Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
The apostle Paul in his Pastoral letters (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) challenges the church to what we would call discipleship. For example, in Titus 2:3 Paul says, “Older women (older in the faith, more mature in the faith) likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women …” Also, in 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul calls on faithful men to teach others. May we as a church put these teachings into practice. Ask yourself a simple question … “Am I in a discipleship relationship with another Christian?” Dear friends, may we pray for the Lord to open doors to such opportunities as we live unto his glory!
Here are some reminders of happenings in the life of our church:
1. The ladies will be meeting at Mamacitas (Hwy 6 & 290) tomorrow night (Thurs) at 7:00 for good food and good fellowship. Please let Christy know if you’ll be able to make it.
2. This Sunday we are starting a new Sunday school series on Genesis. Join us at 9:45 as we dive into this wonderful book.
3. On Sunday, July 14 we will be moving to our new location: the Kids R Kids on Hwy 6 and Forest Trails (behind the Walgreens). Be in prayer for this move, and take this opportunity to invite your friends, neighbors, etc. We will have a church fellowship meal following worship.
4. This week’s devotional is a reflection on the doctrine of election – a truth that can be quite divisive, but should stir our hearts to greater praise and worship.
I look forward to seeing you all this Lord’s Day!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Grace of Election”
Eph 1:4, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
The glorious truth of the scriptures is that salvation is of the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jonah 2:9) – that salvation is all of grace (Eph 2:8). The only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin! Thus, a sinner’s salvation is a work of divine, sovereign grace. That is to say, salvation is God’s work – from beginning to end. And fundamental to this truth of God’s grace in salvation is the Biblical teaching of election. Election, simply put, is the idea that God chooses whom he will save.
Ephesians 1:4 is a classic text setting forth this Biblical truth, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” There are several observations that we need to make regarding this verse. First, note that it is God who chooses. God takes the initiative in salvation (1 John 4:10; 19). Just as God is the author of creation (Gen 1:1), so he is the author of the new creation (2 Cor 5:17); just as God is the originator of all life (Gen 1:1-31), so he is the originator of new life (1 John 5:12). Second, God chooses ‘in Christ.’ That is to say, there is nothing in us that causes God to love us. Why? Because we are sinners – we are sinners by nature and by choice. We are dead in sin (Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13). We are not neutral when it comes to things of God; rather the fallen mind hates the things of God (Rom 8:7). Apart from God’s sovereign grace in our hearts, we want nothing to do with Christ. We are helpless and hopeless in and of ourselves (John 6:44, 65; 1 Cor 2:14). Therefore, God elects some unto salvation … because that is who he is, a God of amazing love, grace, and mercy. He does not choose us because we deserve it (if we get what we deserve, we get hell!!), he chooses us in Christ because he is a God who saves sinners (Luke 19:10). Third, God chooses before the foundation of the world. Again, Paul is underscoring that salvation is all of grace. If God elects before the foundation of the world, then his choice rises from his decree, not from anything done or not done by us (see Deut 7:6-8; 2 Tim 1:9; Rom 9:10-13). Finally, the effect of God’s election is that we should be holy and blameless before him. In other words, God chooses not because we are holy, but that we would grow in holiness. A holy life is not the cause of God’s choice, it is the effect of God’s choice. Believers, because of their union with Christ and the power of the Spirit at work in them, will grow in holiness.
There are three brief applications that we should take from this teaching. First, an upward application. This truth should stir our hearts to praise. Oh what love and grace God has given to us. We deserve only judgment and condemnation; but God in his grace and mercy gives life to sinners. Let us worship him!! Second, an inward application. Those who take this teaching to heart should be characterized by humility. Election is the most pride-crushing truth in all the Bible. May we be people of humble love and service to others! And finally, an outward application. It is often said that believing in election robs one of evangelistic zeal. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. The only hope we have in sharing the good news – the only foundation of true evangelistic zeal – is the knowledge that God has his sheep – that God saves sinners. Thus, dear friends, may we be struck anew by the grace and mercy of a sovereign God; and may we take this good news to a world lost in sin!!