So I’ll call this one part deux. When I left off my last post, I had just talked about how I came to believe in Jesus. I’d like to pick this one up talking about salvation. Here’s specifically what I want to be specific about: election.
Now, just stay with me here and don’t trip. I want to talk about election because I began to read the Bible. I read the Bible in an attempt to fully understand (if that’s even possible) this thing called salvation. For example, why would God save me? I was a vile wretch and an unrepentant sinner so why not just crush me under His heel and keep on moving? You know what I’m saying…like, why did I come to a place where I believed and so many of my friends, even though they had heard the Gospel rejected it? Why me was the basic question.
Then, as I read and studied the Bible, I came to a very startling and sobering realization. I wasn’t the point. Let me explain. One of the reasons I utterly reject Arminianism is because that whole system of belief makes salvation about the person. Salvation ain’t about me or you, homie.
Salvation is about God and His glory.
That’s pretty much all you need to know. (Cue the mike drop)
Seriously though, that was the realization that I came to as I studied God’s Word. I wanted to know what He had to say about salvation, not necessarily what I thought He said or even what I thought about it. In all seriousness, let me say this to you if you are not yet a believer. It really doesn’t matter what you think about God’s plan of salvation. He doesn’t need your approval.
So, election. Now I’m not going to give some sort of technical definition of election. This ain’t no systematic theology class and I’m not that smart. By the way, as a side note, I am a big fan of systematic theology and reading all those smart dudes but what I don’t want to do is form all my opinions based on their opinions. You and I both should form our opinions based on what the Bible says. Here’s why:
Cause’ God said it.
Now I know that He used men to physically write the words but God wrote the Bible. We can debate that point if you like but you’re probably gonna lose that argument. Not because you’re arguing with me but because in the end, if you take exception to the Bible, take it up with the Author when you see Him.
Election. I’m just going to talk about a few passages from the Bible that helped me to come to an understanding of election and the sovereignty of God in salvation. Here we go…
I’m not going to quote all these passages word for word; I’ll let you go read them for yourself. Please do by the way. Go read them for yourself. This list of texts will not be exhaustive but are ones I’ve found to be helpful for me and the doctrine of election.
I want to start in the Old Testament, mostly ‘cause I just want to but also because I think there are a lot of people roaming around out there who know squat about the OT and what it says about the sovereignty of God and how He has accomplished salvation through Christ. But I digress…again. A quick word about context before we proceed. Some of these verses, actually all of them I’ll be quoting will not be entirely “in context.” I say that ‘cause I know that some of you will try to hit me with that so I’ll just admit it outright and nip it in the bud.
I’m not going to get into the context of this passage but will say this. I know this was not precisely talking about salvation, per se. Nevertheless, it is apropos. What does this passage say? It says that God will have mercy on whom He will and will withhold His mercy from others. This is a complex idea and if you spend too much time thinking about it, you’ll end up thinking that either God is a petulant bully or that salvation is like a secret club. Not true. Remember?
He’s God. You’re not. He gets to call the shots.
2. Two passages from John’s gospel; 10:29 and 15:16
Before the “yeah but Paul said that and not Jesus” argument about election, let’s just back up a second and read what Jesus had to say in these passages. Let’s keep in mind that they are the very words of Jesus. So The 10:29 passage is Jesus talking about his “sheep” or his followers, those who had salvation then and those of us who would eventually come to faith in Him. He said that God the Father gave the sheep to Him (Jesus). That must mean that those “sheep” or believers had to be chosen by the Father. Right? Read it for yourself and see what you think.
The second passage is from John is 15:16. Jesus said very plainly to the disciples, “I chose you.” Well, you say, yes He did. He chose them. Yes but that must mean that without Jesus’ choosing of them, they would not have come to Him. Now I know you could argue that we don’t know what would have happened if they had heard one of Jesus’ sermons; they could have believed then or another time. I suppose they could have…but they didn’t. Instead, Jesus said very clearly, “I chose you.”
That means that, if you are in Christ, if you have placed your faith in Jesus, it is because He chose you. That should give you great comfort! See, if Jesus didn’t choose you then that means that you chose Him. And if you chose Him, then you could un-choose Him and then you’d be damned. But you didn’t. I didn’t. He chose me and He is unchanging and He doesn’t change His mind. His Word stands forever. What comfort!
3. Two texts from Romans; 5:6-8 and 8:29-30.
The passage from chapter 5 says that Christ died for sinners, not those who “chose” Him. He died for sinners, not good folks who, through some random whim, chose to follow Him. No, it says sinners. The passage from chapter 8 says clearly that God foreknew, predestined, called, justified and glorified believers. God foreknew. He predestined. He called.
All His actions. Not yours. Not mine. His. God has done this. This takes the pressure off you to chase and perform and hope you get it right! What comfort this passage has given me over the years.
I am His because He chose me. Not because I deserved it or performed just right. He chose me for His glory and His purposes, not mine.
4. Two texts from Ephesians; 1:4-14 and 2:8-9.
These texts say, again, that we have been chosen, predestined for adoption as sons. The passage from chapter 2 says you have been saved by grace, not works. If that doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy, then I don’t know what to say to you.
Ok, this is getting long so I’ll wrap this up. There is much more to say about election and such but I’ll just leave it at this. Election doesn’t make God unfair. Election makes God merciful. If He was fair, He would damn us all for our sin. Yet He is merciful and has chosen to save His elect. So, when it comes to evangelism, share the Gospel without fear. It’s not up to you! He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. You just tell everyone you meet.
You be you and let God be God.
He is mighty to save.
Even a worthless wretch like me.