Chosen by God

I was reading a friend’s blog who was discussing the National Football League draft at http://offthebench-ellis.blogspot.com/, (Thanks, Ellis, for prodding my brain matter) and my thoughts turned to our election by God, the Father. In the NFL draft, players are chosen according to height, weight, strength, speed, quickness, athleticism, playmaking ability, and, once in a “blue moon,” character comes into play. These young men are chosen according to qualities that the scouts and the other powers-that-be see in them.

 

However, our choice by God is not according to any qualities found within us; otherwise, no one would ever be chosen. The Bible says much about our state before we are called by God’s Spirit: We are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2), we are blinded to the truth of the Gospel (2 Cor. 4), we are unable to “receive the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2), we do not seek after God (Rom. 3), and, God goes so far as to say in Isaiah 64 that “all our righteous deeds” are, at best, “like a filthy garment.”

 

Why, then, did God choose us to be His covenant people? We get a hint in His comment to His people under the Old Covenant:

 

6 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.  7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,  8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

 

They were chosen, not because they were great, but because the Lord was great. In the same way, the Lord of the Universe did not choose us because we were smart enough to believe in Him, or because we were moral enough to believe in Him, but because God “will have mercy on whom [He will have] mercy, and [He] will have compassion on whom [He will have] compassion.” (Romans 9:15) The reason for our choice is not to be found in us, but in Him. We have no ground for boasting because our justification is based totally upon the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and His sacrificial death on the cross. As Paul says so well in Ephesians 2:

 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-  3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved-  6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

 

May we learn to say with Paul, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

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4 Comments

  1. Danny Gilliam said,

    April 29, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    Maybe if we went from saying “divine election” to “divine draft” people would get a better idea it’s about God’s sovereign choice (that our they would think that’s the beer we drink in heaven)!

    • cliftonr said,

      April 29, 2009 at 1:01 PM

      I bet that would be good beer. ;^)

  2. Branson said,

    April 29, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    I was talking about this with Mandy the other day. We have such an American dream mentality–the pull yourself up by your own bootstraps idea. We work hard to be worthy of God’s grace, but we never could be. That’s why it’s called grace. We can’t earn it, and we never could. Too often I forget that and equate spiritual maturity with how busy I am in church stuff. Those things aren’t bad, but they’re not making me any more deserving of God’s grace. They only make me busier, and if I’m not careful, too occupied to do what I need to. We need to do the work “because of” God’s grace, not “in order to receive” God’s grace.

    • cliftonr said,

      April 29, 2009 at 4:47 PM

      You said: “We need to do the work “because of” God’s grace, not “in order to receive” God’s grace.”

      I agree, absolutely! We were created in Christ Jesus for good works…but it is the result of our salvation, not the cause.


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