The doctrine of predestination often raises pastoral concerns among congregants. When a congregant wrestles with the question, “How do I know I am elect?”, how may a pastor or elder answer him or her? Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) answers this question in his Decades, 4:187-188:
“[I]f thou ask me whether thou art elected to life, or predestinate to death; that is, whether thou art of the number of them that are to be damned, or that are to be saved; I answer simply out of the scripture, both of the evangelists and the apostles: If thou hast communion or fellowship with Christ, thou art predestinate to life, and thou art of the number of the elect and chosen: but if thou be a stranger from Christ, howsoever otherwise thou seem to flourish in virtues, thou art predestinate to death, and foreknowledged, as they say, to damnation. Higher and deeper I will not creep into the seat of God’s counsel. And here I rehearse again the former testimonies of scripture: ‘God hath predestinate us, to adopt us into his sons through Jesus Christ. This is the will of God, that whoso believeth in the Son should live; and whoso believeth not should die.’ Faith therefore is a most assured sign that thou art elected; and whiles thou art called to the communion of Christ, and art taught faith, the most loving God declareth towards thee his election and good-will.
The simpler sort, verily, are greatly tempted and exceedingly troubled with the question of election. For the devil goeth about to throw into their minds the hate of God, as though he envied us our salvation, and had appointed and ordained us to death. That he may the more easily persuade this unto us, he laboureth tooth and nail wickedly to enfeeble and overthrow our faith; as though our salvation were doubtful, which leaneth and is stayed upon the uncertain election of God. Against these fiery weapons the servants of God do arm their hearts with cogitations and comforts of this sort fetched out of the scripture:
God’s predestination is not stayed or stirred with any worthiness or unworthiness of ours; but of the mere grace and mercy of God the Father, it respecteth Christ alone. And because our salvation doth stay only upon him, it cannot but be most certain.”