Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Do I Know If God Has Chosen Me?

“How do I know if God has chosen Me?” This is a question that came up recently and is something addressed before on this blog, but well worth the revisit. In that, this question is closely tied to “What must I do to be saved?” and the whole issue of predestination, it is important to look at what the Bible says about , what it means to be saved, how we are saved, who does the saving and what part we have in this if any.

The phrase” to be saved”, implies that one is delivered from something. So when the Philippian jailor in Acts 16, asked, “What must I do to be saved?” he was in a tight spot and fearing he would be held accountable for the loss of prisoners [read the account], he called out to the Apostle Paul for counsel. Paul’s answer is particularly attention-grabbing in that it seemingly ignores the immediate circumstances and addresses a deeper issue. While according to Roman law, a jailor would have to serve the sentence in the place of any prisoner lost in his care, this jailor was in no immediate danger for none of his prisoners had escaped. Paul realized however, this man still needed deliverance from a peril greater than the consequences of having lost prisoners. He needed deliverance from sin—its consequences and its power. It is clear that this is what Paul had in view when he answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house [Acts 16:31].”

The whole message of the Bible is about how Man fell into sin and how God provided His Son to make reconciliation so Men can be saved from sin. John 3:16 described it so well, ”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” I John 4:10 adds, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The word propitiation indicates that Jesus paid the price completely and that salvation comes from the finished work at Calvary and not of works on our part [Ephesians 2:8,9]. It is one hundred percent God’s doing and none of our own. Where Man’s sin brought death, God’s work at the Cross of Calvary brings life to all who will believe.

Believing, from a biblical viewpoint, is not merely making an affirmation to the fact that Jesus died for our sins but includes receiving Jesus into one’s life. John 1:12 tells us that power to become the sons of God comes when we receive Jesus. I Corinthians 15 also includes the word receive concerning belief. What then do we receive? Consider this, sin came to the human race when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation to be their own gods [Genesis 3:6]. To receive the Gospel is to receive Jesus into one’s life and to be reconciled to the God we have rejected. To receive Jesus means to affirm Him as one’s Lord.

However, an objection comes up from some at this point in this discussion that to receive Jesus as Lord is a work that is only possible as God does it within one’s life. The Bible is clear that Man is powerless to save Himself and that “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God [Romans 3:11].” The question is who then can be saved, to which Romans 10:13 answers, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”. Who can be saved? Those “Whosoevers” that will call. But how can they call when Man does not have it in him to call, i.e., to receive and believe? Jesus gives the answer, ”No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day [John 6:44]”. In other words, salvation comes when we are drawn by the Father and we receive His Son believing in Him.

God calls and we receive. Consider Romans 8:28,29: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” It is clear from these verses that God calls and predestinates those who will be saved. It is God’s choice. Who then does God choose? Those that will call on him—the Whosoevers. But, according to one line of thought, that since man has not the strength to call upon God on his own and that God must draw him, giving him the ability to call, that God singles out who will and who will not be saved. Furthermore, this line of thinking adds, a sinner can only be saved if God overrides the sinner's will and saves him. However this flies in the face of the statement that “God so loved the world that He gave…” as well as the many open invitations to the “whosoevers” we find in the pages of Scripture. This writer affirms that while God draws men to Christ and gives us the ability to choose, He does not force His will on us. God does the enabling, this is grace. We are saved when we accept His grace, but it is God Who does the saving.

All this and now back to the original question, “How can I know God has chosen me?” The answer is, are you a “whosoever who will call”? In other words do you desire to be saved? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? The invitation is open to those who will come. If you will come then it is clear that God has called you. Come. God will do the rest, even providing the faith you need. Come. Trust His promise. Trust His love.

[You are welcome to comment see below]

1 comment:

  1. [Addendum: There are those who undermine the Good News above, maintaining that in order to be saved one must believe with all their heart, mind and strength, and since this type of faith only comes when God chooses to impart it on someone He chooses to save, then it follows that only having a desire to be saved is not enough and that even though someone may want to be saved He will not be saved unless God chooses to save him. However, this reasoning is based on a statement found in Mark 12:30 and other gospels, and is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:5. It is given by Jesus as the greatest of all commandments. It is part of the Old Testament Law. There is nothing in Romans 10:13 or like verses that give this as a precondition for salvation. We are simply to call. God does the rest. To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is something man could not do under the Law. This is why we need grace. When we are saved we are not all we are to be. We are works in progress according to Philippians 1:6. As we grow in Christ our faith grows. To demand perfect love of God at the outset leaves all who are honest wondering whether or not they are really saved. God says Whosoever, may come. It's so simple. Trust Him with all the faith He gives you. Let’s come as the father on the slopes of the Mount of Transfiguration did saying, “I believe, help thou my unbelief {Mark 9:24}]"