The Planks of the Faith: Remembering for Re-Membering, Part 10
Before we chow down on this week’s very meaty… or woody… Plank of the Faith, allow me to thank all of you running the good race for your comments, gratitude, and encouragement concerning these specially-prepared “feasts of the heart” that we’ve shared at the table together!
By far the most popular sorts of remarks about Planks of the Faith have been along the lines of, “It’s such an assurance that foundations exist…”, “I need these reminders more than ever…”, “God’s truth is there for me…”, “God’s mercy, love, and truth has accounted for my doubts…”, “His foundations will never fail me…”, and “wow… this reminder came at just the right time!”.
Praise God! Run as you’ve been prepared and trained to do so: As one Saved… to Serve!
Today’s Plank of the Faith: The Doctrine of Election
In a piece entitled, “The Doctrine of Election”, Arthur W. Pink, eloquently, accurately, and unequivocally offers some very important ideas about a) doctrine, b) truth, c) “The Doctrine of Election”, and, in particular, d) our deep, deadly, and expectantly divisive and fallen aversion to the fact that God’s God… and we are NOT!
As we have just recently reviewed, Satan’s question to Eve in the Garden of Eden at the advent of her sin… Adam’s silent complicity… and the rest of the universe’s fall was, “Did God really say…?”
God’s love and truth had to provide for His sovereignty to meet mankind’s free will choice to love God OR to place himself… in the place of God. And the rest is… Well, perhaps you can place the occasion on the panels of God’s Story so it can be seen in the best and proper CONTEXT.
Arthur W. Pink wrote, “Now, if doctrinal preaching generally is so unpopular, the doctrine of election is particularly and pre-eminently so. Sermons on predestination are, with very rare exceptions, hotly resented and bitterly denounced. “There seems to be an inevitable prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine, and although most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one (Election) seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded. In many of our pulpits it would be reckoned a high sin and treason to preach a sermon upon election” (C. H. Spurgeon).
If that was the case fifty years ago, much more is it so now. Even in avowedly orthodox circles the very mention of predestination is like waving a red rag before a bull. Nothing so quickly makes manifest the enmity of the carnal mind in the smug religionist and self-righteous Pharisees as does the proclamation of the divine sovereignty and His discriminating grace; and few indeed are the men now left who dare to contend valiantly for the truth.” (“The Doctrine of Election” by Arthur W. Pink—emphasis added)
This is an extremely rich and robust quote. Please take the opportunity to see for yourself—and share with another Brother or Sister in the faith—how you want to be one “who dares to contend valiantly for the truth”. Or not. Our free will choice in this crucial matter will determine a great deal… for time and in eternity.
Additionally, please consider then… is it any wonder why the world, the flesh, and the devil so hotly contends for the merits of today’s “rampant pluralism”—and it’s direct descendant relativism—based in the “fact” (E.g., a lie from the pit of hell that rings true to our fallenness and base enmity against God’s universal and personal sovereignty) that True Truth no longer exists? Even in the church today, many wonder whether all truth is relative or not. What say you?
Never forget, the world, the flesh, and the devil would have us believe that doctrine divides—when, in fact, and has history has proven, doctrine, True Truth is the only thing that unities, that lasts, and that enlivens one to take action for The Good.
Article 16: The Doctrine of Election:
“We believe that—all Adam’s descendants having thus fallen into perdition and ruin by the sin of the first man (continued from Article 15, “Original Sin”)—God showed Himself to be as He is: Merciful and Just.
He is merciful in withdrawing and saving from this perdition those whom He, in His eternal and unchangeable counsel, has elected and chosen in Jesus Christ our Lord by His pure goodness, without any consideration of their works.
He is just in leaving the others in their ruin and fall into which they plunged themselves.” (Article 16, The Belgic Confession of Faith, 1561—emphasis added)
Some Bible References on Election: All Christians Believe in Election:
Ephesians 1:3-6—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
Romans 9:11—“though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls”
Romans 11:28—“As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.”
2 Timothy 2:10—“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Titus 1:1—“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness…”
2 Peter 1:10—“Therefore, brothers,1 be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
2 Thessaloninas 2:13—“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
Revelations 17:14—“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
In closing, allow me to take this very personally:
Within a few months following my dad’s death by his own hand on Christmas night 2002, I was astounded by the healthy tension between two apparently competing, yet perfectly aligned ideas.
1) By various accounts recounted in my book, my father had been converted while he was unconscious and before he finally died in the ER several hours after he shot himself.
2) While at the same time, I have never been more convicted and at complete peace that God’s electing grace would provide for my seeing my dad in heaven… or not. I trusted then—and I do even more so today—that The Lamb’s Book of Life was completed by God and within the Trinity before time began.
The acceptance and growth in, and of, God’s electing grace is provided to us to as a foundation of assurance AND launching pad of service in Jesus’ name.
Praise God for His electing sovereignty, mercies, and provisions for God being God… and for you and me NOT!
May God richly bless the continual softening of our hearts (Ezekiel 11:17-22) that began before time, at election, was born-again at conversion, and continues as we walk-the-talk… run the good race…and celebrate being saved to serve… in faith, each day.
The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God’s Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love, by Greg Forster
What Is the Doctrine of Election?, by John MacArthur
Chosen by God, by RC Sproul