ELECTION

EFFECTUAL CALLING

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jer 1:5 ESV).

“Salvation transforms a person’s nature, giving him or her the ability and the desire to serve and obey God.  The unresponsive heart of stone is changed into a sensitive heart of flesh that responds readily to God’s voice (Ezekiel 36:25-27) and desires to glorify Him out of gratitude for the indescribable gift of salvation” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p147-148).

“The foundation is laid in the death of Christ; it commences in the effectual calling of the Spirit; and by all the precious assurances of grace, wisdom, and strength…it is carried forward to glorious completion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 20th).

“All of those who are thus effectually called by God will eventually believe and be saved, even though they may resist for a time (John 6:37).  They cannot forfeit the salvation they have received (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:31-39)” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p147).

“…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29 ESV).

“…the eternal purpose of God, revealed and provided for…is that all who are chosen, called, and justified will be ‘partakers of his holiness’ in order to prepare for complete sanctification.  Heaven is a holy place and its inhabitants are holy people…The very election of the believer to eternal life provides for and secures his holiness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 20th).

FATHER, You knew me and chose me before I was born.  The HOLY SPIRIT is making me holy.  He teaches me the right method of holiness where my inclinations, will and affections are interested in the spiritual only with no more self-interests.  Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p89).  Thus, I happily obey You, FATHER (1 Pet 1:2).  Hallelujah.

ELECTION

FOREKNOWLEDGE

“Scripture affirms that God, in His sovereignty, singled out certain ones to be recipients of His distinguishing favors (Acts 13:48), therefore, He determined to bestow upon them the gift of faith.  False theology makes God’s foreknowledge of our believing the cause of His election to salvation.  However, God’s election is the cause, and our believing in Christ the effect” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p25-26).

“Why He chose the ones He did, we do not know.  We can only say, ‘Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.’” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p28).

FATHER, Your “foreknowledge” does not mean that Your actions are based on what You know I am going to do.  I’m sure You know what I have done and am doing now and what I will do but You do what You do independent of what I do, for You developed Your plans before You formed the earth.  And You choose me for salvation!!

“…God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (2 Th 2:13)” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p28).  Because You foreknew me You predestined me to be conformed to the image of Your Son.   “…God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were conformed.  On the contrary, those whom He foreknew (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated ‘to be conformed.’  Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p28).

“…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…” (Eph 1:4 ESV).

FATHER, You have predestined me to be holy and blameless, now I have to prove by my actions that I am holy and blameless.  Help me in that joyous endeavor as I work out what You have worked in me—that hidden holiness shining bright in my members.

ELECTION

GOD CALLS A PEOPLE

“’Your sins have made you disgustingly ugly.  But I love you anyway, not because you are attractive, but because it is my nature to love.’  And in the case of the elect, God adds, ‘I have set my affection on you from before the foundation of the universe, not because you are wiser or better or stronger than others but because in grace I chose to love you…’” D.A. Carson (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p61).

“…he does not ‘fall in love’ with us; he sets his affection on us. D.A. Carson (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, p61).

“…it is only when…salvation…is ascribed to gratuitous election, we arrive at the knowledge that God saves whom he wills of his mere good pleasure…” John Calvin (ref#113, p607).

“…to extend the pleasure that God has in his own name, he calls out a people to enjoy and praise and proclaim that name” John Piper (ref#220, p125).  “…The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession…because the LORD loves you…” (Deut 7:6,8 ESV).

“God’s electing love is absolutely free.  It is the gracious overflow of his boundless happiness guided by his infinite wisdom.  Deut 10:14-15 describes the delight God had in choosing Israel from all the peoples of the earth” John Piper (ref#220, p128-129).

“Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.  Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose…you above all people…” (Deut 10:14-15 ESV).

“…the way God decided to make a name for his glorious grace in the Old Testament was to choose a people for himself from all the peoples of the earth and to make that people the showcase of his redeeming work….In other words, in order to extend the pleasure that God has in his own name he chooses a people to enjoy and praise and proclaim that name to all the peoples.  And so God has pleasure in election” John Piper (ref#220, p132).

COMPATIBILISM

DEPENDENT RESPONSIBILITY

Peter’s words accusing his fellow Jews of crucifying JESUS:

“this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23 ESV).  “Though one may not understand fully how God’s sovereign ordination of events can be compatible with human responsibility for evil, both are clearly affirmed here and in many other passages of Scripture (cf. notes on 3:13-16; 3:17; 4:27; 4:28)” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2084, [Acts 2:23]).

“There are many instances in the Scriptures where the concepts of both dependence and responsibility appear in the same sentence or paragraph.” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p130).

“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain….” (Ps 127:1 ESV).

“Hundreds of passages…could be explored to demonstrate that the Bible assumes both that God is sovereign and that people are responsible for their actions.  As hard as it is for many people in the Western world to come to terms with both truths at the same time, it takes a great deal of interpretative ingenuity to argue that the Bible does not support them” (D.A. Carson) Justin Taylor (ref#295).

“…we are both dependent and responsible…Nehemiah…prayed and posted a guard.  He recognized his dependence on God, but he also accepted his responsibility to work…” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p131).

“God’s sovereignty is compatible with human responsibility.  Israel should have believed the gospel and trusted in Christ, but the majority refused to do so.  Still God’s saving promises will be fulfilled” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2174, [Rom 9:30 – 11:10]).

FATHER, as J.C. Ryle, this is what I believe: “I grant most fully that saving faith, like true repentance, is the gift of God.  I grant that we have no natural power of our own to believe on Christ, receive Christ, come to Christ, lay hold on Christ, and commit our souls to Christ.  But I see faith and repentance laid down clearly in Scripture as dutieswhich God requires at any man’s hands….(Acts xvii. 30; 1 John iii. 23.)  And I see it laid down with no less clearness, that unbelief and impenitence are sins for which man will be held accountable, and that he who does not repent and believe destroys his own soul (Mark xvi. 16; Luke xiii.3)” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p194).

“…what can be known about God is plain…his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20 ESV).

COMPATIBILISM

COMPATIBILISM

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD” (Prov 21:31 ESV).

“What is compatibilism?…God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions in Scripture to reduce human responsibility.  Human beings are responsible creatures—that is, they choose, they believe, they disobey, they respond, and there is moral significance in their choices; but human responsibility never functions in Scripture to diminish God’s sovereignty or to make God absolutely contingent” (D.A. Carson) Justin Taylor (ref#295).

FATHER, I desire biblical balance between the SPIRIT’s power and my effort. “…there is both preservation on God’s part and perseverance in holiness on ours, and the former is accomplished by maintaining the latter.  God does not deal with His people as though they were machines, but as rational creatures.  He sets before them weighty considerations and powerful motives, solemn warnings and rich rewards, and by the renewings of His grace and the reviving of His Spirit causes them to respond thereto” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p170).

“Paul said he had learned to be content…He worked at it.  But he knew that he could be content only through the Lord, who gave him strength” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p133).

 “Each member of God’s people is responsible to lay hold of…grace from the heart to believe the promises, to grow in obeying the commands, and to keep on doing so all their lives long” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p937, “Introduction to the Psalms”).

“’To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me’ (Col 1:29)” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p51).  “He enables me to live a life pleasing to Him” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p134).

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

HIS PREDESTINED CHOSEN ONES

“Blessed be…God…even as he chose us…before the foundation of the world…he predestined us …according to the purpose of his will,” (Eph 1:3-5 ESV).

“It was ‘in love’ that God…predestined His chosen ones…according to what?  According to some excellency He discovered in them?  No.  What then?  According to what He foresaw they would become?  No; mark carefully the inspired answer: ‘According to the good pleasure of his will’” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p23).

“Nothing shall happen to us which God has not foreseen; no unexpected event shall destroy His plans; no emergency shall transpire for which He has not provided; no peril shall occur against which He has not guarded; there shall come no remarkable need which shall take Him by surprise; He sees the end from the beginning, and the things that are not as though they were.  To God’s eye there is no past and no future; He fills His own eternal NOW; He stands in a position from which He can look down upon the whole, and see the past, the present, and the future at a single glance!  All, all, all of the future is foreseen by Him, and fixed by Him” Charles Spurgeon (“A Safe Prospective”)!

“God is all-sufficient in Himself, having had no need to create any of His creatures.  The creature can neither add glory nor felicity to Him.  However, it has pleased the Lord to create creatures in order to communicate His goodness to them and consequently render them happy” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#232, p5-6).

“Isaiah reveals the sovereign ways of God with the nations, for he is no local, tribal deity but the Judge and Savior ruling over all the world.  His purpose is moving human history forward for the benefit of his people” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1265, [Isa 13:1-27:13]).

FATHER, I did not choose to be created, yet as You created You provided a way for my happiness.  Happiness is better than having no life at all.  I praise You for the work You do for Your children’s happiness.  You, all Love had to have someone to love.

“…The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Exod 34:6 ESV).  “…I made the…house of Israel and the…house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory…”  (Jer 13:11 ESV).  “For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant…The zeal of the LORD will do this” (2 Kings 19:31 ESV).

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

GOD’S DECREES OF LOVE

“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18 KJV).

“…prior to the creation and existence of the world, He ordained all the events that He would bring into existence, that is, the time and place, means of execution, individual activities, and the individual circumstances from beginning to end for each” Wilhelmus e Brakel (ref#232, p8).

“…I, the LORD, have spoken, and my words will come true” (Amos 9:12 CEV).

“God was alone when He made His decrees, and His determinations were influenced by no external cause.  He was free to decree or not to decree, and to decree one thing and not another.  This liberty we must ascribe to Him Who is supreme, independent, and sovereign in all His doings” A.W. Pink (ref#231, p3).

“…when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity…” (Gal 1:13-16 MSG).

“…He chose us…before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love” (Eph 1:4 NASB).

You were hardwired for love, so everything you decide, desire, think, say, and do is an expression of love for someone or something….Your capacity to love was created for him.  Your desire to love was meant to draw you to him.  Your heart was designed to long for love, and that longing was meant to find its final and complete fulfillment in him” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Mar 28th).

FATHER, in Your “sheer generosity” Your have chosen me.  And by Your sovereign will You lead me circumstance by circumstance so I find my joy in You.  How You love is by doing everything You have to do to bring me to the place where I make much of You. “Love is when God gets you to God.” (John Piper)  You make all choices; may I learn to be humble and flexible and keep in step with what You choose for me so I might revel in Your magnificence.

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

THE UNCHANGEABLE PLAN OF GOD

“…I the LORD do not change…” (Mal 3:6 ESV).  “…he is unchangeable…What he desires, that he does” (Job 23:13 ESV).

“…from eternity God has had an unchangeable plan…God never has an afterthought…He is omniscient and omnipresent; He knows everything from the beginning to the end…Nothing is accidental, haphazard, uncertain, or…happening by chance….Everything that God has done and has brought to pass is according to His own eternal plan, and it is fixed, certain, unchangeable, and absolute” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#233, p11).

“When we say that God is sovereign, we affirm His right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases….He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any….He is sovereign in all His attributes, He is sovereign in the exercise of His power.  His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p19-20).

“…I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.  I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it’” (Ezek 17:24 ESV).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 ESV).

God is sovereign in the exercise of His grace….grace is favor shown to the underserving, yea, to the hell-deserving.  Grace is the antithesis of justice.  Justice demands the impartial enforcement of law….Justice…shows no pity and know no mercy.  But after justice has been fully satisfied, grace flows forth.  Divine grace is not exercised at the expense of justice, but ‘grace reigns through righteousness’ (Rom 5:21); and if grace ‘reigns,’ then grace is sovereign” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p23).

FATHER, as a changeable creature—deciding one thing one minute and changing it the next, I don’t take lightly Your rock-solid unchangeableness.  You give me peace that my life is under control.  All praise to You.