The passage from Rom. 8, 28-30 is one of the proof-texts of the doctrine of the election of grace, a truth plainly taught in Holy Scriptures. And here it should be noted, first of all, that the apostle treats of this doctrine only after he has given a full exposition of the fundamental articles of Christian doctrine, of sin and grace, of justification and sanctification. He addresses himself specifically to the regenerated, justified, sanctified children of God, directing their attention to the wonderful counsel of God to their sanctification. To make the doctrine of predestination the fundamental principle and source of all Christian doctrines is not in accordance with Scriptures. The doctrine of the election of grace is a fountain of rich comfort for believing Christians, for them that walk in the Spirit and longingly await the future glory, and it therefore can be understood and properly appreciated by these only. It should also be noted that the apostle speaks only of an election of grace, unto eternal life, and nowhere teaches an election to damnation. To conclude from the fact that certain people are foreordained by God unto eternal salvation that the others are destined to eternal damnation is to confuse Law and Gospel and to upset Christianity. The election of grace has for its object each and every person of the elect; it concerns the children of God only that are chosen and elected unto eternal life. For these persons are the children of God, those that love God, the Christians. In the epistles of the New Testament the expressions “called,” “sanctified,” “beloved,” and “elect” are used altogether promiscuously. And in the Lutheran Confessions the titles “elect,” “Christians,” and “children of God” are used as synonyms. Whenever Scripture, therefore, speaks of the elect, of those whom God has foreknown and foreordained, we should think of believing Christians and be sure to include ourselves in the number of the elect. It is true, incidentally, that only those are truly elect, remain in faith unto the end, and are finally glorified. But Scripture consistently speaks of, and describes, the Christians as persons whose characteristic is faith, and who receive the end of faith, the salvation of their souls. Therefore Luther defines the holy Christian Church, or the communion of saints, as the sum total of those whom the Holy Ghost calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. Now experience teaches that many who once were believers sooner or later lose their faith. And the Bible earnestly warns against backsliding and speaks of such as are believers for a time only. But all this does not belong to the doctrine of the election of grace; for this concerns only such people as believe and are saved. The eternal election, or predestination, since it concerns only certain persons, for that very reason differs from the counsel of redemption, from the express teaching of universal grace, which concerns all men. The eternal election of grace means that God has chosen each and every person of the elect, those that are now Christians and love God, and therefore us also, before the foundation of the world, unto Himself, for His own, and destined them for eternal glory; this decree being carried out in time, when God called these people and transmitted to them the full blessing of justification through the merits of Jesus. And this purpose of God will surely be carried out. Thus the election of God is the cause not only of our salvation, but also of our being called, converted, justified. Faith is the result of the election of God, and gives the believer the guarantee that he belongs to the elect and will finally obtain eternal glory. And therefore the doctrine of the election of grace, as it is taught in the passage above and in other passages, Eph. 1,3 ff.; 2 Thess. 2, 13 ff.; 2 Tim. 1, 9: 1 Pet. 1, 1. 2, is full of comfort for the Christians. If ever any doubt as to our salvation wants to rise in our hearts, then we should remember and cling to the knowledge that God from eternity has taken the matter of our salvation and all that pertains to it into His merciful and powerful hand. In the midst of all crosses and trials, when it would seem that God has abandoned us entirely, we should rest our faith upon His Word, which tells us that all the tribulations of this present time are but incidents along the way to heaven, and can in no way compare with the glory which shall be revealed in us on the day of our final redemption. If we thus adhere strictly to the argumentation of Scriptures and apply the comfort of Scriptures to our hearts, then our thoughts will not revert to others, then we shall not yield to the temptation of speculating about this doctrine in its so-called reasonable conclusions, and will thus be spared the dangers into which such speculations lead. If we thus hold fast the truth that the election of grace is not an absolute election, that it was not an arbitrary act of God’s sovereign pleasure, but flows from the eternal counsel of love, that it is based alone upon His grace and mercy, and that its object is to keep us safe in His Word and faith unto our end, then all thoughts of doubt will be removed from our hearts, and our faith will be most firmly established. 18)