“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:16-17)
Even though this blog is posted for December 29, I am writing it on Thursday, November 8. In case you forgot, Thursday, November 8 was two days after the 2018 mid-term elections for those running for the United States Senate, House of Representatives and various state governorship’s.
According the United States Constitution, citizens of the United States of America have a legal right and responsibility to vote for those who meet the constitutional requirements and qualifications to serve in government. More than a democracy, America is more accurately a representative republic. Those who serve in government are chosen by the will of the people and for the will of the people. In all of recorded history, America is truly a unique experiment.
However, as Americans and conscious humans who possess an intellect, have emotions and exercise a human will we tend to transfer these abilities from God as the rhyme and reason that we are children of God. Much like choosing our representatives in government, we tend to think that we independently and freely chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. In today’s text, Jesus says otherwise.
Jesus said that He chose the eleven unto salvation. To choose, from the Greek word ἐκλέγομαι (eklegomai), means to select, call and to name. Jesus made it clear that the disciples did not choose Him but rather He chose them. What was true for the original disciples remains true today.
Jesus also stated that He appointed His disciples. To appoint (τίθημι; tithemi) means to assign, to give a task and to designate people to a particular responsibility. This task, based upon a prior choosing, is for disciples of Jesus Christ to bear fruit. It is also that each disciple will be so in tune with God’s will that their prayers will reflect this perspective and God will give them what they ask.
Dr. John MacArthur explains, “In case any pretense might exist among the disciples in terms of spiritual pride because of the privileges they enjoyed, Jesus made it clear that such privilege rested not in their own merit, but on his sovereign choice of them. God chose Israel (Isa. 45:4; Amos 3:2), but not for any merit (Deut. 7:7; 9:4–6). God elected angels to be forever holy (1 Tim. 5:21). He elected believers to salvation apart from any merit (Matt. 24:24, 31; see notes on Rom. 8:29–33; Eph. 1:3–6; Col. 3:12; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:2). One purpose of God’s sovereign election is that believers should produce spiritual fruit. The NT describes fruit as godly attitudes (Gal. 5:22–23), righteous behavior (Phil. 1:11), praise (Heb. 13:15), and especially leading others to faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God (Rom. 1:13–16).”
The doctrine of election is predominant in John’s Gospel. We have already witnessed and studied it in John 3, 6 and 10. However, we should also remember that while God chooses unto salvation, He subsequently commands us to exercise our redeemed human wills by loving one another.
John Calvin writes, “Men commonly imagine some kind of concurrence to take place between the grace of God and the will of man; but that contrast, I chose you I was not chosen by you, claims exclusively for Christ alone what is usually divided between Christ and man; as if He had said that a man is not moved of his own accord to seek Christ until he has been sought by Him.”
This conscious choice on our part is the obedient response by disciples of Jesus Christ resulting from the conscious choice on God’s part in making us His disciples of Jesus Christ in the first place.
Soli deo Gloria!