Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grace and the chosen

“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11: 1-6 (NRSV)

If we believe that God is complete in power, completely omniscient and completely just, then we must believe that He has chosen us—chosen mankind—from the beginning of creation. The concept of God knowing from the very beginning who will be saved or who will not be saved seems incongruous with our idea of a loving God, but we must remember that there are aspects of God that are beyond our comprehension.

The big idea here is not the question of why God would create people whom he foreknew would be condemned to hell, but, that although God has always known which people will go to hell, He still extends grace to them anyway. God foreknew Hitler, but Christ died for him anyway. In the very same way, and for the very same reasons, God foreknew me, but He died for me anyway. Why? Because He loves me. Because He loves us. His love for all of mankind is the reason that He extends grace to us.