Questions on Election and Predestination

How can I know if I’ve been “chosen” for salvation? I was raised in the church by Christian parents, and I’ve always felt pretty comfortable with my faith. But I heard a pastor say that God elects or chooses certain people for salvation. Now I’m worried.

Remember John 3:16

Your question touches on the mysterious relationship between God’s sovereignty and human free will. Christians from different faith traditions don’t always agree about the best way to answer the ins and outs of the biblical doctrine of election or predestination.

Be encouraged, though. From our perspective, the answer is simple: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).

Do you believe that foundation of the faith? If so, how can you not be one God’s chosen?

An example from literary history

John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, wrestled with similar doubts about salvation.

He said in his autobiography, “I found, by reading the Word, that those that must be glorified with Christ in another world must be called by Him here … Here again I was at a very great stand, not knowing what to do, fearing I was not called; for, thought I, if I be not called, what then can do me good?”

Then one day it hit him: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3, ESV). The breakthrough came when Bunyan realized that if he were not saved and indwelt by the Spirit of God, it would be impossible for him to place his trust in Jesus Christ at all.

Bunyan still had struggles with his faith even after this breakthrough. But he never again questioned the truth of Scripture’s declaration: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (1 John 5:1).

We’re confident you can find rest in that truth, too.

Can we help?

We realize this topic can be discussed more deeply than we have space for here. Dig into the resources below, or call us for a free over-the-phone consultation. Our licensed or pastoral counselors would be glad to help in any way they can.

If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Chosen by God

What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day: Essential Truths for Growing Your Faith

The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

Mere Christianity


Insight for Living

Christian Research Institute

Insight for Living

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