04 November 2008

Election Day

by Dan Phillips

Today I'll be casting my vote for president (among other things). Many factors go into my decision, and these elections have consequences. It could be argued that today's election is unusually fraught with consequences.

But it casts my mind back to another election, a vastly different election. I'd like to offer a number of contrasts.

Today's American election takes place (normally) every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.

The election I'm thinking of took place once only, before the foundation of a world (Ephesians 1:4).

Today's election involves votes cast by millions of people of wildly varying circumstances, characters, levels of intelligence, and worldviews.

The eternal election only had three participants: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each the quintessence of perfection in power, wisdom, holiness, and goodness (Ephesians 1:3-14).

Today's election requires that I take into account the career, character, accomplishments, stated convictions, and proposals of the candidates. My vote must be earned, in my estimation.

The eternal election actually is not only irrespective of (Romans 9:11), but contrary to the deserts of its objects. It is an election "that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Ephesians 1:4). If that is the objective (or outcome) of the choice, then what were we before that choice, if not altogether unholy, and blameworthy?

Today's election involves but a handful of candidates, and I can only choose one.

The eternal election considered every man, woman and child who would ever live; and from them, it selected not one, but a vast multitude that no man can number (Revelation 7:9).

Today's election offers me the opportunity to cast a vote that can be defeated by two contrary votes, or by fraud.

The eternal election was executed by the God who "does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:35).

Today's election results will go down in the history books, but may well ultimately be forgotten.

The eternal election has as its object "that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).

Today's election will result in the praise of the victor and his campaign (— and maybe a few remarks about the media, either way).

The eternal election results in the praise of God's glorious grace, with which He surrounded us in His beloved one (Ephesians 1:6).

Today's election could be reversed or invalidated by evil acts, catastrophes, disasters, or other utterly unforeseeable events.

The eternal election is as certain and sure as yesterday, and there is no power in any part of the universe that can reverse its results (Romans 8:29-39).

Today's election is centered in the kingdom of man.

The eternal election consists of the gift of a chosen people by the Father to the Son (John 17:6), given to Him that He might save them (Matthew 1:21), wash, cleanse, and wed them (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Hopefully, we'll know the results of today's election by tomorrow.

The results of the eternal election are known every time the Word of God comes home in power to someone's heart, and he welcomes that word in repentant faith (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2:13).

How people vote today makes some difference, under God's hand (Daniel 4:32).

God's eternal election makes all the difference (Psalm 103:19; 115:3).

NOTE about the meta: in keeping with the Pyro focus, please refrain from partisan comments in the meta. Other blogs are going there, which (in my opinion) is just fine — but not here. Seriously, don't make me delete comments, please. I hope you all "get" that this post is not about politics.

Dan Phillips's signature

40 comments:

Dave said...

When I seek to understand my pre-creation election, this helps: Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, truly amazing grace.

Matt said...

Thanks for the post, Dan. I like your reference to Daniel 4:32. From the God's-eye-view, this election is already settled. Whatever happens will ultimately serve His eternal purpose, even if it may seem painful. Of course, that doesn't preclude our responsibility.

I'm thankful that God will still be our sovereign High King, no matter what happens tonight.

donsands said...

If that don't make you shout! God chose us in Christ, and that's forever, because of His great love.

Thanks for the edifying post.

"You have not elected Me, but I have elected you, and appointed you"

What a Savior we have.

Stefan said...
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Stefan said...
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Frank Turk said...

Brilliant as usual, my friend.

I would not try to say it better.

DJP said...

Well then, I'm done.

Day's not getting any better than this.

(c:

Everyday Mommy said...

“For so the Lord has commanded us,‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." - Acts 13:47-48

Stefan said...

Sorry, Dan: Had to repost my comment a couple of times, trying to get my thoughts down. Okay...

I exercise my rights as a citizen of a democracy, but try to remain aloof of politics, knowing that whatever happens, it's according to God's sovereign purposes.

Nevertheless, I've been drawn into following this election more and more—the poll trends, the horse races—and will be sitting on tenterhooks tonight.

So thank you for this timely reminder of what ultimately matters: the sweet, ineffable, sovereign grace of God!

barb said...

How loving of God to give us, along with our gastronomic daily bread, the
true meat of His Word such as you have explained to us here, Dan.

Bless you for answering His calling on your life.

Beth said...

Wow, wow, wow and WOW...now that's a conversation that is helpful :-)

Amen..fabulous..loved it!

I never get tired of hearing that story..now I'm smilin' and I'll be smilin' all day regardless of..you know..the other election..

Thanks for the great reminder Dan...

diaryofabrokenvessel.com said...

I know that this has little to do with the actual post -the discussion on election/Election brough a need for me to leave this comment.

I want to say thank you. I have been reading this blog for quite some time, and it lead me to a healthy place -and in the direction of healthy doctrine and theology.

I was very much not a Calvinist when I began coming here. I couldn't fathom Limited Atonement or Election, but the posts of the writers here -as well as the comments of many of your readers- helped drive me to study and learn all I could.

Today I call Reformed theology my own. Calvinism is mine. Thank you.

(I apologize if this is out of place.)

beachbirdie said...

I am brought to tears and trembling whenever I am reminded so clearly of that election that allowed me into the Kingdom.

It is tempting when times are a little uncomfortable to whine and complain about what I think I "deserve" compared to what I really have. We are currently struggling with a number of things including unemployment and all its inconveniences, as well as some health issues that won't go away. All of that pales in the face of what God has given me!

Thank you for your excellent post.

The Doulos said...

Dan, you parallel my thoughts on this topic yesterday, which I posted here. However, I will not claim plagiaristic intent...

Sharon said...

What a "blessed assurance" that God sets up, and takes down governments, and "the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1). God is sovereign over today's election, and that precious promise is "rest unto my soul."

(Political "verse of the day" may be found here.)

Janet said...

Thank you Dan!

Socorro said...

Dan,

Thanks for this most brilliant post. May our God be glorified!

"It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings."
Daniel 2:21

Yes, regardless of the results, God will continue to be Sovereign... Amen and Amen

Laura said...

What a great encouragement! Thank you.

Chris said...

There is a billboard here in Corpus Christi, TX that reads "Elect Jesus as your King." That's just so backwards. Christ elects us.
John MacArthur can be heard on this station daily. How ironic.

http://bp1.blogger.com/_A13IzIdlqgE/SD4ggAaF1dI/AAAAAAAAAEY/MdDr6Z7zJuI/s1600-h/ELECTjESUS.jpg

Chris said...

I meant to mention that the billboard is from a radio station.

NothingNewUnderTheSun said...

Regardless if it's an eternal election of an national election it's all within God's providence.

Rachael Starke said...

What a great reminder that I am so far less qualified for God's choosing than any of those running for office are for our choosing.

You know Dan, I really think your starting to get a handle on this preaching through writing thing. :)

Elle said...

Today I exercised my right as an American citizen to cast a vote. Of temporal value.

Everyday I give glory to God for the rights of heavenly citizenship that only He bestows on me. Of eternal value. Of final assurance. Of majestic mercy.

Anyone can be president, but only One is King!

Stefan said...

Diaryofabrokenvessel: I'm with you there. Although I'd been attending a church that teaches the doctrines of grace, it was partly through careful, directed study of the Word as prompted by this wonderful blog that led me to where I, too, am now.

In a world where you can't necessarily trust 99% of what you read on the Internet, I appreciate the fact that the authors of this blog are solid, trustworthy men who humble themselves before the throne of grace, and always point us back to the Word.

Rita Martinez said...
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Rita Martinez said...

"The eternal election actually is not only irrespective of (Romans 9:11), but contrary to the deserts of its objects. It is an election "that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Ephesians 1:4). If that is the objective (or outcome) of the choice, then what were we before that choice, if not altogether unholy, and blameworthy?"

"The eternal election is as certain and sure as yesterday, and there is no power in any part of the universe that can reverse its results (Romans 8:29-39)"

"The results of the eternal election are known every time the Word of God comes home in power to someone's heart, and he welcomes that word in repentant faith (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2:13)."

Ohhh Amen Amen and Amen!!!!

jeff said...

I too have been blessed by the pyromaniacs and the others who comment here. I have learned a lot and come to a better understanding of my election by visiting here. The church I attend does not teach election, but does preach Christ crucified and Salvation by Grace throuch faith, which I am thankful for. But the doctrine of election does a lot to keep me humble before God and man that I would not have otherwise. Thanks. And God bless.

Hadassah said...

Now THAT is an election day post worth reading.

blackreformingkid said...

Only one election worth knowing about for this teenager! Thanks Mr. Phillips

Marie said...

Thank you for the parallel - as usual, very well worded. I am teaching a women's Bible study on Romans, and this would have been good to have when explaining unconditional election. Actually, maybe it's not too late - I'd like to share a couple of the points you made here, at least.

God is sovereign. He knows the end from the beginning - I'm not anxious about the outcome.

Carl said...

A very timely and welcome post. Thank you.

Rick Frueh said...

It is 8:19 EST and the natioanl campaign race is over to all objective observers. But our race as believers is still to be run with patience, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Solameanie said...

I love this post -- a good reminder. I have a hunch that we're all going to have to keep reminding ourselves of God's sovereignty in the days ahead.

Besides that kudos to brother Daniel, I find myself wondering about how Teddy Roosevelt's poor dentist managed. Mercy me, what incisors! Forget the cavitron, you'd need a sandblaster to clean those choppers.

donsands said...

"Forget the cavitron, you'd need a sandblaster to clean those choppers."

Thank you my brother, I needed that good laugh tonight, especially, since "my soul is cast down".

Stefan said...

Ol' Teddy would have gone for the sandblaster, and without anaesthetic, I'm sure. Just a good shot of whiskey, perhaps.

Solameanie said...

And he would have said, "Bully!" all the way. He might have even bitten the dentist's finger off.

donsands said...

"He might have even bitten the dentist's finger off."

Thanks again. That brought a bit of a chuckle, with my even greater down cast soul.

Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. And truly "The Whole World is in His Hands".

a new beginning said...

If this isn't just an awesome reframing of the meaning of our election in light of God's sovereignty and our . . . nothingness, really. And in spite of our lousy evil ways, he chose & redeemed us. Just doesn't get any better and nothing that happens in today's election means a lot in that context . . .

Thank you.

JOYce said...

A wonderful post ~ God is always good!

Devin said...

Amen, amen, amen.

God is on His throne, and He is Our King forever and ever. Praise Him that He is good, and loves us so much that He made it possible for we undeserving wretches to be made His own adopted children.

I'm thankful to live in the temporal, earthly nation that I do, but I'm even more thankful that my true hope abides in Jesus Christ, and that it is a hope that no one can take from me.