We have looked at different aspects of the doctrine of election: its nature, condition, source, sphere, purpose and security. I want to conclude by examining the advantages of our election.
To those who reside as exiles, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to the obedience of Jesus Christ and the sprinkling of His blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
That final statement, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you,” is often repeated by the writers of the New Testament epistles.
The gift of salvation is grace. The result is peace. Peter says, “I want you to have it in abundance. I wish for you all the best, all that God has, all that God can give, multiplied again and again.”
In other words, Peter wishes them all the blessings of being the elect. Now let me tell you something: There are some tremendous blessings in being elect. We think about the doctrine of election and we sort of shrivel up. We don’t want to talk about it; it’s too deep, too confusing, too hard to understand. But you shouldn’t run from it. You shouldn’t be afraid of it. You should rejoice in it. Let me jump off of Peter’s thought and close by giving you a brief list of reasons why.
It produces humility. It is the most humiliating truth there is, that you had absolutely nothing to do with your salvation. It just crushes your spiritual and religious pride. Spurgeon said this about it:
I know nothing, nothing again, that is more humbling for us than this doctrine of election. I have sometimes fallen prostrate before it, when endeavouring to understand it. I have stretched my wings, and, eagle-like, I have soared towards the sun. Steady has been my eye, and true my wing, for a season; but, when I came near it, and the one thought possessed me,-“God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation,” I was lost in its lustre, I was staggered with the mighty thought; and from the dizzy elevation down came my soul, prostrate and broken, saying, “Lord, I am nothing, I am less than nothing. Why me? Why me?” (Sermon on September 2, 1855)
It is a pride-crushing doctrine, and that is a blessing, because God gives grace to the humble.
It gives all the glory to God. It declares that repentance is from God, that faith is from God, that the power for obedience is from God. Even when we fail, His part of the covenant is to cover our failures. No wonder we respond, “Not to us, O Yahweh, not to us, / But to Your name give glory” (Psalm 115:1). The very fact that our will acted was a result of His movement.
Our only hope is to be elect. When I think about the fact that God chose me, that is the supreme joy, because I would have no hope of salvation apart from that. I would have no hope if God, in His sovereign mercy, had not chosen me. What a joyous thought. It fills my heart.
God has loved you since He was God (and He’s always been God), and He’ll always love you.
It grants to us “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3 says. We receive benefit upon benefit upon benefit. We have been made, according to 1 Peter 2:9, “a chosen family, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
What more compelling thing could there be for me to live to the glory of God than to know that He chose me out of His own love? Out of absolute gratitude, I should be compelled to a life of purity. Paul makes this connection in Colossians 3:12-13:
So, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and graciously forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord graciously forgave you, so also should you.
And as Spurgeon expresses it,
Nothing under the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit can make a Christian more holy than the thought that he is chosen. “Shall I sin,” he says, “after God hath chosen me? Shall I transgress after such love? Shall I go astray after so much lovingkindness and tender mercy? Nay, my God; since thou hast chosen me, I will love thee; I will live to thee. (ibid.)
If I’m the elect, I’m secure. If I entered into a covenant of obedience through the sprinkling of blood, and the blood was sprinkled on the altar representing God, it means that God is bound to keep that covenant. My part is to obey. His part is to forgive my disobedience.
If you are elect, that seals your eternity. What a strengthening truth that is. Look at this rich quote, again from Spurgeon:
No man will be so bold as he who believes that he is elect of God. What cares he for man if he is chosen of his Maker? What will he care for the pitiful chirpings of some tiny sparrows when he knoweth that he is an eagle of a royal race? Will he care when the beggar pointeth at him, when the blood royal of heaven runs in his veins? Will he fear if all the world stand against him? If earth be all in arms abroad, he dwells in perfect peace, for he is in the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High, in the great pavillion of the Almighty. (ibid.)
What do we fear? We’re the elect. Nothing can make a man more bold, more strong, more courageous, more secure than that.
So do you see how wonderful this doctrine is? It crushes our pride and makes us humble. It exalts our God. It produces joy. It grants privileges, compels holiness, and gives us strength and boldness. Can you ignore that kind of doctrine? If the church ignores it, look what it loses. Election is a tremendous truth.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1988, titled “Chosen by God, Part 3.”
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