Morning, July 17, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.” — 1 Thessalonians 1:4
Many people want to know their election (His choice) before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it that way; it is only to be discovered by “looking to Jesus.” If you desire to determine your own election, in the following manner, you shall secure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? Go without delay to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, “And the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Tell him that he has said, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as you believe, you are elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones; but if you stop and say, “I want to know first whether I am elect,” you don’t know what you ask. Go to Jesus, however guilty, just as you are. Leave all questions about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” Christ was at the eternal council: He can tell you whether you were chosen or not, but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be, ” I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.
“Sons we are through God’s election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe.”
My notes: It’s obvious from the text the influence Calvinism had in the general population in the 1800s. The closest I’ve heard in my life is, “The way and time I’m going to die is predetermined, so I’m going to live (party, drive fast, overindulge) the way I want. You die when you die.”
You can read the above devotional using the word “selection,” or “choice.” The Greek word used for choice is very similar to the word used for … “Word.” Logos. In the NFL draft players are chosen based on their attributes and attitudes, by men who have a rough idea of those things, and who have predetermined their decision, which isn’t final, however, until they give the word. God, being both eternal (timeless) and omniscient (all-knowing) can make an exact determination for those of the “elect,” those Jesus said the Father “chose” for him. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
The Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament (Little Kittel) points out that the term “election” is often addressing a community, not the individual.
“In general the election of individuals occurs in the context of the election of the community. Those who pray (cf. Ps. 65:4) are conscious of their election, which they experience as divine grace that is renewed in the cultus [worship community]. What is said about individuals exemplifies the one concept that derives from the common heritage of faith.”
To hold to a rigid view of predestination/election is to devalue one of the cornerstone texts of our faith, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Spurgeon has it exactly right when he says, “Leave all questions about election alone.”