What We Believe About God's Eternal Purpose and Election
From Gospel Translations
The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith, Part 3
3.1 We believe that God, from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory for the eternal and ever-increasing enjoyment of all who love Him, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His will, freely and unchangeably ordain and foreknow whatever comes to pass.
3.2 We believe that God upholds and governs all things – from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations,and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons – all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.
3.3 We believe that God’s election is an unconditional act of free grace which was given through His Son Christ Jesus before the world began. By this act God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in His Son Christ Jesus.
 [He] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Timothy 1:9).
This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:11).
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
He [Christ] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake (1 Peter 1:20).
All who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13:8).
 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36; see also Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified (Isaiah 60:21; see also 43:7).
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” (John 12:27-28).
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do (John 17:4).
[God highly exalted Christ so that] every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11).
 Delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4)!
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23).
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).
 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).
 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it (Numbers 23:19)?
And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret (1Samuel 15:29).
 Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:33).
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Proverbs 19:21).
 Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified (Isaiah 41:21-23).
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them (Isaiah 42:8-9; see also Genesis 15:13; 40:13,19; Exodus 3:19; Deuteronomy 31:16; Psalm 34:20; Isaiah 44:6-8; 44:24-28; 45:11; 45:20-21; 46:8-11; 48:1-6; Zechariah 12:10; John 6:64; 19:36-37).
 [God] commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars (Job 9:7).
Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing (Isaiah 40:26).
 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:29-30).
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17).
 For to the snow he says, “Fall on the earth,” likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it. Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen (Job 37:6-13).
He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow (Psalm 147:15-18).
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him” (Mark 4:39-41)?
 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations (Psalm 33:10-11).
Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it (Amos 3:6)?
Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come (Lamentations 3:37-38)?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Genesis 50:20).
 And the ten horns [= kings] that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled (Revelation 17:16-17).
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1).
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord (Proverbs 16:33).
 A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way (Proverbs 20:24)?
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all (Psalm 104:24).
To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:27).
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21).
 The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he (Deuteronomy 32:4).
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one (James 1:13). Let God be true though every one were a liar (Romans 3:4).
 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law (Romans 2:11-12).
All his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble (Daniel 4:37).
 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God (Romans 3:19).
Though [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills (Romans 9:11-18).
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 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” (John 10:25-29).
I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word (John 17:6).
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day (John 6:37-39).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day” (Romans 11:5-8).
 [God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began (2 Timothy 1:9).
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:4).
 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed (Romans 6:17).
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18).
 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:44).
And [Jesus] said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:65).
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake (Philippians 1:29).
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Matthew 11:27).
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul (Acts 16:14).