January 28, 2017

God’s Grace chooses His people

Every now and then God reminds me that He choose me, a most humbling thought that strikes a blow to my pride, but also a most edifying thought that swipes at those feelings of inferiority. Salvation and life as a Christian is not about me, but about the amazing grace of God.

I’m particularly drawn to Jeremiah, partly because I can relate to his attitude, but also love his story because of this . . .

“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4–5)

God selected Jeremiah for his role in history before he was conceived! My role in God’s kingdom is less extensive, but what a delight to realize that God also knew me before I was born and had a plan for my life. Like every Christian, I am chosen and I live to serve Him.

Of course the question comes up, “Why doesn’t God choose everyone?” This question was in the minds of those early Christians too. Romans 9:11-26 answers it with several reasons. One of them is that God is God. He can show mercy on whomever He wishes, and compassion on whomever He decides.

He said to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

We might argue the other side and ask why then wrath on some and not others. Romans 9 retorts, “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory . . . ?”

Paul later discussed the reason for God’s choices. He knew that he was without merit, but also realized God had a plan for selecting him for salvation. He said . . .

“He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles . . . . (Galatians 1:15–16) “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

Instead of questioning God’s wisdom in His choices, I need to pay attention to a better option . . .

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Salvation is the will of God. He does what He does because it pleases Him. He separates His people from the rest of the world and chooses us before we were even born. This affirms the reality that being chosen has nothing to do with our will or our worth. He calls us by grace and through the irresistible call of the Holy Spirit, a call that reveals to our hearts the Lord Jesus Christ — and that is what makes it irresistible. When Jesus walked in, there was no other answer but yes!

The rest of the story is also yes — because God’s purpose for my salvation is that I do His will. Since there is nothing in me that wanted that, He put it in. Any so-called ‘goodness’ in me never caused God to be gracious; but God’s grace gives me great desire to walk willingly in goodness.

Jesus, I want to celebrate Your amazing grace today, singing and shouting it, and hopefully sharing it with others. Thank You!

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