This past week has been very windy here in northern California. You know when it’s windy. It’s easy to tell. I expect you didn’t even think to question how I knew it was windy here. We all know when the wind is blowing because we see its effects. Wind exerts a force. You can’t see the force, but you can see the effects of it. Trees bend. Clouds move. Leaves fly about. You feel the pressure and cool sensations on your skin. You easily recognize these as the effects of wind.
An invisible cause is known by its effects. The cause of our salvation is the eternal love and electing grace of God in Christ. If God’s eternal love and electing grace is the cause, what is the effect? How do I know if I am one whom God loves, one He chose in Christ, one He predestinated to be His son by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ and by the birth of His Holy Spirit? As we know a cause by its effects, we know our election and justification by God’s call. Election is the cause of our salvation. God’s effectual call by His Spirit through the Gospel is the effect of His saving grace to us. How do I know if I am “the called of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:6)? Because “the called” call (1 Cor. 1:2). How did John’s disciples know that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ? Because, He fulfilled the scriptures that spoke of Messiah: the deaf hear. The blind see. The dead are raised. To the poor, the Gospel is preached. The unbelieving believe. The mute call. These are the effects. God’s electing grace in Christ is the cause. God calls all of His chosen in Christ.
Who are the “vessels of mercy which He had prepared afore to glory?” The answer is given to us. “Even us, whom he hath called” (Rom. 9:23-24). As God the Father chose His people in Christ and predestinated them to be His sons by Jesus Christ, even so, He recorded in scripture that He would call them (Hosea 1:10; 2:23; Rom. 9:24). If God wrote it before in scripture, He determined it before He wrote it. As early as He determined to save, He chose whom He would save in Jesus Christ. As early as He determined to save, He determined to call them. He promised in scripture that He would perform what He determined to do from eternity. And in our lifetime, in our personal history, when it pleases Him, He calls us in fulfillment of His promise (Gal. 1:15). His call is the open manifestation to us that we are His, that we are the called of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:10; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:2). It is clear from Romans 9:23-24 that God prepared His vessels of mercy to glory before He called them. And so we know that our election to salvation was before He called us by His Holy Spirit.
I know it’s windy. How? I see tree branches bend and leaves fly about. I know my election. How? My understanding and will and affections are turned from unbelief to behold and trust and love Christ by the grace of God. God did it. He sent His word in the Gospel (Rom. 10:16-17). He still sends the Gospel of Christ to us. He applies Christ crucified to my heart by His Holy Spirit. We know these things because He Himself revealed them to us (John 3:8-15; Rom. 10:13-17; John 6:44-45, 63). And thus we know not only our election, but our justification and our future glorification with Christ. God has revealed it. “29 Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30). Who will be with Christ in glory? All whom God justified by the blood of Christ on the cross (Rom. 5:9, 19). Who did God justify in Christ? All those He called to life and faith in Christ (Rom. 8:30). Who did God know in love before time? All those He predestinated to be unfailingly conformed to the image of His dear Son. When we see the vessels of mercy with Christ in glory, we will see the effect of God’s electing, predestinating grace. When we are conformed to the image of His dear Son, then we will know that we were loved and predestinated in Christ before time by God our Father. But we don’t have to wait that long. If we find ourselves believing on the Son of God as our Savior and Lord, believing His work as all of our righteousness and life, then the irresistible scalpel of the Gospel applied by the Spirit of God to our hearts has given us life with faith in Christ (Col. 2:12). The wind blows where it pleases (John 3:8). You hear the sound of it. You see its effects. You therefore know it is the work of the wind. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit of God. They show the effects. They look to Christ. They see and are persuaded by the grace of God, that God made their sins Christ's own and cursed Him for them and therefore, God justified me by Him.
Do you believe on the Son of God? Then you were chosen in Christ before the world began by God the Father, chosen to know Christ, chosen to salvation and eternal life and glory, to sonship, to justification and forgiveness of sins by the blood and righteousness of Christ; chosen to bear the seal of God’s sons, the witness of the Spirit of God in your heart, the Spirit of adoption. You therefore cry, “My Father! My Savior! My Lord! My God!” (John 20:28; Rom. 8:15-17; Gal. 4:4-6).