The Prayer that No One Deserves, Part II
From John 17:6-10 we learn that Jesus prays the prayer that no one deserves so that the elect would treasure a grace that no one could destroy.
Our duty from this passage, how it applies to our will, is to consider that election protects both obedience and assurance.
Election does not lessen the necessity of holiness in the believer. Hebrews 12:14 says “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (1) In our passage from John 17, Jesus shows that this was explicitly happening to the disciples. In v.6, Jesus says that the disciples “have kept your word.” Their obedience was evidence that their faith was genuine. (2) There are many New Testament passages that demonstrate that a transformed heart is a necessary fruit in the lives of believers. (3) 1 John 2:4 “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
And so how can you have assurance of salvation? If final salvation requires a transformed life as a necessary evidence, how do you know if you will obtain it? Because the election of God guarantees it.
God doesn’t command something that He doesn’t Himself provide.
Deuteronomy 30:6 says, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” And we see the same reality in the New Testament in Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight,”
The doctrine of election not only guards us from legalism, because God doesn’t look at any conditions when He shows us grace; but it also guards us from liberalism, because it doesn’t teach that holiness is optional. Rather, election guarantees our holiness, because “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) God’s unconditional election marries together two seemingly opposite truths: “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,” (Matthew 7:14) and “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Election produces the fruits of freedom and obedience in the life of every believer.
*This Blog post is an excerpt from the sermon, The Prayer that No One Deserves. For a complete written transcript or audio download of the sermon, please visit the sermon page HERE.*
(1) Or James 2:17 “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”
(2) It is true that Jesus just got done telling them that they would fail Him—John 16:32. But the obedience that I’m speaking about here is not meritorious but evidentiary. Our obedience will never be perfect, and neither was theirs. But there is a qualitative difference between the believer’s disposition to God and the unbeliever’s disposition towards God. D.A. Carson says here “When other ‘disciples’ judge that Jesus teaches too many hard things, the Twelve stay with Jesus: “You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God’ (6:68-69). Even where there is risk to life and health, the closest disciples self-consciously choose to remain with Christ (11:16; 13:37), however flawed their courage might have been. At the fundamental level, Jesus’ assessment of his closest followers is entirely realistic, and in no way a contradiction of John 16:31-32.” D.A. Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to John, (Grand Rapids, MI.,: Eerdmans Publishing Company), pg. 559
(3) http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/letter-to-a-friend-concerning-the-so-called-lordship-salvation accessed August 6, 2017