In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be…” No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. – Romans 4
What is a bow without an arrow? A gun without a bullet? Some things are essentially useless unless used with another.
We often speak of “entering into” Christianity as something we choose solely out of our own faith, will, and personal decision (which is only half of the truth). We forget that in order to even walk through the door, the door must first have been placed there before we ever even knew of the door; that in order to answer, there must first have been a call before we ever even knew of the call.
Our “decision” to “choose” is essentially useless unless there is something already available to us, being offered or given. It’s like having an arrow or a bullet without a bow or a gun.
God does not enter into what we do for him; we enter into what he does for us.
We enter the promises of God that exist apart from anything we have done, can do, or will do. The promises of God exist apart from act or merit, from ourselves. We join with God in his promises, through faith and with hope. The promises and will of God are not something we create or earn. They have eternally existed in the heart of God. Our part is only to respond in faith, receiving what he has always had in store for us. He puts everything together for us, and we simply enter in.
Like Abraham, I must decide to live not on the basis of what I see I can’t do but on what God says he will do. The conditions were hopeless, and God, according to his promises, came and made us right with himself through Jesus, for anyone who would believe.
He says: “You have not chosen me — I have chosen you.”
Before I could ever choose you, you chose me.
Before I could ever love you, you chose me.
Before I could ever call on you, repent, and turn from my sin, you chose me.
Before I could ever respond, you chose me.
Before I could ever read your word, say a prayer, or commit any good deed, you chose me.
Before I could ever please you or obey you, you chose me.
This is grace — that before the world began, before my eyes opened to this world and I took my first breath, you chose me.
R.C. Sprouts makes this poignant statement:
Though [modern evangelicalism] salutes the holiness of God and protests loudly that it believes in God’s sovereignty, it still entertains delusions about our ability to incline ourselves to God, to make “decisions” to be born again. It declares that fallen people, who are at enmity with God, can be persuaded to be reconciled even before their sinful hearts are changed. It has people who are not born again seeing a kingdom Christ declared could not be seen and entering a kingdom that cannot be entered without rebirth. Evangelicals today have unconverted sinners who are dead in trespasses and sin bringing themselves to life by choosing to be born again. Christ made it clear that dead people cannot choose anything, that the flesh counts for nothing, and that we must be born of the Spirit before we can even see the kingdom of God, let alone enter it. The failure of modern evangelicalism is the failure to understand the holiness of God. If that one point were grasped, there would be no more talk of mortal enemies of Christ coming to Jesus by their own power.
I do not preserve myself through my own faith. God preserves me through guarding my faith himself. Jesus has interceded for me, so when I fail I do not fail utterly. If I were left to my own faith I would not believe. The Holy Spirit sustains my faith, so that I can believe. I cannot make myself a child of God. I can only choose to respond to God’s choosing of me. I can only choose to be chosen. I can’t answer unless there’s been a call. I can only enter into what’s already been done for me, passing through the door that’s already been placed before me. (Inspiration: John Piper)
You yourself are the only reason I can know you.
You yourself are the only reason I can love you.
You yourself are the only reason I can have faith.
You yourself are the only reason I can believe.
You yourself are the only reason I can wake up every morning and still believe.
You keep me, preserve me, sustain me, guard me.
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you… – 2 Peter 1