God’s Choice and Man’s Choice

I’ve been reading through The Message of the Old Testament by Mark Dever for my Intro to OT class. The book consists of  transcripts of Dever’s sermons from his preaching series giving an overview of every book in the Bible (the New Testament sermons are in a book called, not surprisingly, The Message of the New Testament). Yesterday I read through the sermon from the book of Deuteronomy, and it has kept coming to my mind all day today.

The thesis for this excellent sermon (which you can listen to here) is that the book of Deuteronomy can be summarized by two short statements: (1) God chooses his people; (2) God’s people must choose him. It’s one of the best explanations of the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility that I’ve heard from the pulpit. Here is the excerpt that has stuck with me the most:

If you want to understand the Bible better, let me caution you against two mistakes. First, do not turn down the volume on God’s sovereignty. Don’t say, “Oh, I don’t understand these ideas of predestination, election, or God’s choosing us.” You do not need to understand it to your complete satisfaction. Read it in Scripture and believe.

Second, do not turn down the volume on what we are called to do. Don’t say, “Oh, it’s all about grace. Don’t talk to me about imperatives. That’s legalism.” The imperatives are here in Scripture. God’s people are called to live a certain way, and we get to live a certain way. God, by his Holy Spirit, breaks into our lives and changes us so that we can live in a manner that brings glory and praise to him. What a privilege! God chooses his people, yes, but we must choose God. You cannot get around this when you read through the Bible and this book of Deuteronomy.

Again, I highly encourage you to listen to this sermon, or, better yet, get the book!