CHOSEN OF GOD
TEXT; Eph 1:4 “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
INTRO: The terms chosen and election in Scripture are one and the same. These are the doctrinal terms which make some Christians nervous, especially those who like to think that man has a little ray of light deep down inside of Him which if he only willed, could turn it on.
One rather stupid definition of election is “God votes, the devil votes and I get to cast the deciding ballot”. That is stupid because it makes salvation all of the individual, and sets aside the sovereignty of God in salvation. The Bible teaches according to Jonah 2:9, “Salvation is of the Lord.”
In my opinion, one cannot truly believe in Total human depravity, or in Eternal security without believing the Biblical doctrine of election.
The sinner is chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. We may not understand it, but we had best believe it, for it is true.Who doesn’t like to be chosen for something good?
I. CHOSEN BY GOD: “According as HE hath chosen us…..”
It is amazing how many good well-meaning Christians are heard to testify as to “how I chose Christ.” Of course it is true from the human standpoint, that the sinner in coming to God must choose Christ as personal Savior. However, as we read our Bibles, we discover how He found us long before we really understood He even existed. And before we even existed.
Salvation is a work of God’s sovereign grace from beginning to end. The hymnwriter wrote: “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.”
Some speak of finding the Lord; however, it is not God who is lost! We are lost in our depravity, and our sin has separated us from our God. In our own wanderings, we can never find him.
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Jesus said to His disciples: John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” We do not read in the Bible that anyone “chose” Christ. Jesus “called” and they “came.”
So the truth remains, that it is God who chooses, and our choices follow His sovereign will.
II. ACCORDING AS HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM…..”
God not only chooses people, but he chooses them particularly in Christ. The idea that anyone and everyone are chosen, is utter foolishness.
When we by a car, we don’t buy all of the cars in the lot. When a woman goes shopping, she does not buy all of the clothes in the store. All of us in our choices pick and choose. We take some of these and leave others to themselves, usually for no real good reason. We pick and choose our friends, for our own particular reason. Is it not reasonable to think that God would choose for good reason, those whom He would have in His kingdom? He chooses some and leaves others to their own will and way.
John 13:18 “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”It is certain that Judas was not one of those chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world.
Those chosen of God are “chosen in Christ”-
1 Thess 2:14 “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:” These brethren became followers of the churches and are said to be “in Christ Jesus.” Paul stresses that these people were “in Christ” as were those believers of the Judean churches. The emphasis was not on their being in the church, but “in Christ Jesus.” Thus, chosen in Him, Christ by divine selection, and singled out and called by the gospel.
God’s election is always unto something, and does not stand-alone. It takes us somewhere.
1 Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
One is never said to be “elect” apart from Christ, nor is he brought to Him without the setting apart/sanctification of the Spirt. God’s choosing brings people to Christ. Christ is the very center of God’s plan of redemption. One cannot have been chosen who rejects the Savior and the message of the cross.
III. ACCORDING AS HE HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD:
Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world? Yes, election is God’s work and it took place in eternity past, before the groundwork of the world was put together by God. It took place before there was “time.” Eternity has no time. The universe God created does. It waxes old, Isa 51:6 “ Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”
1 Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience (of faith, ewt) and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
The Arminian says, “yes but election is according to those whom God knew would accept Christ.” Then why elect them? To this we answer, God’s foreknowledge follows His decree. Foreknowledge does not stand upon it’s own legs, but upon God’s decree. God foreknew them because he had already determined, decreed those who would be His in Christ.
Let me show you this with some simple Scripture:
Acts 2:23 “Him, being delivered by (according to) the determinate counsel (plan) and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
“”Here God’s counsel/plan comes before foreknowledge. We see clearly that Calvary was not an after thought in God’s plan, but part of His purpose from eternity past. Jesus didn’t come to die for those who might believe, but for those whom he called.
God’s purpose for His elect is not based on such weak assumptions. To be otherwise, is to make man the author of His own salvation. And that’s how many would have it!
John 6:36-37 “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” We see here that it is God’s plan and God’s work in bringing the elect to Christ. Those who are elect are clearly seen apart from those who are not.
John 6:64 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
John 10:26-29 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand..” God’s people are those who are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, given to Christ by the Father and sanctified (set apart in time) through the Spirit, as they come to the cross of Jesus Christ.
IV. CHOSEN FOR A PURPOSE:“that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”
God’s salvation is not just so that a bunch of bad guys can go to heaven. If that were the case, he could have filled heaven with all of us, and the cross would not have been necessary.
God chose us in Christ for a purpose. God has a purpose in Christ. Calvary is reasonable only when we look at it through the justice and holiness of a sovereign God.
There are three things we see here:
A. “That we should be holy” This is the word for sanctification: set apart/made holy. This holiness does not put the proverbial halo over our heads, but rather sanctifies or separates, or sets us apart as belonging to God in Christ. Practical holiness can only stem out from here. Peach trees bear peaches because they are peach trees, not in order to become one.
B. “and without blame.” God’s people are to be blameless, but we cannot be faultless as long as we hang out in these sinful old carcasses we call human flesh.
You and I will make many mistakes and sin daily. However, we are blameless before God if our sins are under the sacrificial blood of Christ, and we walk in forgiveness daily before him.
John in his first epistle teaches us just that:
1 John 1:6-10 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
The holiness of God’s elect is in Christ, not in ourselves alone. The believer stands legally justified before God through faith in the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. Herein we are blameless for that is our standing in Christ.
Our state is something different, and not nearly so perfect to look at. That is why we are urged: Col 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”
C. “Before him in love”- This is the third thing we see here. We are to “be” before him in love.” Our standing, our being before God, is to be in love. The golden text of the Bible tells us that. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world” Most certainly we are to love God, and Jesus, and each other. However, the love that Paul speaks of here is “agape” the love of God. No human being can ever truly love without the basic love of God shed abroad in his heart (Rom 5.5). Because of human depravity, we are so limited. However, we can rest in the love of God. All other love stems out from here. We meet it at the cross and then we are to let it do it’s perfect work within us, as we walk and live in love.
Therefore, the Christian life is not so much what we do, or how we walk, as to how we allow HIM to work and live within us. Practical holiness is the work of sovereign grace within the elect on a daily basis. It is Christ living His life in the believer who has submitted himself to Christ and the Spirit of God.
Phil 2:12-15 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
Here we see that the Christian is to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We are to work out what God in Christ has worked in us by the Holy Spirit. That is borne out by verse thirteen, “for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” We do this by submitting to the will and work of the Holy Spirit, and walking in the light of God’s Word.
So we see then that we are not saved just to go to heaven. Some Christians are accused of embracing a “pie in the sky doctrine”. That is, Jesus is your ticket to heaven. Once you commit to that, you can go on living your life like the devil!
To the contrary, the Christian life is to be lived in the here and now, and most certainly we have the guarantee of heaven after this life. We are chosen in Christ unto salvation and service. That is one of the purposes of the local New Testament Church. The Church is a vehicle for God’s serving elect. One cannot Scripturally serve God apart from the local Church.
I’ve heard TV interviews where people said, they still believe in God, they simply disavow the church’s importance to them. They choose to have their faith, but not the church of the faith. I also read that there are fewer professing Christians in KY, and the nation, now than ever before. Why? It is because of all the church scandals, both protestant, catholic and Baptist. People have lost confidence in the leadership. While at the same time, the world has lost confidence in the church members.
CONC: We need to heed the words of Peter: 2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall (offend, stumble).”
Are you in Christ? Have you come to God through Christ in repentance and faith? Are you walking with Him in obedience to His Word? If not, and if you hear God’s Word in your heart today, then act upon it and come to Him, just as you are.
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