Tuesday February 12, 2019
In the doctrine of the election of the church age believer, our first point was a definition: God the Father elects believers to the life of Christ, and He did so before the foundation of the world.
Our second point was that every elected person is called to sanctification or living the life of Christ in time.
REV 21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."
REV 21:6 And He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
REV 21:7 "He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
Our message from Nov. 6 included this metaphor from MacDonald.
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.
Our third point in election:
3) Passages where election is applied to believers in this age:
3a. The elect are to reveal the emptiness of human desire for life without God, 1CO 1:27-29.
3b. Worldly status has no bearing on this position and the elect realize that they are poor in worldly good and rich towards God, JAM 2:5.
I read about Walter Petherick today. He was a prosperous merchant in London around 1660. His story struck me concerning this point concerning the elect’s poverty in this world. A point so easily forgotten in a material world.
HAB 3:16 I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.
HAB 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail,
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold,
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
HAB 3:18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
HAB 3:19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
Benjamin Franklin, when American Plenipotentiary at Paris, was mocked for his love of the Bible. Entering the company of French aristocrates one evening, he told them that he had been reading an ancient poem, and that its stately beauty had greatly impressed him. At their request he took from his pocket a manuscript and proceeded to read it. “Superb!” they cried. Who wrote it? Where did he get it? He informed them to their astonishment that it was from the third chapter of Habakkuk.
Petherick heard this text in church after the bubonic plague had overrun London (1666 - last time it would hit London, 100,000 deaths). He had four sons. He went to church in Twickenham to the Parish church to pray for the dying.
Walking that night, the red exes on the doors that represented the houses overrun with plague were emblazoned on his retina. “I could not say it,” HAB 3:17-19. “If my children were snatched from me - my fine boys and my lovely girls - the treasures that she left me - how could I rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of my salvation?” He prayed passionately.
“He remembered to have prayed as fervently as this before - many, many years ago. In those days - the days of his earliest religious experiences - he had prayed, almost as earnestly as this, for his own spiritual prosperity, for the extension of Christ’s kingdom and for the enlightenment of the world. It seemed like a dream as he recalled it. He was scarcely more than a boy in those days. The ardor and intensity of that distant time had deserted him so gradually, and had vanished so imperceptibly, that he had never missed it until now. Love had come into his life, irradiating and transfiguring everything. Love had led to marriage; for happy children had brought added gladness to his home and fresh contentment to his heart; and he had abandoned himself without reserve to these domestic cares and comforts. The things that had so completely captivated his soul were all of them good things - just as the fig, and the vine and the olive, the corn and the flocks and the herds were all of them good things - but he had allowed them to elbow out the wealthiest things of all. The good had become the enemy of the best. Before his heart had been gladdened by those treasures that were now so dear to him, he had every day rejoiced in the Lord and joyed in the God of his salvation. But not since! His enrichment had proved his impoverishment! What was it that the preacher had said? “It is a small thing to love the gifts as long as you possess the Giver; the supreme tragedy lies in losing the Giver and retaining only the gifts.” And Walter Petherick felt that night that that supreme tragedy was his.”
He took his Bible and began to read the passage.
HAB 3:2 O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
He was in the midst of years. The thought brought with it a sense of shame and a rush of thankfulness. He was ashamed that he had permitted the years that had gone to pilfer so much from him. Like waves that strew treasures on the shore, and snatch treasures from the shore, he felt that the years had brought much and taken much. Yet he felt grateful that he was still ‘in the midst of the years’; it is better to discover life’s loss at the halfway house than to find it out at the end of the journey.
A year later, the great fire in London burned his warehouse that contained all of his worldly possessions. Yet he knew no such anguish over this as he had a year ago. He smiled to himself knowing that the flames could take the gifts, but they could not rob him of the Giver. The supreme tragedy lies in losing the Giver and retaining only the gifts.
“O Lord,” he prays, “Thou hast been pleased by pestilence and by fire to redeem my soul from destruction.” He did not lose his children. He regained his wealth and live a happy and long life under the affection of his children and grandchildren. In his heart he cherished a deep, deep secret and sang a rapturous song. For he reveled, not only in the gifts, but in the Giver.
3c. Our election freely gives us all things. God will always be for us and His love will never separate from us, ROM 8:31-39.
3d. Election is to Christ’s love which is to unify our entire heart in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness, COL 3:12-17.
3e. The elect endure all things for the sake of one another, which pleases God, 2TI 2:1-10.
3f. The believer is elected according to the foreknowledge of God, 1PE 1:2.
3g. The elect are royal priests in the kingdom of God, 1PE 2:1-10.
To this point of our scriptural study, we can summarize:
Foreknown and called royal priests who are the light of the world, without materialism but abundantly rich, confident in the love of God, possessing hearts of heavenly charitable virtues knit together in love, and having great endurance.
These words describe you. God elected you to this and He doesn’t make mistakes. You and I are foreknown and predestined to this glory, the glory of the life of Christ. We must not fall asleep like Walter Petherick did, though he turned his life to the pursuit of good things, he let them push out the greatest things. He found out that he could have both as long as the greatest things were always first and always loved above all else.
gh. 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:
Jud 2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.
Since practically every use of the verb kaleo, to call, is in reference to the believer and the object of his calling, meaning the life that he was called to, we would confidently say that calling and election are closely related.
From this passage we asked the question, “What are we called to?” and we found more treasures from Jesus Christ our Lord.
Fellowship with His Son - 1CO 1:9.
Peace - 1CO 7:15.
Freedom - GAL 5:13.
Walk worthy - EPH 4:1; 1TH 2:12.
In sanctification - 1TH 4:7.
Eternal life - 1TI 6:12.
Promise of eternal inheritance - HEB 9:15.
Out of darkness - 1PE 2:9.
Patiently endure suffering - 1PE 2:21.
Bless others - 1PE 3:9.
To this point in our scriptural study, we can further summarize:
Called to fellowship with Jesus, having hearts full of freedom, peace, and virtue; living unto Him alone, knowing this life is temporary, possessing eternal life and divine inheritance; a blessing to all others as lights, having great endurance in suffering.
Taking that all together, which is but a sampling of what God elected us to, we find an incredible person, or as Jesus called us, an extraordinary person, MAT 5:47.
Taking further into account that such persons were born in sin, who did not become sinners when they first sinned. If we became sinners when we first sinned then perhaps, we can find a way of giving up sin so as to merit something from God.
Yet, even though that is impossible, it is simply not the case.
We were all born in Adam, born in sin, and hopelessly enslaved to sin and death. And yet, Jesus created us new and elected us to Himself.
ROM 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned —
ROM 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
ROM 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
ROM 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Born in Adam, yet elected to the heights of heaven where Christ sits - the existence of the elected new creature in Christ is the greatest of miracles, which is made possible only by the work of Christ in His sacrifice and death.
The fact that Christ is the only name under heaven by which men may be elected, leads us to our remaining scriptures on election.
Grace - GAL 1:6.
Faithfulness - 1TH 5:24.
Gospel - 2TH 2:14.
Holiness (holy calling) - 2TI 1:9; 1PE 1:15.
We did not work for this or earn it. God elected us before the foundation of the world. We were called when we were dead in our trespasses and sins. We had faith in the Lord as our one and only Savior, but we were not forced. God’s infinite genius and mercy and love made it all possible. It is a gift and a gift unfathomably higher than all other things combined. The work was done by Christ and it is finished. He finished it well and perfectly. It is so finished that when we believe we actually start over brand-new. We are born again.
The called also call upon the name of the Lord, ROM 10:12-14; 1CO 1:2. They call upon the Father, 1PE 1:17.
This gets us right back to our priesthood. As the called, or elect, we have ascended through the heavens to the throne of the Father with our Lord. We approach that heavenly throne and call upon the Father and call upon His name.
ROM 10:11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."
ROM 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him;
ROM 10:13 for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
ROM 10:14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
ROM 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!"
1CO 1:1 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1CO 1:2 to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: