THE PROMISES AND THE ELECTION
The Election is God’s greatest Promise of Grace bestowed on man in Christ Jesus. God, in His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge of man’s fall before the world was created, designed “Predestination” as a way of salvation through Promises and Conditions man can follow. Long before the incarnation of Christ and His death on the Cross God’s Son had already been chosen as the way through whom the world could be saved. As a human being, Jesus proved that man could live by God’s Conditions and attain the Promises.
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, summed it up as follows, “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will –- to be praise to his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put in effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-10).
No one but Paul could summarize the Gospel in one sentence. He was recognized among the leaders with wisdom from on high (II Peter 3:15). Our Church History Professor amused himself telling us that the punctuation were done by a merchant riding his horse while reading the Bible. It does explain the irregularity of the punctuation, but it does in no way, change the meaning. It was one long sentence in Greek and for one specific purpose to show what God had done in Christ for his lost image, namely man before the world was created. Outside of Christ, there was no Election neither was there any other way to redeem mankind. The Greek term in question is “proorisas” from the verb “proorizo” and it means to do something before hand that cannot be changed (AGL p. 345). God in his mercy, foreknowledge and foresight of Adam’s fall, predetermined or predestined that Christ would be the ultimate safety net for rescuing man from no return to God. In Christ, all those that hear his voice and respond become members of His Kingdom by adoption, and no longer, like Israel, by birth or by circumcision. Predestination was and still is an act of grace that was put into action before the fall of man and disclosed in Christ at his incarnation, his work, his death and his resurrection. “In him we are chosen,” not as we are but as Christ is “holy and blameless in his sight. In him we have redemption through his blood and the remission of our sins” (Revelation 7:14). And then we were not merely saved, but to glorify God in this world by our deeds (Ephesians 2:10). Our deeds are the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). And our salvation is secured in Christ (Romans 8). It is our salvation that is God’s most important promise (John 6:35-40).
The alarming question is, “If everything is predetermined, what chance do we have?” That idea has plagued us and we simply throw ourselves on the mercies of God. It is a step in the right direction, but not the one Paul or any of the other Biblical writers advocate. God’s Election includes God’s Promises that are determined by cause and effect. From Adam to us, we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). God committed Himself to love the whole world and determined that every human being has a chance to accept the plan of predestination offered in Christ (John 3:16-21). There is no other way (John 14:6), no other name (Acts 4:12) and no other Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29). How then shall they hear without a messenger? Paul quoted Isaiah, “How beautiful are the feet that bring good news” (Romana 10:15). God sent his Son, the Son sent his disciples and the disciples sent their disciples and so forth (John 17:18). For the disciples, it began with believing in salvation being predestined in Christ. Without that commitment from God, the Father and the visible and concrete proof of Christ’s sacrifice, there would be no salvation. That is why Jesus wanted the message of his followers be heard and believed by those that followed them (John 17:20).
The starting point in claiming Predestination or the Promises begins with believing. The Greek text in Acts 13:48 states specifically, “And all who believed were granted eternal life.” Jesus was even more specific, “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). The good news of redemption in Christ is available to everyone. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). We are hung up on who does the choosing? Man does not do the choosing. God has already chosen before creation as to what kind of a person can qualify. It was in “God’s Image” that man was created and it is in “Christ’s Image” that man has to be recreated. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Everything that God had created was good and so are the things he blessed man with (James 1:16-18). Everything Jesus the Christ did complied and conformed to the Will of His Father in heaven (John 6:38-40). And every human being that wants to return to a pre-fall condition must comply and conform to the Will of God and obey (apeithon) Jesus’ Commands (Matthew 7:21; John 3:36; 15:12-14).
Heaven is still open and God continues to draw people, but the road and the gate are very narrow — room only for a person that was recreated in the “Image of Christ” can pass (John 6:44; II Corinthians 5:17). To qualify, one must die to sin (Romans 6:11) and one must adopt the attitude of Christ (Philippians 2:5). It has to do with what is right and necessary for others. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). The Roadmap of Predestination was marked clearly by Jesus’ teachings and His example. Jesus chose the Good Samaritan over the priest and a Levite (Luke 10). Jesus chose the five wise virgins over the foolish, the two willing investors over the one that did not and the sheep servants over the goats that took salvation for granted (Matthew 25). We shall not be allowed to attend our King’s wedding without proper attire (Matthew 22:1-14) or gain entrance into the celebration without the approval of the King’s Son (Matthew 23:33-44). Israel did compromise their promises long before Christ came, not by unbelief but by their disobedience to God’s demands (Hosea 1:10; 2:23). Gentile or Jewish believers in Christ are not exempt from complying with the requirements of redemptive living (Romans 11:17-21; 12:1-21). It is not a matter of belief or unbelief but of deeds that glorify God (Matthew 5:16). In essence, it is an extension of God’s grace through us. Just as much as grace is a part of God’s nature so it must become embodied in us. The application of grace in our daily living is evidence that Predestination is at work and God’s Promises are being fulfilled. Every time we forgive some one or extend a helping hand, we are a step closer to heaven. We shall trace the people in the Bible that played vital roles regarding the Promises.