Summary: The 8th sermon in our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
God’s Purpose of Grace (BFM #8)
By: Ken McKinley
We are continuing on with our study of the BFM and we come to article V, God’s purpose of grace. So let me read to you from the BFM this article (read). “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies and glorifies sinners… In our text from Romans Paul writes that whom God foreknew, He predestined, and the result of this was that we become conformed to Christ. So what does it mean to be “foreknown?” Some people would say that God looked down through time and saw who would come to believe in Him and those were the ones He predestinated to be conformed to Christ. Those were the ones He predestined to salvation. But that’s not exactly what Scripture teaches… Scripture tells us that salvation is a gift from God, we are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves. No part of salvation is done by us, it’s a gift. So God doesn’t just foresee faith, He gives faith. What Scripture teaches is that He must call us first. Those who are called believe and are justified. So when Paul writes, “Those He foreknew…” he’s speaking of a relational way of knowing. So those He knew before, are the ones He has predestined. To be predestined means to pre-determine a destiny or destination. What that means is that, having chosen you for His own, and set His love on you and cared for you before you ever even existed, God decided what would become of you. And part of that pre-determined destiny is that you are conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
This is what election is all about. We elect a President, we elect senators and congressmen, we elect certain officials. Election is another word for being chosen. Well God chose you. Scripture tells us that you were chosen before the foundations of the world, and because you were chosen, you are regenerated. Remember last time, when we talked about salvation… regeneration is just another word for salvation. You were saved because you were chosen. You are justified because you were chosen. To be justified means to be declared right in the sight of God. In-other-words God sees you just as if you had never sinned. You are justified because you were chosen.
You are being sanctified because you were chosen. Sanctification is the process of being conformed to the image of God’s beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You are being changed, you are being made like Jesus. All because you were chosen.
And the BFM then mentions glorification. That’s the end of the process of sanctification. The Bible says that we will be changed, in the twinkling of an eye. We will be changed.
And it’s all because you were chosen.
Now some might hear all this talk about being chosen and get a bit uncomfortable. It makes people uncomfortable because it takes it out of their hands and places it squarely in God’s. But that is exactly what Scripture teaches – that salvation is of the Lord. And that’s why it excludes boasting and promotes humility. How can we boast if we did nothing to earn our salvation? We can’t… All the glory belongs to God.
Now the BFM also says that it (election) is also consistent with the free agency of man. What that means is that man will act as he is disposed to act. Before election takes place a person is dead in trespasses and sin, they are a slave to sin, the Bible tells us that sin reigns in their mortal bodies, and that they will not seek after righteousness. There are none righteous, no not one. But regeneration, by the Spirit of God, breaks the bonds of sin. It sets us free from the power of sin. It gives man a new nature. Remember we talked about how when we are born again, we are born of an incorruptible seed. In our sinful nature we had no desire for righteousness, or the things of God, but when we are born again, we are given a new nature, and because of that we see sin for what it is, we develop such a distaste for it, it leads us to repent. Our new nature demands repentance of us.
Some people say that Election destroys man’s free will, but when we understand what election is, and when we understand that man, by his free will, will act in accordance with his nature, whether it’s a sinful, or a new – righteous nature, we see that election isn’t mind control or God dragging people to heaven kicking and screaming.
A man sins because he IS a sinner. It’s his nature to do so. But when we are given a new nature, we no longer have that propensity towards sin. So because man is a sinner, he freely chooses to sin, but when a man becomes the righteousness of God in Christ, he will freely choose to live in a righteous way.