This is the second in a four-part series on the relationship between control and election.
The Need for Control and Why Biblical Election is Odious
Genesis 3 teaches that God created man with a will and the desire for autonomy. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He told them what they could and could not do, implying that they had both a will and the power to obey or disobey. God prohibited them from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, i.e., they had complete freedom with the exception of deciding for themselves what is good and what is evil. They insisted that they should make that decision, and this introduced sin. Their desire for autonomy was not the result of their sin but rather what caused their sin.
God created you with a will and a desire for autonomy. The will is essential in order to elect and control. Without a will you are not a person; you are a robot. You want to elect what you consider serves your best interest. You want to decide what is good and evil for you.
A belief in certainty is a desire to control. If you are uncertain of the future, you are out of control. Uncertainty produces fear in those areas in which you care what happens. Because none can be certain of the future, you calm your propensity to fear with assurance. For example, when you take a commercial flight to another destination, you realize you cannot be certain the plane will safely deliver you, but you calm whatever apprehension you may have by reminding yourself of the safety of the airline. If you fly enough, you cease thinking about it.
However, God destroys the illusion of control by at least three means:
1 – The realization that none can solve the problem of inequality. You are not as bright as you would like to be and can do nothing about it.
2 – Perpetual opposition seen in adverse circumstances. You watch a loved one die of cancer. You work hard, and someone steals your wealth. Life is a myriad of discouragements and disappointments.
3 – Law. Those stronger than you make rules and force you to comply. Your boss wants you to work extra hours. The police will not allow you to ignore a red light when you are in a hurry. The illustrations are legion.
People think they can be certain they will go to heaven when they die by obligating God with His promises. A man said, “God will forgive my sins; He has to, for He promised me in 1 John 1:9: ‘If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive our sins…’” You cannot leverage God with His general promises. He may say to you, “Correct, I did make this promise, but it does not apply to you!” God gave us promises so that He can get us to do His will; He never intended that we use His promises to get Him to do our will. This misuse of biblical promises almost always leads to frustrated expectations.
The objective of most worship is the control of God. People have the attitude, “God, I will worship you if You give me what I want.” A man told me, “I will come to God for His salvation when I am ready.” One man I ostensibly led to Christ said, “I tried following Christ, but it did not work.” That is, “God did not meet my expectations, so I stopped worshipping Him.”
It is not that people believe election is odious. Rather, they want to do the electing: not God, not anyone else. To do this, they must be in control and therefore spend a great deal of their time creating the illusion of being in control. It may be a magnificent illusion, but it is an illusion nonetheless.
Grateful that He elects,