Monday, May 28, 2012

Choice - Peter Eldersveld

The predicament in which we sinners find ourselves is so utterly hopeless that divine redemption is our only way out. The Bible says, what we know to be true from our own honest introspection, that we are “dead in trespasses and sins.” And such dead men cannot begin their own resurrection. They must be raised by another— by God. You cannot expect sinners who are depraved by nature to initiate the work of their own redemption. It will have to be initiated by God.

Now the Word of God proves beyond all doubt that He has indeed taken the initiative, that He is our point of beginning. The classic passage on that is Eph. 1:4-12. Among other things, it says: “He hath chosen us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world . . . having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will . . . in whom (Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”

Now that doctrine of divine election is mentioned no less than forty-eight times in the New Testament alone. And no wonder, for it is one of the grandest things we know about God. His plan of redemption is not an afterthought, something He had to devise when man fell into sin; it was not occasioned by the contingencies of history, nor does it depend upon the will of man. From eternity God chose sinners to he saved, and He did so according to the good pleasure of His will without qualifying conditions of any kind. It was His doing. Its point-of-beginning is with Him in eternity, where also its end will be. This means that our salvation has its origin as well as its destiny in the everlasting God!

However, oddly enough, this glorious truth, which is one of the fundamentals of our faith, is also one of the most controversial teachings in the Bible. It makes some people stiffen with resistance and even wince with pain every time they hear it. This is particularly true among certain Christians who have a more humanistic theology. And, of course, the reason for their antagonism is quite natural. For the other side of this glorious truth is that if God chose to save some, He necessarily chose not to save others. So, He is not only a God of election but also of reprobation. And that’s the part men don’t like.

They seem to feel under obligation to defend the character of God against the stigma and responsibility of election and reprobation. The fact that God very plainly assumes this responsibility does not seem to impress them at all. They believe it is better to have men choose God than to have God choose men. And so they take the ultimate decision, as to who will be saved, out of the hands of God and place it in the hands of men, who must then make the choice themselves. And thereby they make man the point-of-beginning—and ending, the Alpha and Omega of his own salvation. He can frustrate God if he wants to.

Now, personally, I am deeply grateful that the Bible presents a God who chooses the sinner, rather than a God who must wait to be chosen. I know that teaching confronts us with some very real and difficult questions which we shall never be able to answer, but I would rather live with those questions than try to escape them by adopting humanistic notions that conflict with God’s own revelation of Himself. The fact that we cannot comprehend the mystery of His mercy does not disprove it.               Read entire article HERE

Hat Tip to The Highway

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