Amos 3:2 “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
Yesterday we explored Genesis through Deuteronomy to discern the Bible's teaching on God's elective purpose of grace. We discovered the following truths:
1. The purpose of election: Godliness
2. The target(s) of election: The helpless
3. The motive behind election: God's love
4. The timing of election is outside of history or eternity
In today's most we will consider the remainder of the Old Testament's testimony on this important doctrine of what the Baptist Faith and Message deems: "God's elective purpose of Grace."
Historical Books affirm Sovereign Election
As you survey the historical books (Joshua-Esther), the poetic books (Job-Song of Solomon), the Major Prophets (Isaiah-Daniel) and the twelve Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi), you will find no less than 65 references to God's election of Israel as a nation and individuals unto salvation or vocation. We learn that God chose Saul to be Israel's first king in 1 Samuel 10:24 before the people ever concluded or affirmed him has their leader. Scripture progressively reveals its truths, and so as you go further and further along in the sacred books, you find out more detail. You also discover that seeds and principles outlined in earlier portions of scripture are affirmed and spelled out more explicitly in latter portions. Individuals like David (1 Chronicles 28:5) for example were chosen both to serve as king as well as chosen unto salvation.
God's Sovereign Election in the Poetic Books
Moses was chosen by God unto vocation and salvation. (Psalm 106:25-26) Again in studying the doctrine of election, one must also consider that scripture equally affirms that God's choice is the background behind those who chose to believe on His promises. Moses and David for example are included in the famous faith chapter of Hebrews 11. This particular observation is to remind the reader of the Biblical pattern on Sovereign election, namely that it does not contradict nor cancel out the other Biblical teaching on man's need to respond to the Gospel. As the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 states: "Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility." The fact we see men like Moses and David in the famous faith chapter of Hebrews 11 helps us to see both truths of God's Sovereignty and human responsibility as complementary, rather than contradictory truths.
God's Sovereign Election in the Prophetic Books
As you continue on in the Old Testament, you discover that God's elective purpose of grace included the preparation for the Savior of the world. Isaiah is perhaps the one book out of all the prophets that is the most detailed in the doctrine of election. In addition to revealing God's Sovereign choice for rulers whom He would use to carry out purposes of judgment, such as Cyrus in Isaiah 45, a much greater revelation is given concerning God's Sovereign purposes in preparing for the Savior's coming. Isaiah writes about how the Messiah is God's chosen servant in Isaiah 42:1 and 43:10. God most certainly was not up in heaven hoping and wishing that Jesus in his humanity would acquiesce to the promptings of His Divine purposes. God already had the Savior of the world chosen, an arrangement He worked out with Jesus in His Deity in eternity past. (Acts 2:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2)
Now it must be remarked that God's choosing of other people was done so before their birth (Jeremiah 1:5), however God's electing of other people is not attended with the same conditions as the Messiah's election. Biblical revelation teaches nothing about human beings pre-existing. Rather the easiest way to think of God's Sovereign elective purpose is to realize that God had such people on His mind from all eternity. This particular truth of election's timing is covered in the greatest detail in the New Testament.
As a side note
In future posts we will look in detail at the Biblical Survey of election in the New Testament. Essentially God's progressive character of revelation in His Word must be kept in mind when studying any topic in scripture. As the old saying goes: "The New Testament in the Old is concealed and the Old Testament in the New is revealed." Seeds of thought made known in the Old Testament become full grown trees in the New. The outline of election traced here in the Old Testament becomes a full colored painting by the time we reach the Gospels, Acts and Epistles of the New Testament. That survey, as we said, will be done in the near future as a continuation of the Biblical survey we have done these past two days.
Conclusion For the purposes of today's post, we close out the Old Testament treatment of God's Sovereign elective purpose by noting that the final mention is made of Jacob and Esau in Malachi 1:2. Whenever you survey all the 65 plus references to election in the historical, poetic and prophetic books, you come away with the same fundamental truths we discovered in our survey of Genesis through Deuteronomy yesterday:
1. The purpose of election is Godliness.
2. The motive of election is love.
3. The target(s) of election are the helpless.
4. The timing of election is outside of history or eternity.