"THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE MOST SURELY BELIEVED AMONG US"
"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those thing which are most surely believed among us"-Luke 1:1
A few weeks ago, I began a series of messages entitled, "The things most surely believed among us." I began with the doctrines of grace. Our first message was on the great subject of election, taught by the apostles and handed down through the ages in scripture. The first thing we noticed about election is that it is unconditional.
What does the Bible mean when it declares that election is unconditional? It means that God did not choose a people, love a people, and redeem a people based upon their performance, ability or any good works that He foresaw. It shows us that God chose His people in spite of their sin and redeemed them from their sin. In types and shadows, Jacob and Esau are the examples that Paul uses to prove this, "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth"-Romans 9:11. I like what one preacher said about election. He said, "If you are having a problem with election, just dial 911."
Jacob, means deceiver. As the story goes, he stole his brother's birthright for a mess of pottage. He dressed up in a costume, lied to his blind father, and stole his older brother's blessing. Yet, in spite of all of that, we quote Paul, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." So, what does all of this mean? It means that God's election is not like man's. It is not based upon ability, opportunity or performance. God did not choose Jacob because of any good that He foresaw, nor did he reject Esau because of any evil that he foresaw. If God's election were base upon merit, He would have rejected Jacob.
I remember when I was in elementary school and we would choose up sides to play baseball or football. As it usually went, those that were the strongest, those with the most ability were the ones that were chosen. Many were not allowed to participate because of their size or ability. That was always sad to me. Thankfully, God's election does not work that way. That is one of the reasons that man has such difficulty believing that election is unconditional. It contradicts our carnal reasoning. God's election is spiritual.
Then what is God's election based upon if it is not righteous ability? Paul tells us: "Jacob have I loved". God's election is based upon the love that He had for His people. Election means "a choice of love". It does not say "Jacob will I love" or "Jacob will I begin to love when he repents". "Have I loved", goes all the way back before they were born. That is what it says, "being not yet born." God's choice was based solely upon the love that He had for His people. Election is not a doctrine that limits. It is bigger than any religion. It includes a people out of every kindred, nation, tribe and family, even people who will never have the opportunity to hear the gospel. Yes, we believe in evangelism. But let our message be one of a successful Saviour who loved, elected and died for His sheep. As Paul wrote, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?"
KNOWING YOUR ELECTION
Some will say, "Well then, who are the elect if it is not based upon our works or repentance? How can we know if we are among the elect?" Paul gives us our evidence in 1 Thessalonians 1:4,5: "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance…" Paul could tell who the elect were and so can we. It was those people that the gospel affected. To many, the gospel comes to them in "word only". They hear the word preached but it has no affect upon them. But to God's elect, the Spirit bears them witness that they are the children of God. It comes to them in "much assurance." How is it with you? Is the name of Jesus important to you? Do you love Him? If you do, you have your assurance!
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor