His Choosing, His Love and His Infinite Worth
This is me at 13 years of age. Wet, shivering and miserable lined up against the redbrick wall with some twenty-two other 13 year olds.
This is the weekly games lesson and this is me waiting to be picked. Two team captains, the tallest and the meanest, head the line pointing sullenly, first to the star striker and then the hulking centre-half.
Then the smart-mouthed, tricky winger. Then the towering goalkeeper. And now the slightly unhinged midfielder, his eyes still bruised and black after the scuffle during Saturday’s game.
It goes the same way each week and now I am getting worried. I am worried because the line is getting thin and options are running short.
This is the fear of being picked last. Evidence that I am indeed the skinniest and nerdiest nerd… only without the glasses… And so I pray that I will be the second to the last, only not the last…
Humiliation. Only this humiliation of a 13 year old barely registers when compared with the deep devastation of a child who is told by his mother, ‘I never wanted you… You are a MISTAKE!’. Or the husband who ridicules his wife for her weight or her looks and then coolly whispers, ‘I HATE you…’ Or the awkward teenager made misfit by being forever on the outside looking in…
For these and for the many others, Paul’s declaration is manna for the soul,
…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world… (Ephesians 1:4)
He chose us. If you are a believer in Christ, a follower of King Jesus, then, know this: he chose you.
When we grasp the magnitude of this we should feel immense relief. God chose us, and, more than this, he chose us before the foundation of the world, evidence that his choosing is unconditional.
He chose me irrespective of my many failings. He chose me apart from any good work. He chose me, a radically depraved, God hating sinner and he poured out mercy and grace. ‘Before the foundation of the world’; this is why we can be confident that his election, his choosing, is unconditional. This is the evidence of his pure, undiluted, uncompromised, extravagant grace gift.
This should cause us, we who believe, immense relief and then immense gratitude for this rich grace so freely lavished upon us.
Only Paul goes further still,
…In love he predestined us… (Ephesians 1:4-5)
For this choosing is motivated by the deepest love from the richest wellspring of a God who is love (1 John 4:16).
Between these two great truths exists an equally great paradox; the tension between God’s unconditional choosing and the motivation born from a Father’s love. He chooses us not because we are worth it, but because he is infinitely worthy. Our election is not grounded upon our innate loveliness, but upon his unending glory.
And yet he, infinitely holy, infinitely worthy, chooses to fix his affection upon you and me. Amazing love, how can this be? You see, the gap between these two truths, his unconditional choosing and his before-the-foundation-of-the-world love for those who are his, is designed to accentuate and display his glorious grace. Paul recognises this and we must embrace this. He chose us and he saved us that we might be ‘to the praise of his glorious grace’ (Ephesians 1:6).