Doctrine of Election, A Comfort to God's People
Last Wednesday we studied Romans chapter 9 and discussed the often controversial doctrine of election. The discussion around this doctrine had good participation. I was encouraged by those who have tasted the goodness of this doctrine by strengthening their assurance. In this way the doctrine of election is not intended to be a theological or philosophical perplexity but rather a comfort to God's people. Along this line of thinking, I shared some words from the Cannon of Dort. This document is part of what is known as The Three Forms of Unity. The Three Forms of Unity is a collective name for the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism, which reflect the beliefs of the Calvinistic churches on the mainland of Europe. These documents are still in use today in Reformed Churches. I shared them during the Bible study but I would like to share them in this posting so those interested can read them.
Cannons of Dort, Point 1, Article 12
Assurance of their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word—such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.
Point 1, Article 13
In their awareness and assurance of this election, God’s children daily find greater cause to humble themselves before God, to adore the fathomless depth of God’s mercies, to cleanse themselves, and to give fervent love in return to the One who first so greatly loved them. This is far from saying that this teaching concerning election, and reflection upon it, make God’s children lax in observing his commandments or carnally self-assured. By God’s just judgment this does usually happen to those who casually take for granted the grace of election or engage in idle and brazen talk about it but are unwilling to walk in the ways of the chosen.
Point 1, Article 14
By God’s wise plan, this teaching concerning divine election was proclaimed through the prophets, Christ himself, and the apostles, in Old and New Testament times. It was subsequently committed to writing in the Holy Scriptures. So also today in God’s church, for which it was specifically intended, this teaching must be set forth with a spirit of discretion, in a godly and holy manner, at the appropriate time and place, without inquisitive searching into the ways of the Most High. This must be done for the glory of God’s most holy name, and for the lively comfort of God’s people.
Here is a link to the Cannons of Dort; https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/confessions/canons-dort