- [John 15:16a] Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:
- [2 Th 2:13] But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
- [Luke 18:6,7] And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him...
- [Eph 1:11-12] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
- [1 Cor 1:27-29] God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
- [1 Pet 1:2] Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
- [Eph 1:5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
- [Eph 2:10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
One thing that inspires in me awe, thankfulness, and a wonderful sense of security is the assurance that in eternity past I was chosen in the Lord Jesus : [Eph 1:4] ‘According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love’. Meditate on that for a while. How should we respond to the incredible grace expressed here? Let’s note the reasons the above verses give why God chose us:
- For good works
- To the praise of his glory
- For God’s good pleasure
- That we should bring forth abiding fruit
- That no flesh should glory in his presence
- That we should be holy and without blame before Him
- Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ
- To salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth
Paul said that there is one other overriding reason that we were chosen. It encompasses all of the above: [Rom 8:29a] ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son’. If you are truly a child of God, His plan for you is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. If you are not cooperating with Him in this business, you are in for some rough times.
[Heb 12:5-10] ‘And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.’
No child will completely escape chastisement, but how can we cooperate to minimize it? We read above that we should be in subjection to God. And Paul tells us: [1 Cor 11:31-32] ‘For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world’. Note the distinction Paul makes between the children and the ‘world’. We saw the same distinction in Hebrews: children vs. bastards. The worldlings escape chastisement and go their way into condemnation. Paul says that if the believers will judge themselves, they too can escape God’s judgement/chastisement. In verse 30 he gives examples of chastisement: [1 Cor 11:30] ‘For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep’. We suffer physical problems, and in incorrigible cases, even premature death. God is very creative -- there is no limit to what we can expect in our trips to the woodshed.
We saw that we can cooperate by being subject to God’s will and by judging the sin in our own lives -- what else? The Word of God helps us to know God’s will and be sensitive to sin, so we must faithfully read it. [Psa 119:9-11] ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’ David was a man ‘after God’s own heart’. He wasn’t perfect, but avoided much sin by memorizing and meditating on the Word. We should too, especially that portion of the Word which the glorified Lord gave especially to the Church. David also sought God with his ‘whole heart’ in prayer. We should do that too.
Getting back to our main subject -- God’s electing grace -- have you noticed a problem? How can we understand election in the light of God’s invitation that ‘whosoever will may come’? [Mat 11:28] ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’. [Rev 22:17] ‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’. And God is not willing that any should perish, Peter tells us (2 Pet 3:9).
You won’t find an explanation of that paradox here. But both are true, so if you are not sure that you are one of the elect, all you have to do is respond to the above invitations to ‘Come’. Come to the Lord Jesus in simple faith. Bring all your sin, your burdens, your problems. Leave them at the cross, and drink of that Living Water of the Holy Spirit that He freely gives. He said that ‘he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (Jn 6:37).
So in lieu of an explanation, let me simply cite the classic illustration -- the gate which on the outside says, ‘Whosoever will may come’. Upon passing through you look back and see written: ‘Chosen of God before the foundation of the world’.
How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess!
We are redeemed from guilt and shame and called to holiness.
But not for works which we have done, or shall hereafter do,
Hath God decreed on sinful men salvation to bestow.
The glory, Lord, from first to last, is due to Thee alone;
Aught to ourselves we dare not take, or rob Thee of Thy crown.
Our glorious Surety undertook to satisfy for man,
And grace was given us in Him before the world began.
This is Thy will, that in Thy love we ever should abide;
That earth and hell should not prevail to turn Thy Word aside.
Not one of all the chosen race but shall to heaven attain,
Partake on earth the purposed grace and then with Jesus reign.