"He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." — Ephesians 1:4
Have you heard what the Calvinist said after tripping down the stairs? "Boy, I'm glad that's over with!" he muttered, nursing the bruise on his head.
Jokes like these take aim at the doctrine of predestination, or election: God's choosing of his people even before he made the world. According to critics, predestination quashes human freedom and free will. But somehow, mysteriously, the Bible shows that there is both election and free will.
God's sovereignty and our human responsibility may be difficult to explain logically, but in the Bible we see lots of examples of both at work. Just think of Paul's call on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
In his letters to churches, Paul insists on election, but nowhere does he fully explain the mystery of God's choosing and how that works with our own will to receive him as Lord and be saved. Nonetheless, Paul describes election as a teaching of great comfort. In his amazing mercy and grace, God loved us even before he created the world!
What's more, God's choosing is also a calling. Out of his grace and mercy he has chosen us for acts of love and service so that we can be a part of bringing his love and mercy to the world.
By grace alone, take comfort today in God's great love and mercy, and glorify him in all you do.