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My Lord, I did not choose You,
For that could never be;
My heart would still refuse You,
Had You not chosen me.

You took the sin that stained me,
You cleansed me, made me new;
Of old You have ordained me,
That I should live in You.

My Lord, I did not choose You,
For that could never be;
My heart would still refuse You,
Had You not chosen me.

Unless Your grace had called me
And taught my opening mind,
The world would have enthralled me,
To heavenly glories blind.

My heart knows none above You;
For Your rich grace I thirst;
I know that if I love You,
You must have loved me first.

~Josiah Conder

How would God have us respond to the doctrine of election? Wayne Grudem helpfully lays out how we should respond to this doctrine,

1. As a Comfort. The New Testament authors often present the doctrine of election as a comfort to believers. When Paul assures the Romans that “in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28), he gives God’s work of predestination as a reason why we can be assured of this truth. He explains in the next verse, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…And those whom he predestined he also called… justified…glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30). Paul’s point is to say that God has always acted for the good of those whom he called to himself…From eternity to eternity God has acted with the good of his people in mind. But if God as always acted for our good and will in the future act for out good, Paul reasons, then will he not also in our present circumstances work every circumstance together for our good as well? In this way predestination is seen as a comfort for believers in the everyday events of life.

2. As a Reason to Praise God. Paul says, “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:5-6). Similarly, he says, “we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12)…the doctrine of election does increase praise given to God for our salvation and seriously diminishes any pride what we might feel if we thought that our salvation was due to something good in us or something for which we should receive credit.

3. As an Encouragement to Evangelism. Paul says, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). He knows that God has chosen some people to be saved, and sees this as an encouragement to preach the gospel, even if it means enduring great suffering. Election is Paul’s guarantee that there will be some success for his evangelism, for he knows that some of the people he speaks to will be elect, and they will believe the gospel and be saved.

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1st edtion, p. 673-647

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thess. 1:4).

…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thess 1:9b).

A fleshly mind may ask, “How can these things be?” How can Divine predestination accord with human agency and accountableness? But a truly humble Christian, finding both in his Bible, will believe both, though he may be unable to fully understand their consistency ; and he will find in one a motive to depend entirely on God, and in the other a caution against slothfulness and presumptuous neglect of duty. And thus a Christian minister, if he view the doctrine in its proper connexions, will find nothing in it to hinder the free use of warnings, invitations, and persuasions, either to the converted or the unconverted. Yet he will not ground his hopes of success on the pliability of the human mind, but on the promised grace of God, who (while he prophesies to the dry bones, as he is commanded) is known to inspire them with the breath of life.

~Andrew Fuller. Letters on Systematic Divinity. Letter II: Importance of a True System

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. (1 Thess. 1:4-5a)

I will not hide it, I love the doctrine of election! What glorious truth that the Almighty Holy Lord saw us, men and women, in the most gross of states: wicked, defiled, hating God and one another, and choose to lavish His grace on us! Everyone on this planet should have been predestined to hell to incur the just retribution of there wickedness. But God choose to not only reveal His justice but also His grace!  “God, being rich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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 coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:4-9)

But how do we tell if one is part of this group that is raised with Christ to be flooded with eternal grace and pleasure? Can one be sure that they and others are part of the elect? Paul was! He could write to them in joyful exuberance that they were the very chosen by God! The ones loved by the very Lord of the universe. Is this because Paul was an Apostle and had special revelation that told him who was elect and who was not? By no means! He could sing over their election based on the fact that  “because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.”

They were elect because the gospel came with transforming power in their lives. They accepted the gospel in all it’s glorious wonder. They saw the atoning death that Christ offered up for sinner, the measureless love of the Father to crush His own Son for the sins of this rebel group, the greatness of Christ victory over the powers of death and the devil through His resurrection and believed that it was true. And this affirmation was not just an intellectual agreement, but also a life changing truth that made them cast away their idols and live as children of light! And this was the proclamation, the sure hope that they were the elect ones of God.

How sweet and humbling it is to look upon the faith that I had and am still having and know that it is not of my own doing. There has been and still is the grace of the one God that sustains me. A Father that chose me, a Son who died for me, and a Spirit that recreates me into the coming new creation. For I am sure and confident of this because the gospel has  had the same effect in my life that it had in the Thessalonians. And if the gospel has had the same effect in you, you can be sure of it as well!

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