First, to explain where I am coming from with this question. I believe that Jesus prayed "not for the world" "but for them which you have given me" John 17:9,20. Then Romans 8:28-30 shows that those who love God are “called according to his purpose”, being predestined for conformity to the image of his Son. That’s the essence, but by no means the full explanation! I’m not here to explain my beliefs, but to ask questions based on them.

Second, to specify what I mean by “elect” – basically, it means chosen – chosen by God. And chosen for the purpose of becoming conformed to the likeness of the Son of God.

Third, what this question seeks to dig into - the reason why some people never believe in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of lost, repentant sinners. Consider what Jesus did NOT say in John 10:24-30 – He did NOT say, “You are not my sheep because you do not believe”. He said:

“I told you [that I am the Christ], and ye believed not… But ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life” etc. John 10:2-30, K.J.V. extracts – please read the entire section.

Does this mean, then, that to be saved, a person has to be one of Christ’s sheep, and that all of Christ’s sheep are elect – chosen to be Christ’s sheep? Is it for those ones only that Christ died?

Does this mean that some will never believe because they were never Christ’s sheep? Someone on this site once said, “You don't have to be Calvinist to be one for whom Christ died, but you do have to be elect!” That is what has inspired this question (but I don't want anyone sounding off about Calvinism, which is why I have deliberately avoided using that as a Tag).

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    All I know is that "Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans ch5 v6, RSV) Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 14:40
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    Who are you asking this question to? Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 20:28
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    @Isaac Middlemiss Indeed, I should have specified that. The Q is about what the Bible says regarding 'the elect', with regard to them being called Christ's 'sheep'. Any person who believes the Bible to be the inspired word of God and who has pondered why Jesus did NOT say, 'You are not my sheep because you do not believe" may usefully contribute to this question.
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 16:59
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    When Jesus said to the Pharisees "You are not of my sheep" He was speaking from Divinity because election is according to foreknowledge and those chosen are chosen in the very act of creation based upon that foreknowledge. Good question. +1 Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 12:30
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    I'm somewhat surprised this question has remained open; usually questions like these would be closed for not asking a specific group or not having an objective answer Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 1:13

10 Answers 10


No. There are no such conditions as you are trying to make.

'Christ died for the ungodly', it is written.

'He that cometh to me, I will in wise cast out', said Jesus.

'Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest,' said the one born in Bethlehem.

'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,' said He.

'Look unto me, all the ends of the earth, and be ye saved,' saith the God of Heaven and earth.

(I have quoted these scriptures, not from the page, but from the deep places of my own heart, from that time when I, myself - falteringly, tremblingly, desperately - took steps towards the only Saviour, the only Hope, the only possible Deliverer.)

There are a number of scriptures that teach us what, of necessity, must be the case : that Christ redeemed, and that all whom he redeemed, shall, with a certainty, be called and shall be saved.

But that is never, ever, spoken or written as a stumbling block to confuse the poor and needy, the broken-hearted, the contrite of spirit.

It is your question which is at fault.

For what is written, is not written in that way.

The sheep of Christ follow what is written on the fleshy tables of the heart, by the Holy Spirit of God, as the soul takes steps in faith.

That is the writing to heed.

Every single sheep shall come this way.

Such are the footsteps of the flock . . . . .

. . . a matter of soul experience, not academic and philosophic speculation.

There are, indeed, great and mighty matters to be resolved :-

The tables of stone; and the fleshy tables of the heart.

The mount Sinai in Arabia; and Mount Zion, upon which stands the Lamb.

Hagar, who tends to bondage ; and Sarah the free born.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil ; and the tree of Life.

The covenant of sin and death ; and the everlasting Testament.

Works ; and faith.

Law ; and Grace.

But this vast resolution will not take place by the carnal wisdom of the flesh.

The resolution of the eternal purposes of Almighty God will be effected by a glorious gospel and by a wondrous salvation that is all of God.

For Salvation, is of the Lord.

And all whom the Father shall draw to Him, shall come to Christ, without fail.

This is all besides the fact that the death of Christ reaches to all humanity. There is that in his death which is applicable to every human who has ever lived.

But as to the sufferings of Christ for specific sins, that is another part of the doctrine of Christ and requires to be separately addressed.

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    Yes, my question is at fault. Your answer shows why, hence the green tick.
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 22 at 18:04

To be saved a person has to acknowledge that they are a sinner and they must repent before God.

It is the Holy Spirit who convicts people of their sin and brings them to repentance before God.

To be saved a person has to acknowledge that the only way to be saved is to place their faith in Christ Jesus and in what God, in Jesus, has done to save them from their sins.

It is the Holy Spirit and hearing the Word of God that brings about this change of heart and mind.

When a person has repented, turned around from their past sinful life, and experienced the new, spiritual rebirth, then they understand they now belong to Christ Jesus and He is their shepherd.

This is how God draws people, and how they finally realise that Christ died for them and that they are part of the elect.

It is all the work of God, from start to finish. The realisation comes after they experience the new, spiritual, rebirth and grow in faith as a Christian, placing their trust in Him.

Christ died for sinners, but not all sinners are elect. Christ knows who the Father has given into His hands, and not one of those elect will he lose. God also knows that many sinners will refuse to submit to His authority and that their hearts will remain cold and hard. They are not of the elect.

It is my understanding that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ (John 6:37-40).

You ask: Does this mean that some will never believe because they were never Christ’s sheep?

Answer: It's the other way around. Only after a sinner believes and places their faith in Christ do they understand they belong to Him, that He is their shepherd and that they are now one of His sheep.


It is important to read these in context. I have shown many people wrong on their claims of what scripture says by putting it in context. It is also important to ignore chapters for anything except navigation, because that is their only purpose--they were not in the original.

John 9 & 10

The idea of this part wasn't that some of us aren't his sheep. The idea was that if we are his sheep, we listen to him, and a good shepherd will protect his sheep, but no one else will. It is important to note that his audience was the Pharisees.

I think Christ was saying the Pharisees are a hired hand, so they don't actually care for the sheep.

Christ also said that there are other sheep, and that they need to be gathered.

In that context, it has nothing to do with the elect, rather to do with those who follow Christ following Christ. Who are Christ's sheep? Perhaps they are those who bear good fruit. It isn't that other sheep are not permitted to follow; rather, they choose not to follow.

John 15 to 17

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

I chose this particular verse because it gives evidence of God choosing us (I expect you to read the full book, and not at one verse a day, or something else that removes the true meaning). We have been chosen by God. Scripture is clear that we can only be saved by God's grace; therefore, he must choose us.

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:1-23 NIV)

Only those of God can understand, and only they will accept.

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:1-23)

Scripture is clear that we were "predestined," and that God has chosen those who accept him in their hearts.

Scripture is also clear that Christ died for all.

1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:1-21 NIV)

Christ died for all, but only some will accept him.

Does this mean, then, that to be saved, a person has to be one of Christ’s sheep, and that all of Christ’s sheep are elect – chosen to be Christ’s sheep? Is it for those ones only that Christ died?

Yes (remember, Christ died for all).

Does this mean that some will never believe because they were never Christ’s sheep?


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    Welcome to the site Taco. This is a fulsome answer and I do agree with you that whole sections of scripture need to be taken into account, to get the context, so thank you for going to the trouble of doing that. Those are profoundly important passages you weave into your answer.
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 10:28

In Catholicism, Christ died for all, that is, He offered salvation to all and made a path to Heaven for all.

However, He only died for many unto the remission of sin -- those who apply Christ's merit to themselves through baptism, professing the true faith and preserving it whole and inviolate til the end of their lives.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra:

"Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity." (Athanasian creed)

The Catechism of the Council of Trent, On the Form of the Eucharist:

"When He added, And for many, He wished to be understood to mean the remainder of the elect from among the Jews and Gentiles. With reason, therefore, were the words for all not used, as in this place the fruits of the Passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation."

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    What if a person repents and puts their faith in Jesus Christ but they are unable to be water baptized, what then? You have a model at Acts 10 regarding Cornelius. At vs44 Peter was preaching, at vs45, "the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles. At 47, Surely no one can refuse the water to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit as we have." In other words, they were saved first and then were water baptized. Another example is the thief on the cross with Jesus. He acknowledge he was a sinner. Jesus told him he would be in Paradise this day.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 21:56
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    A plain reading of Acts chapter 10 is heretical and only Catholics who preserve the faith whole and inviolate all their lives are Elect?!? Your position requires that Cornelius and his kinsmen were given God's Holy Spirit while still unredeemed and unjustified. That is heretical. Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 12:45
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    @Glorius Your Church flat out teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. It also states the "desire for baptism "brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament." This means if say a sick person cannot get water baptized the fruits of baptism will do. You mean you didn't know this? Cornelius still received the gift of the HS before being water baptized. I read your references and the subject was changed to Tongues which actually proves they received the HS first. The thief exercised faith in Jesus Christ and was deemed saved. Truley, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 20:56
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    @Glorius Continued! Regarding the thief who was saved by faith alone, and not of works. You mentioned the word "obligatory," which means "compulsory or "having binding force." What your doing is actually making it harder on the NT saints because instead of being saved by faith alone, (Ephesians 2:8-9) your adding works to the grace of God. I also read where you stated the Father is greater than the Son, please explain why? You also mentioned John 3:5? Kindly explain how you know this is actually referring to water baptism? Lastly, if you want we can take this conversation to the Chat room.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 21:05
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    Cornelius and kin spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit came ... just like in Acts 2 at the inception of the Church. It is a sign gift. You are saying that they were not yet justified when the Spirit of Holy God indwelt them .. that God's Spirit came into an uncleansed temple and gave a false sign. Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 13:01

The confusion lies in not grasping Christ's ministry as a whole. We can't stop at only His first mission, but need to see His whole mission to all sheep (Jn 10:16).

First, He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Jer 50:6). He sends the apostles first to the lost sheep (Mt 10:6).

Second (Mt 15:24), He yet acknowledges there are other sheep (like me as a Gentile). He responds to faith from those apart from the lost sheep.

Third, He is teaching in Solomon's Porch (Jn 10:23), still to the lost sheep. The apostles will subsequently convert many Jewish sheep here (Acts 5:12).

Now, when He is in Solomon's Porch, He is approached by "the Jews". John uses that term to nearly always refer to the elders, the chief priests and Sanhedrin.

And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? (Jn 1:19)

The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. (Jn 5:15)

So, with this in mind, we understand that Christ was speaking to lost sheep and their blind guides (shepherds). At this stage of His ministry, He was not speaking to subsequent generations or to Gentiles.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (Jn 10:25)

They had Moses, the prophets, the Temple, yet some missed their day of deliverance. They were shepherded by the blind. They should have heard His voice, followed Him, but for whatever reason could not. They should have laid down their lives, pointing to Christ like the forerunner. To be clear, some of the lost sheep of course believed (apostles, disciples, priests, Sanhedrin, etc), but some did not.

OP: Does this mean, then, that to be saved, a person has to be one of Christ’s sheep, and that all of Christ’s sheep are elect – chosen to be Christ’s sheep? Is it for those ones only that Christ died?

Yes, you have to be a sheep. Christ in fact calls all (Jew and Gentile) of us sheep.

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one [FLOCK different word from fold] fold, and one shepherd.

Christ calls us to be one flock. There had been one fold (lost sheep). Now we are one flock (Jew and Gentile).

Yes, Christ has died for all.

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (Jn 17:2) emphasis mine

OP: Does this mean that some will never believe because they were never Christ’s sheep?

We know there are wolves and worst some are wolves in sheep's clothing (Mt 7:15, 2 Peter 2:1).

After death, will they change? Can you die a wolf and transform into a sheep? Perhaps, but there is this.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)


The usual kinds of answers are offered here against election:-

  • Some suppose that a verse such as "Christ died for our sins" obviously disproves election. They make no effort to prove that "our" is referring to everyone in the whole world. From a calvinist perspective, the truth is "our" is referring to the people of God, to all the elect;

  • Others suppose that Christ died for all because the offer is "to all who believe".. it seems impossible to get them to see that only the elect are capable of believing, and that therefore Christ did not die for all;

  • Others go off on a tangent quoting scriptures which are simply irrelevant to the issue, or ideas that both arminians and calvinists would both heartily agree on;

  • Others say that if Christ died only for the elect then the preaching of the gospel is empty, because the non-elect cannot be saved by it. But it can be better replied, if there are no elect (who will definately be saved because God will ensure it) then the preaching of the gospel would be utterly pointless. It is only because God has chosen an elect people that the gospel is worth preaching. If part of our salvation were left to our choice, even to the smallest degree, then we are such sinners we would choose to reject the gospel offer. God has chosen both who will be saved, the elect, and the manner in which they will be saved, by believing the preached gospel.

  • Others say God foresaw who would believe. The truth is God foresaw that no one would believe unless he worked in them by his sovereign grace, that unless he made sure of the faith of his elect they would never believe. We are all too far fallen in sin to believe and repent, except God rescues by instilling faith in us from above. Faith is the gift of God for the chosen objects of his grace. "Jacob I loved but Esau I hated": But when was this choice? Before they had even been born, before they had done anything either good or evil.

If there were no election, no electing distinguishing choice by God, no one would be saved.. because we are so fallen in rebellion against God.

  • Others imagine that they were chosen and not others because they humbly recognised how empty they were of all righteousness. To them I say "You must be very proud of your humility." (Have you forgotten the circumstances of the conversion of the Apostle Paul?)

Some are pessimists and see a glass half empty, and some are optimists and see a glass half full. And some see God saving some and are somewhat angry, and some see God saving some and are full of praise and wonder. The angry ones ask "Why didn't God save them all"? And the ones full of praise ask "Why did God bother to save any of them?" And in particular "Why did God bother to save such a waste of space as me, and determine by so much suffering to ensure I have a place in his heavenly kingdom?"

Both the calvinist and the arminian believe "God desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of God" (1 Timothy 2:4); both believe God is sincere when he says "As I live I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11); both believe that when our Lord wept over Jerusalem they were genuine tears (Luke 19:41), and both believe he meant every word when he said "How often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing, but you would not" (Luke 13:34).

But the calvinist believes other verses which, it seems, the arminian chooses to reject or chooses to misinterpret: "You do not believe because you are not my sheep" (John 10:26); "Therefore he has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens" (Romans 9:18); "According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Eph 1:4-5); "being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph 1:11); "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him" [No more, and no less] (John 17:1,2); "he shall save his people from their sins" (his people, but noone else) (Matt 1:21); "God hath chosen..God hath chosen..hath God chosen" (1 Cor 1:27,27,28); "who were born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13); "For they being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls, it was said unto her 'The elder shall serve the younger'. As it is written Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Romans 9:11-13); "Then why does God still find fault for who can resist his will?" (Romans 9:19).

The calvinist believes these things every bit as much as 1 Tim 2:4, Ezekiel 33:11, Luke 13:34, Luke 19:41.

Perhaps the difference between an arminian and a calvinist is simply that the arminian has his common sense, his logic, and his "plain reason" but the calvinist has sacrificed all such things on the alter of his faith in the word of God. He no longer seeks to reconcile the things which seem irreconcilable. The word of God teaches both Ezek 33:11 and Romans 9:10-24, so I will believe both and worship the God whose ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33). I do not exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. I have behaved and quieted myself as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever. Psalm 131.

But if some brother arminian cannot make such a leap of faith, then never mind, just look to the love of Christ, bleeding, dying, taking the sins of sinners. Our warrant to repent of sin and believe on Christ's finished work is that we are sinners, not that we believe ourselves to be "elect sinners", or "awakened sinners", or "humbled sinners", or "calvinist sinners" or "doctrinally knowledgable sinners". If we know ourselves to be sinners under the displeasure of God needing forgiveness then that is our warrant to come to Christ without any conditions attached. "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely", Rev 22:17.

Charles Spurgeon compared arminianism and calvinism to two bridges across a great chasm. The Arminian Bridge is really wonderfully wide enough to take everyone, the Calvinist Bridge is much narrower. Unfortunately, the Arminian Bridge only takes its travellers half way across the chasm, the Calvinist Bridge goes all the way. (This does not mean that no Arminians are elect.)

George Whitfield was a calvinist and John Wesley was an arminian. John Wesley preached a sermon in which he tried to trash the doctrine of election, the doctrines of grace, the system of calvinism. George Whitfield remonstrated against John Wesley by letter. You can read it here: Whitefield's letter to John Wesley on Election

  • You say "Our warrant to repent of sin and believe on Christ's finished work is that we are sinners, not that we believe ourselves to be "elect sinners", or "awakened sinners", or "humbled sinners", or "calvinist sinners" or "doctrinally knowledgable sinners". If we know ourselves to be sinners under the displeasure of God needing forgiveness then that is our warrant to come to Christ without any conditions attached." Yes, and how true Spurgeon saying the Arminian 'bridge' is wide enough to take everyone, but only goes half-way across the chasm. It's not about when one knows they became a sheep
    – Anne
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 15:31

To be one for whom Christ died, do you have to be elect?

The short answer is no. Christ died for all.

Exactly whom Jesus died for is a point of theological disagreement among evangelical Bible believers. Some Christians believe that Jesus died only for the elect; this is the doctrine of limited atonement, the L in Calvinism’s TULIP. Other Christians believe that Jesus died for everyone who has or ever will live; this is the doctrine of unlimited atonement, held by Arminians and most four-point Calvinists, or Amyraldians.

Limited atonement, sometimes called particular redemption, is based on the doctrine of election or predestination (Romans 8:30, 33; Titus 1:1). Since only the elect of God will be saved, the reasoning goes, Jesus must have died only for them. Otherwise, Jesus’ death “failed” those who are not elect. If Jesus died for everyone, then hell will be full of people for whom Jesus died—was His atonement insufficient? If Jesus died only for the elect, then His atonement perfectly accomplished its goal. Every person for whom Jesus died will be in heaven.

Unlimited atonement, on the other hand, says that Jesus died for everyone but that only those who respond in faith will reap the benefits of His sacrifice. In other words, Jesus’ death was sufficient for all, but only effectual for some (those who have faith). If Jesus did not die for everyone, the reasoning goes, then the offer of salvation is empty, because the non-elect cannot be saved. The teaching of unlimited atonement is based on verses such as 1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

In short, the offer of salvation is universal—to all who will believe (Romans 10:11, 13). We also know that, regardless of how broad Christ’s atonement is, it is limited in some respect—it is effective only for those who believe (John 3:18).

Whom did Jesus die for?

The following verses help demonstrate Christ died for all:

  • He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2

  • For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. - 1 Peter 3:18

  • And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. - 2 Corinthians 5:15

  • For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. - 1 Peter 3:18-20


As long as you confess that Jesus is Lord of your life, you repent and believe that Jesus will cleanse you of your sins -- with that commitment alone, you are now the "elect" of God. That's it.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ was meant to be a very simple thing to understand and accept. There are many rules and doctrines that people have come up with to complicate this matter, but it's just that simple. (It may not be easy for someone to accept Christ, but it is simple. Easy and simple are different.)

What it truly means to be "elect" of God is to have your name written on the Lamb's Book of Life. And the only way to ensure that your name is in that Book, is to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

People who tell you that you have to be "elect" in order to receive the benefits of being a child of God -- they are actually being arrogant. Those who hear this message about having to be "elect" will think of it as an exclusive VIP club: only certain people whom God chose before time can join it, we have no say in it, and God has chosen some and condemned the rest.

But Jesus already said in Revelation 3:20 that He is always knocking on the door of every person's heart, including yours. He wants to bring His presence into your life and it's just as easy as opening that door and allowing Him in.

I always end my messages with this. Don't cause any more division in the Christian body than there already is. Christianity is the most divisive religion in the world with tens of thousands of denominations. Instead of focusing on the trees, debating about how a person must be elect to be saved through Christ, we all should look at the forest and direct our attention and our purposes to spread the Good News, to search for that lost sheep.

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Does this mean, then, that to be saved, a person has to be one of Christ’s sheep,


and that all of Christ’s sheep are elect – chosen to be Christ’s sheep?

Yes and no.

Is it for those ones only that Christ died?


Does this mean that some will never believe because they were never Christ’s sheep?


The point most people miss is that there can be more than one flock.

God is not trying to save everyone during this age.
(Anyone that thinks otherwise should take a look around them and realize that if God was trying to do that, it's blatantly obvious that he's been doing an incredibly bad job of it for the last 2000 years. Is that really the impotent god you want to believe in?)

During this current age, only a few (the elect) will be called to be part of the first flock.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. — Luke 12:31

The first flock will be a very small minority of humanity, as described in my answer to Who are the "rest of the dead" in Rev. 20:5? - Hermeneutics.SE:

The first resurrection, which occurs at Christ's return, includes those that have been saved during this age, including those still alive at the time:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
— 1 Corinthians 15:50-53

Jesus had described the same event to Nicodemus:

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
— John 3:3–8

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
— 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17

Those in the first resurrection will be resurrected as immortal spirits:

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
— Revelation 20:6

The first tiny flock, the elect, will be saved at Christ's return.

For a thousand years, these people, resurrected as powerful spirit beings, will work along with Christ, helping the remnant of mankind that survives the Tribulation, to rebuild a new society here on Earth, known as the Kingdom of God.

At the end of the Millennium, there will be a "resurrection of judgement". The vast majority of mankind (what Revelation 20:5 calls "the rest of the dead"), will be resurrected as physical human beings, chosen to be part of God's second flock. They will be integrated into God's Kingdom, will learn God's way, and almost all will receive salvation. (Those few that still reject God will be mercifully destroyed.)

John 5:28,29 (ASV) describes the separate resurrections of these two flocks:

… all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.


OP's question;

"To be one for whom Christ died, do you have to be one of the elect?"

Christ died for all, being one of the elect is a special salvation with a special purpose in God's plan.

First of all, Christ died for many reasons. The greatest was to conquer sin, death and reconcile All back to God. To bring All into the knowledge of truth, and since God is the savior of All He never fails. His will of course, is greater than man's. Love Never fails.

God our Savior, who wills All mankind to be saved, and come into a realization of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4-5

Christ's death conquered all death to be seen in the coming ages. If one died for all then all died. He will undo All the works of the enemy, and the very last enemy of God that will be done away with is death. That includes the second death.

The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1:Corinthians 15:22

Oh death where is thy sting? Oh great, where is the victory? 1 Corinthians 15:55

If death and the grave had one soul left in it, then they would have something to boast about. Christ takes away all of the worlds Sin.

"What about those that are predestined or are elected for salvation now?"

This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who Is the Savior of All people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

In the above scripture, God Is the savior of All, especially of those who believe. There are two categories of people here, the unbelievers and the believers. Both are saved by God.

Who are the specially who believe?
Those who believe now have been given the faith by God to believe His word, and what He accomplished at the cross through Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:10

It is through His calling and being a vessel of mercy at this time. God is the one who hardens the rest for now. He too, will have mercy on them since He is the one that locks all up into stubbornness that He might have mercy to all. (Read Romans 11)

For God has bound up all in disobedience, that He may show mercy to all. Romans 11:32

Notice it is God that locks all up in disobedience. Look at Romans 11:33-36 as well.

There was a small flock of elected Jewish believers during His time on earth. They are the first fruits of Israel to be saved to rule on the Earth in the Millennium. They were chosen and elected by God ad well.

Israel will become a light to the nations in the future. Their calling will be part of the kingdom of God on earth, where His rule begins to take place. They will be part of those ruling over Israel and nations.

There is another secret administration that was revealed through Paul's writing for mostly gentile believers to have an administration in the heavenly realm. That is revealed in Ephesians. It has to do with a celestial calling. Paul prays that the saints will be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the realization of God… That they might perceive what is the expectation of his calling.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling. Ephesians. 2:18

9having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself, im regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth — in him; Ephesians 1:9

Those who have been called, elected by God, are to be part of this new government of God in His kingdom. It's like being elected officials to bring the rest of the creation back to God in the next coming eons.

God will be reconciling both the earthly realm, and the heavenly realm through those whom He has called out for His purpose.

And He s the head of the body, the ecclesia , who is Sovereign, First born from among the dead, that in all He may be first, seeing the entire complement delights to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile the universe to Him (making peace with the blood of His cross)through Him whether that on earth, or that in the heavens. Colossians 1:19-22

If one believes what God has done through His Son by simply believing in God's work alone, then he is part of the body of Christ now. They will be conformed to the image of Christ, and will be part of the new creation. They are only the first fruits, a very small batch, totally based on God's choosing alone. It has nothing to do with our works. Remember first fruits:

Most notably the firstfruits are: the first to come in time; a pledge or hope of the greater harvest to follow;

who did save us, and did call with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, that was given to us in Christ Jesus, before the times of the ages, 1 Timothy 1:9

Notice that this holy calling of God happened before the ages even began!

It's good to find out what this purpose is for our calling. Ephesians is where to look along with Colossians.

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