Did God Choose Which People He Would Save?

from Oct 24, 2020 Category: Ligonier Resources

The core message of the gospel is that God saves sinners from judgment through His Son Jesus Christ. Scripture further reveals that God saves His people according to His sovereign purpose, a decision He made even before He created the world (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:4; Titus 1:2). However, our 2020 State of Theology survey suggests that this teaching, which tends to humble man and exalt God, is rejected by most Christians in America today.

According to the survey, only 38% of professing U.S. evangelicals* now agree with the following statement: “God chose the people he would save before he created the world.” We recently sat down with Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols to ask him what this response reveals about the church in America.

If God were not absolutely sovereign over the redemption of His people, another precious truth of the gospel would be destroyed—that we are saved by grace alone and not by our works (Eph. 2:8–9). By rejecting the Bible’s teaching about sovereign grace, Christians undermine their own assurance of salvation. We hope the 2020 results from The State of Theology survey will encourage believers to search the Scriptures and discern whether their beliefs are derived more from cultural values or from God’s inspired, inerrant revelation.

* Evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.