When it comes to theological paradoxes, instead of embracing the divine mysteries and using it as an occasion for worship, we tend to overrationalize. This is the common sin of all mankind, I myself being the worst. A theological paradox that tends to bring out all sorts of debate and emotion is God’s sovereignty even over the salvation of man, and yet we also have a decision. Even though this seems to us to be contradictory, we must understand that the LORD’s thoughts and ways are much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and He exemplifies rationality (1 Cor 14:33), So our decision is seated within His ordination.
A passage that really highlights this truth is Matthew 11:25-30;
” At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
While it seems strange to our ears that God would only reveal Himself in a saving way to some, while hiding Himself from others, Jesus finds His Father’s plan concerning these things as an occasion of worship. Here He boasts in His Father’s sovereignty over the souls of men. Notice the reversal of wisdom here, little children (lit. infants) understand and the philosophers are blind. God’s decision to save isn’t contingent upon us in and of ourselves, or in anything that we’ve done; He saves us because of who He is, and because of what He’s done.
The question that usually arises from discussion of this doctrine is “Where then is the open offer if one is to hold such a strong view of election?” . It is interesting to note that Jesus, from the teaching of election, proceeds to an open offer.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
To those with a broken heart for sin, knowing that they cannot meet up to the standards of a Holy God, they are invited to Christ, who will give them rest. They are invited to stop their striving, and their laboring, and to take Christ’s yoke. He is the one working in the believer. (Eph 2:10)
The parallel account to this is Luke 10:23, where He tells His disciples “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see,” (Luke 10:23).
This isn’t something that we all have, but the eyes to see have been given to us by the grace of God. It isn’t because we are much smarter than everyone else to make the decision to have faith. Rather it is because of God’s mercy that He had given us the eyes to see and the ears to hear His Word.
Consider the beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-5
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
They were not blessed because of anything they did, rather Jesus was describing what the blessings were. If you are poor in spirit, and you mourn, and you are meek, then Praise the Lord! Theses are good gifts from heaven. (James 1:17) even the faith to believe is a gift from above (Eph 2:8)
Let us take Christ’s example and praise the LORD for His sovereignty in salvation!