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Tormenting ourselves about election

Christians sometimes torment themselves with thoughts relating to election, thoughts about what they imagine to be God’s secret counsel, his secret will about their salvation.

If this happens to you, hear this Word of God:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

These words of Christ are his Gospel invitation to salvation and his revelation of the will of God that you be saved. The Formula of Concord uses this verse when teaching our Lutheran faith and confession concerning election unto salvation.

Whoever would be saved should not trouble or torment himself with thoughts about God’s secret counsel, about whether he also is elected and ordained to eternal life. Miserable Satan usually attacks with these thoughts and afflicts godly hearts. But they should hear Christ, who is the Book of Life, and hear about God’s eternal election to eternal life for all of His children. Christ testifies to all people without distinction that it is God’s will that all people should come to Him “who labor and are heavy laden” with sin, in order that He may give them rest and save them [Matthew 11:28].[1]

[1] Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, Paul Timothy McCain, Ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006), 611-612; SD XI.70.