GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 7/11/04
The Doctrine of Election.
2PE 1:8-10 For if these qualities [the dramatic seven chorus line] are yours and keep on increasing [are ready for action], they prevent you from being neither useless [ineffective] nor unfruitful [unproductive] in the epignosis knowledge or metabolized doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities [fails to develop these virtues, the dramatic seven chorus line] is mentally blind or short sighted [unaware of the true meaning of life], having forgotten his purification from his former sins or past sins. Therefore, brethren, be motivated even more to make your calling and election a spiritual reality.
The Doctrine of Election
It was God the Father who elected us in eternity past, and in doing so, He willed the highest and best for each one of us, EPH 1:4, "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world." He gave us equal privilege and equal opportunity to receive His highest and best, and to participate in the greatest victory ever won.
You have been elected, and the question you should have is "elected to what?" And the answer is that you have been elected to privilege and God's greatest blessings.
Point 1: Definition.
- Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past before the universe existed and before mankind lived on the earth. Election is the sovereign or absolute right that God has over His creation. Election, along with foreknowledge, predestination, justification and glorification, are all printouts from the doctrine of the divine decrees and the sovereign will of God.
- Foreknowledge means that all things, past, present, and future, are known by God. His foreknowledge knows every situation, as well as every decision made by all His people.
- Predestination is the provision of the sovereignty of God for you in eternity past to provide for you God's plan, purpose, and will for your life.
- Justification is when the justice of God acts on our behalf pronouncing us justified, which means, having a relationship with God forever, having the perfect righteousness of God imputed to us.
- Glorification is the act of God whereby ultimately the believer is conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
So, election, along with foreknowledge, predestination, justification and glorification, are all printouts from the doctrine of the divine decrees and the sovereign will of God. Therefore they belong only to the believer and they should cause the believer to have a tremendous amount of confidence that God is with them. Under election, the sovereignty of God willed the highest and best for every believer, having previously deposited that highest and best into an escrow account in eternity past. Not only do you have a magnificent destiny under the predesigned plan of God, but you also have the same privileges and opportunities as all other believers for the execution of that plan.
Point 2: There are three elections in history.
1. Israel under the ritual plan of God, DEU 7:6, ISA 45:4, "For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My elected one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me."
2. Christ under the incarnation plan of God, MAT 12:18, LUK 9:35, ISA 42:1, "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My elected one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations."
3. The Church under the predesigned plan of God, COL 3:12, "And so, as those who have been elected of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Each election brought a new category of species into history:
1. The election of Israel brought in the new racial species, the Jew. God chose Abraham to become the father of the Jewish race, GEN 18:19.
2. The election of Christ brought in the hypostatic union, which is undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever, 1Ti 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the God-man Christ Jesus."He had to become true humanity to be our Savior, our great high priest, and our mediator.
Point 3: The unique election of history: the Lord Jesus Christ.
We begin with our Lord Jesus Christ because He was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, REV 13:8,"And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."
Our Lord Jesus Christ was elected under the salvation plan of God; He was elected, or chosen, before the foundation of the world to leave Heaven and to come to planet earth to die for the sins of the entire world. Our election was to privilege and blessing; His election was to death and suffering. Is it any wonder why the Apostle Paul said in 2CO 8:9, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
Our Lord's election under the salvation plan of God was visualized in water baptism. The baptism of Jesus Christ was unique in Mat 3:13-14, "Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?'"
John recognized Jesus Christ's impeccability and at first refused to baptize Him. In MAT 3:15, "But Jesus answering said to him, 'Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.'"
The water represented something new-the Father's plan and will for the dispensation of the hypostatic union. Our Lord was now to begin His public ministry and eventually to go to the cross and be judged for the personal sins of mankind. MAT 3:16-17 continues, "And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"
The election of Jesus Christ was impossible without logistical grace support provided for Him. Logistics is a military term referring to the military science of supply, provision, and planning of troop movements, necessary to sustain military forces. Logistics always plays a vital role in warfare, but more importantly, it is essential to your life as a believer. Every believer is alive today because of logistical grace, which is defined as divine planning, support, provision, and blessing for the execution of pre-designed plan of God by the Royal Family, for the fulfillment of God's will, purpose, and plan for your life.
Election is closely related to logistics, for it is logistical grace support allows you to fulfill your election by becoming a spiritual champion. The Cross was the ultimate in logistical support. Jesus Christ was sustained and kept alive until He could bear all sins, HEB 9:14, "Through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God."
Had logistical support been withdrawn, there would be no salvation for us.
Point 4: The Election of Israel.
Israel became the first client nation in history in 1441 B.C. In the Jewish age, there were four Jewish client nations:
1. The United Kingdom, 1440-926 B.C.
2. The two separate client nations of the Northern and Southern kingdoms, 926-721 B.C.
3. The Southern Kingdom, 926-586 B.C.
4. Judah, 516 B.C.-A.D. 70.
The function, prosperity, and perpetuation of a client nation always depend on a certain percentage of mature believers. The election of Israel, as with all elections, applies only to those who have personally believed in Jesus Christ, and our Lord Jesus Christ was very clearly revealed to the Jews in the Old Testament; therefore, those who believed in Christ had an election and a plan. An election from God plus a plan from God equals a destiny. The election of Israel began a new racial species, beginning with Abraham at age 99. "True Israel" refers only to those who were born again, Rom 9-11.
Point 5: The Election of the Church.
Like the other two elections, the Church was elected to execute a plan-the predesigned plan of God. Since A.D. 70, the Royal Family of God has produced invisible heroes for the Gentile client nations. The Church-age believer must not only understand his relationship to God, but his relationship to man and history as well. In fulfilling our relationship to God, we fulfill our relationship to man and history. Understand our election is necessary to glorify God, 1TH 1:4, "Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, His election for you."
To understand your election, you must function under grace orientation, COL 3:12. Understanding election is orientation to the plan of God for your life, 2TI 1:9. Works have no relation to our election, ROM 8:33. Knowledge of doctrine is essential to fulfilling our election to privilege, TIT 1:1. Election means we are responsible to preserve the client nation by advancing spiritually.
You were designed for God's pleasure, REV 4:11, PSA 149:4. God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment, and you exist for His benefit, His glory, His purpose, and His delight. Living for His pleasure is the first purpose of your election. Once you fully understand this, you will never again have a problem with feeling insignificant. If God considers you valuable enough to keep you with Him for all eternity, what greater significance could you have? The Bible teaches that because of His love He made us His children through His Son,EPH 1:5.
One of the greatest gifts God has given you is the ability to enjoy pleasure. He wants you to enjoy life, not just endure it. The reason you are able to enjoy pleasure is that God made you in His image. We often forget that God is a person, and although He describes Himself to us in anthropopathic and anthropomorphic ways, in His own way, He has feeling as well; He is not unsympathetic, or stone-hearted. He feels things very deeply as only deity can. The Bible tells us that God grieves, is jealous and angry, and feels compassion, pity, sorrow, and sympathy, as well as happiness, gladness, and satisfaction. God loves, delights, rejoices, and even laughs. Bringing pleasure to God is called "worship" in His Word, which says in PSA 147:11, "The Lord is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love."
Worship is a universal urge, placed in the heart of man by God, into the very fiber of man's being, ECC 3:11. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves. The reason God made us with this desire is that He desires worshipers, JOH 4:23. You may think of church services with singing, praying, communion, and hearing God's Word as worship, but, while worship can include these elements, it goes far beyond them. Worship is a lifestyle, and it is for our benefit, only because we worship for God's benefit. When we worship, our goal is to bring pleasure to God, not ourselves. Worship is not for us; it is for God. Our motive must always be to bring glory and pleasure to our Creator.
Election was provided before the creation of the world (EPH 1:4). As always, the kingdom of darkness has promoted false doctrine to blind believers from the real meaning that God intended. Election has nothing to do with God violating someone's free will (as hyper-Calvinism teaches); election relates to the experiential phase of God's plan for our lives. When the believer is inside the predesigned plan of God, the Holy Spirit controls his soul, and the old sin nature is restrained in his body.
Believers are commanded to make their calling and election a spiritual reality in 2PE 1:10 11, "Therefore brethren, be all the more diligent [more motivated, from your perception of doctrine and recognizing your invisible assets] to make your calling and election a spiritual reality. For as long as you practice these things [making your calling and election a spiritual reality through the perception of doctrine, resulting in the fulfillment of the predesigned plan of God], you will never stumble [become a loser in cosmic system]. For in this way [execution of the predesigned plan of God in time], your entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ [at the judgment seat of Christ, when we enter the state of ultimate sanctification in the resurrection body] will be abundantly supplied to you[conveyance of the escrow blessings to winners in the eternal state].
What does this all mean? This brings out a very important aspect of election-tapping into the eternal riches that God elected you to receive. There are three status quo's of the believer's existence.
The first is the temporal state, from the time of salvation until either physical death or the Rapture. The temporal state is the time for the believer to choose the predesigned plan of God, for it is here that he either becomes a winner or a loser, either rich or poor. The conveyance of the wealth that God has elected you to receive in time means that you will be rich forever in a resurrected body. The term "loser" never means loss of salvation; it simply means spiritually poor in time and the lowest rank, with no rewards, in eternity. Winners will be spiritually rich in time and in eternity.
The second state of the believer is called the interim state. This is the state of the believer from physical death to the resurrection. After physical death, the believer is, in 2CO 5:8, "Absent from the body and face-to-face with the Lord." At this time, winners and losers are in a state of equality; both have interim bodies and great happiness, and no distinctions are made in the interim state. (The only generation of Church-age believers that will skip the interim state is the Rapture generation.)
The third state is the eternal state, which begins with the resurrected body at the Rapture of the Church. The eternal state is the status quo of a resurrected body, having great decorations or having none at all. The judgment seat of Christ determines "rich and poor" and "winner and loser" in the spiritual realm. Under election, God willed for you to be a winner and be rich; however, you can reject that which God wills. God's desire is to bless you, and He has; however, your desires can cause you to reject His blessings, 2PE 3:9, "The Lord is not willing for any to perish but for all to come to a change of mind [repentance]."
Our passage in 2Pe1:11 continues, "For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." The Greek adverb plousios, translated "entrance," means wealth and riches; it means to yield something abundantly, or to present in large quantity. Then the comes phrase "will be supplied," which is translated from a verb we know well-epichoregeo, meaning to furnish, supply, and provide, specifically to supply all that is needed to be successful. The future tense shows that some believers (at least a small minority) are going to make their calling and election sure and enter the eternal state rich. They will be winners with eternal rewards and decorations. They will have privileges that extend above and beyond the resurrected body and ultimate sanctification. The future tense also points toward the judgment seat of Christ and the rewards awaiting winner believers. This is the culmination of wealth and riches "exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think" (EPH 3:20) being conveyed unto us. For those believers who fulfill their election and stay faithful the plan of God in time, there are fantastic blessings awaiting them, the continuation of their blessings in time.