Who Gets the Credit?
Do you ever watch the credits at the end of a movie?
I suppose we’re weird, but when my wife and I watch a video, we read the credits at the end. As the names scroll down, we hit the pause button frequently to make sure we can read it all. We like to get the names of the cast, and of all the other crew – the stunt people, gaffers, caterers, wardrobe people, and who wrote and who performed the music. On the rare times we go to the movies, we stay after the movie is over and most people have cleared out of the theater to read the credits.
One thing is certain – it takes a lot of people to pull off a movie. Not just the writers and producers, not just the actors, but an army of others who have to do their job to produce the movie.
So that leads me to ask a question: if you were making a movie about salvation, what names would get the credit at the end? Certainly Christ’s name. But how about those who received salvation? God gave the opportunity to be saved, but each sinner has to choose, right? So the credits could roll for centuries to list the names of all the folks who participated in their salvation. Right?
Well, no, not according to Scripture.
We vastly underestimate the terrible impact of sin in our lives. Jesus said we are unable to “choose God”: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him… (John 6:44a) Notice the highlighted words. It’s not “may come,” pointing to permission. It is “can come,” signifying ability. We are unable to come.
Paul said the same thing. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8) Notice the highlighted “cannot,” meaning unable.
As much as we’d like to say we were seeking God, here is the grim truth: 10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no not one; 11 no one understands, no one seeks for God. (Romans 3:10-11) The only one who does the seeking is God Himself.
And that’s because we were spiritually dead, full of wrath toward God and others in our very nature. Again notice the highlighted words: 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3) Dead people don’t choose.
While it is true that we were always free to make choices, everyone chooses according to our nature. As long as we were spiritually dead, we would never choose God.
Scripture is clear that God chooses those who will be saved. Jesus put it very plainly: You did not choose me, but I chose you… (John 15:16) The Apostle Paul said the same thing: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6, my emphasis)
The book of Acts makes an astounding statement, Act 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. Why did they believe? They were appointed by God to eternal life.
This glorious truth should not provoke controversy. It is meant to humble us, exalt our Savior, and lead us to worship!
At the end of the movie, “Salvation,” as the credits begin to roll, there is only one Name, the Name that is above every name.