This is a question that most “non-Calvinists” like to ask those of us who hold to predestination and election. When I was in their camp, I pondered this question to a certain extent, but not like some I have seen, who seem to have an obsession with that very question. In all fairness to them, it is a very honest, and thought-involking question to answer. So, let’s delve into the Record of God, and find out with all assurety, that we can in fact, know we are of God’s Elect.
Now, in 2 Thessalonians, here is what Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonoica:
13 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:
14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
We can read in verse 13 that Paul stated that the Lord from the beginning has chosen them to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Who were the ones “chosen to salvation” that Paul was referring to? It was the Thessalonican church, that’s who. How were they chosen? Through sanctifiaction of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Now, who is “the Truth”? Jesus stated, “I am the way, the Truth and the Life”, in John 14:6, so to have belief of the Truth is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, when were they chosen? According to Paul here, it was from the beginning. In Ephesians 1:4, Paul wrote we were chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world. So, we who are His sheep, were never an afterthought, but always to be His sheep, since it was He who chose us even before this world was made. How were they called to Him? Via the gospel. Here’s what the gospel does:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
1 Cor. 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
There is no other way to be saved other than through the gospel. God has chosen the foolishness of preaching(gospel) to save them which believe. In all three of the previously mentioned verses, God intends to save the believer only. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God(Heb. 11:6). In 2 Thess. 3:2, Paul states that not all men have faith. Then in Romans 12:3, it states that God has dealt to every man, the measure of faith(I am not trying to go on a tangent here, but trying to tie this all together). Now, how can “not all men have faith”, and God has “dealt to every man the measure of faith”? The “every man” in Romans 12:3 was speaking of the church at Rome, and every man was referring to His Elect. By having this measure of faith, is one way to know we are one of His Elect.
Another way to know you’re one of God’s Elect is found in 2 Peter chapter 1:
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Notice in this passage, it all starts with faith first and foremost. God, in the act of regeneration, gives a sinner faith, and brings him to life(quickening of the soul). After a sinner has been regenerated, he has the ability to hear, understand, and come to God. God has broken the yoke of bondage that satan had upon him, and he can then freely come to Him. After being saved, we then grow in stature, as we become more mature, we gain knowledge, grace, wisdom, etc. It is by having these God-given abilities, that we can know we are one of His Elect.
So, in essence, it’s quite simple to know we are His. We realize the Godly sorrow(2 Cor. 7:10) we had before He saved us. We realized the just how sinful we really were, and that without Him, we were going to hell. We then realized that we love Him, because He first loved us. I will leave you with a few verses to reoice over:
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.