‘Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1:8, 9).’
In the UK there’s talk of the possibility of a general election to help resolve the deadlock with the Brexit issue. In addition to having a general election, a certain political party would like a second referendum to sort out once-for-all the will of the people.
Elections and referendums are about making choices. The verb to elect means to choose. You can elect to do this or that.
How do you make well-informed choices? Firstly you must gather truthful, objective information; then use it for deciding what is your best choice. In your decision making you may be swayed by your own prejudices, preferences, likes or dislikes. If this is the case they will influence your choices.
So, as we consider our choices, we may want to ask God why He made some of His choices (Ephesians 1:4). For example, we may want to ask Him why He made us as we are and why He places us where we are? He could have made us differently, and He could have put us elsewhere. Pertinently, why did He predestine our paths in the way He has?
There are so many * “Why” questions, and we may never get to know the answers, but one thing is certain, God does what is right; for He is the sovereign God of the universe. He created it (John 1:1-3) and He reigns over it. He reigns over all people in all situations (Revelation 1:5). Furthermore, He has predestined (Ephesians 1:11) every action and everything to come! This is mind-boggling. We cannot take it in. Our brains are too tiny and our understanding is severely limited.
We simply have to accept that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). He is a God who is holy, righteous and just. He can do no wrong (Genesis 18:25). He can only be true to Himself (Romans 3:4). There is no higher authority; and for us there is no higher court of appeal. But like Job, as we come before Him we are unable to justify ourselves. We acknowledge that we are unworthy sinners. We can only humbly kneel before Him with our hand over our mouth (Job 40:4) and accept His righteous judgment.
We are entirely at His mercy. He can do as He pleases (Job 42:2). He can chose to love us or He can chose to hate us (Romans 9:13). We have no power before Him, and we cannot influence His will. In fact, we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), unless He makes us alive in His Son by His Spirit (John 3:3-8), and this is God’s crucial choice. It is a matter of life or death (Deuteronomy 32:39) – a matter of eternal life in heaven (1 John 5:11), or everlasting torment with satan in the fires of hell (Revelation 20:10, 15).
I am not mincing my words. I am telling it as the Scriptures tell. It would be sinful of me to sugarcoat the Word of God and to pretend it is nothing more than a collection of fairytales. Rightly I would be condemned, being worthy of having a milestone tied around my neck and cast into the sea (Luke 17:1, 2).
God is Merciful
Now what is so very wonderful and utterly amazing is that God would choose me (Ephesians 1:4) to be one of His adopted sons (Galatians 4:5). Even more amazing – why would he send His own Son (1 John 4:9), whom He loves dearly, to die for me on a cross? And yet He did! This just shows the extent of His great love, and the love of His Son, who willingly died for me. Jesus took the burden of my sins and suffered punishment for them in my place to give me eternal life in Him (1 John 5:11).
He chose me (John 15:16). I did not choose Him. He first loved me, and in response I loved Him (1 John 4:19). He became my King and my Lord. He is my all (Colossians 3:11). He is everything. I live for Him (Galatians 2:20) and I owe Him everything.
What did He find in me to make Him love me? Nothing of merit! In fact before my rebirth in the Spirit (John 3:3-8) I was an obnoxious, filthy sinner – a rebellious nothing, worthy only of death (Romans 1:32), because of my disobedience and a total lack of reverence for Him.
God placed no conditions upon me before He chose me (John 15:19). He did not choose me for anything I had done or would do, but simply because He loved me (Ephesians 2:4). In His mercy and grace He wants me to love Him and to live for Him (John 14:21, 23) and to be with Him (John 17:24).
Now this is what is meant by unconditional election.
He does all things for His glory (Ezekiel 39:21); and by His will of decree He determines the outcome of all things (Ephesians 1:11).