Straight Talk about Predestination, Part 2
- Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Charles Spurgeon applied this great truth to himself:
I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine.
But does this doctrine not destroy all incentive to evangelism? Here is Mark Dever’s answer:
I understand that some worry that if we accept the Bible’s teaching on election we will never evangelize. Should we not also be worried that if we reject the Bible’s teaching on election we will never be humbled enough to make Christianity look like anything worth having? I love Spurgeon’s humility. I love his boasting in God. I think it is attractive. I think it is motivating to evangelism. I think it displays God’s love. A biblical doctrine of election highlights our poverty and Christ’s riches, our weakness and Christ’s strength, our need and God’s supply.
I know of a man who came to Jesus Christ after many years of people praying for him. For a long time, he seemed so close, but he couldn’t quite make the decision. Then someone shared the gospel with him and he said, “I’m not going to accept Christ tonight. I’ll do it next Wednesday.” He said he needed more time to study the death and resurrection of Christ. When the next Wednesday came, that man said, “Okay. I’m ready. Let’s do it.” And he gave his heart to Jesus Christ. His first words after he prayed to receive Christ were, “I feel like a great burden has been lifted from my shoulders.” Who was behind that? God! He gave that man more time to think about Christ. And when he did, he was saved. That’s how God’s grace works.
Answer # 3: God determined to show mercy to both Jews and Gentiles.
Even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles. As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ’my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ’my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, ’You are not my people,’ they will be called ’sons of the living God.’ “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah” (vv. 24-29).
At first glance, you may say, “What’s the point of all these Old Testament quotes?” They speak to one of the primary objections against predestination. Many people think that predestination means that only a few people will be saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has determined to open the doors of heaven to the whole wide world. Anyone who believes in Jesus can be saved. In Paul’s day that meant that salvation was not just for the Jews, it was also for the Gentiles. Today there are approximately 13 million Jews in the world out of a total population of 6.5 billion people. Who are the Gentiles? That’s everyone who isn’t Jewish, which is roughly 99.999% of the world.
If God had said, “I’m only going to save the Jews,” he would still be fair because no one deserves to be saved. We couldn’t complain if salvation were limited to a small group if that’s what God had decided to do. Remember, no one can talk back to God. But he didn’t do that. These verses teach us that God opened the door of salvation to everyone! Hosea prophesied of a day when God would say to those who were not his people (that is, the Gentiles), “You are now my people.” God has opened the door of salvation to the world. Anyone who wants to can walk right in. Will there be any Jewish people in heaven? Absolutely. But not every Jewish person goes to heaven. These verses use the term “remnant,” which describes a smaller group out of larger population. Paul’s point is that we shouldn’t be surprised by Jewish unbelief because the Old Testament predicted it in several passages.
But don’t miss the greater point. God is so determined to populate heaven that he has invited the whole world to join him there. Anyone who wants to can go to heaven.
Jew or gentile.
Slave or free.
Male or female.
Rich or poor.
Young or old.
Educated or illiterate.
Healthy or sick.
None of those things matter with God. In his great mercy, God has opened the door and included the whole world in his invitation. All he is waiting for is your RSVP.
Next week, we'll look at three conclusions we can draw about predestination.
This article published on May 25, 2011. Content provided by Keep Believing Ministries.
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