elect child of God understands the meaning of the word – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. [Mat 4:4] I could say with the Psalmist – “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day” [Psa 119:97]
An elect man or woman is one who is blessed. “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts”! [Psa 65:4]
Concerning this blessed person it is written –
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”. [Psa 1:1-3]
The elect did not deserve it [Titus 3:5]. Neither did they ask for it [Rom 10:20]. But God gave it to them freely, and all the glory to God alone!