The Election of Israel: and what it says about Calvinism

The teachings of Calvinism can be summarized in the acronym
TULIP
T- total depravity
U- unconditional election
L- limited atonement
I- irresistible grace
P- preservation of saints

Each point is worthy of discussion, but for my purposes I will focus on “U”, unconditional election.

First, let’s define terms:

Unconditional election- the teaching that before God created the world, He chose to save some people for His own purposes apart from any conditions related to them. Or, in lay man’s terms, God chooses who is saved (“Elect”) independent of anything they do.

When discussing this topic, many self-professing Calvinists I have spoken too have made the point that Israel’s election as a chosen nation in the Old Testament foreshadows/mirrors/shows that God’s election is in fact unconditional. But was Israel’s election really unconditional? Let’s see what scripture says.

The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous then all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because He loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers.(Deuteronomy 7:7-8a)

So, Israel’s election was conditioned on the promise God made to their father (Abraham). What was that promise?

Then the Angel of The Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, by Myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son, I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gates of their enemies. And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed my command. (Genesis 22:15-18)

Thus, Israel’s election was not unconditional as some claim; but rather conditioned upon the oath God swore to Abraham, which itself was conditioned on the faith and obedience he had demonstrated!

Now, this doesn’t disprove unconditional election, but it does provide support for the idea that God’s election is predicated upon our faith.

Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, emphasis is my own.

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