Vol. 8, No. 9
~ Page 8 ~
Among other New Testament passages, Peter introduces us to "the elect" in his first epistle, chapter one, verse two: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." There are many false teachings propagated about the nature of election, but this definition is enough to fill our needs. If we examine carefully the text, we notice exactly who the elect are, and how they become such. According to this passage, the elect are "elect" due to both God's actions, and man's response to those actions. Included are these:
"According to ["on account of," Thayer] the foreknowledge of God the Father." The knowledge of God concerning events before they happen does not make them so; it merely has the power and ability to declare them. His plan of election was in his mind before the world began (Ephesians 1:3-6; 3:11).
"Through [by the means of] sanctification of the Spirit." Jesus declared sanctification came through truth (John 17:17). Peter later declared purification (similar term) comes through obedience to truth (1 Peter 1:22). The Spirit guided men into all the truth (John 16:13). When one heeds the Spirit's voice in Scripture today, he becomes sanctified by his obedient faith in that truth.
"Unto [for the purpose of] obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." Parallel terms are here joined by the conjunction "and." Whatever is true of obedience is also true of the sprinkling of the blood. The blood of Christ responds to an obedient faith (Romans 1:5; Galatians 5:6; James 2:24-26; Romans 6:1-4), and one is therefore purified by Christ's blood through obedience (Hebrews 10:22).
How then, do you become part of "the elect?" Though God knows your outcome before you (foreknowledge), he does not cause it. Rather, he pleads, through his inspired Word (through the Spirit), for you to obey the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Someone may ask you, "When is the blood of Christ applied, which washes away sins?" The answer is, "When one's faith responds to the Gospel in loving obedience (obedience and sprinkling of blood)." Once those have had their sins washed in the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5), through responsive faith, they are as God intended for them to be (elect), even before they knew it. And "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" (Romans 8:33). The rhetorical answer: "No one!"