Thursday, August 09, 2007


“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)

What a planner God is.

While it boggles my mind that God planned everything before there was anything, that He wrote the entire play before the orchestra sounded a single note, and that He is, day after day, bringing onto the earthly stage all the events for which He planned and purposed, God is not the least bit boggled. He is pleased because He planned it and sees it all.

And He didn’t just plan for me—He planned me. Brown hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, born to John and MaryJane in Southern California in 1956, an identical twin brother right alongside.

And, as far as I’m concerned, what was the crowning moment during that planning stage of eternity? God chose me. Just as He chose Abraham and Moses, Noah and David, Rahab and Ruth, Isaiah and Jeremiah, Daniel and Hosea, Matthew and Mark, God chose me. He chose me to one day believe the incredible gospel of His grace to me through Christ Jesus. And when I did, I received Jesus, the mystery hidden through the ages, but now revealed—Christ in me, the hope of glory. As God designed it and right on time, I was brought into Him and I have now received the glory of that perfect design: His righteousness, His holiness, and God Himself, the assurance of His redemption. (1 Cor 1:30) God planned to share His glory with me.

Sitting on a couch in Culver City, California, on an early April evening in 1980, God’s plan moved a little bit more down the road of eternity. God had chosen me, so the moment’s-before-pagan Ralph became holy and blameless, son of God, Ralph.

Much better, thank you very much. Right?

In our day it’s amazing what has happened to that little word—choice. We give each other full rights to make our own choices, yet give God no such grace. While we educate and fairly harangue ourselves about good choices we must make with our free will, we believe that God’s will is subject to our will. Imagine it. If we fail to make right choices, God can do nothing about it. In the end, that must mean that God fails—but that’s not possible.

There are many smart and loving people who believe that we can somehow become vacant temples of God, losing our salvation. Though we were co-crucified with Jesus, co-raised with Him, co-seated with Him in the heavens, and have become co-laborers with Him, we can somehow undo all those “co” things, even though we didn’t do anything to make them happen in the first place. Our nasty free will, insistent on a prodigal path, can reverse and make null the whole thing done for us by God before the creation of the world. Wow. Retroactive.

That makes God’s choice for us something akin to a nursery rhyme. “And God said, ‘Eeny, meeny, miney, mow, catch a human by the toe. If he hollers, let him go. Eeny, meeny, miney, mow.’ Yeah, that’s my plan, that’s my will.”


I don’t mean to make anybody mad—that’s not my purpose at all. I do hope to make you think about it—God’s choice of you—all the way through. Your security does not rest with you and the whimsy of your supposedly fickle will. Your security lies with Him because He chose you long ago. That frees you unto the best thing in life—not a life only of making good choices, but a real life of knowing God, who is really remarkably good at making choices for you.

Fortunately for you and me, He makes the choice; most of them long ago. He saw every turn of the planet before even one revolution, and chose. Why did He choose us? I don’t know. But you don’t have to merit His choice nor secure it nor maintain it. He chose. And that never ends, never goes south. God’s love for me, God’s love for you is not ever fickle; it never changes.

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