Last week in the Tuesday Tea post I tried to spend a few moments analyzing the belief in Total Depravity. While many churches believe in or at least suggest that they believe in something similar to Total Depravity it is what they do with that belief that separates the churches. This response is defined by how the church views the subject of eternal salvation. Thus, in this week’s Tuesday Tea let us consider the Article of Faith that deals with that subject.
“4.We believe in a covenant of redemption by the Holy Trinity and that a definite number of fallen sons and daughters of Adam were chosen in Christ before the world began, and that they should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
A Definite Number of Redeemed
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (John 6:39)
At times the scriptures are so straightforward and clear about the truth that we must work in order to distort the teachings presented. When it comes to the subject of “who are the redeemed” we find one of those cases. Christ himself says here in the writings of John that the Father gave him a definitive number. How do we know this? Well, it would be impossible to know if you had gained or lost one person if the number was not set before hand.
To use an analogy — if a child is given a package of M&M’s and is instructed to not pour them out the child will not know how many M&M’s they have. If they leave the bag and the older brother walks by and eats one of those M&M’s without the younger child seeing they will never know that they have missed one M&M. However, if the child has poured them out in his hand and counted each color separately, if the older brother walks by and eats one, the younger child will know of the missing M&M. — Likewise, because Christ was given a definitive amount of people to redeem He could say that the Father would know if any were missing.
This simple teaching debunks many of the ways in which eternal salvation is viewed. If salvation is up to the actions of man then it simply cannot be a definitive number decided before the foundation of the world and it would make John 6:39 to be untrue. However, if man is totally depraved and has not the ability to save himself by any action including belief, then it leaves salvation up to Christ and the number is sure.
When and How Were they Elected?
“The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.” (Psalm 14:2)
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4)
Again the scriptures are clear on this point. The election of the redeemed by God happened before the world was formed. Ephesians 1:4 as well as other places in scripture make it clear that the Father and the Son agreed upon a chosen people before the first portion of the universe was ever spoken into existence. These names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and it was these that Christ died for in the fulness of time.
Furthermore, they were not chosen according to their own works. Some might suggest that God looked down through time and saw those that would love him and thus chose them accordingly. However, the Psalmist by the inspiration of God writes that the Lord looked down from heaven and in doing so found none that were seeking after God, none that understood, and none that would do good. If God had chosen a people based on their fitness for salvation no one would ever be a child of God.
Let Us Be Thankful
Let us therefore be thankful that when we were in the depths of our depravity, God saw fit to love us and choose us to be his adopted children. Let us be thankful, that despite our wretched state Jesus Christ was willing to give up his own place in heaven to come to this earth and redeem his chosen people. Finally, let us be thankful that the Holy Spirit has revealed this truth unto us.
May the Lord Bless you this week!