The Mystery Of Election

Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.

[Romans 8:29]

Somebody has said, “Try to explain predestination, and you may lose your mind. Try to explain it away, and you may lose your soul.”

The fact of predestination–that God has chosen some for salvation–is clearly taught in Scripture, yet some Christians have a violent reaction to that truth. They say, “How can you say such a thing? Didn’t our forefathers tell us God gave everybody an equal shot at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What is wrong with God? Hasn’t He read the Constitution?” Other people say, “You cannot teach predestination because that discourages evangelism. After all, if God has already decided who is going to be saved, then why should we share the gospel with anybody?” Still other people say, “Election cannot be true because that violates free will. Aren’t we free to do whatever we want to do?” It is true that we do have choices. But isn’t it interesting that the most important things about your life you had nothing to do with? Where you were born, the time period you were born in, the country you were born in, your physical makeup–did you have any choice about those things? People react to the idea of God choosing people to salvation, yet the most common response among Christians to the doctrine of election is the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. Let’s just not mention this subject, and maybe it will go away.

You cannot study the Bible without running into the theme of predestination. We see it in Ephesians 1, and we also see it in Romans 9. This week, we will look at what I call the mystery of election and see what the Bible says and what it does not say about this subject.

We have come in our study to the fourth major division in the book of Romans. The letter to the Romans is about the righteousness of God. Paul said that a right standing with God is available to everyone who trusts in Christ as Savior. Beginning in chapter 1, Paul talked about the problem of righteousness. The problem of righteousness is that none of us is in a right standing with God. But good news is the second major theme of Romans, found in Romans 3:21 through chapter 5–the provision by God for righteousness. God offers to give us His righteousness through His Son, Jesus Christ, when we trust in Him as our Savior. Then we come to the third major theme, found in Romans 6-8–the power of righteousness. When you wrap yourself in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, there is a special power that comes in your life to say no to sin and yes to God.

The great climax to Romans 8 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (8:28-29). There is that word “predestined.” In other words, God marked out the boundaries of your life. He made every determination about the course of your life.

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