“Before I was born, the LORD chose me”, before I could relate to God’s will in any way, God had already chosen to love me unconditionally. That is totally unthinkable for human relationships and totally unfair by our standards. But hey, God gets to set God’s standards, right?
People have always struggled with this unfair love of today’s reading Isaiah 49:1-26:
– In the fifth century Pelagius needed to be straightened out by Augustine.
– In America the debate has continued ever since.
– In Europe it was settled by the Leuenberg Agreement, 16 March 1973:
24. In the Gospel we have the promise of God’s unconditional acceptance of sinful man. Whoever puts his trust in the Gospel can know that he is saved and praise God for his election. For this reason we can speak of election only with respect to the call to salvation in Christ.
25. Faith knows by experience that the message of salvation is not accepted by all; yet it respects the mystery of God’s dealings with men. It bears witness to the seriousness of human decision and at the same time to the reality of God’s universal purpose of salvation. The witness of the Scriptures to Christ forbids us to suppose that God has uttered an eternal decree for the final condemnation of specific individuals or of a particular people.
26. When such a consensus exists between churches, the condemnations pronounced by the Reformation confessions of faith are inapplicable to the doctrinal position of these churches.