John 6:37,44--Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out . . . No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Does the idea of choosing seem controversial? The doctrine of election (God sovereignly selecting people for salvation), may seem unfair. We conjure up memories of playground decisions where the best athletes are picked first while the weaker members are divvyed up reluctantly or cast away by those possessing the power to decide. Yet, the concept of election (a theme that runs throughout Scripture), is evident in Jesus’ statements above. While it is not possible to cover this subject fully in a devotional, there are some helpful truths we can glean from God’s Word.
Election is about the accomplishing of God’s purpose according to His pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:4,5). “Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand . . .” (Romans 9:11). “So receiving God’s promise is not up to us. We can’t get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone He chooses” (Rom.9:16 NLT).
God’s purpose is vast, beyond comprehension. He sees unfettered by time, unlimited in scope, and unaffected by any weakness. He is perfectly powerful, administering mercy and grace based on just reasoning. Conversely, while made in God’s image, we nevertheless make determinations based on thinking and emotions that are tainted by our sin-condition. “What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For He tells Moses I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom.9:14,15). We don’t expect a doctor to treat according to the sentiments of a patient whose reasoning is clouded by illness. Nor should we superimpose our notions of fairness on God from a depraved status.
“If God elects people for salvation, then how can He blame those who do not listen to Him? Aren’t they doing what He made them do?” (Rom. 9:19 NLT). Paul counters such logic by writing, “But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God?” (9:20a). He then quotes the prophet Isaiah, “Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” (Rom.9:20). God as the Author of life writes mercy or punishment for each life as He deems. Only He knows the final outcome for each person. Yet, His sovereign working is never an excuse for our resignation. Contrary to those who insist that evangelism is unnecessary since God preordained who should be saved, Jesus commanded His disciples (and us by logical extension), to preach His gospel (Matthew 28:19,20).
Paul obeyed Jesus. He wrote for the Roman church to teach, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation” (Rom.10:9,10). If such words could not be applied because salvation was “fixed”, the gospel would be a limited message and a cruel hoax. Therefore, we conclude that election is marvelous because it is administered by the perfectly capable hands of our loving Father who knows what we don’t know to accomplish what will become known. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty. On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history.—A.W. Tozer in Knowledge of the Holy
Election refers to the unchangeable purpose of God, not to the salvation of individuals.—Oswald Chambers in So Send I You
To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines.— Arthur Pierson in George Mueller of Bristow
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)