Ephesians; 1:4 – The calling of the elect, part 4: What are we called to?
Friday January 25, 2019
“Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it. It is merely feeble if it does not go as far as to realize that.” [Blaise Pascal]
Pascal, a genius in mathematics and natural science, came to see that only in Jesus was the experience of life.
Man is far more than he can know about himself or his world, and so natural theologies and rationalistic philosophies are only, as Pascal puts it, “proud reasonings” attempting to order reality according to the laws of the mind. Without God man cannot know himself. Without Christ, man cannot know God.
3g. The elect are called, beloved, and kept, Jud 1.
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.
Fellowship with His Son – 1Co 1:9.
Peace – 1Co 7:15.
Freedom – Gal 5:13.
We looked at all of these passages last night.
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.
We looked at the first two and are now on to our calling to eternal life:
1Ti 6:11 But flee from these things [false doctrine and lust], you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
Flee from false doctrine and lust. They go hand in hand. Man lusts for importance and so he devises his own theology that places himself at the center. Man’s lust always places him at the center and to rationalize that as good, he completes his false doctrine.
Faith is a gift from God and the Word is a gift from God. Faith says I believe and knowledge is believing in all that is revealed in God’s Word. Faith also says that there are things of God which I do not know, but I still believe, though I don’t know. God has never been found or known by human reason.
Flee from these things and pursue God (by faith), pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness, which is pursuing God.
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called,
“take hold” – epilambano = epi (upon) + lambano (take) – it means to intensely take hold of. The gift of eternal life must be seized upon intensely and not held lightly.
Everything the believer has been called to might be lightly viewed while other things in life, worldly things or selfish things are intensely desired. We cannot lose our calling, but we can neglect it in favor of something so much less. It is blindness and ignorance and immaturity that makes this trap a possibility. We must not let this happen. We must intensely take hold of the objects of our calling and election, and not tomorrow, but right now. You know what they are. You know you possess them. You know that the Holy Spirit is within you to empower them to a living reality in our every day on this earth.
Phi 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Phi 3:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
Phi 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Man has become full of mind blocks. He has achieved so much in intelligence and technology that he has become lost in it. He is quickly losing his imagination, which is akin to faith. Not the imagination that contradicts the truth, but is in hearty agreement with it. Reaching forward to that which lies ahead is reaching towards that which I do not yet know. I cannot reason what its reality will be or look like, but by faith I reach. My imagination, free in faith and love of God, knows that it will be beyond what could ever ask or dream.
The dream of the Enlightenment in Europe during the 18th century was of man triumphant, bringing to pass that earthly paradise whose groves of academia would ensure the realization forever of peace, plenty, and beatitude in practice. They saw wars fought over religion, and they would do away with the fairy tale of religion and reason would usher in the great peace. But what a nightmare of wars (not fought on religion), famines, and folly has resulted therefrom.
Nietzsche said, “God is dead, long live Superman.” Pascal said: “It is in vain of men that you seek within yourselves the cure for your miseries. … The philosophers promised them [the true and the good] to you and they have not been able to keep their promise. How should they have provided you with a cure for ills which they have not even understood. Your principle maladies are pride, which cuts you off from God, and sensuality, which binds you to the earth. And they have done nothing but foster at least one of these maladies. If they have given you God for your object, if has been to pander to your pride. They have made you think you were like Him and resemble Him by your nature. And those who have grasped the vanity of such a pretension have cast you down in the other abyss b making you believe that your nature is like that of the beast of the field and have led you to seek your own lust, which is the lot of the animals.”
Called to receive God’s inheritance:
Heb 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
Think of that phrase: “Christ appeared as the high priest of the good things to come.” He is the One who ministers for all the saints, unto the Father, to ensure that the “good things to come” will indeed come. We have only a glimpse of what those good things are, and even that small glimpse is beyond what we could ever imagine.
Heb 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:15 And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Out of darkness – 1Pe 2:9.
Patiently endure suffering – 1Pe 2:21.
Bless others – 1Pe 3:9.
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;
Called to patiently endure suffering:
1Pe 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
1Pe 2:14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
1Pe 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
1Pe 2:16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
This agrees with Paul’s statement in Gal 5, “Don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but in love serve one another.”
1Pe 2:17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
1Pe 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
1Pe 2:19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
“for the same of conscience toward God” – There is a part of me that doesn’t want to do this, but I will bear up under the pain and discomfort and sorrow because I belong to the Father. Such things are not done in order to earn some reward from God or to be noticed by others, but solely for the reason that I am a child of God the Father.
1Pe 2:20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
1Pe 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
Christ is the example, and each believer is in Him; His bride, brother, slave, and friend. Christ was called and elected as a Man to patiently endure suffering. He was foreknown and predestined and glorified, and so is every believer in this age. It is the closest kinship in life by far.
Our kinship with Christ is be far the closest and it is eternal. We do all things for His sake, and never primarily for ourselves or others.
Since this kinship is so close, as well as eternal, we don’t do things in life for ourselves or for the sake of others, but for His sake first and foremost.
That doesn’t mean that we do nothing for ourselves or that we don’t consider others and do for others, but that we do for ourselves and others as He would have us do them. He said to us that if we love anyone more than Him then we are not worthy of Him. No person has the kinship with us that we have with the Lord Jesus Christ.