But does this mean that God is the Great Cosmic Team Captain, sorting through all the people, saying, “I pick you….I don’t pick you…yes, you’re in…no, you’re out…you’re on My team, but you’re not…” Does this sound like the God who is love to you? The God with whom “there is no partiality” (Rom.2:11)? Hardly!
Who does the Father draw to Himself then?
We cannot conclude that He only picks some from one verse without considering what He says elsewhere. For instance, here’s what Jesus said later in the same gospel account (emphasis added):
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32 NKJV)
Do we understand what Jesus is saying here? He’s not saying He will draw a big crowd when He gets crucified. No, it’s something much bigger and much more wonderful. What Jesus is saying is that He’s going to bring all of mankind with Him to the cross!
Don’t believe me? Here’s what other Scriptures say about it (emphasis mine; all NKJV):
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Cor.5:14-15)
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Rom.5:18)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph.2:4-6)
2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
So…who did the Father draw to Himself? Some people? Only the righteous? No, it says all people. When did He do this? When we went to the altar and said the “sinner’s prayer?” No! While we were all still dead in our trespasses, hiding in the bushes!
Beloved, there is no place in creation where you can be outside of Christ. I talked about this in my last post and here. He has brought you to Himself and locked the door behind Him! Whether you love Him or hate Him, He has drawn you to Himself. There is no “in” or “out” in this sense.
Whether you choose heaven or hell, you will do so in Christ.
We really do need a much bigger picture of Jesus!
I know this sounds strange to our compartmentalized, dualistic and deistic thinking, but you can’t ask Jesus in anywhere He’s not already occupying. He’s not waiting in some other reality for the okay to come into your life! That would be absurd. That would be saying that all things are not held together in Christ (Col.1:16-17).
Our theology has made Him too small.
Here’s one of my favorite C. Baxter Kruger quotes, which sums it up beautifully:
“The Gospel is not the news that we can receive Jesus Christ into our lives; the Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has received us into His life!”
Am I saying all are “born again?” In one sense, yes. All mankind was reconciled (exchanged), as far as God is concerned. All were forgiven and redeemed from Adam’s fall and placed in Christ. But not all necessarily want His salvation. We must receive the free gift by faith.
This is not Universalism, which takes away our choice. No, God is love, and for love to be love requires our freedom to choose. On His side of this love relationship, God has already chosen you; the question mark is on your side of the relationship.
Can you see now that, from God’s perspective, anyone ending up in hell is the ultimate tragedy of unrequited love.
This is the Good News that brings great joy!
This is our message: God says, “I’ve already reconciled you to Me and put you inside My Son…therefore, I’m not counting your sins against you anymore. So please…BE reconciled!”
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor.5:18-20 NIV)
If you understand this, you understand why Robert Capon said, “Christianity is not a religion; it’s the announcement of the end of religion.”
Will we choose to be chosen?
When we say we’re “saved,” what we should be saying is that we’ve accepted Jesus’ life already in us as our life. We’ve accepted His relationship with the Father as our relationship with the Father. And we’ve accepted His behavior, His holiness, and His righteousness…as our own. We’ve repented from our religious dead works and are now at rest in Him (Heb.4:6-10; 6:1).
We agree with God that our life is now found in Christ (Col. 3:3). It has nothing to do with anything we do, or don’t do, other than to agree with what God has already done. We accept God’s free gift of His life, lived out in us by grace through faith. Paul called anything more than this “another gospel” (Gal.1:6-9; 3:1-5).
The question is not, did God choose you for salvation; the question is, will you accept His reconciliation? God has already done everything He’s ever going to do to save you. He has placed you in Himself. You decide whether you benefit from this reality or not.