The doctrine of election is a major point of debate and division in the church. The truth about election is essential to understanding who God is, His plan of redemption, and His design for the church. Rejecting this doctrine has major negative implications, especially with regard to the practical aspects of evangelism and Christian ministry. Christians who don’t believe God sovereignly draws His elect to Christ are forced by their theological perspective to take a very pragmatic approach evangelism. They become more concerned with what “works” than with what’s true, because their doctrine leads them to believe everything hinges on their own skill, cleverness, or persuasive abilities.
This is probably the best of John MacArthur I have read so far. With the doctrine of the elect, it can cause much tension as we try to reconcile a God of love to one that picks and chooses. However, my understanding is if I have correct view of God, that he is indeed God, creator and is in control, than yes in humility as the sinner who beats himself and proclaims “Have mercy on Me O’Lord a sinner, puts my faith in his Faithfulness not mine. Many times we are the Pharisee who thanks God that I am not like the sinner who knows in his heart he does not deserve God’s mercy asks for his mercy. Do we know what we truly deserve and why.
MacArthur also dives deep in the love of God. What does that look like. I know in my own life the treadmill I have put myself on only leads to despair. It becomes prideful when we think we are deserving of the love of God in the work we do for his sake. It is out gratitude and thankfulness that we are truly transformed. The love that is of God is not of sentimentality, or feelings but based on the holiness of God. Understanding the love God, keeps the focus of our salvation about God and not about us. Self-improvement or even the benefits that we receive with relationships and friendships. Salvation becomes secondary when we pursue these good things without understanding the significance of Christ’s work on the cross. God desires that we know him. Our journey is much like the exile of the Jews from Egypt. The journey is more about taking Egypt out of hearts that we only have Christ.
Some of the quotes that I found encouraging with this study.
Salvation is primarily for the honor of the Son, not the honor of the sinner. The purpose of the Father’s love gift is not to save you so you have a happy life; it is to save you so that you can spend eternity praising the son. This quote is compelling and not egoistical as some might think. If you think this through, any other way would not be glorious. Christ’s glory is ultimately the glory for all. It is this that all things are made right and true.
Evil was part of His plan and eternal decree. He has a purpose in it, and it’s a good purpose. When we have an understanding of evil (same as with love), our hope comes from God’s sovereignty in using evil for his Good purpose. We must know the ultimate end. The Garden of Eden restored and a people redeemed to that very end.
There is so much in this little book. It brings the reader to a better understanding of the ultimate end and the character of God using scripture and the work of Christ to open our minds to think these things through.
A Special Thank You to Reformation Trust Publishing, Ligonier Ministries and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.