Reformed Theology’s Understanding of the Golden Chain

Reformed theology understands the golden chain to mean that God predestines some people to receive a divine call that others do not receive.  Only the predestined, or the elect, receive a divine call that others do not receive.  Only the predestined, or the elect, receive this call, and only those who receive this call are justified.  A process of selection is clearly involved here.  Not everyone is predestined to receive this call, the consequences of which is justification.  Likewise, it is clear that only those who are predestined are justified.  Since justification is by faith, we understand that only the predestined will ever have faith.  The prescient view holds that we are elected because we will have faith.  The Reformed view holds that we are elected unto faith and justification.  Faith is a necessary condition for salvation, but not for election.  The prescient view makes faith a condition of election; Reformed theology sees faith as the result of election.  This is the fundamental difference between conditional election and unconditional election, between all forms of semi-Pelagian and Augustinianism, between Arminianism and Calvinism.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 145

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