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September 11, 2021

Am I Chosen By God?

By Kelly Adkins

There once was a boy who stood in a corner of a high school party, soaking his sorrows in vodka.

This boy was usually the center of attention, the ringleader of any kind of mischief or fun.

But tonight, he was quieter, withdrawn. If he was honest, he didn’t see much of a future ahead. He hadn’t done well in school. His girlfriend had just told him their relationship was over. Soon, his friends — the crew that had been more of a family to him than his own parents would ever be — would all be leaving for colleges far away, and he would be stuck at home.

He was going nowhere, with no one.

The way you see God is the way you’ll see everything.

The boy slipped away from the booze and the noise and stepped out into the garage to feel it — to taste the loneliness. He had never talked to God, never even thought much about Him. He had a good friend who was a Christian, but they rarely spoke about Jesus.

But suddenly, tonight, the boy felt like crying aloud to this supposed Creator, whoever and wherever He was. He poured pain out of his wounds into the darkness, spilling them at the feet of someone He could not see and He did not know.

And God spoke back.

I’ll never leave you or forsake you. The words rang in his heart and his head — words from the Bible he had never even read. Follow me, and you’ll never be alone.

The boy looked up from his anguish, astonished. And in that moment, Mike Adkins belonged to Jesus, body and soul.

Tears ran down his face as he went back to the party, where he began to tell everyone what had just happened to him. In the days and weeks ahead, he’d share the truth with everyone he knew.

God had chosen him.

Does God choose whom He will save?

Scripture is clear that salvation starts from and is sustained by God alone, and that He’s known us all along:

He “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began…(2 Timothy 1:9).

He “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4).

In Psalm 139:13, when King David sings that God “formed (his) inmost parts” before he was born, the original Hebrew of this phrase is speaking about his affections, not his anatomy. David realizes that God shapes the things that we’ll love, including Him, before we even know our own names.

Jesus also taught about salvation this way:

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…” (John 15:16).

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).

As Pastor Mike discovered that night in the dusk of a neighbor’s garage, even in unlikely ways, in unlikely places, with unlikely people, God does not leave our relationship with Him to chance.

He finds us where we are, He rescues us, and He holds us fast.

God has chosen us.

The way you see God is the way you’ll see everything.

I don’t claim to know how all of this works, or why God does it.

But I do know that the way you see God is the way you’ll see everything.

When Biblical theology becomes uncomfortable, it’s often because we’re being challenged to move away from a God who behaves exactly like we would, one we’ve fashioned in our own mind instead of from scripture because we find it much easier to worship a copy of ourselves. A God who never contradicts me isn’t a God worth serving.

And this bit of theology — that God chooses us — is like all sound theologies, conspicuous not for what it says, but what it does: reveal our desperate need for the mercy and intervention of Jesus.

In Romans 9, Paul calls this need for Christ “the stumbling stone” — the thing people can’t get past in order to truly belong to God. For the people of Israel, it meant that they had missed the point and missed out on salvation; “they have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works” (Romans 9:31-32). Paul writes, with his own “great sorrow and unceasing anguish”, that his own people never understood that we are saved not by obeying God’s laws, but by trusting in the God who wrote them.

For us, God’s choosing often means that we feel angry or resentful that we need anything or anyone beyond ourselves. For some, it means that we feel less free.

On the contrary, like all truth, it truly sets us free. We are free to serve a God who knows more, sees more, and does more than we could ever ask or think. We are free to trust a God who doesn’t wait for us to love Him; He loves us first. We are free to rest in his lavish grace instead of the shame of our striving.

“(Salvation) does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16).

If nothing you did could make God rescue you, nothing you do can take His love away if you believe.

God has chosen you.

 

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