“Unconditional election is God’s free choice before creation, not based on foreseen faith, to which traitors he will grant faith and repentance, pardoning them and adopting them into his everlasting family of joy.”
– John Piper
The point of this post is not to argue for the Biblical foundations of the doctrine of election. For that, see this link (here). However, this post assumes that the doctrine of election is true (and worth embracing). If it true, then those whom God chooses for salvation are referred to as “the elect.”
Can The Elect Stray?
Once someone is called with an effectual call to salvation, can that person then still wander & stray? If they are truly the elect, will they be perfect and never make mistakes? Will their life always look like that of a chosen person?
Jesus speaks of the future great tribulation that is to come to the world, and He says the following interesting statements in the Gospels:
Matthew 24:24 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Mark 13:22 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
Jesus Himself says that the elect can possibly be lead astray by false prophets/teachers. Bear in mind that the elect are the chosen people of God and have been given the gift of salvation. In the end of days, there are some who will stray away from the fold (to continue the sheep analogy prevalent in the Gospels).
So if they stray, are they no longer elect? Were they ever really the elect? I believe that this is one piece of evidence which suggests that the elect, chosen people of God, can still stray and make mistakes. They will sin and maybe even wander away from Jesus for a time. We wouldn’t be surprised to see non-elect stray, but what of the elect?
Will The Straying Elect Lose Their Salvation?
If the elect are lead astray by false prophets miracles or teaching, does that mean that they are lost forever? If someone is a Christian and decides to walk away from the faith, does that mean that they will lose their salvation?
What’s interesting in Jesus’ words above is that He is clear that these people are “elect.” He is also clear that they can be lead astray… But He still refers to them as the elect. They are still chosen. They have not lost the title of “elect” (meaning elect for salvation). Even though they have strayed, they are still chosen.
There is another doctrine that should be inserted here. That would be the doctrine of perseverance of the saints. Unfortunately, I also do not wish to currently get into the Biblical foundations for that doctrine as that is not the point of this article. For that, see this link (here).
Nevertheless, we know that a person may be elect, they may stray, but they will not lose their salvation. God will protect His own and they may be deceived into straying away for a time, but they will ultimately come back to Jesus in their lifetime and put their faith in the proper Messiah again. Their straying will not end in their death and loss of salvation.
I wanted to write this post to give a brief picture of how Jesus Himself taught about “the elect” and even says that they can stray. They may wander into a life of sinfulness, but if they really are the elect then they will keep the title of “chosen by God” and not lose their salvation. Their straying will not be the death of them.
Jesus, elsewhere, commends that we should keep watch over our lives lest we too be lead astray. It’s not impossible for the elect to stray; therefore, we ought to make sure that we are holding fast to Jesus and not false prophets who may even show great signs & wonders.
– Tyson Bradley