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 Kim Riddlebarger, notes on Article 11…

Synod%20of%20Dort.jpgArticle 11: Election Unchangeable Just as God himself is most wise, unchangeable, all-knowing, and almighty, so the election made by him can neither be suspended nor altered, revoked, or annulled; neither can his chosen ones be cast off, nor their number reduced.

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This is an important point because it means that God does not change his mind once his decree is executed in time and space.  God does not add to the number of the elect when he sees someone doing something good he did not expect!  Nor does God subtract from the number of the elect when one of those whom he has chosen happens to fall into sin.  All of God’s elect will come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  This is God’s purpose in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 8:28-30).

As the Canons point out, God is immutable (unchanging) in both his being and his purpose.  Therefore his decree of election is likewise unchanging.  We know this because election is based solely upon God’s good pleasure and purpose, and occurs, as Paul says, “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).  This means the full number of the elect is unchangeable. 

 

The knowledge of this should give us great comfort because it means that no one who is presently numbered among the elect can fall away and be lost.  This is what Jesus means when he says “all that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).  God is not capricious nor does he change his mind.  This means that if we are truly in Christ at this moment, we can be assured that we will die in Christ, because he will never leave nor forsake us.  We cannot simply slip through his fingers. 

As Paul reminds the Philippians, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philppians 1:6).  Indeed, the good shepherd reminds us, “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).

Just think of where we’d be if God’s decree was not immutable . . .

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