Q. 30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works; but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace.
After the long Q&A about the Fall, it’s exciting to turn to our study of Grace. Oh to be able to sing aloud Amazing Grace!
What part of the human race does God save out of their sin and misery? God saves his elect, that is, those whom he has chosen from all eternity to be the heirs of salvation and eternal life.
There are some difficult follow on questions, but we need to be clear on what the Bible and the Catechism say to these.
Is it unfair or unjust for God to save only his elect, and pass by the rest of the human race? No. It is not unfair or unjust because God does not owe salvation to anyone. All have sinned against him, forfeiting all rights, and God owes them nothing but judgment. When God chooses to save some, this is not a matter of obligation, but a free gift. Certainly it is unequal for God to save some and pass by others; but it is not unjust, or unfair, because God is under no obligation to save any of those who have sinned against him.
How can we know whether we are among the elect? There is no shortcut to answer that we are of the elect. We can never find out by trying to pry into God’s secret plans and purposes which he has not revealed to us. The only way to find out is to believe on Jesus Christ as our Savior, repent of our sins, and faithfully use the means of grace that God has appointed. In this way, sooner or later, we can come to a full assurance, or certainty, of our personal salvation, from which we can rightly conclude that we are indeed among the elect of God.
I would add Peter’s first sermon, and what Paul and Silas said to the jailer to reinforce that. Three witnesses should be enough.
Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Pray the Lord brings us this blessing of assurance.