Thoughts on the Elect
This article is about the Greek word “eklektos” that’s often translated as “chosen” or “elect.” There are huge theological issues that rest on how this word is defined. It affects how we see ourselves, and our view of God’s character and nature.
For many years, because of my religious background, I was of the opinion that “eklektos” or “election” meant “chosen by God for salvation.” I believed this Greek word told us that God chose in advance each individual that would be saved, before those individuals were born. Then, later on, sometime after they were born, He would eventually cause them to believe. I also believed that God made this choice without taking anything about the individuals that were being chosen into account. Since the choice was made before they were born, then their actions and decisions could have no effect on whether or not they were chosen.
However, I came to a problem. If that definition is correct, there’s a big problem we would need to address. Consider the following passages that talk about Jesus:
· 1 Peter 2:4 – Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen [eklektos] by God and precious…
· 1 Peter 2:6 – Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect [eklektos], precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
According to these passages, Jesus was “eklektos.” Does that mean that Jesus was chosen in advance to be saved? Was Jesus selected from among a group of other Jews that were not chosen? No, of course not. Jesus was not chosen to be saved. He is the author of life!
What did “eklektos” mean back in the day when the Bible was written? Since the Septuagint was created before the events of the New Testament occured, we can look for the word “eklektos” in the Septuagint and get a clear picture of how the word was used outside of a New Testament context. Here are a couple passages from the Septuagint where the word “eklektos” was used to provide meaning:
· Gen 41:2 – Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat [eklektos]; and they fed in the meadow.
· 2 Sam 22:27 – With the pure [eklektos] You will show Yourself pure [eklektos]; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
· SoS 6:10 – Who is she who looks forth as the morning, Fair as the moon, Clear [eklektos] as the sun, Awesome as an army with banners?
Look at all the examples, the common theme is that the word “eklektos” indicates that there is some kind of positive quality in the item in question. It means that there is some desirable trait or attribute there. Fatted cows, plump grain, choice chariots, young men, pure perfume, precious stones, etc.
It tells us that there is a desirable quality present that provides a reason for the person or thing to be chosen. When it is used to describe Christians in relation to God, it tells us that there is a quality that is present in in them that is desirable to God the Father, and that He chose them (us) because of this quality. That quality is faith in Jesus, and it is the quality that pleases our Father in Heaven (Hebrews 11:6).
Content from conversations with Neil Leazer & his postings on bornofspirit.net. Neil is an amazing teacher providing clarity for deep subjects.