In speaking of the days of tribulation to come, Mark 13:20 states that “Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” Lorraine Boettner, in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, sums up what this implies: “It is for the sake of the elect that God governs the course of all history”.
Mark goes on, in the remainder of that chapter, to described and caution of various difficulties related to the wrap up the era in those days, culminating in the sudden return of the Lord (Mark 13:26-27).
I had of course read this before, and I had the idea, but the enormity of it struck me personally like lightening this time. Here we have the Lord in effect choreographing the course of all history so that the elect could fulfill their destiny in Him. Election in and of itself certainly implies this, but not in a way that is immediately grasped so starkly and personally.
This means that you and I, as believers, were not only the recipients of salvation and that entire Grace filled process which places us in eternity with Him, but the very course of human history was set in place just as it is so that each individual one of us was guaranteed that eternity. The reality of what has been given here is beyond words!
You may be thinking “What is he going on about! I knew that all along”. Maybe so, but for me it was not in a personal and truly convicted sense, if you get my drift. Knowing, and being convicted of something about you personally, can be different. Nuance possibly, but nonetheless a critical one. One understanding is flat, the other has complete experiential dimension, so to speak. Somehow the realization of the totality of the plan required to support the elect (each unique one) makes the remainder of that chapter all the more a stark reality. It is a call to arms of sorts for the elect, to cleave to the Word alone and to Christ alone, in faith, in the face of what is to come, remembering the scale of what has been crafted for our benefit (and to His glory).
It makes it clear to me that the biblical basics will be the only armour in the times of difficulty (tribulation) ahead of His appearance.
Now, let’s pause a moment to blunt a related argument. If the Lord did as Mark clearly both implies and states, then there has to be an elect. And if Heh chose that elect as the verses state, then there has to be a non-elect. Otherwise Mark’s use of those terms makes no sense.
Beloved, let us, in faith, cling to Him alone and to the Word alone, until the fullness of His plan is revealed.