We have spent a great deal of time on the doctrine of election, and I want to make sure that nobody gets the idea that we should be indifferent. A common criticism is that the teaching makes us think we are members of an exclusive club allowing us to be indifferent or even snobbish to those without membership. We must remember that election is two-fold, requiring both divine grace and our repentance. We must respond to the gospel to be saved; in fact, we are all held responsible to respond. God desires that all turn to him. This is no exclusive club. The invitation is extended to all.
Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
Romans 9:1-3 I am speaking the truth in Christ – I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit – that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
That our eyes are now opened is no reason to be smug. In fact, it gives us all the more reason to remember our hopeless condition so that we may have compassion on all people. By compassion, I specifically mean the desire and need to share the gospel. There is nothing more precious that we could share. So, it is a very good exercise to recall our past:
I Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. As such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Revelation 21:5-8 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also, he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And the said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur which is the second death.”
It’s difficult looking over lists like this. My name is written all over them. True I’m not the man I used to be, but I cannot claim to be exempt from all this behavior. There is one thing that has changed everything for me:
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
It’s clear to me that I have nothing to boast about. Yes, sometimes I do, but that is my pride and not a reflection of reality or truth. My pride proves that I am still a liar.
Folks, scripture outlines all this salvation business. While it is true that God alone is the one who grants mercy on whom he grants mercy, He lays it all out in his book. Scripture tells us what the born-again, new creation should look like in the life s/he leads and demonstrates over the long haul. All of us start out in the same rebellions condition. None of us know who will or who will not be saved. It may happen as a young child or on one’s deathbed. It could happen while the suicidal bullet is travelling down the gun barrel. We just don’t know. Therefore, let us not be arrogant towards the unsaved, the “as such were you” crowd.
Father, we come to you with our hats in our hands. Please forgive us for arrogance we may have towards all of mankind. Remind us quickly and firmly when we forget our position. When we are humble, we better understand the immense gift of the gospel and are much more willing to share it with the entire world. Lord, make us humble. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers