Once a person understands the reality of Total Depravity, the doctrine of Unconditional Election is clear. It will be obvious just how securely connected this doctrine is Total Depravity. If men are utterly sinful in every part of their being, so that all their faculties, including the will, are under the power of sin, the salvation of any man must rest solely upon an act of God. This act must be unconditioned, meaning to say that God was not coerced into this act nor was it necessary on account of any other factor except for His own good pleasure. Pelagians and Arminians alike are forced into a clandestine denial of God’s sovereignty and a not-so-clandestine denial of Original Sin.
Spurgeon says somewhere that Arminianism is guilty of confusing doctrines and of acting as an obstruction to a clear understanding of the Scripture because it misstates or ignores the eternal purpose of God. It dislocates the meaning of the whole plan of redemption. So we see that confusion is inevitable apart from this foundational truth of Election. Again we must emphasize that it is unconditional. Scripture tells us that God elects before a good or evil act can be committed. (Mal. 1:3; Rom. 9:13)
Scripture teaches the following facts about Election:
A. It is an eternal act of God – Eph. 1:4; Rom. 9:11.
B. This choice is immutable – 2 Tim. 2:19; Jas. 1:17.
C. This choice is made in Christ – Eph. 1:4.
D. There is a certain number known to God – 2 Tim. 2:19; Jn. 6:64; 17:2, 6.
E. This number is chosen to salvation – 1 Thess. 5:9
F. This number is also appointed to sanctification as the means of attaining the end – 1 Pet. 1:1, 2; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14.
G. The cause of this choice was the good pleasure of God’s will – 2 Tim. 2:19; Rom. 9:15, 16; Eph. 1:9.
H. The end of it all is the praise of His grace – Eph. 1:5, 6.
The seventh point (G) is of utmost importance to our present subject. All Pelagian/Arminian systems make God’s election to salvation of an individual contingent upon His foreknowledge of the future faith and good works of the individual. They wish to place the cart before the horse and make God’s decree contingent upon His foreknowledge of who will freely believe in Him. Scripture explicitly denies such a fallacy of reason. Peter said that Christ was put to death according to the “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” (Acts 2:23) - in that order. God knows what will be precisely because He has decreed what will be; not vice versa. Hence we see that Total Depravity presupposes sovereign grace.
Indeed, Scripture forthrightly denies that God’s elective purposes are contingent upon His foreknowledge. Romans 9:11 teaches us that election is not based upon God’s foreknowledge of works. In fact, Scripture never speaks of God’s foreknowledge of events. Of course God knows all future events; He ordained them all. However, when Scripture speaks of God’s foreknowledge, the object of this knowledge is never actions or events, but rather, people (cf. A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God, ch. 4). Anyone familiar with the vocabulary of Scripture will be aware that to “know” is to “look upon with favor.” How else could Jesus declare to someone, “I never knew you?” (Mat. 7:23) How could God tell Israel that they alone were the people He knew? (Amos 3:2)