We love words like grace and justification, although these reveal it’s all God’s work. So why are we afraid of words like predestination and election? After all, we’re told,
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself. ~ Ephesians 1:4-5
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. ~ Romans 8:33
Take the time to consider these seven things:
1) We are finite creatures considering the works of an infinite God. Why should we be surprised we don’t comprehend such concepts?
2) God is complete and perfect in His holiness, love, justice, goodness, and mercy. None of these attributes betray the others when God does what He does. We might not understand, but we must remember point number one. To accuse God of being unjust is an astounding thing, considering none of us is the poster child of justice (Romans 3:10-18).
3) To dismiss or deny these words and concepts is to be unfaithful to the sacred texts (these are difficult to miss in Ephesians 1). What an astounding thing to dismiss, and in some cases to abhor, God’s revelation. We’re moved when we hear, “I have loved you, and you are saved entirely by My grace.” But then are bewildered when we hear, “I have chosen you and predestined you before the foundation of the world.”
4) These concepts were not meant to divide God’s people but to bring comfort to believers who were facing very real trials and persecution. Why are we not comforted by them?
5) Were it not for His election and predestination none of us would be saved, because none of us seek God on our own accord.
6) Predestination does not nullify God’s invitation for all to come to Him. Just because we don’t understand how these tie together in unity doesn’t make them less true. Again, we are finite.
7) That God would bother saving the likes of you or me should blow our minds and fill us with overwhelming gratitude. Grace means to receive what we don’t deserve (mercy, salvation), and it is the gift of God not by works. So what’s the problem with predestination and election, again?
What does all this have to do with prayer? First, if you are born again, this should fill your heart with utmost gratitude. Salvation always begins with God taking the initiative. If we love Him, then it’s only because He first loved us (1 John 4:10, 19). Second, it should motivate the child of God to want to talk with Him, because He wants to hear from you and me.
Let’s neither be afraid nor dismayed by these words and concepts. And certainly let us not be unfaithful to Sacred Text. They come from the all-wise One to the unwise, the Infinite to the finite, and the Just to the unjust. It shouldn’t surprise us that we don’t fully comprehend these great truths (far lesser things boggle our minds). What should surprise us is that we were were on His mind and in His heart before the foundation of the world.