GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 7/25/04
The Doctrine of Election. Part 3.
Election and Selection. Romans 5:12,15-19.
Ephesians 1 is a fantastic chapter on the doctrine of election and discovering the things that God has prepared for His elect people. In EPH 1:3-4, we see the escrow account for the Church-age believer: "Worthy of praise and glorification be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He [God the Father] elected us in Him before the foundation of the world."
Point 6 (continued): Election and the Believer's Escrow Account: Long before He laid down earth's foundations, God the Father had us in mind as the focus of His love. We have been given "every spiritual blessing," and we have been chosen or elected "in Christ" to receive these fantastic blessings. These blessings have come from the work of God the Father on behalf of the believer in eternity past. God derives pleasure and is blessed by giving to us, ACT 20:35, and all things were created by the Lord Jesus Christ for His own pleasure, REV 4:11.
The first thing God ever did for us was to provide blessings for us, which is the means of glorifying Him. Billions of years ago, God the Father deposited into escrow the greatest blessings, which we cannot even imagine, tailored perfectly for each one of us. These blessings were made contingent on the future performance of the obligee (the believer). You have been elected, not only to receive salvation, but also to receive the greatest blessings for time and for eternity. God the Father, as the Grantor, deposited into escrow phenomenal blessings for time and eternity. These blessings are "on deposit" with the escrow officer, our Lord Jesus Christ. When we meet the conditions of the escrow (reaching spiritual maturity), then our Lord conveys these blessings to us in time. Then, at the judgment seat of Christ, He conveys blessings for the eternal state.
In addition to the fantastic spiritual assets, there are many temporal blessings mentioned in the scriptures-GEN 12:2, blessings of success; GEN 17:16, blessings of posterity; DEU 7:13, blessings in business; DEU 15:4, blessing of finances; DEU 23:20, blessing of land; DEU 28:12, blessing of prosperity; DEU 30:16, blessing of property; PSA 5:12, blessing of divine protection; PSA 29:11, blessing of peace; PSA 132:15, blessing of "more blessing"; GEN 49:25, blessing of sexual prosperity; GEN 24:35, blessing of silver and gold; 2SA 6:11, blessing of one's entire household; Deu 29:5, blessing of divine character; 1KI 3:13, blessing of riches and honor; EXO 23:25, blessing of health; 1KI 3:14, blessing of length of days; DEU 7:15, blessing of vengeance upon one's enemies; ISA 41:10, blessing of strength. These are all based upon your attitude towards Bible doctrine, PRO 3:15; PRO 4:7-10; ISA 29:24.
In human history, the sovereignty of God and the free will of man coexist by divine decree. All believers have the equal privilege and equal opportunity to receive their escrow. However, you can choose by your own free will to completely fail to receive these blessings. In eternity there are winners and losers, the rich and the poor, forever. The spiritually rich are winners in the predesigned plan of God who receive the transfer of their blessings from escrow, while the spiritually poor are losers in the cosmic system, but are still supported by God's logistical grace. Their first loss is in time because they had equal privilege and opportunity at salvation, but failed to fulfill the predesigned plan of God. Therefore, their escrow blessings remain on deposit forever as a memorial to lost opportunity. They are a double loser, as they also fail to receive their eternal escrow blessings. Losers are under divine discipline in this life, 1CO 16:22, " If anyone does not personally love the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha." We are warned against this in 2Jo 8-9.
When we are "out of bounds" (outside the plan of God), we are grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit, EPH 4:30, 1Th 5:18; in rebound, we get back on the "playing field." The Christian loser is defined as the Church-age believer in Jesus Christ who, through negative volition toward Bible doctrine, has failed to execute the predesigned plan of God for the Church-age. He does not fulfill God's plan for His life after salvation. The loser does not lose his salvation; he only loses his escrow blessings for time and eternity. The Christian loser fails to use his power options (the filling of the Spirit and metabolization of doctrine). The loser is the believer in Jesus Christ who has wrong priorities and spends his life in the cosmic system. The loser has been called to a pastor, but because of cosmic involvement, he never sees his right pastor, or perhaps he only visits occasionally. In many cases, the loser finds his right pastor but rejects him, or only accepts him until he is distracted. However, the loser continues to receive logistical grace support and blessing.
The loser believer is described in the following ways:
1. The carnal believer, ROM 8:7, 1CO 3:1 3.
2. A prisoner to the law of sin, ROM 7:23.
3. A wretched believer, ROM 7:24.
4. Grieving the Holy Spirit, EPH 4:30.
5. Quenching the Spirit, 1TH 5:19.
6. The enemy of the Cross, PHI 3:18.
7. The enemy of God, JAM 4:4.
8. The flawed believer, JAM 1:23 24.
9. The "psycho believer" (double minded), JAM 4:8.
Point 7: Selection and Election. An important principle related to the character and integrity of God is the doctrine of selection, which must be distinguished from election. Selection applies to your physical birth; God "selected" you to become a member of the human race, NUM 16:22, EZE 18:4, "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine." Therefore, selection deals with our physical birth, while election deals with our spiritual birth. Since God knew in eternity past that you were going to be a member of the human race, and He also knew that you would believe in Jesus Christ, He selected you before He elected you. Selection must precede election; you had to be born before you could become a believer.
Selection is a technical term related to the divine imputation of human life at the point of physical birth. God as the creator is the inventor of human life. At the moment of physical birth, God imputes human life to the "format" soul, and the individual becomes alive. This is selection; God did not have to impute life to you, but He chose to do so in His sovereign will. Therefore, your life has meaning, purpose, and definition, regardless of environment or circumstances. The time, manner, and place of your entrance into this world were decreed by God in eternity past.
Simultaneously, at the point of your physical birth, Adam's original sin was imputed to the genetically formed old sin nature, resulting in spiritual death. When we are selected, we are already spiritually dead because of Adam's sin (not our own), Romans 5:12">ROM 5:12,15-19, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned&ldots; But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness [the Cross] there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous."
One man's sin (Adam's) was imputed to us, and this is what made us sinners. However, our personal sins were never imputed to us for judgment; instead, they were imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and judged. Jesus Christ took our place; He is our substitute, and His spiritual death was efficacious.
Selection is the sovereign decision to impute human life at the point of physical birth. Election is a term relating to the spiritual birth, or regeneration. Regeneration is the divine imputation of eternal life to the human spirit, created by God the Holy Spirit at the moment of faith in Jesus Christ. Being "born again" is a reference to regeneration, as described in TIT 3:4-7, "But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Regeneration is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in creating the human spirit for the imputation of eternal life at the point of salvation.
The very fact that when a person is born he receives the imputation of human life from God, means God has a purpose for every member of the human race with no exceptions, both believers and unbelievers. And that purpose is found in one verse, 1TI 2:4, "He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." When God selects, He does so from His perfect decision making, i.e., His sovereignty. Selection occurs when the sovereignty of God imputes human life to the soul at birth; election becomes a reality when a person believes in Christ for salvation. At the moment you receive the imputation of eternal life, you also receive your invisible assets, such as election and predestination. The awareness of God's marvelous plan for your life comes gradually through learning doctrine. Being delivered from spiritual death through faith in Christ, when we might have been forever under condemnation, is the motivational challenge of election, which follows selection. Selection at birth, followed by election at regeneration for every believer, opens the door for the greatest opportunity ever extended to the human race-an opportunity for invisible but real historical impact. You have a greater opportunity than even the greatest rulers of history. Your influence, while invisible, can go far beyond any human success in history. This opportunity is described by two words-election and predestination.
So great is the opportunity of these two invisible assets, and so fantastic is the grace behind it (for we cannot earn or deserve any of it), that it is beyond human description. God provided everything for you to execute His plan, and He provided it knowing that you had an old sin nature. Knowing every one of your failures, He still selected you at birth and He still gave us our election at regeneration. Our first revelation of this grace process is the sole requirement of non meritorious faith in Christ for salvation, and therefore the Bible says in COL 2:6, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord [in grace], so walk in Him."
It is always the object of faith that has the merit. In salvation, faith in Christ attributes all the merit to Christ. You are not saved by anything you can think, say, or do. Likewise, none of us earn or deserve our invisible assets, and none of us are any better than anyone else, in the light of grace. Only God can create this equality of opportunity! So that there is no such thing as a handicap in the perfect plan of God, whether environmental, volitional, or genetic, because you have the same privileges and opportunities as every other believer. You are Royal Family of God! The only distinguishing factor among believers in the Royal Family of God is the "personnel assets," i.e., different talents, different treasures, and a different spiritual gift. We all have the same amount of time and can serve God in any realm, as in ECC 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might"; Col 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve"; and EPH 6:6-7, "Not by way of eyeservice, as men pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men." You live in the dispensation of the Church, the Royal Family of God, and you have the same privileges and opportunities to receive the conveyance of your escrow blessings as every other believer.
In the doctrine of selection, it is vital to understand that God is the author of life (not our parents!), and that He is in complete control of the circumstances of our birth. GEN 2:7 records the origin of the human race: "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
JOB 33:4 says, "And the breath from God has created me [a human being], and the breath [soul life] of the Almighty gives me [human] life." The "breath of God" is the source of life. This statement by Job is made long after the fall of man in the Garden, and states the principle of the origin of human life-human life comes from God, and only God has the power to create human life. We read in ISA 44:2, "Thus says the Lord who created you, who formed you outside [separated from] the womb." "From the womb" is the Hebrew prepositional phrase mi beten, which means separated from the womb, or out from the womb.
Because of the perfect justice of God, and because we are born spiritually dead through the imputation of Adam's sin, God must provide salvation for everyone to whom He gives soul life at birth. He provides redemption for all, as inISA 44:24, "Thus says the Lord [Jehovah], your redeemer, the One who formed you from the womb [not "in" the womb, but "outside" the womb], 'I, the Lord, am the maker of all things.'"
When a woman becomes pregnant and a fetus grows inside her body, this is biological life, according to the Bible; it is not yet a person, because biological life in itself is not a human being. There must be a soul created by God and imputed to the biological life of the infant at birth, for human life to exist. God's creation of soul life occurs at physical birth, under the principle of selection. Man is the source of biological life through copulation, and he is also the source of the sin nature, located in the body. However, only God Himself can make that biological life a human being with a soul. At birth, God creates soul life and imputes it to biological life; at death, God removes the soul life from the biological life. For the believer, He takes that soul life to heaven. If God did not give soul life at birth, there would be no soul life, and no human existence.
For a more detailed study, order tapes 0190-1188 to 0190-1191.