Throughout history, many Christians have struggled with the fear that they’re not one of God’s elect. Might God keep certain people from approaching Christ, even though they know he’s the only one who can save us? Does Jesus keep some people from coming to him for mercy?
And if you’re struggling with these questions, what should you do?
If you come to Jesus looking for mercy, confessing your sins, Jesus will never say to you, “Yeah, not interested.” He won’t say, “Sorry, you’ve sinned too much.” When you come to Jesus, he receives you and forgives you. Jesus said, “The one who comes to me, I will in no way cast out” (John 6). In other words, he’s saying, “If you come to me, I’m not going to turn my back on you.”
When we come to Jesus in faith, confessing our sins, he forgives us and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. That’s a promise that you have in the word of God. So, if you’re worried about whether you’re one of God’s elect, you have to cling to that promise.
When we’re wondering about the doctrine of election—God’s choice of those he’ll save—we can start to want to climb up into heaven and look into God’s mind and see what he’s thinking. But we can’t do that. Instead, we need to focus on God’s sure promise in Jesus Christ. And so when you think about the doctrine of election, you need to go straight to the cross—straight to Jesus himself.
Even the apostle Paul, when he talked about the doctrine of election or predestination, rooted it in Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t even be thinking about these things apart from Jesus and his work. Paul said,
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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.Eph. 1:3–6
And so what we all need to do, as we think about the doctrine of election, is flee to the cross. Flee to the gospel. It’s there that you have the promise of God’s sure love for sinners. That’s how we approach the Lord in faith, recognizing that we’re sinners but clinging to his mercy.
If you do that, if you believe in Jesus, then you can have great confidence that you belong to him. You can have confidence not just that you chose him but that he chose you—“even from before the foundation of the world.” You know that because you cling to Jesus and look to him. So continue to look to him and rest in him.
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