Does Jesus choose us?
Standing on the line in the gym in elementary school, we all wanted to be chosen by one of the two captains.
The captains took turns choosing classmates until the class was divvied up into two teams.
Rewarding for some and painful for others, we all wanted to be chosen ahead of someone else.
Jesus was never a gym teacher, though he loved children. I’m not sure how he would divide a gaggle of kids into two teams for play, but I know he leveled hierarchies and socioeconomic stratospheres in his day.
I know this, too. Like that line at the start of gym class, we are all selected by his love.
Some can disagree with me on this. They call this the elect. Said simply, they espouse that not everyone makes the team. They also say that people like me struggle with this.
They’re right. John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, and Ephesians 1:4-5 clearly state God elects (or chooses) those who will be saved. What is debatable is how (and in what manner) God chooses those who will be saved.
Two views on the doctrine of election exist. The first view teaches that God, through His omniscience, knows those who will place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Based on this divine foreknowledge, God elects these individuals before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
The second view comes from Augustine. The ancient philosopher teaches that God elects those who will have faith in Jesus Christ. God elects to give these individuals the faith to believe in Christ. Augustine asserts that God’s election unto salvation is not based on a foreknowledge of an individual’s faith. Instead, it’s based on the sovereign grace of God.
I struggle with both views because scripture also states that Jesus died for the sins of every person who ever lived or who will ever walk the earth. “[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2, NIV).”
Jesus offers everyone forgiveness and salvation. Not everyone accepts these gifts, however. Yet scripture is clear. Jesus saved the world from sin, death in hell, and the power of the devil. He did this through his sinless life, death, and resurrection.
[Jesus said,] “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:16-18 NIV).”
A few verses later Jesus continues. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life… (John 3:36 NIV).”
Let’s get back to gym class. We can choose the bench, or we can skip gym class altogether. But I can’t wrap my head around those who are not called. I can’t do this because this doesn’t sound like love, and God is love.
If we are going to disagree on those who are and are not chosen, let’s not disagree on the following. Let’s do all we can to bring Jesus to the those in the world around us. Yes?
Jesus died for the sins of every person who ever lived. This is how much he loves us! If we believe in him as our Savior, forgiveness and salvation in heaven is ours. We don’t receive those gifts by anything we do or don’t do. It’s a free gift given to us by grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).”
Peter writes to people who are chosen (1 Peter 1:2). Peter doesn’t share who isn’t chosen. Sure, we can shake the dust off our sandals (Matthew 10:14). We move on from those who won’t hear the gospel. Yet this is also troublesome. Since we aren’t the ones who decide who is or isn’t chosen, let’s choose to share the gospel with the same passion Christ did.
Leave a Reply