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Thursday, May 25, 2006 

Easter Hymn For Rogate

This past Sunday we closed the our Divine Service with a hymn printed out of TLH: Lord ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee by Josiah Conder sung to the tune “O du Liebe”.

This hymn draws its inspiration from the Gospel reading for the day from John 15:9-17
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.

In the text Jesus says that it is He that chooses us, and it is by grace alone that we receive this saving faith. The exact opposite teaching of this is what would be called decision theology. Decision theology states that it is us, poor miserable sinners all, that choose Jesus. This line of thinking has us determining our own salvation. This incorrect doctrine has us “running the verbs”. Believing the words of our Lord mean exactly what they say, Lutherans reject decision theology.
St Paul echo’s this in his epistle to the Ephesians 2:1-3
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
And also in 1 Corinthians 12:3
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

St Paul believes and confesses the words of his crucified and risen Lord by saying conversion and faith are entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. Many of the churches in our country today like to quote Revelation 3:20 which says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” While from our flawed human perspective this might seem like a decision to go ahead and open the door and let Christ into our hearts, it ignores the fact that we still don’t know when to open any such door until the Holy Spirit actually knocks on the door. Does anyone really think that if we open the door wanting a pepperoni pizza that the Pizza Hut delivery guy (or gal) will be there. I invite anyone to try that little trick on a Saturday night! Sounds like a new diet fad if there ever was one.

As flawed human beings we must, if we are to stay true to God’s Holy Scripture, confess that it is by grace alone that God has chosen us since before the foundations of the world were laid. And this is why our closing hymn is confessional, in beautiful words it repeats back the very doctrine the Lord has given to comfort us in his Gospel.

Lord ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee by Josiah Conder

Lord, ‘tis not that I did choose Thee; That, I know, could never be;
For this heart would still refuse TheeHad Thy grace not chosen me.
Thou hast from the sin that stained me Washed and cleansed and set me free
And unto this end ordained me, That I ever live to Thee.

‘Twas Thy grace in Christ that called me, Taught my darkened heart and mind;
Else the world had yet enthralled me, To Thy heav’nly glories bind.
Now my heart owns none above Thee; For Thy grace alone I thirst,
Knowing well that, if I love Thee, Thou, O Lord, didst love me first.

Praise the God of all creation; Praise the Father’s boundless love.
Praise the Lamb, our Expiation, Priest and King enthroned above.
Praise the Spirit of salvation, Him by whom our spirits live.
Undivided adoration To the great Jehovah give.


Love that hymn.

Mutti, Me too!

Interesting. :-)


You mean ... GOD CHOSE us? You mean ... HE CHOSE to create us, HE CHOSE to know us, HE CHOSE to love us, HE CHOSE to save us, HE CHOSE to sacrifice His only SON for us, all this before we even existed or knew HIM??? hmmm ... so WE DON'T GET TO CHOOSE HIM??? GOD DOES ALL THE CHOOSING??? Whoa!!!! I think it's funny that people think they can actually choose God, the one that CHOSE to create them. If HE hadn't CHOSEN to create them, how would they be able to have the gall to think that they could actually CHOOSE HIM? HEY!!!! YOU DON'T GET TO CHOOSE!!!! YOU DON'T GET TO DECIDE!!!! GOD DECIDED to create you and love you. It's not vice versa. It's like saying you get to choose your parents. Thank God that He can love His children even when they're complete idiots.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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