In our human pride, the doctrines of election and reprobation are indeed “horrible doctrines.” Yet as we carefully consider what the Bible says about the total depravity of our fallen condition, these “horrible doctrines” soon become “doctrines of grace.” Were God to base His decision to save on anything in us, we would be hopelessly doomed. The early American pastor, Jonathan Edwards, once declared, “we contribute nothing to our salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” And Jesus taught that “unless a man is born again [from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Those horrible doctrines, which at first fill us with indignation and accusation toward a Holy, Sovereign God, become gracious doctrines when the Holy Spirit enables us to see the depth of our sin. Listen as we consider the comfort and power of God’s calling and election from Jeremiah 24.
Ad Fontes, “to the fountains,” was the motto of the Christian Humanists, whose discovery of the preaching of the early church fathers sparked the Reformation with its emphasis on “sola fide” or salvation “by faith alone.” The gospel was unshackled from legalistic tradition and extrabiblical rites as men went back to the fountains of God’s Word and gospel preaching to proclaim a salvation that was utterly gracious and a faith that was the free gift of God.
But as soon as we say salvation is by faith alone, some will ask, where does this faith come from? In the Bible, the Old Testament patriarch Abraham is held up as the paradigmatic man of faith. From where did his faith spring? Was it a moral code? An inherent goodness? Some intrinsic spark in his heart fanned into flame by piety?
We meet Abraham in Genesis 11, the youngest son in a family of moon worshipers. God had not spoken to men for hundreds of years. But suddenly God breaks his silence and speaks to Abraham, renewing His covenant with him. God called upon Abraham, before Abraham called upon God. God chose Abraham, not the other way around. The Bible calls this “election” — a precious doctrine which frightens many, but is inescapably pervasive in the Scriptures.
Join us this Lord’s Day, July 23, for worship at Pottsville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as we examine God’s call to Abraham from Genesis 11:26-12:9 and the doctrine of election that forms the spring from which faith flows. For directions click here. We look forward to seeing you.