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Election & Warnings

The doctrine of election is a glorious doctrine that should cause us to be humbled and give praise to our merciful God. Election reminds us that we are not the progenitor or accomplisher of our salvation. From all eternity God in His sovereignty chose a people for Himself, to grant them forgiveness, eternal life, and fellowship with Him. As the Westminster Confession states, “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.”[1] This glorious doctrine is also a comfort in this confounding life. As the certainty of our salvation may be upended due to our own sin, it is the doctrine of election that brings us surety and comfort. Once again, our Confession states that “The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.”[2]

As God’s people post the death and resurrection of the Messiah, we may be prone to forget the Old Covenant foundations of election. God in His sovereignty and grace chose the people of Israel to be His people, as well as the instrument of blessing for the nations.[3] Due to their election, the people of Israel felt a sense of comfort knowing that the true God was their God. And yet, they at times would become too comfortable, falling into gross sin and neglect of the right worship of God. In our text this morning, Jeremiah 4:5-18, God through the prophet Jeremiah is sending a warning to Jerusalem and her citizens that destruction was coming. But would God truly destroy His own chosen people? Jeremiah would even state, “Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.”[4] These words the prophet pens as the voice of the people express their bewilderment that God seems to be reneging on the promises made to them. But God was not reneging. His warning is an act of mercy to His people for them to repent prior to a covenantal doomsday.

Therefore, what does this mean for us? For us, as God’s covenant people, chosen from the foundation of the world, the warnings found in Scripture should remind us not to live a life of presumption. We are not called to live, presuming on the “secret things that belong to God.”[5] Rather, we should take the warning passages of Scripture seriously. It is indeed a scary thing to have “tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit, tasted of the goodness of the word of God, and the power of the age to come”[6] only to have fallen away. And yet, it is also not warranted for us to navel gaze, attempting to provide ourselves hope and comfort that only comes from Christ. Rather, let us look to Christ and the work that He has done on our behalf. As serious as warnings are, even greater is the surety of Christ’s work on behalf of the elect.

[1] WCF III.3

[2] WCF III.8

[3] Genesis 12: 2-3

[4] Jeremiah 4:10

[5] Deuteronomy 29:29

[6] Hebrews 6:4-5

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