2 John 1, 3: The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth . . . Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
In the sermon, we reflected a bit on John's use of the word "elect." John doesn't use it here to refer to some sub-section of the church, but to the church as a whole. The church is the "chosen" of the Lord, as Israel was the "chosen" people. The combination of "chosen" and "Lady" gives additional color to this. We're not just "the chosen" or "the chosen people." We are the "chosen lady."
Election can sometimes be reduced to an impersonal kind of determinism. God has decreed from the foundation of the world who would be His; that is true. But God has not simply chosen. He’s chosen a Lady, and election is not a calculating act of determinism, but more like the reckless, ungrounded act of a passionate Bridegroom.
The whole of redemptive history, the whole of history, is a romance. History is the story of the Lord selecting, perfecting, and winning a bride. When Israel was enslaved by Pharaoh, the Lord loved her and rescued her from the serpent, brought her to Sinai, and entered into a marriage covenant. His bride neglected Him, went after other men, played the whore in his house, but the Lord never stopped loving his wayward bride. Again and again, he intervened to rescue her from tormenter and seducers. In the end, He intervened to give Himself in death so that He could have His bride, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
One of the most profound comments I've ever heard about election came from my church history professor at seminary. When your wife asks why you love her, he said, you don’t start listing all the good qualities – beauty, skill, sense, smarts. You simply say, I love you because I love you. I love you because I chose to love you. And that's election. God loves His chosen lady for not other reason than His choice.
You are that chosen bride. And this is the bridal table, the marriage supper of the Lamb. Why did the Lord see fit to bring you into His kingdom? Because He loved you with the passion of a Suitor, loved you with an eternal love, loved you even to death. Why are you here at this table? Because the Lord chose you as His elect Lady, and wanted you to be His table-companion unto ages of ages.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Sunday, February 18, 2007 at 08:48 AM
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