This isn’t a really long thought, just a short point Piper made in the sermon above that I was listening to today when running, concerning those who don’t know whether or not they are elect and are fearful God may have passed over them. Many will reason that because God chooses by sheer grace alone as clearly shown in the Scriptures (John 6:44, Romans 9, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 11:1-6, Ephesians 1:4, etc), and that His choosing of who to save is in no way based in the wrath-deserving sinner (by works or foreseen faith as many presuppose), they have not been chosen because of circumstances in their life (their sin, trials, etc). Piper states in this sermon that the person has no reason to think they have not been chosen either because, again, the point has to be reiterated: God doesn’t choose who to save because of anything we do at all, but His choice is based in His unfettered, sovereign purpose from all eternity. Our only hope of seeing the risen Christ as who He truly is (the Son of God in glory) so that we may believe in Him and His work and be saved, is for God to open our hearts, eyes, ears, and minds to be able to respond to the spoken message of the Gospel in faith. As the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals state, “Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.” No rather, God does a decisive work which infallibly brings about faith in the sinner to be saved. So the point still stands to all, have you abandoned all hope of saving yourself and trusted in the risen Christ? Are you pursuing Him without any excuse to give for your negligence to this end? You cannot use the misinterpretation of election (hard determinism – that God will do what He wants to do anyway, so why try?) as an excuse to not pursue salvation and sanctification in the risen Christ. God is sovereign, man is responsible. Those are the truths we have in Scripture and must leave it there. We cannot understand how the two reconcile, because God is bigger than our limited understanding, so don’t you think he has a few things orchestrated that are beyond comprehension?
That aside, I just love this quote:
“How may I know I have understood the gospel and that I am elect? ‘First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced. Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition. Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope. Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me – a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ. Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it. Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God’s Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness. Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative.”
– A .W. Pink