Bruce Milne’s Know The Truth is a straightforward, uncomplicated handbook of Christian doctrine.
Milne defines ‘election’ as
that work of God’s grace whereby he chooses individuals and groups for a purpose or destiny in accordance with his will.
Examples form the Old Testament include Abraham, Gen 11:31-12:7, Israel, Ex 3:6-10, and the Messiah, Isa 42:1f. In the New Testament Jesus is in a special sense the object of election, Lk 9:35; 1 Pet 2:4f. Then, the church itself is referred to as ‘the elect’, Mt 22:14; Mk 13:20; Lk 18:8; 1 Pet 2:4f.
The doctrine of election is
- a revealed truth, disclosed in Scripture and to be held as firmly as any other biblical truth
- a Christian truth, to be considered only from the perspective of regeneration. It is not an explicit part of the gospel that we present to unbelievers, and in no way inhibits the universal offer of salvation
- a trinitarian truth, involving the work not only of the Father, but the Son, Jn 15:16 and the Spirit, 1 Pet 1:2.
- a Christological truth, for we are chosen ‘in Christ’, Eph 1:4, the elect are saved through his atoning work, Rom 8:29f; Eph 1:7f; and the blessings of the elect come through him, Eph 1:7f.
- a complementary truth, to be held alongside the Bible’s insistence on human responsibility to repent and believe the gospel, Mt 23:37; Heb 12:25.
- a divine truth, not fathomable by human intellect
- a practical truth, intended to lead to (a) doxology, Eph 1:1-14; (b) security, Rom 8:33-38; and (c) holiness, Eph 1:4.