When the question, “Who chooses” is related to salvation two different answers present themselves to most theologians – the ones being (or not being) saved or the one doing the saving. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians writes, “He chose us in him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world” and “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” Ephesians 1:4-5. Notice that God is the one doing the choosing in salvation. Concerning the natural fallen state of humankind Paul writes, and we believe, “you were dead in sin.”

Those outside of Christ remain dead in sin. They cannot believe. They cannot produce good fruit. They cannot obey the 10 Commandments, no they cannot even obey the first one. They are dead and remain dead by their own sin.

But as Ephesians 2:5 says, “But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive together with Christ.” The Christian teaching is that Christ has made full satisfaction for all of our sins through his sinless life and atoning death. He has won new life for all through His victory over death in the resurrection. He now gives the benefits of his sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection to us through His Holy Word which creates faith in our hearts, and through the waters of Baptism. In these waters God joins us to the death and resurrection of Jesus as Paul declares in Romans 6:3-5. As Christians we are called to daily repentance in which we confess our sin and look to Jesus for forgiveness. Even this repentance is a gift from God as His Holy Spirit works in our lives convicting us of sin and pointing us to Jesus.

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