Today's thought comes from my 2014 Book of the Year: God is Love by Gerald Bray. This is, by Bray's own statement a "biblical and systematic theology." I have been reading it, a few pages each morning, all year and am stalling and re-reading so as not to finish before New Year's Eve! It is, simply, a treasure. Bray writes in a very thoughtful, conversational style. Don't let the thought of reading theology keep you from this heart-warming, spirit-fueling volume. The following is excerpted from his chapter on the Christian life, pg 614, 615:
"Those who have been chosen for salvation also know that they really had no choice but to respond to God's call when it came. God has commanded everyone to repent, but those who do nether and obey that command cannot be saved. When Jesus called his disciples, they dropped what they were doing and followed him immediately. People who made excuses were turned away because they were not fit for the kingdom of God, and the same will happen to us if we behave the way they did. As with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, meeting with Christ is an overwhelming experience that makes nonsense of the notion of 'choice,' even as it sets us free. In that sense it is like falling in love, which is not a 'choice' either, but which uplifts our spirit and frees our will to honor and serve the one whom we love. If that is true in human terms, how much more will it be true of the love of God?
"Those whom God has saved also know that they have been chosen for a purpose Salvation is not a reward for services rendered, nor is it comparable to winning a lottery. It is something that we have been given, and that we are called to work out 'with fear and trembling' because it is God who is at work in us in order to fulfill his will and purpose. There is no such thing as early retirement in the Christian live.
"Knowing that you have been chosen by God is a humbling experience, and humility is the chief hallmark of the Christian. It is a humility that gives us spiritual authority to proclaim the Word of God without fear because we are not furthering our own interests but the glory of Jesus Christ our Savior."
It is thinking and writing like this that we need in a day when we are more liable to argue about God's choosing than to see it as an act of his love that overwhelms us, transforms us, and compels us to be about distributing the good news of that love to those in our world.
Picture credit: "Mission Definition" by Stuart Miles; Freedigitalphotos.net