Sunday, January 1, 2017

Prepared In Advance

I often hear Christian's wondering about election--how or why does God choose certain people to save and others not.  The answer is usually fairly standard:  The Bible is clear that it is not based on merit.  It is God's grace and pleasure alone to, so-called "choose" who He will.  [5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,--Eph1:5]

But when I hear this typical discussion I always struck that the framing is not quite right.  For one thing, it gives the impression that God is capricious, as if there is no real rhyme or reason in His decisions.  Why does He "choose" one and not another if it is not based on any deserving quality of the recipient?  Is it just random?  This strikes many as unfair or unjust.  Of course, Paul answers this complaint tersely with: "No, don't say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, "Why have you made me like this?" (Rom. 9:20)

What I believe is missed is a profound distinction.  That is, it is not that God "chooses" one over another.  The fact is, He CREATED in the first place the one to be saved.  It is not the case that we are somehow existent already with all our own innate personalities and then God looks around and says, "THIS one, NOT this one" etc.  It is more like God created from the beginning--designed from the outset--what creatures He intended to be given to The Lord.  

It's not like God threw a bunch of creatures onto the "board" of life, like so many dice or lots, and then, willy-nilly said, "Oh, I guess I'll take THESE ones over here and leave THOSE ones over there"....

No.  From "before the foundation of the world" (Eph.1:4) He created some for the specific purpose of salvation and He created others to be "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Rom. 9:22).  There is not injustice or capricious whatsoever.  It is not like those "prepared for destruction" ever had the chance to be saved, and God cruelly passed over them.  No, He MADE THEM FOR THAT PURPOSE.  And why?  All of this is to reveal His glory, His character.  As it is that NONE deserve to be saved, for all are born sinners, He has created a world whereby He shows that mercy and grace are part of His essence, His glory.  How else to show it than to create a world where none are deserving of glory, where He "intervenes" in a sense, to "rescue" a certain lot.  And these He designed specifically for that purpose.  He intended that He would give them the grace and light and will needed to "choose" Him.  They ("the elect") were created from beginning for that very purpose--all to display, manifest, the parameters of His character.   It shows He is a God of love, of caring and compassion.

And it also means that those "fitted for destruction" are not going somewhere they don't want to.  They were made for it.  They wouldn't have it any other way.  Just as a fish has no interest or desire to ride a bicycle or run up a mountain, and so, is not "cruelly" being kept from it by some caprice, those "fitted for destruction" have no love of God--no longing for salvation that God is "unjustly" depriving them of.

"Why did God choose me for salvation?" some will ask.

A better question might be, "why did God CREATE me for salvation?"

What is left is that one falls to one's knees in sheer gratitude and awe to have been designed to be in the Body of The Lord Himself--to Be one of His elect.  Those not included never had a chance.  It is not like they too wished to be with God forever and were callously denied.  No, they never wanted to and never COULD want to.

God is God.

21Does not the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special occasions and another for common use? 22What if God, intending to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the vessels of His wrath, prepared for destruction? 23What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the vessels of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory—…(Rom 9:21-23)

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