Election is in Christ
It was necessary that the new covenant should have a head and mediator as well as the old, that righteousness and life might flow from Him into all the elect seed, as sin and death had done from Adam. It is based on this that Christ is referred to as the second Adam in Rom. 5:12-21 but noting particularly verse 14, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."
Beyond the word necessary is the word prerequisite, that head and mediator must absolutely be in place before God chose His people. God would give His people to that head and mediator when they were chosen and so the position of Head, Mediator, Savior, etc. had to be in place. Why would God appoint a Savior if there was no one to save, if it was not an absolute fact that some would be saved?
All the benefits of the elect are only available through their union with Christ. He is the root and through Him flows that which makes the elect grow and bear fruit and that which gives them all the benefits promised. In Psalm 103 we read, "Forget not all his benefits..." and then it goes on to name those benefits. This Psalm makes those benefits promises.
The choosing of His people and the appointing of a Savior is a union established by a decree of God. One action influences the other or brings the other into being, just as the determined death of Christ brings about the salvation of those who died before He ever lived. Though Christ is not the cause of election, He is the grand means by Whom we obtain the blessedness that we have been chosen unto for it is by Him that "...we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand...", (Romans 5:2).
It can also be noted that when the apostles and others wrote in our Bible concerning salvation that the person of the Trinity that is most often involved is Christ.
Salvation is a gift, it is perfectly free; yet not to be had but in Christ, it comes to us through His righteousness and obedience, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteousness," (Romans 5:18,19).
Mankind, by their apostasy in Adam, had destroyed in themselves the whole of that principle which would have led them to God, for their life of great happiness. They had instead contracted such an enmity against Him, a kind of repugnance against any overture that He might make that God and man was kept separate. If it had not been for the blessed plan of God to choose some in Christ none would nor could ever be saved from eternal punishment. It was God that reached out to make peace with some of mankind not the other way around.
This peace could not have been made by any created power nor could any creature develop a way to redeem man's association with Almighty God. God and God only could find a way to bring salvation to some and the same love that ordained eternal life would also put it in such a way as should surely take effect and to this end - namely, that those ordained to salvation might be both rightfully entitled to it, and so brought to it in the fullness of time. For each of the elect has his time foreordained, the time when he or she will be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and so be able to hear and understand the call of the Shepherd to His sheep. God's people were put into Christ by election, they were given to Him by the Father as younger brothers and sisters and were to be maintained by Him upon His inheritance.
It is plain to anyone who reads the Word with understanding, that the whole of salvation was laid upon Christ, that He bears up the pillars of it for there are no other shoulders that could or would have had the strength. Man is without spiritual strength. Christ is both the Means and the Center by Whom and in Whom God will have all things gathered together in one.
God made real, "God with us," that we might be one in God and this appears very apparent in Christ's prayer in John 17, read it carefully and slowly and it will become real if you are a part of His flock. The Father said three times that He was "well pleased" with Christ, well pleased with His obedience even unto death, the death that was the major moment in God's plan of salvation. Those who are elect were in Him at that moment, at that moment we died to our sins for He died for them and so we are in Christ, saved in Christ, elected in Christ, chosen in Him, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world...." Ephesians 1:4, a very explicit verse, "chosen in him" that we might be "holy and without blame before him in love." It is the love of God that has chosen us and placed us in Him so that when He died for our sins we died with Him and so our sins were paid for by His death. With our sins paid for we can stand before Him and He can show us His great love, give us that promised eternal life, His gift of love. In Phil. 3:14 we are said to be called in Him and Eph. 2:10 we are created in Him and Jude 1 speaks of our being preserved in Him. Election is in Christ.
Because we are in Him then everything becomes a blessing for us for we are told that "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Please note the word "the" before the word "called". This is a specific; Paul is referring to a specific group of people and to this group everything is a blessing even though it might appear to the world as a terrible tragedy, for the elect it will work out to be a blessing. It's hard to believe but it's nevertheless true.
Whatever it is that God has called His elect to is effectually and infallibly provided for, He not only calls but he prepares and arms His army.
Argument 1: That by bringing about man's restoration through the election in Christ of some of mankind He might confuse His adversary. For Satan is not all-knowing, he did not realize that the crucifixion was the reason and the plan but thought that he had won and the Son of God was being put to death and so he had outwitted God.
Satan thought that by poisoning the root he could ruin and destroy the whole stock and progeny of man and he did not fail in his design. But Satan did not know of God's overall plan, the plan that existed from before the foundation of the world. God would retrieve the ruin that Satan had perpetrated by putting His elect into a new Adam that was incapable of degeneracy and so not only recover them but bring them into a better estate than that which they had lost. He placed on the earth a man that was too hard for Satan, a man that Satan could not handle, One that would be able to both destroy him and dissolve his works. And God has done according to His plan. Christ was that Man who was prophesied in Genesis Who would bruise the head of Satan, that is, wound him to his death, the man Who was too hard for Satan to handle, One Who could not be deceived, the One Who would destroy him and dissolve his works. And it will come to pass as we find when we study the Book of John's Revelation of Jesus Christ. His plan and His purpose is being worked out minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day...it is being worked out in the lives of His people and in the lives of Satan's people.
Paul wrote a reminder of all this for us in Romans 5:12 -21, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many...)". I suggest that you look up this scripture and read on to the end of the chapter that ends this way, "...that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Argument 2: That God showed us His righteousness in the manner of the recovery of His elect that we might be more understanding of His righteousness in the imputation of Adam's sin. Since we did not see Adam sin man has a problem accepting the absolute righteousness of God in imputing that sin to all mankind. Romans chapter 5 ends this way, "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ, our Lord."
Because of this problem many have argued against election by boldly stating that Adam's sin was without their consent and so they are not responsible. Can they really abide by this allegation?
Let us consider the matter of Achan in the Book of Joshua chapter 7. In verse 1, God maintains that Israel sinned because one member of the entire nation "took of the accursed thing." Every man of Israel stood in the place of the whole nation and through any trespass of one they were all found guilty and the wrath of God fell upon them all. They had not consented to the thing that Achan had done but they were judged by God because of it, they did not plead with God that they were not responsible and that they were not concerned in it.
So I say, to those who say that they did not consent to Adam's sin and so should not be judged because of it, take heed for by excusing yourself from Adam's sin you might well exclude yourself from the righteousness of God. If you are not a sinner as a descendent of Adam then the righteousness of God is of no use to you for the Second Adam did what He did without mankind's consent just as the first Adam did what he did without mankind's consent.
Argument 3: If the elect had not been in Christ the satisfaction of the law of God that He undertook for them could not in anyway have availed them anything. Just as Adam's sin could not have been ours if we had not been in him. So neither could the righteousness of Christ avail anything were we not in Him.
Divine justice could not have punished Him for us nor absolved us through Him, there was no way we could have been justified or reconciled by the blood of His cross if we had not been in Him when He took our place on the cross. Anotherís act cannot be mine either in profit or in loss if there is not a legal oneness between us.
I died on the cross when He died on the cross. I was there and in Him, I died in Him for my sins. "It is appointed unto man once to die..." and if you're saved you have died once, our baptism is the sign of that death. Sinners all die physically for we do not read anywhere that the living sinners will be caught away. They die physically and are judged. We died in Christ a vicarious death and there is no judgment for our sins, for they have been paid for by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Argument 4: If the elect were not in Christ there would be no way that we could have been sanctified. Romans 11:16 says, "For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches." Who is this first fruit that is holy? 1 Cor. 15:20, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." What is Paul writing about here in Romans and First Corinthians? That Jesus is the Son of God and so holy for we know our God is a thrice Holy God and so His son the Second person of the Trinity must be holy. If Christ is holy so is the lump, His church, like Him, is holy. He is the Root and so the branches are holy. His people are holy, sanctified, because He is holy and we cannot be otherwise. It is His nature, so as His branches, and part of the lump, we, too, are now by nature sanctified.
Remember the story of the wild olive branch. It's nature could not be suppressed except by grafting it into the true olive tree.
A man cannot be naturally born except from Adam as his natural head and it is impossible for him to be born again unless he has a like union to Christ as his spiritual Head. There is no new creature except it be in Christ, 1 Cor. 6:17, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." Then there is 2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." In this verse the word creature can also be translated "creation" so that if a man is in Christ he is a new "creation".
The branch must be in the vine or the tree before it can derive any life from the sap and that He that sanctifieth and he that is sanctified must be one. The use of the word "must" in this part of the discussion is used as a divine imperative.
In this argument let us close by saying that there must be a contact or touching of Him before this virtue can be transmitted: for the promises being all made to Christ, Gal. 3:16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not. And to seeds, as of many; but of one. And to thy seed, which is Christ," cannot be transmitted to us except we are in Him. It is this that makes us heirs of the promise. The Holy Ghost, in whom all promises are virtually contained, "he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour," Titus 3:6.
Argument 5: By this choosing in Christ, salvation itself is solidly secure and could not be otherwise. The first Adam had but a conditional life, it depended on his own personal obedience and could therefore be lost. Had Adam kept this condition and not sinned he could have passed on to us the same conditional life, a life that can in no way compare to the one we will inherit through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We were in Adam when he sinned but God has put His people in Christ as their Head so that they might be constantly influenced by the immortal root and so might effectually be kept from withering and falling away: that they might grow to that state and glory they were designed for by election. This is the grand record and the very pillar and ground of our safety, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his son." 1 John 5:11.
Having come this far in our thoughts and discussion of election we need now to know where this† wonderful river has it's head, and what is the foundation that it is built on so that it can guarantee its immutability.
We do not want to give its honor to another or endanger ourselves by settling on the wrong foundation, so we now want to look at the last thought that we have concerning election.