Wow. How ironic is this? My second post, on unconditional election comes on November 7, 2006....ELECTION DAY!!!! (OK, that's just too wierd.)
Of the 5 points of Calvinism, this is one of the most hotly debated. Why? I don't know. GOD's word is clear that He chooses us before we choose Him. Listen to Romans 11:2-5 (NKJV)--"Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Also consider the birth of Jacob and Esau. Romans 9:11-13 (NKJV)--"(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." What exactly had Jacob done to deserve this calling? Did he make a decision in the womb? No. GOD chose Jacob. He chose David. He chose Paul, Peter, Andrew and John.
And how about Abraham? Was he sitting around Ur one day when he just up and decided, "Hey! I've got an idea! I'll go to a place I do not know!" Of course not! GOD called him. Genesis 12:1 (KJV)--"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:"
To say that we take the first step toward salvation, or that our salvation begins with a decision we make is not humble. It is arrogant. Consider the following verses:
Acts 13:17 (KJV)--"The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it."
Acts 22:14 (KJV)--"And he [Ananias] said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee [Paul], that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth."
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV)--"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved."
2nd Timothy 2:13 (KJV)--"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"
That said, does our salvation depend on anything we do? YES. When we hear GOD calling us, we need to respond. Something I didn't do for many, many years. But, finally, about 5 years ago, I finally wised up and said, "My Shepherd is calling me. I have to go follow Him." And I said goodbye to my old life, and only look back to se how far GOD has brought me. So, if you hear GOD calling you to salvation, answer Him. You may be driving home, get in a car wreck, and never have the chance again. I'm not trying to scare you into anything. But I have heard so many stories about young people who said, "Yeah, I'll do that later." Then drove off and never made it home. And it's so simple. Just something like this:
"Lord Jesus. I've come to realize that I am indeed a sinner. And I know that You died for my sins. So please forgive me for my sins. I want to know You more. I want to follow You. I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
May the LORD establish and keep you. Amen.