For the Elect's Sake


Elder Mark Green

And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. (Mark 13.20)

The destruction of Jerusalem was a divine judgment upon the nation of Judah. They had forsaken the Lord, and despite repeated warnings from God through the prophets, they had not repented, but had continued in their hard-hearted, stiff-necked ways until God brought this calamity upon them. Historians, particularly Josephus, record the almost unbelievable suffering that went on, not only during the siege, but also afterward in the resulting famine. “For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be” (v. 19). The suffering was of such a degree that the Lord here tells us that had it not been for the Lord’s gracious intervention into the situation, no one would have been delivered from it. Some were saved, but none would have been had it not been for the mercy and longsuffering of God.

The reason for the shortening of the days of suffering is clearly stated: “for the elect’s sake.” God did it because of his elect people who were within the city. He spared the city from additional suffering because of the presence of his people within her. God had respect unto his own election and bestowed mercy because of it.

It is a tremendously comforting to know that God remembers his elect people in their times of trial, even when those trials come about as a result of our own sinfulness. He thinks upon us, remembers us, and his heart is touched with our tribulation. He thinks upon us, but in so doing He thinks upon his own choosing verse before ours that encourages us to seek God and His Kingdom.

He remembers his electing love and takes pity upon us. “In wrath remember mercy,” Habakkuk prayed unto God. Though his judgments are upon his people, yet “he will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever’ (Ps. 103.9). Thank God for his tender mercies toward his elect people!