Why God Gets All the Credit
When I hit dating age, I was afraid to ask girls out on dates. Until I met Angie. I asked her repeatedly, and she repeatedly said no, until she finally said yes, and the rest is a beautiful history. Sometimes we view our relationship with God as though we asked God to save us and, as if it was the first time the thought had even occurred to Him, He reluctantly and finally said yes. But the opposite is actually true.
Paul described salvation this way in Romans 8, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.” (Romans 8:28-29 NLT)
I believe that salvation by the grace of God is freely available to anyone who seeks it. But seeking out the grace of God in no way infers that we are responsible whatsoever for our own salvation. It’s really completely of God, from start to finish, and we just respond to His work and receive the free gift He has decided to provide. In Paul’s statement are found what D. Martin Lloyd-Jones called “the five links in the chain of salvation” and every link belongs to the initiative of God.
He has known us in advance in a personal way, long before we came to the realization of His existence. And He chose us in advance, along with all who are “in Christ,” long before we ever considered choosing to follow Him. And He called us out of our surroundings, spiritually speaking, to follow Him long before we called out to Him. He justified us, giving us a right standing before Him in His perfect justice, when we could not possibly plead innocence. And He gave us His glory and the eternally secure gift of a home at His side in a glorified and perfected state when we were utterly helpless to change our own corrupt natures.
You may remember a time in your life when you realized the truth about God, about yourself and your sin, and about how Jesus paid your penalty on His cross and then rose again. You may remember calling out to God, turning from your sin, and placing your trust entirely in Him for salvation. In fact if you don’t remember ever coming to that place, let’s talk! But what you need to understand now is the backstory. The entire time leading up to that moment, God had already known you, chosen you as part of His people, justified you, called you out of darkness and into His light, and given you the gift of sharing in His very own glory for eternity.
Salvation is all of God. He gets all the credit. Your story is really a story written by the One who loved you so much that He’s had His eye and His affection on you for eternity. There are others, too. And in His prerogative, He’s chosen that they come to know Him the same way you did - by hearing the good news from a friend, and that friend might just be you.