Here at Redemption we believe in the doctrine of election. In fact we believe that it is a doctrine that gives us incredible hope and brings us face to face with God's astounding grace. At the same time, for many it can be a hard doctrine to understand and come to grips with. Mark Altrogge has some good words here tackling a common question that often makes election seem like an unappealing doctrine.
The doctrine of election really troubled me when I first began to wrestle with it.
It seemed unfair. It seemed like those who weren’t chosen were doomed from the start. That they never really had a chance. This illustration changed my whole view of the doctrine.
“After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of sovereign grace, I asked for questions from the class. One lady, in particular, was quite troubled. She said, ‘This is the most awful thing I ever heard! You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men and women who would be saved, receiving only the elect’ I answered her in this vein: ‘You misunderstand the situation. You’re visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, ‘Yes, you may come, but not you, and you, but you, etc.’ The situation is hardly this. Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with His arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction toward hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to Himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams. That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in Scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn’t it? If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault. But if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely His work! To Him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of grace, from start to finish.” –Mark Webb
Election keeps no one out of heaven, but guarantees that those God has chosen will be there. Election is meant to be a comfort and encouragement to believers. Never are unbelievers encouraged to try do discover if they are elect. The message for unbelievers is you are all are invited. Come one, come all. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!
If you know Jesus, praise him for rescuing you from your headlong rush toward hell. If you don’t know him, turn to him today. He awaits you with open arms.
(HT: The Blazing Center)