Why Election Matters

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:3-4 

In this text we’ve already learned the initial order of God the Father’s divine decree of election. We’ve seen that without the doctrine of election there is no hope for the believer in this world. Think about that in terms of the controversy and debate that often surrounds this magnificent teaching of scripture. Many, it seems, would just as soon remove the doctrine of election from the scriptures because it causes in them a disturbance of the soul. It seems to them that this doctrine is not fair – that God would choose His elect in Christ, not based on any merit in the ones chosen, but solely based upon the eternal purposes and good pleasure that exist in the heart of the Father. But consider that if this doctrine of election were removed from the pages of scripture and from the eternal plan of God, then the result would be devastation. There would be no seed for Christ, whom the Father chose first in eternity past to be the lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Without divine election Christ would not be the firstborn among many brothers, but the firstborn among no brothers. There would be no divine adoption, no regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, no forgiveness of sins, no walking in the steps of Jesus. We all as sheep who have gone astray would have wandered off of the cliff and fallen blindly to our own eternal demise – IF there were no divine decree of election in eternity past. All of this to state the greatest importance of this doctrine as it pertains to the salvation of people who, as our text says, have been chosen in Christ by God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. Election is a glorious doctrine that magnifies the God of heaven and earth and, as much as anything, demonstrates His sovereign and free choice to do as He pleases. And who are we, the clay, to say to the potter, “Why did you make me like this?”

God’s Order of Decree

With that in mind, consider then the order of the Father’s decree of election. He first chose Christ Jesus so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:28-29). Then He chose those who would be in Christ as the spiritual seed or offspring, adopted into the family of God. This sovereign choice of the Father, it can be proven, was not haphazard, nor was it impersonal. It was certainly not based on any good or merit in any of those who were chosen in Christ. That said, it was based on the perfect knowledge of our holy God. So this means that God did not look out over time from eternity past and see in the world those who would seek the Lord and His goodness and thereby set His divine affections on those wonderful and noble souls who would make such a brave choice. A million times NO! This is not in any way the teaching of the scriptures. The scriptures declare that all of the human race is bent on rebellion against the Lord, that there is not one who seeks Him or would seek Him had He not freely chosen to be the hound of heaven drawing the lost to Himself. Human beings are not mainly good as so many in this world’s system stake their claim. Human beings, every one of us, are completely and utterly depraved rebels against the divine and holy God who created us. We are insurrectionists and treasonous in nature, seeking to take from God what is rightfully His – which is His glory and honor and praise due only to His name. 

Implications of the Order of God’s Decree

So, what a wonder it is that in eternity past before He ever set about to create the world that we now live in, the Father chose Christ Jesus and in Christ Jesus He chose those who believe on His name and for Christ Jesus and all those in Christ Jesus the Father then created all things. We have to say this, because the scriptures declare that in Christ and by Christ and for Christ were all things created (Col. 1:16). This is astounding! Think about the implications of this order of decree from the Father. Let’s allow Thomas Goodwin to open up the windows of application of this wonderful teaching of scripture for us. As he opens the window, let’s stick our heads out and feel the gracious breeze of the spiritual blessings of God the Father blow gently in our faces and refresh our hearts in these graces freely given and freely received in Christ Jesus. 

1. “If it be taken thus, that God chose you from eternity, you see then that God’s love is everlasting.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Vol. 1

Amazing love how can it be that thou my God should die for me!” The word of God declares over and over that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever – and why not, since the Father set His affections on us from eternity past!

2. “Secondly. Let God’s love have the same valuation with you that the love of God himself had of you. You see, according to the interpretation given, that he chose you before he purposed to make the world; he preferred you to all the world.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Vol 1

Goodwin goes on to suggest that the believer ought to value God and His love more than we value all the world, since God valued us and chose to set His affections upon us before He ever created the world. There is nothing this world has to offer the believer that is more to be treasured than God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and the love with which He has loved us!

"If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 

Why is the love of the Father not in the one who loves the world? Because the Father valued His chosen ones before the world was made and those chosen in Him do now set their affections primarily and completely on the Father and not on the world.

3. “See the reason why all things in this world do further God’s decree of election. ‘All things work together for good to them that love God.’ In God’s purpose and intention you came first up before the world, as you may see in that Christian inventory, “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Vol 1

Work backwards in this text to reassure yourself of the divine order of things: Christ belongs to God the Father, all believers belong to Christ as they are chosen in Him by the Father, and then all the world belongs to believers and to Christ and to the Father. The Father has decreed that according to His divine purposes that everything in the universe should work together for the good of those who love Him and the greatest good of those who love Him is that they should be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus – the firstborn in the family of God. 

4. “See here the reason why nothing in this world can separate a man from the love of God.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Vol 1

What power flows from the reality of divine election! If God has set His affections on Christ and, in Christ, turned His free and sovereign grace to the seed of Christ and has loved them with an everlasting love and then made the worlds for them, then the apostle Paul is correct in saying that absolutely nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-39) Goodwin goes on,

“Let this world run into confusion; let heaven and earth cease to keep their laws; yet my covenant with you shall not cease. Why? I chose you before all worlds. Here is the reason: ‘Hills shall remove, and mountains depart; but my kindness shall not depart, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed,’ Isa. 54:10. Why? Because my kindness was before the mountains, and before the hills were brought forth, (as Wisdom speaks, Prov. 8.)”

5. Finally, “Fear not the ruin of kingdoms, nor of the world, for your being depends not on either of them; God chose you before all worlds. Let kingdoms totter, and mountains be thrown into the midst of the sea, ‘we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken,’ Heb. 12:28.”

The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Vol 1

Divine election frees the believer from all allegiances to all worldly kingdoms! We are free from wringing our hands at the failings of nations and rulers of this world. We are not obliged to live in anxiety over what we see happening in the nations of the earth. We live with the sure and steadfast hope anchored in the unfailing Kingdom of King Jesus who is coming again and with Him we will rule and  reign. 

Friends, if we are chosen in Christ Jesus we were chosen by the Father before He created the world and the world was created in Christ and by Christ and for Christ – and therefore, being chosen in Christ means that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Without divine election we would still be poor, helpless, and hopeless sinners rebelling against God our creator. BUT,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:3-4 

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