When people read the Bible, there’s one topic that especially turns people off…and no, I’m not talking about hell or judgment. It has been called everything from heresy, to a peripheral issue, to irrelevant and impractical theological jargon. Even among people who believe the truth of this topic, they tend only to be a bit embarrassed by it. One problem though faces anyone who cares about the Bible…the Bible talks about it at all the “wrong” times. I’m not going to argue any theological point here on a blog—there are plenty of books on it—but I will simply make some observations. Let me warn you…only keep reading if you’re willing to get greater joy in the Lord.
I’m talking about the doctrines of grace—also called “election”. This is the Bible teaching that God sovereignly rescues those who will be his people from among the universally sinful population of the world. Now see this…and feel free to email with questions or comments if you want. God talks about election (also called predestination) at every place most of us would think utterly wrong or useless.
1…to backslidden people (Malachi 1:2-5)
2…to a very worldly church (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
3…to a young church (note how much it’s referenced in 1 and 2 Thessalonians)
4…when God’s justice is challenged (Romans 9)
5…when Paul really wanted to celebrate God with the longest run on sentence in the Greek (Ephesians 1:3-14)
6...as the grounds for universal, practical love (James 2:5)
Arguably also……as encouragement to a dejected people facing God’s discipline yet looking for grounding for His promises (Deut. 9:4-6; Ez. 36:22, 32)
For more on this topic, John Piper has a lot of essays and sermons on www.desiringgod.org