1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. – 1 Peter
How did God choose or elect the Christians according to His foreknowledge? Did God before the foundation of the world elect the specific souls that would be saved and then devise His plan for redeeming them in Christ? OR did God before the foundation of the world elect that all could be saved from their sins through the plan He devised in His blessed Son for everyone that believes?
The first option is called Calvinism and is at the root of RT. It says that the elected person is so special that before works, or even before faith, God by HIs sovereign will selected the specific souls who would be saved. This was done before the foundation of the world. Then God knowing the universal fall of all men provided through His Son the means of forgiveness for these specially selected persons.
Calvinists and those who follow RT as found in the Westminster Confession tread lightly on this point because they know many of their own people struggle to accept what seems fatalistic and unfair. It is fatalistic because RT says that every act in your life and every event in the world is ordered by God. The sovereign will of God is the explanation for everything done in the world (though RT believers are quick to say “except for sin”). The saved are chosen to be saved and the damned are chosen to be damned. That explanation of divine election leaves no choice for the individual which is fatalistic. RT says not to think about that; think about how good it is to be the chosen.
RT is unfair as it is fatalistic. Paul says numerous times that there’s no impartiality with God and that He desires for everyone to be saved, Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Jn 3:16; 1 Tim 2:4,5; Titus 2:11. But if RT is correct that from the foundation of the world God selected some and rejected the rest, specific individuals, there couldn’t be anything more unfair – or fatalistic. Unfair because those souls not elected, according to RT, are damned from the womb, inheriting the parents’ sins, and are lost before they have done anything. It’s no wonder that even many Presbyterians and Lutherans and other Reformed church people don’t fully accept their own teachings! They know it’s wrong no matter the protests from their pulpits and no matter how glorious it is claimed to be the elect. RT is unfair, unjust, because souls are going to spend eternity in hell for what they didn’t do and for what they couldn’t help.
Here’s the truth. God loves every soul. Like Adam, every soul sins when it reaches the age of Adam knowing right and wrong and choosing wrong – “death spreads to all men because all sin”, Rom 5:12. God knew from before the foundation of the world that His children would send, and so from before the foundation of the world God planned to provide the way of atonement to every person who believes in Jesus Christ. The offer of salvation is to every sinner. Some will choose to believe and some will reject. God will judge them on the basis of their obedient faith.