God's Gracious Choice
Look with me at Colossians 3:12 today. I want to park here for a bit and let this wonderful truth sink in. I realize this can be a divisive truth, can confront us in many ways, but it is a wonderful truth that cannot be ignored. The truth that God chose to make a way for us to be saved, that we are His by His choosing.
Everything we see here rests on God’s grace in the gospel thru the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Everything goes back and is sourced in the gospel, in us having first received grace in our own lives, and that originating in God. Everything we are called to do and be as believers is sourced in God’s choosing to offer grace to us thru Christ.
What Paul says here is exactly what we see used as a title for God’s people throughout the Bible. Look at Is. 45:4 just for one example of this. The amazement of this passage is that what was once used for Israel is now being applied to Gentiles. Thru faith, we have become part of God’s family, but it is due to God’s choosing us, due to grace, not our own effort. No distinction in an adoptive and salvific way between Greek and Gentile. One family. By grace. By God’s doing and choosing.
Both the Greek words for holy and loved are in the passive tense, meaning the recipients didn’t do anything to earn or merit them. Totally of God. God is the one here doing the choosing. Look at Deut. 7:6 where God makes this clear with regards to Israel. Even in Ex. 19:4-6, God’s choosing is the basis for their being called to holiness and certain behaviors.
God’s grace at His own choosing is our source for everything. Oh that we would be awed by God’s grace. That we would let this sink in and stop fighting it. That if you are a believer today, it is because God, in spite of your sin, chose to redeem you to His glory and purposes.
It is clear from Scripture that God’s grace, in this case His choosing us, saving us, is not sourced or rooted in or contingent upon our response. It is God’s choosing that forms the basis for our response. And this choosing forms the basis for everything in our lives moving forward as believers. Grace focused and gospel sourced. We have been rescued, transferred into a new kingdom, new family, adopted, and that changes everything. And that was God’s doing.
When we discuss this topic, I realize that all sorts of thoughts and emotions well up. We start asking all sorts of questions, and many of them are rooted in a misunderstanding of grace, or the character of God and the reality of our sin, and its offense to God. We forget that God didn’t have to save anyone. He would have been no less God if He would have let us all pay the penalty of our sin ourselves. And instead, in the place of wrath and condemnation due our sin, He has offered grace. He has chosen to save the very sinners that were due His wrath. To give us a new identity, to adopt us, take us in as His own. Please think about that great grace. Let that grace and choosing clothe you today as a believer.
As we read further in Colossians we will see some commands from Paul, commands that call us as believers to live in a way that is consistent with our new identity in Christ. And these are sourced in grace, in God’s choosing of us, and we pursue them in gratitude and thanksgiving (v. 15) and in the strength God’s grace gives. And they all point back to grace we first received in God choosing us. To our identity in Christ.
One of the biggest issues we face as believers is forgetting God’s grace in our own lives, of assuming credit for things sourced in God’s grace. We become arrogant as believers, like we did things we didn’t, taking credit for things sourced in God’s grace, thinking we are better than those not saved, like we earned our current status before God. When nothing could be further from the truth. And this effects our lives and interactions amongst ourselves and the world around us. Again grace sourced.
Look at Deut 6:10-15and Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land. God rescued them from Egypt, maintained them and led them in the wilderness, brought them into the Promised Land and defeated their enemies, provided everything for them. What was the warning? Don’t forget that it was God who brought you here. Don’t forget that grace is the foundation and source. Israel being in the Promised Land was not their doing – it was grace. Same thing we see in regards to our salvation – don’t forget that it was God who chose you. Salvation is not your doing at its heart.
Our great tendency as believers is to forget grace, to lose our awe of grace, to lose the awe and wonder and amazement of our salvation. To lose our first love as Rev. 2:4 laments. To take credit at least in part for God’s grace in our lives. Don’t do it. Huge implications for forgetting God’s grace. For moving away from the gospel. Not growing up in respects to our salvation.
We who belong to God and are in His family by grace are privileged. Don’t forget that. It is a privilege to bear the name Christian. And this is all due to God’s grace. As we will see, when we get this right, humility is what is produced in our lives, unity is what is produced in our lives, thanksgiving is what is produced in our lives. God’s glory is what is produced in our lives. All sourced in grace.
Verse 12 makes it clear that is God who was the initiator behind our salvation. The reason behind everything we see here is that we are elect, holy, and loved because God took the initiative with us. God elected, God sanctified, God loved. God has graciously chosen us.
This means that if you’re a Christian it’s not because you first chose God, you didn’t figure God out, you have no reason to boast. Your salvation is because He chose you before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-5).
You and I believer have been chosen by God. Grasp that if we can. Let that sink in for a moment instead of arguing or fighting it. Let is wash over you believer. Try and grasp that truth. Find great comfort in that truth. God chose you. Not based upon anything you brought to the table. In spite of your sin, God chose you. He did everything needed and necessary for sinners to be redeemed and forgiven. He chose you before the foundation of the world, and made good on His choosing in spite of you. Be in awe of that amazing grace.