Pick, me! Pick me!

August 7, 2011

As a kid it was not unusual for me to be chosen last when it came to many games, and no matter how many times I shouted, “Pick me!  Pick me!”  I was chosen in relation to my value to the team.  Which meant last.  Then I met Jesus.

Ephesians, chapter one is so full of things to think about.  I may never finish.  Let’s look together at verse four.

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

“Chosen in him before the creation of the world” is a tough phrase for a Wesleyan.  The way many of “our” scholars would deal with this would be to interpret this passage corporately.  In other words, just as “God so loved the world…” he also “chose us….predestined us…”  I can live with this.

I guess.

I also wanted to know what John Wesley himself had to say concerning this passage:

“I appeal to every impartial mind…whether the mercy of God would not be far less gloriously displayed, in saving a few by his irresistible power, and leaving all the rest without help, without hope, to perish everlastingly, than in offering salvation to every creature, actually saving all that consent thereto, and doing for the rest all that infinite wisdom, almighty power, and boundless love can do, without forcing them to be saved, which would be to destroy the very nature that he had given them.”

Even as I wade through Wesley (You can’t wander through Wesley, you can’t even walk, wading is a must.)  I can see the logic in his argument.  I can live with this, too.

I guess.

At the same time I am also acutely aware of how much of my salvation is my doing and how much is God’s.   In repenting, (which means “to turn around’) I just nod my head in his direction and he come running.  I don’t have to do a 180.  All I have to do is a 1.   Sure, I must make a decision with my will, but he does virtually everything else.

I am reminded of an illustration I heard decades ago, sorry I cannot attribute it.  It goes something like this.  “As we approach the Gates of heaven we see written over the entrance, “Come, whoever will…”  and as we pass through the gates and look back, on the inside of the gates we see written, “For I have chosen you since before the foundation of the world…”

I know I have chosen to follow Christ.  I hope you have too.  I believe I can choose to no longer follow, I hope you never do either.  But God is a gentleman, he does not force himself on us.

But as I look again at this passage that could possibly cause turmoil, I find peace.  I am grateful (eternally) that it’s not all on me.  That God loves me (and the world) so much that he gave his one and only son so that I would not perish.

I am also comforted by this passage.   I am comforted by the fact that God has cared for us (he has cared for me) since before the creation of the world.  A wonderful song comes to mind.

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands  (Tommy Walker, He knows My Name)

And this verse…. “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1).  I think that sentence deserves an exclamation point!  Don’t you?

For what has he chosen us?  To be holy and blameless in his sight.  I think this needs a post all its own.

This is not a theological treatise, but I also like the way verse 4 ends in many English translations.  It truly puts this verse in perspective even as it sets up verse 5.  The last to words of verse 4 say a lot.  Two words conclude one verse and preclude the next.  Two words put the exclamation point on our conversation today…  from God to us…

 

In love…

 

All I have to do is think the words, “Pick me!” and I am on his team!

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