Why do you love Jesus and your neighbor is enslaved to sin? Why did you repent and believe while your best friend from high school still has the just wrath of God standing over against him? What made you different? I think this is a big question we have to ask ourselves. It reveals a lot about what we think about mankind and God. Many feel that Calvinism is unfair, that somehow God is not right to save some and not others. My first answer would be Paul’s answer to the Romans in Romans 9. Who are we to question the one who made us? This is fundamental. We cannot look up at God and say “that really just doesn’t sit well with me” or “that’s not right.” Last time I read, we weren’t the perfection of Christ, nor do we share in the absolute transcendence of the Creator of All. God created good and so he gets to define it however He wants. And God is good! O how our souls need to see this! There is a glorious grace in the gospel when we see what God has done. I want to endeavor to show that if not for God’s sovereignty, none of us would be enjoying Christ presently.
John 3 is one of the most famous chapters in the Bible. Even most non-Christians can spit out some version of John 3:16. God so loved the world, that whoever believes will not perish but have eternal life. Amen! Verse 16 is used to prove me wrong. “God loves the world! It is right there,” they say and I agree. But why did God send His son? We know from verse 17 that it was not to condemn the world. No, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. However, verses 18 and 19 give us some context for the preceding verses. Whoever believes in Him is saved, but!, whoever does not believe is condemned already. Jesus did not have to condemn because we already stood condemned. We had all rebelled. Paul paints this picture vividly in Romans 1-3. God’s wrath stands against all non belief because it is rebellion. We have exchanged the glory of God for a lie. So Jesus did not come to condemn but came to save out of condemnation. The difference between perishing and eternal life is exclusive faith in the unique Jesus Christ. How then do we believe? Verse 19 says that we loved darkness when Christ came as the light of the world. Why then do you believe and your uncle doesn’t? Were you smarter, more spiritual, just plain better? I don’t think we want to go there. Ephesians 2 will shed some light on the cause of our faith.
“And you were dead.” That’s how Paul kicks this thing off. Dead. Not sick, or hurting. Dead. Dead in sins, the same sins in which we all once walked. See again the universality of sin. We followed our passions, the world and Satan. We are not innocent bystanders! Our sin must be seen for more than just actions or dispositions. It is a nature, a willing enslavement to sin. So what us different? Were we less dead? That’s just dumb. We all once lived here. Pause and thank God for His grace. All means everybody, no one is not guilty. Then the two best words in the Bible happen in verse 4. “But God.” But God being rich in mercy MADE us alive in Christ Jesus. We had already chosen. We chose ourselves. Everyone does so naturally. All like sheep have gone astray but God who is loving and glorious has chosen to save some by His grace. This was so that the nations would marvel at this great God. Faith is a gift (v.8). We didn’t do anything so how can we boast? Can we say that we had something others did not and that is why we enjoy fellowship and communion with the King? No. It was a gift. This allows us to walk in the good works which God prepared before us, both for our joy and His glory.
Had God not intervened and saved, none of us would be saved. This is the truth of Scripture. We were dead with God’s wrath righteousness on us. Yet God sent Jesus to save by His death on the cross! He became sin so that we may become the righteousness of God himself. Jesus took the wrath for our sins and gave us Himself. The only proper response is faith. But faith is not natural, no, it is given. Praise God for all His deeds. How unsearchable is His wisdom! God could have righteously sent all of us to hell for our sin. And yet He chose to save through Jesus so that He might become just and the justifier of the ungodly (Ro 3:26).
soli deo gloria