Election 2

ELECTION: GOD'S ETERNAL CHOICE OF

A lot of times we have trouble with the idea of God just choosing people in a vacuum.  Our sinful human nature would like to imagine God is the big dog on the elementary school playground, picking a team willy-nilly, but nobody knows what the game is going to be!

Remember a couple of things we nailed down in our previous lesson.

The doctrine of election is a teaching of (choose  one)

                                         â‡’Gospel                                                                    Law.

God's foreknowledge simply means God __knows___ what is going to happen _before___ it happens.

God does not act on the basis of his __foreknowledge___.

In Christ Alone God Chose Me

5 He ⇒predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1.5-6

Select the word that shows you we are talking about election in this passage.

I hate to become an English teacher, but sometimes you have to.  We show "means in various ways in English, that is, the means by which the subject accomplishes the descried action.

He hit the nail _with______ a hammer.

He drove to town _in__ a car.

He got even with his criminally wicked neighbor __through____ the legal system.

OK.  God is the subject.  He chose us for a purpose”"to be adopted as his sons and "to the praise of his glorious grace.  But what means did he use to do this?  Where are the "means words in this passage?

Through Jesus Christ

in the One he loves

And how do you know that last phrase doesn't refer to the one(s) God has elected?

It is capitalized.  The One, one and only Son of God.

So God chose us in Christ, God chose us in the One he loves.  Let's look what God means when he says that.

In Christ

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Ephesians 1.4

9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life”not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

2 Timothy 1:9,10

When did God choose you?

From eternity.  Before the creation of the world.

What did God consider when he chose you?

Christ

5 He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1.5-6

11 You are my Son whom I love' with you I am well pleased.

Mark 1.11

And what was that consideration of Christ?

He loved Christ.  That's why he chose us.

I like that.  I am chosen by God because God loved Jesus so much.  It has nothing to do with me.  I'm just the beneficiary of this blessing upon blessing.  But there was something that troubled me.  Go back to the Ephesian 1 and 2 Timothy 1 passages.  Do you see anything there that might give you pause, that might make you think, maybe, just maybe you aren't one of the ones God has chosen?

He called us to be holy.  We are blameless with a holy life.

I don't know about you, but I don't feel that way.  Never have.  I got spanked every day when I was little”and I deserved it each and every time!  My mother had to console herself with the comfort of friends”"well, the smart ones always are the little stinkers.

Look at this passage and explain how this little stinker can still be one of the chosen.

25 Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and  to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Ephesians 5.25-27

We are holy and blameless because we are forgiven.  Jesus had cleansed us through Baptism and given us his holiness.  It is not a holiness of our deeds, but a holiness that is credited to our account through faith.

How does this passage confirm what we are hoping Ephesians 5 says?

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all”how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died”more than that, who was raised to life”is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Romans 8:31-34

We can't be charged with sin.  Jesus died for us.  We are the chosen, so Jesus is also interceding for us.

Let's look at this Romans 8 passage in its entirety.  Point out all the references to Christ and our election

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be ⇒conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the ⇒firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all”how will he not also, ⇒along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died”more than that, who was raised to life”is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the ⇒love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: " For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the⇒ love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.                                                                                                   Romans 8:28-39

We were chosen to be conformed to Christ's likeness, that is, to lead a holy life, blameless in his sight because in Christ we are holy.

We are chosen to be in the family of God.  Christ is our brother, the firstborn of many brothers.

Along with Christ we will enjoy the Father's love and eternal home, for Christ is bringing us along.

The love the Father has for Christ is the love he has for us.

We eternally enjoy that love.

We would expect everything about election to be connected with Christ.

13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13

What does belief in the truth refer to?

Believing the Gospel message of Jesus.

2 You] have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:  Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 

1 Peter 1:2

What means has God used to bring about the goals of his election?

He chose us to obey Jesus' teaching and believe in the forgiveness through his blood.

When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

Acts 13:48

Why did they believe?

They were elect, appointed for eternal life.

I'm not going to do this often, but our Lutheran Confessions have just nailed this point.

God's eternal election, however, not only foresees and foreknows the salvation of the elect, but by God's gracious will and pleasure in Christ Jesus it is also a cause which creates, effects, helps, and furthers our salvation and whatever pertains to it. Our salvation is based on it in such a way that " the gates of Hades  are not able to do anything against it (Matt. 16:18), as it is written, " No one shall snatch my sheep out of my hand  (John 10:28), and again, " As many as were ordained to eternal life believed  (Acts 13:48). 23 In this his eternal counsel, purpose, and ordinance God has not only prepared salvation in general, but he has also graciously considered and elected to salvation each and every individual among the elect who are to be saved through Christ, and also ordained that in the manner just recounted he wills by his grace, gifts, and effective working to bring them to salvation and to help, further, strengthen, and preserve them to this end.

Formula of Concord XI, 8, 23: 

Yeah, it's that good.  And the Lutherans are the only ones who are saying this.  Others teach God has chosen some to be saved and others to be damned.  They say this will and counsel of God is inscrutable.

Calvin: God's eternal decree by which He decided in Himself what He wanted to happen to each and every man we call predestination. Eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others.”I confess that it is indeed an awesome decree (decretum horribile).

John Calvin, Institutes, III, XXIII, VI, p 151

 

God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass¦and by the decree of God, for the manifestation of his own glory, some men and angels are predestinated  unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.

Westminster Confession of Faith, III/i,iii

 

No Double Election

But is there a double election?

It would make sense.  But the Bible never teaches a double election.  God only chooses the elect, not the damned.  And I may be able to simply prove it to you!

Consider this passage.

18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes and "No.  19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, as not "Yes and "No, but in him it has always been "Yes.  20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes in Christ.

2 Corinthians 1.18-20

Why did God choose you?

Because he loved Christ.

What did God use to choose you?  What means did he use?

Christ.

How involved with Christ is election?

At every turn it seems to be connected with Jesus Christ.

So, if God chose you for heaven, that would be God's big __YES__.

And if God chose you for hell, that would be God's big __NO__.

But God's choosing is always wrapped up in Jesus Christ.  It is not inscrutable”it's love!  So what does that say about election being God's big "No for some?

It is an impossibility.  In Christ, God's promises to us are always "Yes.

So is there a double election, one to heaven and one to hell?

No, it is a logical fallacy.  In this way God's choice goes beyond our understanding.