Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 1, 2014

Chosen: Man’s Only Chance for Salvation

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 7:1-11.

“1 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2 and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them.  You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.  3 Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.  4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods;  then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.  5 But thus you shall do to them:  you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.  6 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God;  the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

7 “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  9 Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;  10 but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them;  He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.  11 Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.”

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Today’s Scripture leads us to consider “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you …”  Verses 7-8.  There were no conditions supplied by Israel that caused God to elect Israel to be His chosen people.  God simply chose Israel, because He loved Israel.

“And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;  for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.”  Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then?  There is no injustice with God, is there?  May it never be!  For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:10-18.

Many reject such “Unconditional Election” also known as predestination.  They form their own doctrine on the basis that they think that it is unfair for God to arbitrarily chose whom He will save based solely on His desire.  They think salvation should be determined by man (man’s wisdom, man’s alleged free-will, man’s works, or man’s faith).

The Apostle Paul anticipated that objection.

“You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?”  Romans 9:19-20.

Paul continues:  “Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?  What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:21-23.

God is not unjust because He did not choose everyone to be saved.  Consider that if an earthly judge pardoned everyone and did not punish anyone, we would think he or she is most unjust.

Article 1.  As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving them all to perish, and delivering them over to condemnation on account of sin, according to the words of the apostle, Romans 3:19, “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”   And verse 23:  “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”   And Romans 6:23:”for the wages of sin is death.”  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination  Canons of Dordt.  

God shows forth His lovingkindness in saving His elect.  God shows forth His justice in punishing the rest.  God delights in exercising both lovingkindness and justice.  “Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24.

Moreover, “Unconditional Election” makes logical sense when we consider the first point of “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  If man is totally depraved, “dead in sin”, then there is no condition that man could produce that could motivate God to choose him.  Man’s only chance for salvation is that God would unconditionally elect him.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:1-8.


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