have you ever wanted to get a tattoo? something permanent that will be on your body forever? i have nothing against tattoos, but my only philosophy about tattoos is that it better be pretty darn meaningful, cause when you’re old and wrinkly, you better still love seeing that on your body.
this past summer i strongly considered getting a tattoo that said “chosen to be loved,” a constant reminder that i am continually and abundantly chosen to be loved by God no matter what i do. i ended up chickening out of getting the tattoo but the phrase none the less has a continually strong impact on my life and my view of our creator.
last night, i was at ncsu cru primetime meeting where student pastor, thomas west, spoke and preached about being chosen by God, not necessarily chosen to be loved, but chosen to be SAVED. his talk cleared up so many questions and showed me so much more of the power and love of God. preaching out of romans 9, thomas presented the question, “why does God save people?,” but more importantly, “why does God CHOOSE to save people?” after his study of the passage he found that God chooses to save people to 1. show his mercy and 2. to show his glory. but i took away so much more than just those two powerful points.
romans 9: 6-18 tells us that God has chosen who he has chosen and hardened those he has chosen to harden. he chose who would be his people; he chose who would have a relationship with him; he chose who will receive the gift of eternal life with him in heaven; he chose who will receive his unconditional love; he chose who would receive the holy spirit; he chose.
without being aware of it, i have had the mindset for so long that i chose. i chose to be a christian; i chose to go to church; i chose to believe christ died for my sins; i chose to read my bible; i chose to pray; i chose to follow god; i chose god. but in reality its the complete opposite.
god has chosen me. with all my faults and all my inequities. god created me and wants me. god pursued me. he chose me. he pursued me. he did not give up on me. he fought for me. he loves me. he forgives me. he provides for me. he chooses to save me.
so many times in my walk with lord, i take him for granted. i don’t live my life like i know those truths i just mentioned. i don’t live like the creator of the universe has chosen me. he did not choose to harden me, but rather he chose to bring me out of my sin and save me.
and what did i do to deserve this? NOTHING! romans 9: 16 says, “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” i could not attain god’s salvation by desiring it nor could i have done anything to deserve or chose his love and saving grace. instead it’s quite the contrary. i continually live a life of sin making human decision, having human thoughts and desires, doing human things. but God is not fair and praise him that he isn’t. the creator of the universe has chosen to love me, the sinner. i have disobeyed him and turned from him and he does not punish me for it, but instead loves me, forgives me, and saves me. who can say that the biggest authority figure ever chooses not to punish you when you do wrong?
so many people interpret god’s choosing of some people and not of others as an unjust act. but if you think of all the things that we have done, what does god owe us? NOTHING! and yet he gives us EVERYTHING!
we do not have the right to question him, because as verse 20 says, “who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’.” what are we without the one who created us? if god had not decided to even consider making us, what would we be? dust to play with in his hands? clay in the potter’s hands, yet to be turned into a masterpiece? we would cease to exist. actually, we would never have existed in the first place. so who are we to question God, the sole reason we even exist?
so if God has already chosen who he has saved, then why do we go out and take the time to reach the lost and spread the good news and go on mission trips and get out of our comfort zones to have these talks with strangers and get mocked and scorned for sharing what we believe. why does God call us to do all of this, if he already has his chosen people chosen?
God saves people so that we may participate in his mission. it is not on us or on the people we share our faith with to believe. it is on God. God does the work , we just introduce them to God and shine that light that is Christ in us. those who God has already chosen will draw to the light and to God. no one is outside the reach of God.
so what do we do now?
my prayer for you and for me is that we live our lives devoted to our savior. that we live our lives constantly aware of whose we are. that we live our lives knowing that God chose to save us. that we live our lives thankful that he did not choose to harden us. that we live our lives praising him for all the mind-blowingly-merciful things he does for us. that we live our lives permanently shining his light. that we live our lives humbly bowing down to the creator who makes no mistakes and is not to be questioned. that we lived our lives in awe of the one who does not punish those who deserve punishment, but rather abounds them in love and forgiveness. i pray we live our lives never forgetting that we are nothing without god, but that because of him and his choice to save us, we have everything.