Bruce Ware on what topped the Apostle Paul’s praise list: divine election and predestination

Concerning divine election Ware writes:

What is often to us a “controversial” and “potentially divisive”  doctrine to be ignored, at best, and repulsed, at worst, was for Paul , most notably, one of the sources for his greatest joy and strength. Consider Ephesians 1. Paul begins this letter commending praise to God the Father for the many rich and wondrous blessings he has granted us in his Son (Eph. 1:3). And so as not to leave us wondering just what these blessings are that he has in mind, he proceeds to enumerate them in the verses that follow (Eph. 1:4-14). Where does he begin his recitation of God’s wondrous blessings? What blessing tops the list?

Of all things, the very first blessing he extols, the one that, in the apostle’s mind, constitutes the basis for the rest of the blessings that follow, is the truth that God “chose us in Him [Christ], before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph. 1:4). And rather than leaving this notion quickly (as one would drop an unexpectedly hot pan picked up from the stove), instead he adds to this opening thought, marveling now that in love, God “predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5-6). Let’s not miss the significance here. When Paul thinks of why God is worthy of being praised, of what God has done for his people that should elicit from them deep, passionate, and wondrous worship, to the glory of his name, for the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:6), the very first thing that comes to his mind, and flows from his pen, is this truth: God chose us! God predestined us!

I cannot help but wonder if people in most of our churches were asked to list the reasons God is to be praised–that is, if they wrote down all of the blessings they could think of that God has provided for them–how many of our people would include election on the list? And, if it makes the list, for how many would election top the list? One thing seems clear: if we think on way about something, and Paul (and other biblical writers) think another way about the same thing, we are the ones in need of correction–not Paul or the Bible! Why does Paul value the truth that we often tend to shun? Why does Paul lead with a doctrine that many pastors wouldn’t dream of preaching on lest they breed controversy and risk a possible church split? What did Paul have in mind with this teaching on divine election, and why is it so important?

Bruce Ware, Perspectives on Election: 5 Views, p. 1-2

About cteldridge

A beggar trying to tell other beggars were the Bread is.
This entry was posted in Christian life, Election, Salvation, Scriptural exposition, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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