< FAQ With Ryan the Intern - Election #3
Thu. May. 16, 2013 08:39 Age: 4 yrs

Category: Pastor's Q&A
By: Ryan Shevalier

FAQ With Ryan the Intern - Election #4


Question: Even if the Bible teaches the doctrine of election, shouldn’t we keep it on the down-low?  Wouldn’t people become lazy and sloppy if they knew they were elect?

Answer:

The answer to this question is that, no, the doctrine of election should never result in one becoming more lazy or sloppy. This mistaken idea is probably the result of confusion between election and fatalism. Pastor Paul has already responded to this confusion in both his most recent sermon on election (May 12), as well as in his sermon on Sovereignty and Responsibility in the X Marks the Spot series. You can read or listen to that sermon by clicking here.

I recommend that if you have the time, and haven’t done so already, that you give these sermons a listen to. You will find them helpful in clearing up any ambiguity between election and fatalism.

If you do not have the time to listen to either of these messages, let it simply be said that the Bible stresses both the truth of election, while also maintaining the necessity of our works. These two truths are often stated in the same line of thought. For example, in Colossians 3:12 we find Paul saying the following:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…”

Paul identifies the Colossians as being “God’s chosen ones,” but he does not leave them with only that truth. He instead uses the next five verses to instruct them on the way they must live in accordance with their being chosen. The Apostle Peter does the same thing in 1 Peter 1:3-10. He addresses his audience as being chosen by God, and then instructs them to be a people of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Why does he command these things? He answers this in v.10 by saying:

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”

Both Peter and Paul make it clear that our election was not for nothing. On the contrary, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:4, the purpose of election is to be “holy and blameless.” If our election leads us to laziness and sloppiness, then we need to re-check our understanding of what it means to be one of God’s chosen ones.

Now that we have seen that man is still responsible for working out his salvation, we might be tempted to ask why we preach election at all. Does it really make any difference? The answer to this is YES; it makes all the difference in the world. This is because it is in the doctrine of election that we see the gracious work of God in saving sinners based on no merit of their own. Election humbles us by telling us that we were saved by grace alone, and not because of anything special within us. The overflow of this recognition is a life that seeks to serve God in gratitude for His gracious gift. Paul tells Titus this exact thing:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist of these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good work. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” Titus 3:4-8

The reason that Paul says we need to preach this doctrine of election and justification by grace is because it will inspire people to devote themselves to good works. No other doctrine so explicitly states the dependence of man on God and God’s faithfulness in meeting this dependence. It is this knowledge, above all others, that inspires man to serve the Lord willingly, and with gratitude.

Blessings,

Ryan


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