“He chose us.”
Three little words tucked into Ephesians 1:4 that define a nasty little doctrine…
Nasty in that it draws a battle line straight through the middle of our theological camp.
But without this doctrine we have no blessing. No adoption. No inheritance. No security. No assurance. No celebration. No joy. No comfort.
Without this doctrine we have salvation dependent on human influence. Salvation merited by human effort.
Without this doctrine we have no sovereign–no supreme–being worthy of worship.
Fortunately, this doctrine doesn’t rest on Ephesians 1:4 alone. This doctrine is all over Scripture:
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6For the sake of my servant Jacob,and Israel my chosen,I call you by your name,I name you, though you do not know me.
For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. Isaiah 45:4
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
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
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29
Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls. Romans 9:11
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you. 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:10
The doctrine I have in mind here is election, the concept that we are a mass of mankind distinguished and separated, united to spend eternity with Christ.
A concept that declares we are unworthy people declared worthy people. Unrighteous sinners declared righteous.
All because we are chosen in Christ.
I think most people would agree with this. It’s WHEN this election occurs that party lines form.
Where the Line of Division Is Drawn
The biblical concept of election states that God chose BEFORE the creation of the world those whom would be Christians.
Before man. Before creation. Before time. In the isolated, all-wise counsel of God–we we’re adopted into his family.
He chose us.
Now, Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be a sacrifice for sins. We have no problem with this.
Yet, suggest that Christians are foreknown for salvation in the same way and people cry foul.
What Election Does and Doesn’t Do
Understand, election doesn’t nullify man’s responsibility to believe in Jesus as Lord. It doesn’t eliminate accountability.
What it does do is reconstruct our nature from bent on corruption to pre-occupied with sanctification.
That’s the whole point behind election: that we should be holy. Not because he saw that we should be holy. But because he made us holy.
Furthermore, our election causes us to find unquenchable delight in God. He becomes our perfect and supreme object which occupies our affections.
We are elected so we can adore God.
He may have angels. But his will is to have children. Children with whom he can be intimate.
Why We Celebrate
Christ is the peculiar object of God’s affections. Christ is his chief pleasure. And when we become Christians we inherit those affections. That is why we celebrate.
We participate in God’s presence only because Christ, in God’s sovereign will, redeemed us.
And that redemption is secured. Affirming our adoption into God’s family. Anxiety over our fate is soothed. And we receive comfort knowing that on our worst days we will still inherit eternal life.
What remains is bewilderment: Why did he choose me?
We will never know until the day we meet God when we will more than likely throw ourselves at the feet of our Savior in a reckless–but appropriate–act of worship.