. . . 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 2:3)
All of God’s wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God’s demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure, and receive him in this way, his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant.
The question this leaves unanswered is, “Doesn’t the Bible teach that in eternity God set his favor on us in election?”
In other words, thoughtful people ask, “Did God only become 100% for us in the moment of faith and union with Christ and justification? Did he not become 100% for us in the act of election before the foundation of the world?” Paul says in Ephesians 1:4–5, “[God] chose us in [Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ.”
Is God then not 100% for the elect from eternity? The answer hangs on the meaning of “100%.”
With the term “100%” I am trying to preserve a biblical truth found in several passages of Scripture. For example, in Ephesians 2:3, Paul says that Christians were “children of wrath” before they were made alive in Christ Jesus: “We all once lived [among the sons of disobedience] 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.”
Paul is saying that, before our new birth — before we were made alive together with Christ — God’s wrath was on us. The elect were under wrath. This changed when God made us alive in Christ Jesus and awakened us to see the truth and beauty of Christ so that we received him as the one who died for us and as the one whose righteousness is counted as ours because of our union with Jesus. Before this happened to us, we were under God’s wrath. Then, because of faith in Christ and union with him, all God’s wrath was removed and he then became, in that sense, 100% for us.
Therefore, exult in the truth that God will keep you. He will get you to the end because in Christ he is 100% for you. And therefore, getting to the end does not make God to be 100% for you. It is the effect of the fact that he is already 100% for you.