Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that ye should go and bear fruit.—Ver. 16.
The branch does not choose the vine, or decide on which vine it will grow. The vine brings forth the branch, as and where it will. Even so Christ says: "Yedidnot choose Me, but I chose you." But, some will say, is not just this the difference between the Branch in the natural and in the spiritual world, that man has a will and a power of choosing, and that it is in virtue of his having decided to accept Christ, his having chosen Him as Lord, that he is now a Branch? This is undoubtedly true. And yet it is only half a truth. The lesson of the Vine, and the teaching of our Lord, points to the other half, the deeper, the Divine side of our being in Christ. If He had not chosen us, we had never chosen Him. Our choosing Him was the result of His choosing us, and taking hold of us. In the very nature of things, it is His prerogative as Vine to choose and create His own Branch. We owe all we are to "the election of grace." If we want to know Christ as the True Vine, the sole origin and strength of the Branch life, and ourselves as Branches in our absolute, most blessed, andjmost secure dependence upon Him, let us drink deep of this blessed truth: «« Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you."
And with what view does Christ say this? That they may know what the object is for which He chose them, and find, in their faith in His election, the certainty of fulfilling their destiny. Throughout Scripture this is the great object of the teaching of election. "Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son" (to be Branches in the image and likeness of the Vine). '1 Chosen that we should be holy." "Chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit." "Elect in sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience." Some have abused the doctrine of election, and others, for fear of its abuse, have rejected it, because they have overlooked this teaching. They have occupied themselves with its hidden origin in eternity, with the inscrutable mysteries of the counsels of God, instead of accepting the revelation of its purpose in time, and the blessings it brings into our Christian life.
Just think what these blessings are. In our verse Christ reveals His twofold purpose in choosing us to be His Branches: that we may bear fruit on earth, and have power in prayer in heaven. What confidence the thought that He has chosen us for this gives, that He will not fail to fit us for carrying out His purpose! What assurance that we can bear fruit that will abide, and can pray so as to obtain! What a continual call to the deepest humility and praise, to the most entire dependence and expectancy! He would not choose us for what we are not fit for, or what He could not fit us for. He has chosen us; this is the pledge, He will do all in us.
Let us listen in silence of soul to our Holy Vine speaking to each of us: You did not choose Me! And let us say, Yea, Lord! But I chose you! Amen, Lord! Ask Him to show what this means. In Him, the True Vine, your life as Branch has its Divine origin, its eternal security, and the power to fulfil His purpose. From Him to whose will of love you owe all, you may expect all. In Him, His purpose, and His power, and His faithfulness, in His love let me abide.
I chose you. Lord! teach me what this means —that Thou hast set Thy heart on me, and chosen me to bear fruit that will abide, and to pray prayer that will prevail. In this Thine eternal purpose my soul would rest itself and say: What He chose me for I will be, I can be, I shall be.