Sunday, February 8, 2009

February 9- Predestination- before we had ears to hear

February 9

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:3-6

But there are two things which show us that this doctrine [of predestination] must be preached, and that we reap such great profit from it, that it would be better if we had never been born than be ignorant of what St. Paul shows here…The one is the magnifying of God as He deserves, and the other the assurance of our salvation, so that we may call upon him as Father with full liberty. If God draws all people alike, and if their salvation comes from their own will and self moving, then we deserve to be in God’s presence, and we are rewarded according to what we deserve. But how is God’s goodness magnified like that? God’s glory does not appear and shine forth unless it be known that he sheds his goodness and love exactly where he pleases to do so. (Sermons on Ephesians).

Being a Christian does not begin with us. It begins with God. The idea of our existence in this life and in the life to come does not begin with our will, our desire, our need as much as with God’s will. God spoke and the world existed. The world does not exist for us, but for God. God speaks and calls us to Himself. Not because he has seen something in us to deserve his calling us to heaven. But simply out of his own love and grace. In point of fact, none of us deserve to go to heaven. It is a miracle any of us have the hope of heaven inside of us. Calvin’s theology is focused on God. This is the best focus. Calvin was deeply aware of human frailties, failures and sin. So the focus is not on us, but on the God who draws us away from these flaws toward Himself.
Salvation is not simply a matter of our choice. Too often in post-modern America, the belief is that we can pick our gods like we pick our food from a buffet line- “I’ll have a little bit of Buddha, a few pillars of Islam, and a slab of Jesus.” But we do not choose God. God chooses us. It is an illusion that we freely choose God. No choice is made in a vacuum. Our choice is limited by the gods we have heard about, from whom we have heard about them, and how we have heard about them. We are not fully conscious of the influences upon our choices, including our genetic leaning, our environmental influences, or the power of the human will. But even more, we are not aware of the power of God to draw us to Himself. He may draw us by the Gideon Bible left in the hotel drawer. He may draw us by an aunt who continually prayed for us. He may draw us by someone telling us what a difference God has made in their lives. He may draw us by the beauty of an ocean wave, or the majesty of a thunderstorm. There are a million different ways that God may draw us. Yet we must confirm that “No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).
God’s glory is seen clearest when we see our salvation lies not in what we do. Our salvation actually began before we were able to do anything- before the foundations of the world. Our assurance of salvation is not based on what we do or fail to do, but on what God has done before the world began. It is certain and trustworthy. It is not that we go bobbing up and down in our salvation like a yoyo. God knows who are His, and has planned on their being on board before they arrived at the station. Let us thank God today for his grace that calls us before we had ears to hear!

No comments:

Post a Comment