*This article was originally published at Dr. Comer’s website A Living Faith and was used by permission.
I received a call this past February from my mother. She informed me that the church she attends, the church in which I grew up, was saved, baptized, and nurtured in the faith, had a business meeting. In that meeting they “elected” me to preach at their Homecoming service this spring.
I am always a bit surprised when I’m elected for something for which I didn’t even know I was running.
I would be shocked if our local election commission called and told me that I had been “elected” as Sheriff of our county. Especially since I have never entertained the thought that I might wish to be a Sheriff. Furthermore, I’m more qualified to be Barney Fife than Andy Taylor. I wouldn’t even trust myself with a single bullet in my shirt pocket.
I would be mortified if I was called in November 2016 by a major political party leader and informed that the previous day I had been elected President of the United States. I’m not even thinking about running for the office. Though I have it on good authority that the present occupant will be leaving that office in about 20 months.
Being elected when you weren’t even running. What an amazing concept!
After receiving my mother’s call, I began to dwell on this situation and ask myself some questions concerning my election to preach the Homecoming service at my childhood church.
Is my election unconditional? Does it in any way depend on an action on my part? What if I don’t want to apply this election to my calendar? Do I have the freedom to choose to refuse this election? Can I resist?
If this election is unconditional, then why didn’t they call my brother to preach this service? He too, grew up, was saved and baptized in this church. Is he invited to the service? Can he speak? Or is this election for me and not him? Maybe he has been left behind?
Perhaps my election was conditional. Maybe it depended on my being an ordained pastor. Could it be that they called me because I was a preacher and didn’t call my brother because he was a minister of music? Are music ministers not among their elect?
And if my election was conditional then I have choices to make. I have to receive their act of grace in calling me. I must choose not to resist the call. I must make a decision to apply their will to my calendar. They have provided the event, the date, the pulpit, and the meal to follow. I MUST SAY YES! If not, I will miss out on the blessings of this election.
Though my election was a surprise I will receive it as a gift! I will apply it to my calendar! I will accept the benefits of being chosen, not before the foundation of the world, but at last February’s business meeting! Yes, I surrender all! I accept!
Then I asked myself this question: “Is there a biblical lesson on election in this little parable?”
Paul told the Ephesians that God “chose us in Him before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Could it be that God made the decision and said, I “want all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (Timothy 2:4). In fact God attitude is that He does not want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And to emphasize the point that God made the way for everyone to receive His offer to come to repentance, John reminds us that Jesus Christ “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Furthermore, Jesus’ death took place before I ever saw the light of day. In fact, his death was God’s plan long before the foundation of the world was laid. Long before I or anyone knew anything about Jesus, He was the “lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
In God’s wisdom and love, my being part of the elect happened before I even knew I was running! Jesus, the elect One, God’s only begotten Son, died to provide the means for you and I to have abundant and eternal life.
The call has been sent out. “The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take of the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).
God’s business meeting was held long before the world began. The call has gone out from a hill we know as Calvary.
You might not have even known you were running, but you can choose to be a part of the elect!
The elect are those who say “YES” to the call. God has done all He can. He has provided the Savior. He has provided the invitation. He extends the call. He wants you to come. And even though God has perfect foreknowledge of our decisions (Romans 8:29), your election is conditioned on your saying “yes.”
And “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Say YES, I SURRENDER ALL!”
And when that great homecoming day arrives and we all get to heaven, the blessings, the fellowship, the worship and the meal will be better than any earthly Homecoming.
Even one with dinner on the grounds!
*After saying yes to the election by the church, I preached their homecoming service and I thanked them for their election to preach, for their gracious welcome, and for the blessings that have been brought into my life through their ministry and service to Christ.