Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

The Fruits of Election

Written by Rev. G. Procee
God's Word teaches that there are evidences of election in the lives of God's children. The Canons of Dort calls them "infallible fruits of election" (Article 12). The awareness of fruits of election in our life leads us to rejoice in God's election in Christ, for the comfort of the assurance of election lies in Him.

Assurance of Election
How is the assurance of election received? By seeing the infallible fruits of election. The results of the saving work of Christ can be seen in our life. There are various stages and different measures in this assurance. But they all flow forth from the fruits of election which God's people discern with holy joy in their lives.

We can discern various fruits of election in our life. Communion with Christ, love to God and a godly sorrow are some of these fruits. A godly sorrow is a sorrow for sin because I have grieved God by my sins and therefore I humble myself before God on account of grieving of God. Sin is seen in its God-dishonouring reality. The Canons of Dort (I, 12) state that this godly sorrow for sin is one of the infallible fruits of election. This is not just a general sorrow, something that many have, but it is a sorrow after God. Cain, Ahab and Esau all sorrowed, but theirs was not a godly sorrow. The sorrow for God, coupled with faith in Christ as the Saviour, is a sure sign and evidence of our election in Christ. These go together with a sincere heartfelt love to God.

Another fruit of election is filial fear of God. This fear of God consists of a child-like trust and love, and reverence and submission to Him. It also includes a hunger and thirst after righteousness and the desire to live before God with a tender conscience.

When these fruits are manifested in your life, you will see that Christ saves sinners, not because they are better than others, but because He is pleased to glorify His Father by saving lost sinners. They are drawn to Him and live in communion with Him.

Understanding the Fruits of Election
Are there fruits in your life? Be glad when you see these fruits and do not continue to nervously question yourself whether you are one of God's elect. You should not expect a special revelation from heaven, but rest in the Lord Jesus Christ! Have you ever said: "Lord Jesus, I need Thee; I cannot live without Thee; Thou art my all-in-all?" Have you said with Peter: "Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee?" That is faith. It is being drawn unto Jesus as a result of God's work in the heart.

Let us understand these fruits of election well. It is not that you need true faith in order to be allowed to come to Christ. It is rather the other way around. While fleeing to the Lord Jesus, the Lord works faith in the heart. Faith is not a condition that we must meet, but it is a gift of God worked in the heart by His Holy Spirit. The surrender of faith to Christ is evidence of true faith.

What if you don't see any fruits in your lives? Are you then to conclude that you belong to the reprobate? A minister once had an old man say to him: "I have prayed my whole life for conversion and the Lord has not given it. Therefore I must conclude that I am not elect. I will have to agree and live with the fact that when I die I will be lost and forever in hell." If that is what you think, read the Canons of Dort (I, Article 16). There it says that those who do not experience these fruits of election in their life should not consider themselves reprobate, but they should diligently persevere in the use of the means and humbly wait for a season of richer grace.

Many are Called but Few Chosen?
What are we to think of the text, "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt.22: 14)? This text is to be read in the setting of a sincere invitation and call that goes out to many. But only a few hear and actually come. Man is invited and none may exclude themselves. But due to their wickedness they do not come.

Scripture also speaks of many who are chosen. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mk.10: 45); "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (Jn.14: 2); "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (Rev.7: 9).

God's Election is Gracious.
Let us also consider that the whole human race is fallen in sin and that none have a right to salvation or grace. Therefore, we speak of God's gracious election. God is not a hard and cruel God, but He is good and gracious. When you are assaulted with thoughts that God is not good but cruel, do not forget your past. We are fallen children of Adam.

But maybe you still continue to reason like this: "If the number of the elect is fixed then a reprobate can never become one of the elect." If we reason this way, this doctrine brings false passivity. We must remember that we do not know the number of the elect, neither do we know who are elect or reprobate. We are not to consider our reasoning, but the Word of the Lord Jesus Who says: "Strive to enter in!"

Election Does Not Lead to Passivity
Why should this doctrine not lead to passivity? Because in His method of election God has included the means of grace. They are part of election. It is God's electing grace that He also gives the means of grace. According to the Canons of Dort, those who are walking in the way of the means are to continue in this way and not to depart from it. It is along this way that God lets Himself be found. Election is not a dead-end road, but a gateway and an entrance.

The Purpose of Election
The source of the election of God is His sovereign love. Election is applied to sinner's hearts by way of His invitations that come to us in the form of the sure promises of God. These are applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. The result is deep humility before God and deep love to Him because of His free and sovereign grace.

God's children are to be grateful for the love granted to them and from that awareness they are to seek to serve the Lord. This is the purpose of election: God's children do not live for themselves but for Him Who purchased and redeemed them. The purpose of God's election is to serve the Lord. After God has ministered to the sinner, that sinner delights to be employed in the service of God. He will seek to do His will and desire to live for the Lord.

Those who were brought into great distress and need because of their sins and then found life and salvation in Christ, rejoice in the Lord. They rejoice in His free election. They know that they are secure in His hands because His eternal decree is firmly rooted and can never be undone. They are forever delivered from the power of the devil. Therefore they cannot but love Him Who saved them. Their life is in Christ and the result is that they desire to follow Him throughout their lives. It is their desire that their heart be united to the fear of God's name.

Those who do not see these fruits in their life, should not despair but may have every hope in the Lord. He is merciful, gracious and longsuffering. They must not believe that they are reprobates. They are called to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are invited to flee to Him and find in His wounds every consolation.

The Secret of Election is in Christ
The secret of election is to be chosen in Christ. How necessary it is, not to speculate, but to realize our great need of Christ and to flee to Him and say: "Give me Jesus or perish." Never stay away from the Lord Jesus Christ. He calls and invites. There is life and abundance in Him.

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