Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Chosen of God
We all remember that anxious feeling. You're on the playground, standing in a line, and the two captains are hand selecting their teams. More than anything you want to be quickly placed on a team and as you see the teams forming, you definitely know which team you want to join. One by one names are called out and relief floods your soul when you hear your name and it's on the team where your best friend has already been placed. You scurry behind your new leader, stand next to your friend and wait to see who is left at the end. Actually, you know who it will be because it's always the same kid, but you are relieved that it's not you and hope that it will never be you.
Or maybe it was you.
When the discussion of God's choice in salvation is raised, emotions flare once again, because of this very scenario discussed above. The picture in the average person's mind is this: People standing in a line, hopeful faces, hands raised and even waving, hoping God will choose them, but He passes them by and picks only a select few. The assumption is made that man wants a relationship with God. But this image of God sovereignly choosing and not allowing man to choose for himself paints an inaccurate picture of God and the actual process.
We are not standing in line, hoping to be chosen.
We are not desiring to be on His team.
In fact, scripture actually tells us that in our sinful state, we are enemies of God. We want nothing to do with Him and the thought of being on His team is far from our minds.
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Romans 5:6-10
Enemies are not standing in line, raising their hands to be chosen.
In John 6:44 Jesus tells us that, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..." That word "draws" sounds effortless, but in truth, it means "drags." That's because our very nature is repelled by the presence of God. Like the polar opposites of a magnet, we push away from righteousness and holiness. We run the opposite direction.
But God drags us to Himself.
It's His work.
It's His strength.
It's His effort.
Instead of walking past a line of hopeful children, it's more like He grabbed a child sitting in the middle of the busy highway, playing with a loaded gun, completely oblivious to the imminent danger, kicking and screaming.
Yeah, that's a better picture.
In our verse for this week, we are reminded that we are chosen by God: "So, as those who have been CHOSEN OF GOD, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12) It is interesting that the very things we are instructed to put on are the things God displayed in the dragging process. He had compassion on our dreadful state and in kindness, humbled Himself to the point of death for an enemy, gently bringing us into an eternal relationship with Him, with great patience and I would add love.
When we read of God's choice in scripture, and trust me, folks, it's everywhere, let's have the proper perspective of our sin and our condition. May we fall on our faces in gratitude for a loving Father who chose to reveal His character to us through His actions and calls us to a life of imitation. His choice brought salvation, not rejection. His choice brought life, not death. We must take responsibility where responsibility lies and give gratitude where grace has been extended.