Election coverage seems as if it has been going on “forever.” But in reality, it was only last spring when candidates began announcing their campaigns to be the next President of the United States. Since then, the news media have been covering the campaigns and discussing things like polls, “favorability,” and “electability.” Such coverage will continue until the election on November 8th.
Let’s consider a much grander, more glorious kind of election. This election really has been from “forever.” The Apostle Paul writes that this election took place “before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9), “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
On November 8th, registered voters will elect the next occupant of the White House. Contrast that to the eternal election, which was made by “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3) for an “adoption as sons” who would “obtain an inheritance” (Ephesians 1:5, 11). This eternal election was about “salvation” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
What about qualifications?
Only natural-born citizens of the United States who are at least thirty-five years old and have been living in the United States for at least fourteen years can be President or Vice President. In addition to that, the candidate has to convince the American voters that he is worthy of their vote.
What about the eternal election for salvation?
Who is worthy of an election unto eternal salvation?
No one. That’s right, no one has done anything to be adopted as sons and to obtain the eternal inheritance of salvation,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Paul writes that this holy calling was “not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9). Also, that it was “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-6). This eternal election unto salvation is of GRACE—God’s undeserved love for sinners.
Who will the American people elect to be their next President? We’ll have to wait until November 8th to find that out. What about the eternal election unto salvation? Will we have to wait until we die to find out whether we’ve been elected?
Praise God, no! To the believers in Thessalonica, Paul gives thanks to God because He “from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). Just as it was with the believers in Thessalonica, the reason you believe in Jesus as your Savior from sin is that God elected you from eternity for salvation.
This “election coverage” is a most glorious Gospel teaching!
It is about how God was determined to save you and give you an eternal inheritance in heaven. Before He created the heavens and the earth, He chose you to be His child. When the fullness of time had come, He sent His Son to remove your debt of sin through His death on the cross and to give you life by His resurrection from the dead.
Because of what Jesus did, God carried out His eternal election and called you to faith in Jesus through the Gospel. And through the hearing of that Gospel message, God continues to keep you in the faith all the way to your eternal inheritance in heaven.
In the U.S., we may be growing tired of the presidential election coverage. May we never grow tired of hearing about our eternal election unto salvation! May we ever rejoice to hear that God, from eternity, chose us for salvation, through His amazing grace!
Thou, mighty Father, in Thy Son
Didst love me ere Thou hadst begun
This ancient world’s foundation.
Thy Son hath made a friend of me,
And when in spirit Him I see, I joy in tribulation.
What bliss Is this! He that liveth To me giveth
Life forever; Nothing me from Him can sever.
AMEN! (TLH 343:5)
Nathan Pfeiffer is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Spokane, Washington.