Those who have been graced by God should know about God’s selection and predestination. Both the selection and predestination of God are marvelous works of God’s grace to us. Selection and predestination are different but related to each other. We will consider them in the following seven points.
1. “Even as He chose us...before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).
God chose us before the foundation of the world. This is far beyond our comprehension. Before the beginning of time, before the creation of the heavens and earth, God chose us in eternity past. This is a tremendous matter of grace. This is such a sweet thought. We should thank Him from our heart! Moreover, we should bow down in worship.
2. “God predestined before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7).
God not only chose us before the foundation of the world; He also predestinated us before the ages. After God chose us, He predestinated us. These two matters were accomplished by God in eternity past before the foundation of the world and before the ages. Therefore, according to God’s selection and predestination, we were graced long before the foundation of the world. We may say that in God’s eyes we were saved long before the ages. Furthermore, we should also realize that none of us has been saved by accident or chance. Every believer was predestinated for salvation long ago by God, and at His appointed time, God arranged the time of our life, the place of our living, the state of our human affairs, and the sphere of our environment to cause us to be saved. When we see God’s marvelous work in this area and consider His unfathomable grace, we can only thank Him for His grace and praise Him for His works!
1. “He chose us in Him” (Eph. 1:4).
God chose us in Christ. In Christ refers to a realm and a base. For eternity this realm and base will not change. God chose us in this eternally unchanging realm and base.
2. “Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God”; “Those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated” (1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29).
God’s selection and predestination are based on His foreknowledge. His foreknowledge is based on His foresight. He foresees clearly, so He has the ability to foreknow. He chose and predestinated us according to His foresight and based on His foreknowledge.
3. “Predestinating us...according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5).
God selected and predestinated us according to the good pleasure of His will. This is to say that God selected and predestinated us according to His will and good pleasure, not according to anything else. He has a will and a taste that are according to His good pleasure, and He chose us according to His will and His taste.
4. “Predestinated according to the purpose of the One” (Eph. 1:11).
God selected and predestinated us according to the good pleasure of His will. This was not done loosely; rather, He had a purpose, a plan. He chose and predestinated us according to this plan. He has spent much time and effort on us, and now we should respond to Him.
1. “In love, predestinating us” (Eph. 1:4-5; see also 1 Thes. 1:4).
God selected and predestinated us in love. Love is not based on reason. God simply loved us; therefore, He chose and predestinated us.
2. “The purpose of God according to selection might remain, not of works but of Him who calls”; “He has mercy on whom He wills” (Rom. 9:11, 18).
God chose us according to His purpose. His purpose according to selection is not of man’s works but of Him who chooses. This is seen in the case of Esau and Jacob, two brothers who were twins. When Esau and Jacob were in their mother’s womb and had not yet done anything good or bad, God told their mother that He had chosen the younger, Jacob, not the older, Esau. This proves that God’s selection of Jacob was not because of Jacob’s good works, and God’s rejection of Esau was not because of Esau’s bad works. Before they were born, they had not done anything good or bad. Some may think that God chose Jacob because He knew that Jacob would be better than his brother Esau, but this is wrong. After they were born, Jacob was worse than his brother. He was crafty and loved to fight. He took advantage of everyone he knew. He cheated his brother, his father, and his uncle. No one who contacted him was spared from his cheating. God chose him even though he was quite bad. This proves that God’s selection is not at all according to man’s works. It is completely according to and based on God Himself and His mercy. He has mercy on whom He wills; He chooses whom He wills. This is completely a matter of His heart’s desire. When we see and consider this, we should humble ourselves in worship and give thanks and praise to Him.
3. “The selection of grace” (Rom. 11:5).
Because of His love and mercy God selected us according to His grace, not our works. His selection of grace came to us out of His love and through His mercy. His love first caused Him to look upon us and like us. It caused Him to consider us as desirable objects of His heart and to want to give us His grace. In spite of His heart’s desire, our condition made us unworthy to receive His grace. If His selection were only according to love and grace, and not of mercy as well, His love and grace would only be able to reach those who matched Him. His love and grace would be unable to reach those like us who are so low and do not match Him. But thank and praise Him, He not only has love and grace but also mercy. His mercy reaches further than His love and grace. His mercy causes Him to care for those who are low and unworthy so that His love and grace can reach us. His mercy reaches us, raises us up from our position of unworthiness, and makes us worthy to enjoy His love and receive His grace. Oh, the raising up of His mercy and the adorning of His grace cause us to enjoy His love! His selection is out of love and through mercy; consequently, it is a selection of grace.
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