Tuesday January 22, 2019
3g. The elect are called, beloved, and kept, Jud 1.
Jud 1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:
Judas uses a triad here, of which he has fourteen in the book, which spells out what it means to be saved: called, beloved, and kept.
We will spend some time on the subject of God’s calling, which is frequently mentioned in Scripture. Beloved means that the elect are loved just as God the Father loves God the Son. Kept means that the elect are protected every moment from the moment of their salvation and into all eternity. These are three things that are for you and wonderful. They are gifts and are not earned or worked for. God offers them to all mankind, but as we will see, only the called receive them.
With the subject of calling, we again face the issue of God’s Sovereign will and man’s free will. A calling is not one that is forced upon someone, yet, it would seem that this calling, termed efficacious or effective theologically, can no be resisted.
Yet, the fact that God wills all men to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth, is the fact that removes all strict Calvinism and certainly hyper-Calvinism. That fact coupled with the fact of the unlimited atonement furthers the denial of those interpretations.
The believers were called by the Holy Spirit. Theologically, the “effectual calling” is a work of the Holy Spirit; it is the calling that brings one to salvation.
The Bible reveals a general call to the human race through the gospel. Yet, far more often, the NT speaks of a call that is effectual, in that the called will respond. It is clear that this is accomplished while the called maintain their own self-determination to choose, or else, if forced, the character of “a call” is totally obliterated. Therefore, as with election, which word is just about identical in meaning as “calling” there is a great mystery.
It is no wonder that election and calling are deep mysteries. Jesus Christ is alone the deepest mystery in the universe.
And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Beheld by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.
While mysteries surround the deity and humanity of Christ and the relation of the Trinity, what we can see quite clearly is God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ. And on this side of heaven, that in itself is unfathomable.
No true distinction can be drawn between God’s word and God’s work. God spoke and creation took place. In the beginning was the word, and in the beginning, God created and said, “Let there be light.” God also speaks through His prophetic word as well as in the events of history.
God speaks and work is done. The prophetic word not only interprets history, it also creates and shapes it.
It is not the words themselves, for we each could repeat them and no work would be done. The word is powerful because God is the source. It is His word and releases its power when He speaks it, or in our case, when He writes it.
I decided to begin our study with this issue in a passage that deals with God drawing to Himself the elect.
General calling to the world.
JOH 12:31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.
JOH 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
In JOH 12:32, Jesus uses the word helkuo which means to draw like a sword from its sheath, or to drag. He draws all men to Himself.
The Greek adjective pas means all. He clearly says that He will draw all men to Himself.
This is not unfamiliar in the age of the church, nor in ages before its beginning. John begins his gospel by introducing the logos. Yet, the logos was not unfamiliar to the Greek world, of which the entire area where the church took root had long been Hellenized in their culture. Right in Ephesus, where John likely wrote his gospel in the last decade of the first century, Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher (540 - 480 B.C.), developed a theory of the world being held together by an unchanging force that he called logos. This concept was not given up in the development of Greek philosophy. The Stoics used the term in a similar way. Plato used logos to denote the divine power responsible for creating the world. Many other philosophers used logos in the same way.
Blind teachers would have us believe that the biblical concept of logos is therefore built upon the foundation of the Greek philosophers. Origen and Augustine made this error. But this is an oversimplified error. The logos of the Bible is a person, a living Word who became flesh, who made the world and all in it, and who is the life that is the light of the world.
So why note the Greek understanding of logos? God has been drawing men from the beginning. Why did smart men deduce there was a logos in this world? Because God has revealed Himself to the world, and although that revelation is often distorted by man’s pride and his pagan tendencies, it is the still small voice of God that is calling to the world.
The same can be seen when Paul preached in Athens. He saw that they had an altar to an Unknown God. He told them that the Unknown God was none other than Christ. Why did the Greeks deduce that there had to be a God that they did not know? God has been revealing Himself to all men in all ages and in all nations. If God is just going to force people to come to Him, whether they like it of not, then there’s no reason to do this.
ROM 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
ROM 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
ROM 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
ROM 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
ROM 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
ROM 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures
Men are obviously condemned for their rejection of God and their acceptance of false religion.
The same understanding of logos or “word” was true for the Jews of Jesus’ day. At that time Hebrew was not spoken commonly, but Aramaic was. The Targums were the scriptures and their interpretations in Aramaic that would be read by rabbis. Very often they wrote in memra (Aramaic for “word”) in the place of God’s name. The Targum of Jonathan translates ISA 45:22 “Turn ye to the Word and be saved.” In Jewish thought, the word was a personal manifestation of God. So when John wrote, “In the beginning was the word and the word was God,” every Jewish reader would have a full understanding of what he meant.
JOH 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
So, we go back a few months and to the Sea of Galilee.
JOH 6:44 "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
The question is that if the Father draws someone, is it possible that the person can say no?
Often, the example of Lazarus is used. When Jesus said, “Come forth,” could Lazarus have resisted?
Jesus said, “I will draw all men to Myself.”
JOH 6:45 "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
Jesus must be showing them, and us, how the Father draws them. It is not some mystical force. It is hearing and learning. He quotes ISA 54:13.
“And all your sons will be taught of the Lord;”
JOH 6:46 "Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.
JOH 6:47 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
Here, and as we know in many other passages, the vehicle for eternal life is the faith of the hearer. It cannot be forced.
So, it is not because some have seen the Father, because none have seen Him.
The elect have heard and learned from the Father (as have all) and believed. None have seen the Father.
JOH 6:48 "I am the bread of life.
JOH 6:49 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
JOH 6:50 "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
JOH 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
JOH 6:60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, "This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?" [eat My flesh and drink My blood]
JOH 6:61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?
JOH 6:62 "What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?
JOH 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
JOH 6:64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
JOH 6:65 And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father."
Faith is the vehicle. The Father draws and grants. Does He draw all men and some say no? Does He grant to all men and some refuse?
JOH 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;
JOH 5:40 and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”
It would be a lack of justice to condemn a man who is unwilling to come if he flat out could not even if he wanted to. The consequences in time, never mind eternity, were dire for their decision. Jerusalem was ransacked. The Temple was completely destroyed. Over a million Jews were killed, many of them from starvation before the Romans breached the wall. And the Jews were dispersed throughout the world where they would constantly meet with anti-Semitism. How could we call God just if all of this judgment fell upon a people who had no choice?
JOH 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
“No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Same author, obviously, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, could not be confusing the issue of “coming to Jesus.” My Father must draw him, which Jesus said was through hearing and learning, and not just a number of weeks later, Jesus says, “If you’re thirsty, come to Me and drink.” You thirst for righteousness, which is salvation; for truth, which is salvation; for eternal life, which is salvation - then come to Me and drink. This call is to any man.
The scene happens on the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, on which day (the seventh day), the celebration came to a climax. On each day of the feast there was a procession to Siloam, where water was dipped to be brought to the temple to the accompaniment of music and the recitation of scripture.