God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Th. 2:13-14, NASB)
The day that I heard the call was December 27, 2009. I wrote down two statements on the back of an envelope, which I keep in a folder, on a bookshelf in my study:
1. Allow Jesus to be Lord over my life daily. Make that commitment to him daily and allow his Holy Spirit to fill me.
2. Do to others as I would have them do to me. Do this in all aspects.
When I heard the call I admittedly understood that Jesus is Lord and his commandments are love. However, I did not yet appreciate the sovereignty of God in my salvation. I later came to appreciate the sovereign grace of God through reading the Scriptures, while filled with the Holy Spirit. I read that God chose me before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him. He predestined me to adoption as his son through the blood of Jesus Christ, according to the kind intention of his will, the forgiveness of my sins by his grace, which he freely bestowed on me whom he loved. (cf. Eph. 4-8)
God said to Moses In Exodus 33:19 which Paul also quotes in Romans 9:15, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Then Paul says in vs.16, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”
Men are saved by the will of God and the righteous blood of Jesus Christ. It is God who wills the salvation of men and it is Christ who ran the race not us. I heard the call not because I willed; nor, will I inherit eternal life because I ran, but because it was the will of the Father that I “may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Th. 2:14, NASB)
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