Freedom, Unconditional election and Assurance; thoughts and scriptures…

In reviewing the classic doctrines of human freedom, election and assurance, I am reminded of the following.  Regarding freedom, important scriptures include James 1:12-18 and Romans 3:23 in that they remind that while our free choices are the cause of evil in the world, we are not “completely free” because while we would like to, we do not of our own accord freely choose good (ie are not perfect) at every decision point.  Regarding election, important scriptures include Ephesians 1 and 2 and Romans 8 (the “golden chain” of salvation) in that they remind that God grants grace to those he chooses and grace is not conditioned upon our free choice of Him but upon His (God’s) decree.  Regarding assurance, important scriptures include John 6, Romans 8 and Hebrews 6 in that they remind that one who has come to true faith in Christ can not be separated from that faith (Hebrews 6 does seem to refer to a truly regenerate believer but is an “ad hominum” argument and does not appear to be stated as an actuality but I agree this is a difficult passage and has to be seen in the context of John 6 and Romans 8 also).  Importantly, assurance of one’s salvation is best experienced in the context of Romans 8 and 1 John 3…if we can “thank the Lord for saving us” and if we “love our brothers”, this is practical evidence for real faith.

The important reminder for me is on the issue of human freedom.  We can and should not elevate this to absolute importance.  It is true the we humans are completely to blame for evil as we can and do make bad choices (ie we sin).  God help us in the power of the Spirit to make right choices.  On the other hand our freedom can and should not be elevated to the point where we can say “I chose God”.  Our “limited freedom”,  shackled by a broken and sinful self is not able to see through that shroud.  God chooses us simply because He did, out of love.   I am totally LOST without Him breaking through and grabbing me be the collar. My mind is not smart enough or big enough to search, reason and find Him.  He found me, a fact for which I am and will be literally forever grateful.  While our faith is reasonable and logical, it is AFFIRMED that way not FOUND that way.  It is a leap, a huge leap, the desire for which God places in our hearts…Go ahead and jump.  You will find more than empiric evidence and logic once you land softly and safely in His arms.

See also Philippians 3:12 in that this verse captures the essence of our imperfection, striving for sanctification and having been “taken hold of” by Christ…

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