Did God leave all mankind to die in sin and misery?

Question 20Question 20 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “Did God leave all mankind to die in sin and misery?

The answer given is, “From all eternity and merely because it pleased Him God chose some to have everlasting life. These He freed from sin and misery by a covenant of grace and brought them to salvation by a redeemer.

God chose.

God chose some.

God chose some to everlasting life.

The result is that the chosen are freed from sin and brought to the state of salvation.

This is the doctrine of election. The doctrine of God’s sovereign choice.

We like to think of ourselves as free moral agents with the ability to control our own destinies. We don’t want to have anyone tell us what we can or can’t do. We are taught that such freedom is our birthright and no-one should be able to take this away from us.

But, are we really free?

The Bible teaches us that we are not free apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Experience seems to back this up. Who among us has not been exposed to someone who has been trapped in chemical dependence, perpetual anger or some other self-destructive behavior? Who among us has not struggled to overcome some habit or thought pattern that is contrary to what we know to be right?

The good news is that God did not leave us to flounder in our mess. He is the one who brings us into the state of being saved by a redeemer.

This knowledge should engender three things in us:

  • Humility – we are dependent upon God for our salvation
  • Gratitude – we should be thankful to God for saving us
  • Confidence – since it is up to God and not us, we can’t mess it up