It always strikes me as sad that the doctrine of election or predestination has become an issue of contention --primarily, a philosophical point of debate.
The Scriptures do not use election this way. They use it to affirm the Godness of God –his sovereignty. It is not meant to exclude anyone from coming to Christ, or to lead to speculation about who the chosen might be. There are three primary uses, the third of which came to me with clarity this last week. None of these uses, I suppose, is any more or less important than the others. The first use is that it is a doctrine of comfort for the hurting soul, struggling with sin, conviction and assurance. The second use is that it is a doctrine of challenge –allowing us to live boldly and fearlessly for the kingdom of God, knowing that nothing can truly harm us –no-one can separate us from God’s sovereign love. The third use is the one that dawned on me anew this week –the doctrine of election is encouragement for the disenfranchised and downtrodden of the world. “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame those that are wise, and the weak things of world to shame those that are strong…that no-one may glory in his sight.” (1 Cor 1 paraphrase). The early believers, confronted with the glorious reality of Christ, may have puzzled over their low estate in the world. We may still do this. Confronted with the wickedness of the powers that be in the halls of government, high finance, Hollywood, and the like, the ordinary believer may feel powerless and shunted aside. But, in God’s economy, not so. The believer has been chosen by the sovereign of the universe to accomplish his will –a treasure entrusted in a clay jar—to keep us humble, and to make sure the world, in the end, knows that all glory goes to Christ.