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 7/18/04
The Doctrine of Election. Part 2. Ephesians 1:3-4
Our current study is the subject of election, and we have studied six major points so far in this doctrine. By way of review, Point 1 is the 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 is the aspect of God's omniscience in which all things, past, present, future, eternal, material, intellectual and spiritual, and actual, are known by Him. His foreknowledge simultaneously knows every situation as well as every actual 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 a judicial act of vindication, since we are born under condemnation, being spiritually dead. Justification is an official judicial act that occurs every time a person believes in Jesus Christ. The justice of God acts on our behalf, pronouncing us justified, which means having a relationship with God forever, and having the perfect righteousness of God imputed to us. Justification means that God recognizes His perfect righteousness in us.
- Glorification is the act of God whereby ultimately the believer is conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
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.
3. The Church under the predesigned plan of God, COL 3:12.
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. 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.
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 come to planet earth to die for the sins of the world. Our election was to privilege and blessing; His election was to death and suffering.
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, which we call the predesigned plan of God. There are several important principles concerning our election that we need to understand:
- There will be rich and poor believers forever in the eternal state. They will not be poor as we think of poor, but they will suffer the loss of rewards and privileges that they had been elected to receive.
- In the temporal state, the believer is either a winner or a loser, either rich or poor. You may or may not receive the wealth of your escrow account, depending on whether you fulfill the conditions, i.e., the predesigned plan of God.
- The conveyance of the wealth that God has elected you to receive in time means that you will be rich forever in eternity.
- Winners will be spiritually rich in time and spiritually rich in eternity. These are the phenomenal spiritual blessings provided for every believer, which include true love, peace, contentment, inner happiness, confidence, security, courage, freedom, and abundant life.
- God willed for you to be a winner and be rich; however, you can reject what God wills. God's desire is to bless you, and He has, but your desires can cause you to reject His blessings.
The first conveyance, the "down payment," of these blessings and privileges occurs in time, and spiritual capacity and maturity are needed to experience and appreciate these blessings. The second conveyance occurs at the judgment seat of Christ, and it will be overwhelming to the winner believer. We refer to these blessings as crowns, decorations, rewards, and privileges, but those descriptions do not even begin to describe the fantastic things that God has elected every single one of us to have, 1CO 2:9, EPH 3:20-21.
Because all of us have a free will, there are differences among believers in time, and there will be even greater differences among believers in eternity. The concepts of rich and poor are simply a description of the difference that will exist between winners and losers, those who have shame and those who do not. Why do they have shame? 1CO 15:33-34 says, "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals. Become sober minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.'" The command to stop sinning is not a reference to sinless perfection, but to lack of knowledge of God, which is described as shameful and sinful. Self motivation in the spiritual life avoids shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ, 2TI 2:15, "Study to present yourself approved by God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed [at the judgment seat of Christ], handling accurately the word of truth."
The importance of fellowship with God in time to avoid shame at the judgment seat of Christ is brought out in 1JO 2:28, "And now my children, keep abiding in Him, that if He should appear [the rapture], we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame in His presence [Judgment seat of Christ].
To avoid shame at the judgment seat of Christ, the believer must use the invisible grace assets available to him. You alone are the one who can live your spiritual life; your decisions right now in time determine whether you will be rich or poor forever. Shame for the believer is the embarrassment of failure to fulfill God's plan under the principle of equal privilege and equal opportunity and spiritual freedom. Believers become losers because they reject principles such as JOH 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease"; and LUK 14:26, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate [love less] his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple."
Loser believers have the legacy of JOH 12:43, "For they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."
There will be perfect happiness and perfect contentment in heaven, but there will also be believers who suffered loss of rewards, a sign that they were losers in time. However, the very fact that the believer has eternal life in heaven in a resurrected body reveals that grace saved him, which in itself brings glory to God.
Point 6: Election and the Believer's Escrow Account.
1. An escrow is a written agreement entered into by three parties called the obligor, the obligee, and the depositary, for the transfer of certain privileges or benefits. God the Father is the obligor, one who places himself under legal obligation. God the Father did so in eternity past when He provided both temporal and eternal blessings for every member of the Royal Family, and He made a promise, swearing by Himself (HEB 6:13).
The second party is the obligee, and the obligee is the Church-age believer. God the Father (the obligor) has placed Himself under obligation to the believer (the obligee). Therefore, God the Father is obligated to bless every believer who uses His invisible grace assets to advance to spiritual maturity. You are the obligee; your name is written in heaven. You have the same privilege and opportunity as every other believer, under the doctrine of election, of receiving your escrow blessings for time, and then for eternity at the judgment seat of Christ.
The third party is the depositary; this is the person to whom all the deposits are entrusted. The depositary is our Lord Jesus Christ in whom the blessings were deposited, in eternity past.
2. An escrow is a sealed agreement of the obligor (generally accompanied by the deed, bond, or possessions to be conveyed), made contingent on a certain future occurrence, or the performance of a specified action by the obligee. This agreement is delivered to the depositary and held by him, pending the occurrence of the event or the required act of the obligee.
3. When the conditions attached to the escrow have been fulfilled, the depositary delivers the agreement and the promised wealth to the obligee.
4. The depositary (custodian) is allowed no discretion; he must follow strictly the terms of the agreement as it concerns the other two parties.
The depositary and custodian is God the Son. In eternity past, God the Father deposited both temporal and eternal blessings with our Lord Jesus Christ in escrow, pending our future advance to spiritual maturity as the obligee, EPH 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."
Under the predesigned plan of God, and the sovereign will of God expressed in election, the Church-age believer is obligated to fulfill that plan, prior to receiving his blessings from escrow. Temporal blessings on deposit are transferred to the believer when he fulfills the predesigned plan of God in time (not to be confused with logistical grace blessings given to all believers, MAR 10:29-31, Luk 18:28-30). Eternal blessings are transferred to the mature believer after the rapture at the judgment seat of Christ, where the winner is awarded special decorations, 2CO 5:10. This sealed agreement including two categories of blessings (temporal and eternal) was delivered to Jesus Christ in eternity past by God the Father, even before He expressed His sovereign will in election, and before He designed the predesigned plan of God in predestination, EPH 1:3. Justification is the mechanics for the transfer of temporal blessings; glorification is the mechanics for the transfer of eternal blessings, ROM 8:30.
Under the principle of election, God the Father is the author of the divine plan that reveals the fantastic things that He has prepared for those who love Him; He is the author of all worship, praise, honor, and adoration. Again, Ephesians 1:3-4">EPH 1:3-4 declares, "Worthy of praise and glorification be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He elected us in Him before the foundation of the world."
The word for "blessed" is the Greek adjective eulogetos, meaning "worthy of praise and glorification." It has the connotation of appreciating God the Father for His fantastic plan, which staggers the imagination. The verb "has blessed" is translated from the aorist participle form of the Greek verb eulogesas, which means "having already blessed." In the Greek language, when there is more than one verb in a sentence, the action of the aorist participles always precedes the action of the other verbs. The aorist participle in EPH 1:3 is "having blessed," which comes before "He elected us." Therefore, the very first thing God ever did was bless us!
"Elected" is the main verb, the aorist middle indicative form of eklego, which means to elect. Election is the expression of the sovereignty of God, who wills the highest and best for every believer in Jesus Christ. Therefore, He decreed to provide a portfolio of invisible assets for every believer by depositing, in escrow, the greatest blessings for every believer, before the believer was even elected. God decided to provide His highest and best for anyone who would believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He ordained that, under election, whoever believed upon His Son would have fantastic privileges and opportunities, Ephesians 1:3-4">EPH 1:3-4. We have been chosen or elected "in Christ" and have been given "every spiritual blessing" imaginable! The term "spiritual blessings" points to God the Father as the source, for they include temporal blessings as well as blessings in the spiritual realm.
These blessings that we have been elected to receive, have come from the work of God the Father on behalf of the believer in eternity past. God is blessed by giving to us. The fantastic blessings and the invisible assets that God the Father has provided for each member of the Royal family of God before creation are a part of election. Election has nothing to do with overriding your free will; election means that God desires to bless you. You have securities, blessings, and invisible assets that stagger the imagination. However, before these assets are usable and these blessings are attainable, they must be understood.
In eternity past, the blessings deposited in escrow were made contingent on the future performance of the obligee (the believer). Your advance to spiritual maturity in the predesigned plan of God is the condition for the transfer of your blessings from escrow to you. When the obligee attains spiritual maturity, he receives the first installment of blessings from the depositary, Jesus Christ, and the second installment is conveyed to him at the judgment seat of Christ.
Spiritual blessing means maximum awareness of life. You treasure every moment of life, whether in adversity or prosperity; you have zeal for life, regardless of what it brings. This excludes being depressed or upset by the ups and downs of life. Spiritual blessing also means orientation to reality, objectivity, and the characteristics of spiritual adulthood. It includes maximum contentment, tranquility, and happiness, regardless of your station, circumstances, or status quo in life. It requires maximum use of the problem-solving devices provided by God for spiritual growth. Spiritual blessing means that you have a fantastic relationship with God based on the confidence that, while you have never seen God, you know and understand Him.
God also provides temporal blessings, which vary with each individual and his environment. They include establishment blessing, which is the blessings of privacy and freedom, the enjoyment of life and property, and protection from crime, reprisal, violence, and vindictiveness from others.
- Professional blessing is maximum success or efficiency in the profession God has provided for you.
- Business blessing, where applicable, means success as an owner or an executive of one's own enterprise.
- Social blessing is the presence of loving, faithful, reliable, and stable friends, and maximum enjoyment of your relationships with them.
- Romantic blessing means a wonderful relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Romantic prosperity is perpetuated under all circumstances of adversity and prosperity, and includes sexual prosperity in marriage.
- Mental blessing is the ability to concentrate, to organize your thinking and your life, to synthesize, to analyze, and to have courage, which is the ability to think under pressure.
- Cultural blessing is maximum capacity for good entertainment-the enjoyment of the best in music, art, literature, drama, history, hobbies, etc.
- Health blessing is also given to some mature believers. (If you have already violated too many principles of health, you will have the ability to cope with your lack of health.)
- Leadership blessing, though not for everyone, is a blessing for some, by virtue of either their genetics or spiritual gift, or it can be acquired. This is the ability to take any assigned responsibility and do it efficiently, cheerfully, and effectively.
For a more detailed study, order tapes 0190-1174 to 0190-1187.