Ephesians; 1:5 – The predestined will be conformed to His image; the first and the last.

Thursday April 11, 2019


Proorizo used in: Eph 1:5, 11; 1Co 2:7; Act 4:28 (of our Lord); Rom 8:29,30.


We will investigate our Lord’s predestination and summarize all of them again later on.


Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;


Rom 8:30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.


We have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and every son will be so conformed in heaven.


All believers may know on the authority of God that it is settled forever, that some day we will be exactly like Him.


Some, who don’t quite fully understand the grace of God, may want to criticize this interpretation, and for the reason that they strive to be like Christ in time while many Christians do not. It might not seem fair that those who have striven and sacrificed to obey the will of God will stand next to a brother in heaven who was ignorant and distracted, but who is just as much like Christ as he is for all of eternity.


In order to show the error of that kind of selfish thinking, we studied Christ’s parable about workers in a vineyard.


All believers have been preordained to be in the image of Christ, and in heaven they will be. To not work in the vineyard now with the attitude that whatever the Lord sees fit to reward me, and to have the attitude of those hired for a wage, expecting some standard for their work, is to miss out on the joy of the Christian life in time.


The Lord said: Mat 19:30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.


He says this again concerning the workers in the vineyard. It is a very general statement without detail. What does it mean to be first or last? Does it apply to heaven or earth or both? The fact is that we don’t need those details. The fact is also that some who appear to be first are last in God’s eyes and some who appear to be last are first in God’s kingdom. Certainly, we want to be first, not for any selfish reason, for any selfishness would make us last, but in glorifying our King, we want to be first. And, who did Christ say was the greatest among us? The servant of us all. This is the life of the predestined son. He has no other.


And, to not have the attitude of Christ’s joy, that those who work an hour are rewarded as much as those who worked 9 hours, is to miss out on the fulfillment of the Christian life in time.


If a sacrifice is made merely for the sake of winning for oneself some greater gain, then it is no longer a sacrifice but a bargain.


We are not mercenaries for Christ, but the humble subjects of His kingdom.


That attitude betrays a hidden part that needs some light. Ask yourself, if everyone will be of the same status and with the same rewards in heaven and in the same likeness of character, would you stop serving God now and become a weak, carnal Christian? If you would, or think you might, you have to ask yourself why you are serving Him now.


The word predestined leaves out all conditions. It is not predestined to be conformed to Christ if… All the body will be conformed to His image.


Love and trust are the essence of sacrifice. Do we love and trust our King, our Master, our vineyard owner explicitly?


1Jo 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.


1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.


1Jo 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.


The parable of the workers in the vineyard is a response to the rich man’s unwillingness to give up all his possessions and Peter’s response that he had given up everything to follow Christ, and what was to be his reward?


It is impossible that a man who chief desire was to advance his Master’s work, should envy another laborer who had done much less than himself.


Mat 20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.


Mat 20:2 "And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.


Mat 20:3 "And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place;


Mat 20:4 and to those he said, 'You too go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And so they went.


Mat 20:5 "Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing.


Mat 20:6 "And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?'


Mat 20:7 "They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into the vineyard.'


These last ones who had not been hired all day could not be desirable as workers. Those hearing the parable would have clearly understood this. It’s not because they didn’t want to work, but that they were passed over by every foreman who came by. The listeners would have understood them to be too old, weak, or sick.


In the body of Christ there are some who have strong talents and abilities – they can speak, their charismatic, they can sing, they are quick witted, or personable; and then there are those who don’t possess these admired and likeable talents – who are reserved, quiet, frail, awkward, shy. Perhaps God gives much work to one type and not as much to another type, and the number of types are far more than two, would those in each group loathe or envy the ones of the other group? Do we not all know that any work done for the kingdom of God, no matter how little, is worthy or rejoicing?


Do we not also know that a little work done by a Christian who has overcome enormous genetic and environmental handicaps might be a far greater effort of faith than a great deal of work done by another Christian who enjoyed a greater genetic composition and pleasing environment?


[Marcus Dods] Anyone who understands the vanity of life, who have tasted its distresses and disappointments, who know how little it all comes to, a few pleasures, a few excitements, one or two great changes, a great deal of dull labor, and a good many sorrows, and then the plunge into oblivion; if there are those who would welcome anything that would put a heart and purpose into the whole, and lift every part of life up out of the law and despicable rut in to which it for the most part moves, then why do you hesitate to respond when Christ says, “Why do you stand here idle? Go into My vineyard, and what is right, you will receive.”


Do you believe that what you will receive will be fruitless and disappointing?


We did not have time to look into our Lord’s commentary on this parable, namely, “Thus the last shall be first, and the first last.”


Mat 20:14 'Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.


Mat 20:15 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?'


Mat 20:16 "Thus the last shall be first, and the first last."


Jesus said this also before the clarifying parable in response to Peter’s affirmation that revealed his mercenary mentality.


Mat 19:27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?"


Mat 19:28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.


Mat 19:29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.


Mat 19:30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.


Many that are first will be last. “Many” [Greek: polloi] but not all, meaning, there are some who will do a tremendous amount of work for the Lord, who will be popularly known, and did so with a true motivation, like Paul, John, and Peter for instance.


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