And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. Mark 13:26-27 (ESV)
One of the great things about a democratic country is that the citizens have the privilege of electing their government officials. Citizens are encouraged to listen to the candidates and decide which one best embraces their political views. Incumbents are most often judged on the merits of their previous voting records. Challengers are often evaluated on the merits of their ideas to make government more efficient and effective. The winner of the election is usually the candidate who receives the most popular vote.
When God began his election process he didn’t rely on popular vote. He didn’t look at the candidates and elect them on the basis of their merits. In fact his candidates had no merits.
The apostle Paul wrote, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 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 as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV) So God’s election was based on the purpose of his own will and the merits of the Beloved; Jesus Christ.
God’s elect are people who did nothing to deserve his favor. In fact their election happened before they had done anything good or bad (Romans 9:11). All of God’s candidates were born spiritually dead and had neither the capacity nor the will to choose good (Ephesians 2:1). So God, in his mercy and love chose them by grace and gave them faith to believe as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5). This he did through the death of his son.
Paul wrote to the Romans, For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-9 ESV)
We read in 1 Peter 1:1-2 that God elected his people according the his foreknowledge. Paul plainly told the Roman church that there are none who understand and seek God (Romans 3:11), so we know that God could not have based his choice on a choice they would one day make. Had God not first chosen them they would never have chosen him. So, God’s foreknowledge is simply that before the foundation of the world God chose to have a relationship with a certain group of people in the same way he had a relationship with his son (1 Peter 1:20). He gave life to their dead spirits (new birth) and they chose to follow him.
Have you been born again? Are you grateful that God chose to have a relationship with you even though you were underserving? Are you thankful that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost?
Scriptures for meditation:
Matthew 24:22, 24
2 Timothy 2:10