God’s choosing of specific individuals to be saved, was just as certain as God’s choosing of His Son to save us—as His “Chosen One” (Lu 9:35), as these passages reveal:
(Ephesians 1:3-4) – 3 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: 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:
The Apostle Paul makes two clear statements in these verses. First, that we have been “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” That means everything God has for us has already been given to us in Christ, and was ours even before the “foundation of the world” — each and every one of us who are in Christ. Positionally, in Christ all spiritual blessings belong to us now. However, we won’t enjoy the full experience of those blessings until we enter our eternal state. But the point is, all spiritual blessings belong to us in Christ. Second, Paul then says that “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” All the spiritual blessings that we have in Christ were given to us before the foundation of the world, because we were “chosen in him before the foundation of the world.” Think about that. If all these things were given to each of us even before the creation of mankind, how is it that Jesus did not have each and every one of us in view when He went to the cross (Rev 5:9; Rev 7:9)? How is it that we were not the ones He died for?
After God laid the foundation of the world and created mankind, and after Adam and Eve sinned against God, we can be seen in Christ in Genesis 3:15:
(Genesis 3:15) – 15 and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he shall strike your head, and you shall strike his heel.
This is the first gospel message to the world, which God Himself proclaimed. Before we can discuss this, we need to define our terms. First, “your seed” refers to Satan and his kingdom, as well as all those who are associated with him and that kingdom, which are the unredeemed throughout history. “Her seed,” refers to Christ and His Kingdom, as well as all those who are in Him, “chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). Thus, the “enmity” (hostility) is really between these two kingdoms, headed up by Jesus and Satan. When Adam and Eve sinned, they died spiritually (and eventually physically), and the whole human race was plunged into darkness, a kingdom over which Satan rules (Col 1:13; Acts 26:17-18) as the “god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4). The whole human race is at war with Satan, whether people realize it or not. It’s a hostile kingdom where the devil is out to destroy the people of the world, to create chaos and destruction. We’re all a part of this kingdom of darkness before we come to faith in Christ. Upon faith in Him, we’re transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13). Even after we enter the Kingdom of Christ (Col 1:13), the devil continues this hostility against us (Eph 6:11-12). Although we’re no longer a part of the kingdom of darkness, we still feel the effects of that kingdom just by living in the world. Thus, all of humanity – both the saved and unsaved – live in an environment of hostility, created by Satan. This is what we see in the first part of Gen 15.
In the next part of Genesis 3:15 we see the first gospel message: hostility “between your seed and her seed: he shall strike your head, and you shall strike his heel.” This refers to both the crucifixion of Christ and the defeat of Satan, where the way out of the domain of Satan and a way into the domain of Christ is provided for us.
We also see Christ the “Seed” in Galatians 3:16:
(Galatians 3:16) – 16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, who is Christ.
Jesus is the physical Seed (offspring) of Abraham. As the sinless Son of God, He fulfilled the will of God, fulfilling all righteousness (Ro 10:4) as the perfect Jew (True Israel). Those of us who are in Christ, are the spiritual seed (offspring) of Abraham:
(Galatians 3:9) – 9 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.
(Also Romans 9:7-8)
In Christ, each of us are spiritual offspring of Abraham—both believing Jews and believing Gentiles. In Christ, each of us are “sons of God” (or “children of God” – Gal 3:26). Corporately, as the Church, we are spiritual Israel in Him. Thus, what we see in Genesis 3:15 is the hostility between two kingdoms: “Your seed,” referring to Satan and those in his kingdom of darkness, and “her seed,” referring specifically to Christ, but also to all of His spiritual offspring (through faith in Him). This is a war (hostility) between two kingdoms, between the spiritually dead (kingdom of darkness) and those who are spiritually alive in Christ (Kingdom of Christ, kingdom of light). We see these two kingdoms in one verse: Colossians 1:13:
(Col 1:13) – 13 who delivered us out of the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;
(Also Acts 26:18; 1 Pe 2:9)
In this first prophecy about Christ (Ge 3:15), He was not yet born, but as the eternal Son of God, He existed before this prophecy (1 Pe 1:20). Likewise, as those who were “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world,” we too existed in the mind of God (which makes it certain) and were a part of that prophecy about Christ in Genesis 3:15. Just as Christ was in view there, every person in Christ was also in view.
Many Christians don’t believe that God actually chooses people for salvation in Christ, but rather, that people choose Christ. They believe they choose Christ instead of rejecting Him—that it’s a choice they make between the two options, because of a “free will.” They may not view the doctrine of election like that, but that’s what it boils down to. However, that doesn’t fit what we see in Genesis 3:15 and Ephesians 1:4—because it wasn’t us who chose Christ before the foundation of the world. It was God who chose us.
Just as Christ coming into the world as Savior was a certainty, so was it a certainty that each one of us would come into this world as those who are chosen in Christ, who would trust Him as our Savior. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that anyone chooses Christ. But over and over and over the NT says that God chose us. Yes, each person must personally and willingly place their faith in Christ, but God’s choosing of each person to receive Christ as Savior was just as certain as God’s choosing of His Son (“My chosen one” – Lu 9:35) to be our Savior. When God looked upon His Son as our Savior in Genesis 3:15, He saw each one of us, as well. If it’s God who chooses us for salvation, nothing is left to chance. If it’s sinners who do the actual choosing, then it’s all left to chance; nothing would be certain about anyone’s salvation. Think about that. If that’s the way election works, then theoretically, it would have been possible for no one to open their heart to Christ. Theoretically, we could have ended up with a Savior with no one actually saved. On the other hand, with God doing the choosing, it’s actually God who opens our hearts to receive His Son as Lord and Savior.
Would God really design a salvation that is left to the will of spiritually dead sinners? Where He’s basically on the sidelines rooting for us to receive His Son? That’s basically the picture we have in Arminian theology—even though it has God opening our eyes to the truth (and “freeing our will,” as they say), it still has God on the sidelines waiting to see which direction we will go, as we use our free will (“freed will”) to either choose Christ or not choose Christ. And again, nowhere in the Bible do we see where it’s us who chooses Christ. Over and over we see that it’s God who chooses us, and He did so “before the foundation of the world,” before anyone was even created, before time began:
(Titus 1:1-2) – 1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began;
(2 Timothy 1:9) – 9 who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
God made a covenant with His “elect” people “before time began.” Eternal life (salvation) was already given to each of us as a promise (a covenant) before time began. As we see in these verses, it was not promised to those who would not receive salvation, because it was “given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” Thus, this promise could only be for those who would receive salvation. It was not promised to random people. God certainly had specific individuals in view, called “God’s elect.” Furthermore, it’s not a promise to those who may “decide” to “accept” the offer. No, it’s a gift of grace that was “given” to us before time began. It was already ours, already given to us. What these two verses reveal are in perfect harmony with Ephesians 1:3-4 and Genesis 3:15.
To wrap this up, we come to Christ as naturally as a sheep hears and follows their shepherd. Even though our election and salvation is certain, nothing is forced; it’s a natural relationship that we were given in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:3-4). It’s a natural relationship between Christ the Shepherd and His elect sheep who hear the initial call of salvation to follow Him (Jn 10:26-29).