chooz, cho’-z’-n (bachar, qabhal, bara’, barah; ek-lego):
I. IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. Human Choice
2. God Chooses King of Israel
3. God Chooses Jerusalem
4. Election of Israel
5. Yahweh’s Grace
(1) An Act of Sovereignty
(2) For Mankind’s Sake
II. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
1. Various Meanings
2. Of God’s Free Grace
3. Ultimate Antinomies
4. Election Corresponds to Experience
The words denote an act of comparison of two or more objects or persons, the preference and selection of one, or of a few out of a larger number for a certain purpose, function, position or privilege.
I. In the.
1. Human Choice:
2. God Chooses King of Israel:
3. God Chooses Jerusalem:
4. Election of Israel:
But the fundamental idea of choosing, which governs all others in the Old Testament, is that of God choosing Israel to be His peculiar people. He chose Abraham, and made a covenant with him, to give him the land of Canaan (
5. Yahweh’s Grace:
It was by an act of free choice and sovereign grace on God’s part. "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (
(1) An Act of Sovereignty:
Yahweh’s gracious choice of Israel rests ultimately on His absolute sovereignty: "O Jacob my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen: thus saith Yahweh that made thee, and formed thee from the womb" (
(2) For Mankind’s Sake:
"Israel is elect for the sake of mankind." This is the moral interpretation of a choice that otherwise appears arbitrary and irrational. God’s purpose and call of salvation are unto all mankind. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else" (
Coordinate with the idea of God choosing Israel runs the complementary idea that Israel should prove faithful to the covenant, and worthy of the choice. God has chosen her, not for any merit in her, but of His free grace, and according to His purpose of salvation, but if Israel fails to respond by faithful conduct, fitting her to be His servant and messenger, He may and will cast her off, or such portion of her as proves unworthy. See Oehler, Old Testament Theology, I, 256 ff, 287 f.
Three other Hebrew words expressing choice in minor matters are: qabhal, for David’s choice of evils (
II. In the.
1. Various Meanings:
The whole conception of God, of His relation to Israel, and of His action in history indicated above, constituted the religious heritage ofand His disciples. The national conciousness had to a considerable extent given place to that of the individual; and salvation extended beyond the present life into a state of blessedness in a future world. But the central ideas remain, and are only modified in the New Testament in so far as Jesus Christ becomes the Mediator and Agent of God’s sovereign grace. Eklego and its derivatives are the words that generally express the idea in the New Testament. They are used
(1) of the general idea of selecting one out of many (
(2) of choosing men for a particular purpose, e.g. of the church choosing the seven (
(3) of moral choice (
(4) of Christ as the chosen Messiah of God (
(6) of God
(a) choosing Israel (
(b) choosing the Christian church as the new Israel (
(c) choosing the members of the church from among the poor (
(d) choosing into His favor and salvation a few out of many: "Many are called, but few are chosen"’ (
2. Of God’s Free Grace:
(1) God chose (and foreordained) the saints in Christ before the foundation of the world;
(2) according to the good pleasure of His will;
(3) unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself;
(4) to be holy and without blemish before Him in love;
(5) to the praise of the glory of His grace;
(6) which He freely bestowed on them in the Beloved. And in
Thus in the New Testament as in the Old Testament
(1) God’s covenant of grace is free and unconditional. It is unto all men, now as individuals rather than nations, and without distinction of race or class. It is no less free and sovereign, because it is a father’s grace.
(2) Israel is still a chosen race for a special purpose.
(3) The church and the saints that constitute it are chosen to the full experience and privileges of sonship.
(4) God’s purpose of grace is fully revealed and realized through Jesus Christ.
3. Ultimate Antinomies:
This doctrine raises certain theological and metaphysical difficulties that have never yet been satisfactorily solved.
(1) How can God be free if all His acts are preordained from eternity? This is an antinomy which indeed lies at the root of all personality. It is of the essence of the idea of personality that a person should freely determine himself and yet act in conformity with his own character. Every person in practice and experience solves this antinomy continually, though he may have no intellectual category that can coordinate these two apparently contradictory principles in all personality.
(2) How can God be just, if a few are chosen and many are left? And
(3) How can man be free if his moral character proceeds out of God’s sovereign grace? It is certain that if God chose all or left all He would be neither just nor gracious, nor would man have any vestige of freedom.
4. Election Corresponds to Experience:
The doctrine describes accurately (a) the moral fact, that some accept salvation and others reject it; (b) the religious fact that God’s sovereign and unconditional love is the beginning and cause of salvation. The meeting-point of the action of grace, and of man’s liberty as a moral and responsible being, it does not define. Nor has the category as yet been discovered wherewith to construe and coordinate these two facts of religious experience together, although it is a fact known in every Christian experience that where God is most sovereign, man is most free.
For other passages, and the whole idea in the New Testament, see Election.