Saturday, March 2, 2013

Big Words, Deep Truths: Election

I think this image says it all... don't you?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. ~Ephesians 1:3,4

The doctrine, or teaching, of God’s choosing people for salvation can certainly generate some discussion. As one of the Doctrines of Grace, some people call it Unconditional Election. What does the doctrine of Unconditional Election teach? It can be defined as an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved and not others, not on account of any foreseen merit or lack of it in them, but because of His sovereign good pleasure. The New Testament teaches election as a normal occurrence.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. ~Acts 13:48

When you study Acts chapter thirteen you will read how Paul was preaching the Gospel in Antioch of Pisidia. The Jews there rejected his words, so Paul preached to the Gentiles. And when you ask the text the question “What people were saved in Antioch of Pisidia?” the answer comes in verse thirty-eight…

“as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

The only people who repented, believed the Gospel and were saved that day were those people for whom it was appointed to believe unto eternal life. As Pastor pointed out last Sunday, “God chose by Himself, for Himself” those people for salvation before time began. The Bible clearly teaches God chooses people for salvation and then acts to bring it about. That is good news, because if God did not choose and then act to save, then no one would be saved! Pastor pointed out how some people believe God simply looks down the corridors of time to see who would choose Him then acts to save them. If that were the case, God would not save anyone because no one would choose Him without His own sovereign act of regenerating the human heart.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. ~John 6:44

God’s choosing of who He saves is unconditional. In other words, there is nothing in us and there is nothing we do which is the grounds or basis for God’s choosing. The reasons for God’s choice of who He saves rest solely with Him.

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. ~Romans 9:14-16

After Pastor preached this message last Sunday, I spent some time thinking about this God glorifying teaching and could immediately see at least three blessings in it. First it should help us develop a sense of humility. Think about it, where is the grounds for our boasting about salvation if God chose us before we chose Him? Election promotes humility not pride.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8,9

Second, this doctrine should give us a sense of assurance about our salvation. Note what Peter said…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ~1 Peter 1:3-5

Peter says it in so many ways that our salvation is secure. That security rests in the fact that God chose us and caused us to be born again. Thirdly, election promotes glory to God alone above and over man. After all, that is where all glory should go…

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~1 Corinthians 1:26-31

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