Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Salvation is about God, not us!

(3) 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,  (4)  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  (5)  he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  (6)  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  (7)  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  (8)  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  (9)  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  (10)  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  (11)  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  (12)  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  (13)  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  (14)  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Eph 1:3-14 ESV
While I was reading in Ephesians this morning I was thinking about the absolute wonder and amazement of Eph 1:3-14.
It dawned on me that when we think that salvation is all about us, then we will come up with the idea of a synergistic religious system of salvation like that believed by Arminians. Believing that I can decide for my own salvation can only be because I believe that it is all about ME! That is a religion of conceit and of great selfishness. When we think it is about us primarily, we will end up thinking that we are these wonderful creatures that God cannot help but save! As a result we start thinking so much of ourselves to the effect that we think we could thwart God's purposes in salvation, notwithstanding the fact that the Bible clearly portrays God as sovereign and us as the potter's clay! When we think like this we start thinking that we could decide whether we will be saved or whether we will continue to live without Him.
It amazes me to think that millions of Christians do think like this. Oh, how arrogant! How deceitful pride can be! When we think we are the pinnacle of all that is, we are treading on dangerous grounds. No wonder the writer of Proverbs tells us that pride comes before a fall! When we see ourselves in a position of being able to inform God of our "decisions" regarding Him, then surely we have been greatly deceived by that great and evil tempter of mankind, the devil.
Salvation is not primarily about us, it is primarily about God! It is God who chose us (v4). We didn't choose ourselves. If that is how it happened, then we would be able to say that it is all about us! God predestined us, not according to our personal greatness, but according to the purpose of His will. When we read this passage in Ephesians of the greatness of our salvation we have to see that it is about Him! Why? Our salvation--chosen (v4), predestined (v5), redeemed (v7), forgiven (v7), been given an inheritance (v11), saved (v13)--is all to "to the praise of his glorious grace" (v6), "to the praise of his glory" (v12) and "to the praise of his glory" (v14).
Whatever God does for us and to us in our salvation, however wonderful that is, is for His glorification.
(16) So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.  [17]  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."  [18]  So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.  [19]  You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"  [20]  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  [21]  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?  [22]  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,  [23]  in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--  [24]  even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
Rom 9:16-24 ESV
(12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  [13]  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:12-13 ESV
It is clear that our salvation is not by our own will, but is solely of God.
The fact that our salvation is about God and His glory, should make us humble. We should realise that it wasn't because we were so clever or so spiritual that moved God's heart to save us, but that our salvation is rooted in the glorification of God and the purpose of His will.
The sooner we realise that salvation is about God, and that God can even use "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory" (Rom 9:22b-23), the sooner we will humble ourselves before Him. If God can use the non-elect in their destruction to make known the riches of His mercy to the elect, then surely that should drive us to humility, love and obedience!
God is the Master Potter and we are only the clay!
Just thinking...

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