The Word for today:
1 Peter 2:18-25
1 Peter 2:18-25
1 Peter is written to God's elect, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Which pretty much leaves you and me out of the picture, right?
Wrong. Election is a concept that, like so many other biblical concepts, is bigger than our heads. I have never met a person or read a theologian who could wrap his head around election and free will, simultaneously.
But somehow I know that both God’s election and man’s free will are absolutely true. Morever, the one does not contradict the other.
I can’t explain them, or analyze them, or argue about them. But I can, from the Word of God, illustrate that they work, in the real world, in seamless tandem.
The illustration comes from the story of Gideon in the book of Judges:
But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go." So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."
I'm going to point to the facts, then I'm going to leave you to find them in the passage directly above.
If you do, you will conclude that God’s election and man’s free will are simultaneously in effect in the passage. You will never be able to "prove" this conclusion (as one proves a geometric theorem) but do not worry, for your inability to intellectually prove or defend election and free will puts you in the company of the greatest theologians who have ever lived--for they couldn’t either.
But more important than finding yourself in the company of theologians is that you will find yourself in the company of those chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, to whom 1 Peter was written.
Here then, are the facts. If you bring these facts to the story about Gideon (above), the “contradictions" will melt away…
God chose 300 men. (Fact)
But how did he choose them? By letting each man use his free will. (Fact)
So election and free will cannot be understood through debate and analysis, but in real life it works out that way. (Fact)
You can come to Jesus if you want to: "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and he that comes to me I will in no wise cast out (1)." (Fact)
If you don’t come to Jesus, you weren’t elected. (Fact)
If you do come to Him (here’s the Good News) you were elected. (Fact)
Just because we can't explain something does not mean it's not true. Just because we can't explain election and free will does not mean they are not simultaneously and absolutely true.
Together, they are the inexplicable something in the way God moves.
(1) John 6:37
(1) John 6:37