GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 8/1/04
Point 7 in our study of the Doctrine of Election deals with Selection and Election. At the point of physical birth, you come under the concept of selection, meaning God selected you to be a member of the human race. God is the inventor of human life, and He is the creator of all life. The Bible teaches that at the moment of physical birth, God imputes human life to the "format soul" and the individual then becomes alive; this is what we call "selection."Therefore, life has meaning, purpose, and definition for everyone, regardless of their environment, circumstances, gender, nationality, skin color, etc., GAL 3:28.
We read in ISA 44:2, "Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb [not "in" the womb], who will help you, 'Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; and you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.'"
The phrase "from the womb" is the Hebrew word mibeten, which means "separated from the womb," or "out from the womb."
The same word is used in ISA 44:24, "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, 'I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.'"; and Isa 46:3, "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne [carried] by Me from birth [not from "conception"], and have been carried from the womb."
The Lord carries His people from birth. We see the same principle in ISA 49:1, "Listen to Me, O islands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. And in ISA 49:5, The Lord called Me from the womb [as opposed to "in the womb"]; from the body of My mother He named Me" And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and My God is My strength)"
Why would God call the child from birth, but not call the child in the womb? If the fetus were a person, he would have just as much intellect while still in the womb!
Many religious preachers will quote JER 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Notice the Lord said, "Before I formed you in the womb." This verse is simply referring to the foreknowledge of God knowing everything about us before our body is even formed in our mother's womb. There is no indication that a fetus has a soul while still in the womb. The"forming in the womb" has to do with the natural laws God has provided in copulation for the perpetuation of the human race.
In PSA 22:9-10 we are given our Lord's thoughts while on the Cross: "Yet Thou [God the Father] art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breasts. Upon Thee [God the Father] I was cast from birth [not from conception]; You have been my God from my mother's womb [not "in" my mother's womb].
The humanity of Christ actually trusted in God as a human being the moment after he was born, HEB 10:5,"Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, 'Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, but a body [not an embryo or a fetus] Thou hast prepared for Me.'"
There are many passages in the Word of God that tell us that a miscarriage has no life, but an infant who dies after birth goes into eternity. A fetus that dies in the womb never has a soul, but a baby that is born and then dies does have a soul. One such passage is Ecc 6:3-5, "If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, 'Better the miscarriage than he, for it [Solomon refers to the miscarriage as "it"] comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he.'"
When Mary became pregnant by conception from the Holy Spirit to bring forth a human body for our Lord, MAT 1:20 tells us, "Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'"
Notice our Lord's future human body is called "that"; it is not called "He." The definite article to in the neuter gender cannot refer to a person. LUK 1:35 supports this: "And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called [not "is called"] the Son of God." When Luke refers to "the holy offspring," he uses the definite article to in the neuter gender; in fact, the King James Bible translates LUK 1:35, "And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
EXO 21:22 shows us how Jewish Jurisprudence dealt with this issue: "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury to the woman, the offender will surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand from him; therefore he will pay damages as the judge decides." There was no trial for murder and no capital punishment because a miscarriage is not a human being. The Word of God mandates capital punishment for murder, GEN 9:5-6, EXO 21:12, NUM 35:30, MAT 26:53, ROM 13:3-4. But since there is only biological life, and not soul life in the fetus, there can be no death penalty for murder. Biological life without a soul is not a human being; it must emerge from the womb and receive soul life from God to become a human being. If the fetus died in the womb, God would not impute soul life.
When Job was complaining about his adversity in JOB 10:18-19, he said, "Why then hast Thou brought me out of the womb? Would that I had died and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been, carried from womb to tomb." Job is saying that if he had died in the womb, he would not even exist. In his bitterness, Job is asking why God ever let him become a human being.
JOB 3:11-16 "Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me, and why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest [in Paradise], with kings and with counselors of the earth, who rebuilt ruins for themselves; or with princes who had gold, who were filling their houses with silver. [If I died at birth, I would go to Paradise.] Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light. [If I was a miscarriage, I would not exist.]"
The boundaries of human life are from birth to death, and this is the sphere in which the angelic conflict is being resolved. There is no resolution to the angelic conflict inside the womb or the tomb. God gives human life at birth, and takes it away at death. The womb is not a part of the angelic conflict, and it does not contain human life. And when legalistic Christians accuse a woman who as had an abortion of committing murder, they are arrogant and deceived. We have no right to place that kind of guilt on another person. This is not condoning abortion (there are many adverse affects from abortion in society); this is simply stating accurately what the Word of God has to say about the human lifespan.
Point 8: Election and the Sovereignty of God with the Free Will of Man. The sovereignty, or free will, of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history in order to resolve the angelic conflict. God preserved free will in both angelic creatures and in mankind, and He programmed the divine decrees according to how each free will would function. The decrees of God are His eternal, unchangeable will regarding the future existence of all events and the precise manner and order of their occurrence. This is the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all the events of the universe, past, present, and future. Therefore, the decrees of God are His chosen and adopted plan for all His works.
In the divine decrees, both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man operate simultaneously. In eternity past, God made one sovereign decision with many aspects. That one decision included providing for you your very own election and predestination related to His plan for your life. In the divine decree is a pre-creation record of each one of our lives, and it reads either "winner" or "loser," depending on your decisions. Everything you think, why you think it, and the environment in which you think it, was all known to God in eternity past; everything in life is a chain of cause-and-effect events. Every last minute detail was known by God long before it happened, LUK 12:6-7, "'Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.'"
Although it may not always appear that your life has been blended perfectly together by God, in heaven you will understand that it was. God is perfect, and therefore He gave you life at the exact time that He knew would be the best time and environment for you personally. This includes your parents, the color of your skin, your gender, and everything else about you. You are unique from every other member of the human race, under the doctrine of selection. Therefore we have no excuse for becoming a loser; we have equal privilege and equal opportunity under election and predestination. The sovereignty of God willed for you to be a winner, but you can reject His will.
Losers are under divine discipline, 1CO 16:22; they still have their names recorded in the Lamb's book of life, but they are omitted from the honors list in eternity. REV 3:5 describes the winner believer: "He who overcomes [the winner] shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name [title] from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." The Greek noun translated "name" is onoma, which means fame, reputation, or title. This is a reference to the title the loser believer was elected to have, being erased because of his negative decisions in time. We are warned to not lose our spiritual momentum in 2JO 1:8-9.
God the Father as the Grantor deposited into escrow greater blessings for time and eternity, and they 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 greater blessings for the eternal state to the winner. For the loser, these blessings remain on deposit forever as a memorial to lost opportunity to execute the predesigned plan of God. The Christian loser fails to use the power options (the filling of the Spirit and metabolization of doctrine) that have been made available to him. The loser is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ who has the wrong priorities and spends his life in the cosmic system. He has a right pastor, but because of cosmic involvement, he never sees his right pastor, or he only visits occasionally, or he even rejects him. However, the loser continues to receive logistical grace support and blessing while on earth.
Instead of becoming an invisible hero, the loser is bored, dissatisfied, preoccupied with self, arrogant, frustrated, distracted, unstable, and unable to utilize the ten problem solving devices. The Christian loser has the option of rebound, which means restoration to fellowship with God, recovery of the filling of the Spirit, and the continuation of the spiritual life. Following are characteristics of the Christian loser:
1. "Drifting off course from grace," GAL 5:4.
2. "Coming short of the grace of God," HEB 12:15.
3. The "tormented soul" of 2PE 2:7 8.
4. The "lukewarm believer" of REV 3:15 16.
5. The "shipwrecked believer" of 1TI 1:19.
6. "Under the body of death," ROM 7:24 25.
The principle of election reveals to us the fantastic opportunities and privileges that God has for us. The principle of selection teaches us that He has chosen the time, place, and circumstances in which we live on this earth, and that He has determined exactly when our life in time begins and ends. This doctrine should give every Church-age believer great confidence in their spiritual life and their relationship with God.
For a more detailed study, order tapes 0190-1192 to 0190-1195.