Zechariah 3 and Election
Zechariah 3:1-2 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”
Nineteenth century Presbyterian Thomas Moore writes on Zechariah 3:2, “Begone, false fiend! Blacken not the glorious gospel by such lying suggestions! It is not Jerusalem that chooses Jehovah, but Jehovah that chooses Jerusalem. It is not the burning brand that plucks the hand, but the hand that plucks it.” He grabbed you, you didn’t grab him. It is his grip that keeps you, not yours.
Sometimes when the gospel is preached we are told that it is as though Jesus has thrown out a life preserver, a flotation ring to you, a drowning man. But it is up to you to reach out by faith and grab hold of the life preserver. But I don’t think this is a good picture of our Savior. Here’s a better one. You’re drowning. In fact, you’ve gulped in a bunch of sea water and you are already sinking like a stone. So Jesus dives in swims down under the water, grabs you, drags you unconscious back to shore, performs CPR on you, but it’s too late, you’re dead. Then he stands above you and says “Arise” and raises you from the dead and you embrace him and say, “My Savior!”
In first picture he doesn’t really save you, he just makes it possible for you to save yourself, and so it is just as possible for you to damn yourself. But in the second picture he is your savior and he saves to the uttermost. If you have been grabbed by this savior, you need to fear no accusation. For his grip on you will never fail. You can trust him, and your faith will overcome all the accusations of the evil one.
Calvin wrote, “those men who at this day obscure and seek as far as they can to extinguish the doctrine of election are enemies to the human race for they strive their utmost to subvert every assurance of salvation.” I urge you, despise not the doctrine of election. When Moses was on the holy mount in Exodus 33 he prayed “Show me Thy glory!” And God said “I Myself will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and I will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” Moses asked to see glory, and God revealed to Him election. That’s essential to what it means for God to be God. He chooses. He has mercy on whom He will have mercy. And if he has been gracious to you, it’s because of his unconditional electing mercy and because of nothing in you, and therefore he will never let you go, because it’s not about you, it’s about the glory of his electing mercy.
Tune in tomorrow for Zechariah 3 and Imputation.
Here’s a hymn to sing
’Tis not that I did choose Thee,
For Lord, that could not be;
This heart would still refuse Thee,
Hadst Thou not chosen me.
Thou from the sin that stained me
Hast cleansed and set me free;
Of old Thou hast ordained me,
That I should live to Thee.
’Twas sov’reign mercy called me
And taught my op’ning mind;
The world had else enthralled me,
To heav’nly glories blind.
My heart owns none before Thee,
For Thy rich grace I thirst;
This knowing, if I love Thee,
Thou must have loved me first.
For a tune, click here.