God’s purpose of election is bound to be mysterious to men, for we cannot aspire to an understanding of the secret thoughts and decisions of the mind of God. However, the doctrine of election is never introduced in Scripture either to arouse or to baffle our carnal curiosity, but always for a practical purpose. On the one hand, it engenders deep humility and gratitude, for it excludes all boasting. On the other, it brings both peace and assurance, for nothing can quieten our fears for our own stability like the knowledge that our safety depends ultimately not on ourselves but on God’s own purpose of grace.
From: Authentic Christianity 1995 John Stott and Timothy Dudley-Smith.
“Many mysteries surround the doctrine of election, and theologians are unwise to systematize it in such a way that no puzzles, enigmas or loose ends are left. At the same time, in addition to the arguments developed in the exposition of Romans 8:28-30, we need to remember two truths.
First, election is not just a Pauline or apostolic doctrine; it was also taught by Jesus himself. “I know those I have chosen,’ he said. (Jn. 13:18).
Secondly, election is an indispensable foundation of Christian worship, in time and eternity. It is the essence of worship to say: ‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory’ (Ps. 115:1). If we were responsible for our own salvation, either in whole or even in part, we would be justified in singing our own praises and blowing our own trumpet in heaven. But such a thing is inconceivable. God’s redeemed people will spend eternity worshipping him, humbling themselves before him in grateful adoration, ascribing their salvation to him and to the Lamb, and acknowledging that he alone is worthy to receive all praise, honour and glory. Why? Because our salvation is due entirely to his grace, will, initiative, wisdom and power.”
Quoted from Authentic Christianity 1995 John Stott and Timothy Dudley-Smith.
Noah Movie (2014)
The final weeks of 2013 and the beginning few of 2014 have seen the UK battered by wind and rain. It is painful to see the misery that the ensuing floods have brought to people on this Fair Isle. The old saying that an Englishman’s home is his castle goes out the window when water seeps through the door frame and up through the floorboards. My heart goes out to people who have been flooded out of their homes and seen the value wiped off property that in some cases is impossible to insure. The resigned stoicism and gallows humour of some of the victims when they have been interviewed by news reporters is a credit to human resilience yet in some ways only heightens our sympathy for their plight. I have heard more than one person suggest in jest that they might respond to the incessant rain by building an Ark in their back garden.
The story of Noah’s Ark and the great flood is one that is deep at the heart of our cultural heritage. I am intrigued to see how this biblical account will be portrayed in the Russell Crowe film ‘Noah’ which hits the big screens in March. It will also be interesting to see how audiences respond to this epic story. The trailer suggests that it will be far from the fluffy depiction favoured by children’s story books. The trailer also suggests that the film will not back away from the biblical perspective that the flood was a judgement from God in response to mankind’s rebellion against him.
Some people hold the view that wrath and judgement are purely an Old Testament manifestation of God and that in the New Testament we find an altogether gentler, loving side to his character that supersedes what went before. A more detailed reading of the Old and New Testaments reveals that God’s wrath and mercy are equally present in both. In the Old Testament, God’s love provided a way for Noah’s family to escape the apocalyptic destruction of the earth by flood through Noah’s Ark. In the New Testament, God’s love provides a way for us to escape the apocalyptic destruction of the earth by fire through the Cross of Christ. Noah’s neighbours mocked the faith that led to the building of the Ark, yet regretted it. Today there are many who would like to dismiss talk of a coming judgement day as a scaremongering myth – will they come to regret this? What about you?
This blog post featured in the February 2014 edition of Hook Focus