- Episode blog post: How great the Father’s love: How to stop worrying and love your election
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo design: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Why pursue a relationship with Christ if he hasn’t chosen you? Learn how Satan uses the biblical doctrine of election to keep people from God.
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast, I’m your host Dan Kassis.
We’re walking though the book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks. Along with a segment of our original audio production of the book, we provide commentary and fresh insight, bringing this work of classic theology to life for you.
In this episode, we conclude a five-part series on the devil’s tactics to discourage unbelievers from coming to Christ.
In part one we learned Satan tells some people they have sinned too much for God to save them. Not true.
In part two we learned you can’t become “worthy” of God’s love, that it’s Christ’s worthiness to be the Savior that matters. But the enemy tries to shift this burden of worthiness onto lost people.
Then we learned that, while our human emotions are good and healthy, they don’t determine our ability to repent of our sins. In other words, despite what Satan whispers to us, we don’t have to feel “sorry enough” to be saved.
Then last time Thomas Brooks assured us, through God’s word, that Jesus really is willing to save us. His willingness is equally given to all who desire forgiveness and freedom. Satan is wrong when he tells us we are the exception.
So here we are this time at the end. And this is a big finish, because it touches on a sometimes controversial topic: election. Scripture is clear that God saves his elect, those he has predestined. So our enemy tries to convince us we aren’t one of the elect. We aren’t in the club, one of the cool kids, not invited to the party.
Our audiobook segment in this episode is the briefest in the whole series, just 1:43 to be exact. Thomas Brooks didn’t think it was necessary to expound much on this topic. Maybe that’s because there just wasn’t much to say in response to such a weak argument. So I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about election.
A trustworthy election
We just experienced an election in the U.S. in which one of the candidates consistently expressed distrust in its reliability. He cast doubt on the electoral process and the outcome. He caused many voters to doubt the results of state vote tallies and to question the news agencies that reported them.
This undermining of a bedrock institution of our democratic republic could have destroyed our citizens’ hope for a fair and valid election. It may have discouraged them from voting, thereby altering the outcome.
But it didn’t. Voters showed up and cast their choices in record numbers in 2020. We trusted the system our founders constructed hundreds of years ago. Citizens placed their faith in polling place volunteers and government agencies to execute a free and fair election, during a global pandemic, no less. And it worked.
No political election is perfect. But a peaceful, reliable outcome proves the value of a citizenry’s faith in it. Faith is not a magical force or methodological formula. It’s only as good as the object in which a person places it.
And if your faith is in the God who proves his value over and over in the saving of souls, you cannot fail.
Chosen of God
The biblical doctrine of election is, in a morbid way, like the subject of death. We can’t deny it exists, but we don’t like to talk about it. For some reason it causes arguments and discomfort. It’s similar to the word “predestination.” We can’t avoid it when the Bible contains the phrase: “He predestined us.” So it helps to clearly define the term.
The Greek noun eklektos also has a verb form, eklegomai. Some English translations render it “chosen” or “choose,” rather than “the elect” or “to elect.” The verb’s action is always from God toward those he choses and not the reverse. God is the chooser; we are the chosen.
God even uses the term toward Jesus in some scriptures to indicate the Lord is the one chosen to bring salvation to the world. For instance, when Peter in his first epistle references Isaiah 28:16 as speaking of Christ, the Greek translation is “a choice stone.” Jesus is thus the one God “elected” to become the foundation of redeemed mankind.
How and why does God choose us?
Now that we know what “elect” means, we should briefly explore how the New Testament uses it to discover to what, or why, we are elected. This is an incredibly deep, rich subject that deserves a lifetime of study. So for our purposes we’ll outline some noteworthy uses of the term here.
We are elected:
- To receive eternal life (Acts 13:48)
- To become like Jesus, to be justified by faith and glorified in the end (Ro. 8:28-30)
- To be holy and blameless before God (Eph. 1:4) and to receive an inheritance from him (v. 11)
- To receive the gospel and the gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:4) so that we might be sanctified, set apart for his glory (2 Thess. 2:13)
Taken together, these scriptures plainly reveal election is an act of God’s will. He elects believers to accomplish his purposes, which is part of a great plan he determined before us and without our input or consent.
I found this statement from The Gospel Coalition’s Concise Theology Series essay helpful. An unconverted sinner is incapable of choosing God, apart from the Holy Spirit’s awakening power, because sin makes the gospel both foolish and unwanted. Thus:
This consideration of the blinding effects of human depravity is a necessary corrective to a common mischaracterization of election. Scripture nowhere allows the notion that some who may have wanted to be saved were refused.
What should we do with our election?
That we cannot choose God doesn’t absolve us of any responsibility. Follow the above cited scriptures to their conclusions. You’ll note that the New Testament writers consistently add “therefore” language after their use of election. In other words, now that you know God chose you, what should you do?
The apostles teach we should have faith that our election is sure. We should believe it is true and hold fast to it as a promise. Because of this, we should live holy lives, avoiding sin and pursuing acts of love and service to God and to our fellow chosen brothers and sisters.
In short, the doctrine of election must drive our ever increasing reflection and likeness of Christ’s life and actions.
Doubting your election
In his final device, Brooks explains how our enemy tricks some people through clouding their thoughts about God’s election. If you aren’t elect, nothing you can do will win God’s favor. And so he causes them to doubt God has chosen them.
It’s a subtle tactic that may remind you of Jesus, in the gospel of Matthew, explaining to his disciples how God will separate his sheep from the goats at the end of this age. If you’re a goat, that’s it. There’s no hope for you. Therefore, why seek God’s mercy?
Brooks’s remedies to this device are the briefest in the entirety of his book. In theological works, this usually means little needs to be said. Satan’s argument is weak, so the answers need scant explanation.
Let’s learn how Brooks encourages unbelievers to trust God’s promises by faith and find hope in their hearts’ desire to know him.
So, what’s the answer to the title of this podcast episode? What is the one thing you must do?
That concludes this episode of the Theodio Podcast, and our five-part series. Next time is our one episode from chapter 7 of Precious Remedies. We’re going to talk about yet another controversial topic: false teachers.
If evangelists are God’s messengers for the truth, false teachers are Satan’s emissaries for everything contrary to that truth. Thomas Brooks will provide us with ample armament against those who would lead us astray with lies.
I really don’t want you to miss this one. Come back and listen again.