Ephesians; 1:4 – Election, part 2. Definition and the call to sanctification

Class Outline:

Tuesday November 6, 2018


EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ


EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. (In love)


EPH 1:5 (In love) He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,


Doctrine of Election: 1) definition for church:


Election definition for church age believer: God the Father chooses or elects believers to the life of Christ.


The basic definition to election is to choose. The questions concerning the conditions around election makes for more expanded definitions.


Since Christ died for all mankind; redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation are accomplished for all mankind, but they are not applied to them personally until the time of faith in Christ. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that the elect have any special position with God before they believe.


It is at the moment of faith in Christ that the blessings of election are given to the elect.


When the elect, known by God before the foundation of the world, do believe, then they are justified forever before God. They are elected to the life of Christ. This is God’s highest and best that could be given to mankind, and is also higher than all angels. Christ is God’s best.


Election is a simple word. It means to be chosen. The same word is used of Christ choosing twelve men. The arguments abound in reference to the question of the means of election, and we will deal with that. Suffice to say that all believers in Christ are elected people.


Yet, this simple word becomes incredibly profound when one asks, “What has the Father elected the believer to? What is the position he is elected to and what does that position look like in practice?”


The New Testament answers these questions clearly.


2) Election is the call to sanctification or living the life of Christ.


If the life that is Christ was acting through you in every decision, in every thought, and in everything you did and said, what would your particular life look like? Think of it specifically in the things and the people you generally face. What would your particular life look like? When you can make that picture in your mind, knowing enough about Christ to be able to make it, then you will have a mental picture of election in the church age.


MAT 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying,


MAT 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son.


MAT 22:3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.


Jesus is referring to the common custom for weddings in the East. At the engagement, the first invitation would be sent out, which gave the guests ample time to be prepared for the actual wedding which would occur about a year later. This represents the prophets of Israel and John the Baptist who clearly warned Israel.


Now it is time for the feast and the second invitation is sent out, but the guests refuse to come. The excuses refer to the desire for materialism.


MAT 22:4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited," Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' 


This refers to the grace of God. They rejected in the second invitation, and uncharacteristically, He sends out a third with descriptions of the fantastic dinner as motivation. He is not obligated to do this. This may represent the ministries of the Baptist and the Lord in telling them that the kingdom was at hand.


MAT 22:5 "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business,


MAT 22:6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.


The prophets were killed, John was killed, and Christ was killed.


MAT 22:7 "But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire.


Jesus anticipates the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.


MAT 22:8 "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.


MAT 22:9 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.'


MAT 22:10 "And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.


The new guests are Jews and Gentiles. The Book of Acts shows us that for the first ten years of the church, the gospel was preached mainly to Jews, and then gradually the church filled with Gentiles.


MAT 22:11 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes,


MAT 22:12 and he said to him,' Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless.


MAT 22:13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'


MAT 22:14 "For many are called [invitation to all], but few are chosen [the calling of the elect who believe]."


So, what is the deal with this man? He came to the feast at the behest of the invitation heard on the highways, but he did not change his clothes. It was customary for a king or prince to provide wedding clothes for any guest who would not have them, therefore, it was not the man’s wealth that was the issue, but that he came to the feast thinking that his regular, old clothes were good enough.


The elect are completely changed at salvation. They are not made better, but brand new. They are made perfectly righteous.


We cannot be new creatures and remain old creatures. The believer is changed. Every believer is clothed with Christ. This means that He is clothed with holiness and blamelessness. His calling is to the perfection of Christ.


Christ made us perfectly holy and righteous in our position. His help to us (Word and Spirit) is only towards the direction of perfection.


Christ doesn’t enable us through the Spirit, and increase our knowledge through the word towards the end of being partially holy and blameless, or part-time holiness and blamelessness. His empowering of us is only in the direction of His image, and all of us know that image is perfect. It is not a paradox that you and I will not become sinless and perfect, because we are always headed that way.


C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, in the chapter “Counting the Cost,” uses a parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself living in a house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He’s doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you’re not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.


Paul wrote in Eph 3 that Christ was to be at home in our hearts. The palace is built at the moment of salvation. That is what we all become, but the transformation of life into conformity with what we have been elected to takes maturing, knowledge, faith more often, and open eyes.


EPH 3:14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,


EPH 3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,


EPH 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;


EPH 3:17 so that Christ may dwell [katoikeo: be at home] in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,


EPH 3:18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,


EPH 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.


EPH 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think [not the house that we plan], according to the power that works within us,


EPH 3:21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.


There is something to be said about this however. Some think that they can measure that maturity or actually tell people if they are new creatures or not by evaluating their conduct. Remember, Christ is bringing us to perfection in holiness and nothing less. All of us are to have conduct that is exactly in the image of Christ, but not all of us get there in the same way or in the same time frame.


I am saying this so that no one will get discouraged. We are elected to holiness and blamelessness, but there is nothing to be discouraged about. God doesn’t make mistakes. If He elected you, and if you are a believer in Christ, you know that He did, then in grace He will get you there. Only you can slow the process or even halt it in time, so get on board with the truth of it!


All of us start out in Christ. All of us start out with equal privilege and equal opportunity. But not all of us start with the same handicaps, though all of us have them.


Take for instance the comparison that Lewis uses in that chapter. Christian Miss Smith may have an unkinder tongue than the unbeliever Mr. Doe. That by itself means nothing in proving and disproving their status or that Christianity works. What we don’t know is the background or health or genetic tendencies that either of them has. How bad would Miss Smith’s tongue be if she weren’t a Christian and how much better would Mr. Doe’s tongue be if he were?  Mr. Doe might be a much nicer guy because he doesn’t suffer from the ailment that Smith has. He might simply have a better disposition, better upbringing, education, and personality that is more attractive to others, and so people say he is a nice guy and a good man. All those things are gifts from God, but if he is an unbeliever, he doesn’t know that. He would likely credit himself with his kind disposition.  


But Miss Smith has chronic pain, has lived through a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousy and senseless quarrels, saddled with exposure to sexual perversions, and constantly lived with an inferiority complex. Smith can much more easily snap at even her best friend than Doe could utter an unkind word to anyone.


Some stand at the outside and judge them both when they know nothing of them. Maybe God has more work to do with Smith. And He will do it. Maybe Doe thinks he is good enough because of what others say about them and that he needn’t bother about God or anyone calling themselves a Savior.


People may look at other people behaving badly and claiming to be Christians, and on those grounds consider Christianity a fake or untrue, but they care not to know anything about the man or the Savior who saved such a man. Behaving badly is a sin and is never condoned, but we are sinners whom Christ has saved and upon whom Christ is working, and sometimes that work is difficult and painful. Remember, don’t depend upon another’s evaluation of you or even your own if it disagrees with the Father’s who has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. It is the Father’s opinion that matters here, and it will matter to the man of faith. That man will be transformed into a vessel of honor in this life.


We must not miss what we are getting at in this study of election. Election is for you. It is not for improving what others think about you, though that will likely happen. It is not for getting you to do more good things. Election is for you to understand what God the Father has made you as a new creature in Christ.