Playing Your Part in History
A survey of the news of the world, daily, reminds us of the sinful plight of man in his fallen state (Gen 3; Is 64:6; Jer 17:9; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12; 8:7; Eph 2:1–3, 12; 1 Cor 2:14). God, our maker, is under no obligation to be man’s redeemer. In a display of His great mercy (Rom 9:15–16), however, He manifested His love upon some people (Rom 5:5, 8; 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:4–5; 5:25; 1 Jn 4:19).
We know His great love for His chosen people by His gracious revelation of Himself. He has told us about Himself, and this true knowledge of God is itself eternal life (Jn 17:3; 1 Jn 5:13, 20).
God’s love for the elect people of God is proclaimed by faithful preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16–17; 1 Cor 1:23; 2:2, 4; 2 Tim 4:2). Only in Christ can God’s love be comprehended and distinguished from other versions of love — -and those perversions are legion.
Gospel preaching produces two reactions from people in the world: faith and unbelief. Not believing the true revelation of God is man’s natural, sinful response to the Gospel message. Those who do not belong to Christ will not because they cannot believe in Him (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23). Faith in Christ comes from hearing the Word of God preached (Rom 10:17), coupled with the supernatural apprehension of God’s word of truth in the soul of man, which can only happen by the gracious work of the indwelling Spirit of God (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11).
Man is responsible for his unbelief, and therefore the wrath of God is upon him for his disobedience (Rom 1:18). God is glorified for being the agent of salvation that gives a person faith in the truth that is in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30). Man is culpable, and God is gracious (Rom 11:5; Eph 2:8–9).
God gives the gift of faith to some (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; 5:22; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2), and He does not give it to others, based on His eternal decree, derived from His eternal good pleasure. In other words, God is sovereign and free to do what He wills to do (Jn 1:12–13; Phil 2:13).
There is only one, eternal decree of election (Rom 9; Eph 1), producing one people of God(1 Pet 2:9), known to Him before the foundation of the world (2 Tim 2:19; Rev 13:8; 17:8). Every aspect of salvation flows from God’s immutable decree, which cannot be manipulated by men nor devils.
When election is heard and understood by those ordained to eternal life and appointed to believe (Acts 13:48), it produces joy, humility, and assurance in the wisdom and work of God (Phil 2:5–11). He is able to save and willing to save and actually does save, and this inspires the born again believer to preach Christ to all creation (Mk 16:15). How blessed are the children of assured, elect, redeemed, believers, knowing they, too, are holy to the Lord by His covenant of grace. These carry the covenant sign of baptism (formerly circumcision) to point others to so great a salvation (Col 2:11–12).
God also decrees reprobation for those He has chosen to pass by in salvation (Rom 9:13, 22). Here is the display of the attribute of God’s justice in righteous judgment of sinners.
Elect souls respond with a recognition of their unworthiness to be saved, while fearing God at the terrible prospect of His reprobation of men. The reprobate mocks all of these truths and scoffs at God, who alone is true (Rom 3:4; Jn 14:6). Thus, both the elect and the reprobate play their part in His story. That includes you, dear reader.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 26, 2022