ALTHOUGH THE TOPICS of God’s predestination, election, and sovereignty are clearly taught in Scripture, writing about them in a blog post causes me some trepidation. The reason is simply that the format of this blog is not conducive of such weighty and mysterious topics. Huge tomes have been written by giants of the faith (so my little blurb here will not likely add too much to the discussion). Nevertheless, here are some interesting points to consider about these doctrines that I have learned. I present them in no particular order of importance, and this list is obviously not exhaustive. These are simply some thoughts that strike me as “touching” or “thought provoking” or “worshipful”:
- These doctrines reveal the loving heart of a compassionate God. When God predestines and chooses those who rebel against Him, hate Him, and want to have nothing to do with Him, His election proceeds from His abundant heart of tenderness and mercy. As I look back on my life and conversion, I can see no valid reason for God to choose me. And the fact that He does speak volumes of His love rather than my lovableness or any personal wisdom I had in “choosing Him.”
- A proper understanding of God’s sovereignty is not reserved for the philosophical and theological musing of seminary professors. It is eminently practical for everyone. As I write this, I have a young patient in the hospital who is dying of heart failure. But what comforts him is the knowledge that his suffering and pain are not the random outworking of a cruel materialistic Universe (or an impersonal deistic god), but rather they are grounded in the purposeful will of a true, living, and good God who will “work all things for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). This promise is extremely comforting to him. And there is a need in every Christian to know that even in the most horrific tragedies of our lives, God is in control.
- In some ways, almost every Christian believes, at least partially, in God’s election. Most Christians, for example, believe that children who die and those who are severely mentally impaired go to heaven. (Personally, this understanding alone has been enough to convince me of God’s election for the rest of mankind.) Also, when most Christians pray for the conversion of a loved-one, we do not pray a “wishy-washy” request for God to convince a sinner of the merits of his love. Rather, we pray that God breaks the heart of stone and actively replaces it with a heart of affection. We pray for God to act decisively.
- The doctrine of predestination and election do not invalidate the Christian’s call to passionately and urgently evangelize. Such beliefs are unfaithful to Scripture and proceed from man’s attempt to “logically extrapolate” from something that is vastly complicated and mysterious. That should never be done. Our biblical motivations for evangelism are from faithfulness to God’s command (Matthew 28:19), intrinsic joy (John 4:27-42), and a deep love for others.
- We must accept mystery here. That God is utterly sovereign and that man is responsible are both clearly taught in the Bible. However, we will never reconcile these two truths “logically” on this earth (although I do not believe that they are logically incompatible). We must live Scripturally. We must live by faith. And the fact that we cannot piece together this puzzle into our finite minds should not provoke us to despair. Rather it should induce us towards worship.