Ephesians; 1:4 – Election of church age believer, part 23.
Wednesday December 12, 2018
3g. The elect are royal priests in the kingdom of God.
Our main passage is:
1Pe 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
1Pe 2:2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
1Pe 2:3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
1Pe 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,
1Pe 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6 For this is contained in Scripture:
"Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed."
1Pe 2:7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve,
"The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,"
1Pe 2:8 and,
"A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense";
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed [because they disbelieve, vs. 7].
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1Pe 2:10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
We are currently looking at the cleanliness of the believer priest. All believers are cleansed from all sin by the blood of Christ, 1Jo 1:7. And as such, we are to live cleansed lives, or holy lives. It is imperative that we do so, so that the blessings of our elected priesthood may be experienced in this life.
The problem is the opposition to the life of Christ in us. Our sin natures, the world system, and Satan’s kingdom of darkness all oppose that life with vigor.
The obstacles of sin can be difficult to overcome, but far from impossible. We are tempted in many ways and at many times. We are mentally and spiritually weak at times, during which we are more susceptible to sin.
The flesh wars with the Spirit and the Spirit with the flesh. That should be a very lopsided war as God is one of the opponents, but the reason it may not be is that we must decide who has victory.
Paul writes in Gal 5:21 that those who practice sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. We may conclude that Paul is referencing unbelievers in that statement, and we would be correct, for unbelievers all practice those things and none of them inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Gal 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Gal 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Gal 5:24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
So why does he warn the believer? The believer will lose reward. I can’t speak for the next life as to what loss of reward may look like, but I can speak for this life. The Exodus generation were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. That’s what loss of reward looks like in this life. In short, we could say that loss of reward is loss of the experience of living the life that is Christ to which every believer has been elected.
It is our choices by faith that will make the difference. “If we live by the Spirit (and all believers do), let us also walk by the Spirit (out choice).”
The wonderful thing to know is that before salvation such a choice was not an option to us. It was not known to us at all.
The wonderful thing is the good news that not only is the option given to us to walk in divine life and light, but God promises that if we choose it, He will make it happen for us.
Phi 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Paul was confident in their maturity because he knew Lydia and all who joined her in forming this wonderful church.
1Th 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
2Th 1:11 To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power;
2Th 1:12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Before salvation, all we had were perversions of goodness. No one is bad for the sake of badness. They want good things, but go about them in the wrong way.
Bad cannot exist without good. Bad cannot exist independently. People are bad, they sin, because they are in pursuit of pleasure, power, wealth, security, love, etc., all of which are good things. Satan, we are told, wanted to be like the Most High God. In fact, all of us are to be like Him, and Satan could have become like Him in virtue and love, but Satan chose another way. Being like God is good, but the way the anointed cherub went about it is the very definition of unrighteousness.
There is a reason we must know and understand this.
Sin is only a perversion of what is good. Therefore, sin is not life, it is a perversion of life.
We see this all the time in the history of tyranny. Imagine that you live in the Soviet Union in 1920-1980 and your children are forced to go to state run schools. If you do not send them, you will be arrested. The children are taught evil things, wrong things that no child should learn, but the children are told at school that they should tell everything that their parents say. If you correct them, meaning, you tell them the truth, how could you trust 6 year-old or even a 10 year-old not to tell the teacher what you said. If they do, you will be taken away from them and likely die in the Gulag under hard labor.
Did Stalin and his cronies (think of any tyrant) do this because they love evil or cruelty? Maybe they had a streak of cruelty in them, but in fact, they were actually in the pursuit of a better world. A world where there would be no classes and everyone would have the same things and enough to live. They wanted good things. They wanted to insure their own wealth and security, which are good things, and thought that millions of murders and countless cruel practices in the pursuit of these things was worth the cost. In the case of Stalin and the Soviet Union, the perfect world would only come if you could get people to no longer be attached to their own property and faith. These things had to go and one had to be ruthless about it.
The whole world in born into that perversion, being born in Adam. God entered the world to remove the perversion from us and to give us life. That life is clean, meaning, unstained by sin, unstained by the perversion, in a word, blameless (Eph 1:4).
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Joh 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness.