Election by grace, why?
Nobody knows. But this is the wrong question. The question should be: elected by grace, what for? Explanations on a central term of our New Apostolic self-conception.
God elects whom He wants whenever He wants, without having to justify Himself. This is what Chief Apostle Schneider makes clear in a doctrinal essay, which was originally published in an issue of the Divine Service Guide, and which is now also being featured in the member magazine community and its sister journals African Joy and the German magazine Unsere Familie.
Human beings can neither understand nor deserve their election. It is a sovereign choice by God that continues to elude the grasp of reason.
For ourselves and others
“Election is rooted in God’s will to call forth individual human beings or groups for a purpose determined by Him, thereby making them accountable to Him,” it says in the Catechism (CNAC 4.5). Election is therefore anything but an end in itself. Because God calls human beings not only for their own salvation but especially to participate in his plan of salvation.
Abraham, for example, was elected in order to serve as a blessing for all nations. Moses and Joshua were elected to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. Jesus Himself is portrayed as the elect of God, whom God has sent to serve mankind (Matthew 12: 18; Luke 9: 35).
A call and a mission
As the people of God of the new covenant, all Christians have been elected to attain eternal fellowship with God through Jesus. They are also called to serve their neighbour by
- bringing praise and adoration to God,
- attesting to God’s favours upon them in both word and deed,
- spreading the gospel, and
- doing good works.
Those who have been reborn out of water and the Spirit have been elected to have access to fellowship with Christ without having to enter the Last Judgement. In the kingdom of peace, it is their task to help in imparting salvation to all human beings who have ever lived (Revelation 20: 6).
“God chooses the moment in which He will make salvation accessible to each and every person,” the Chief Apostle says in the essay.
Offer and acceptance
Election is anything but automatic. It is up to the individual whether he follows his election and clinches it. Noah, for example, made his election sure through his faith and obedience.
In order to be saved, the individual must know Jesus Christ, the Son of God and only Mediator of salvation, and follow His example. At His return, Jesus Christ will take unto Himself those who have made their election sure—both from among the living as well as the dead—by allowing themselves to be prepared by the apostolate for this return.
He will complete His work
God is faithful: He will complete the work He has begun (Philippians 1: 6). According to His plan of redemption, every human being will have the opportunity to be redeemed (1 Timothy 2: 4). “God expects us to trust Him and serve Him out of love without becoming tired,” the Chief Apostle writes. “He will see to it that there are always enough of His elect in the church so that it can fulfil its mandate.”
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