December 6, 2011

Personal Jesus

...and personal Father...and personal Holy Spirit.

Its more than just the relationship you have with Him. It is the relationship He has had with you...since before the foundations of the world.

Reach out and grab hold of faith.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…” Ephesians 1:3-5

Elect(ed) exelexato / ἐξελέξατο from ἐκλέγομαι : He [God] chooses

Understood properly this word means to select or choose out of, by a highly deliberate choice (i.e. real heart-preference).

Predestined proorizó / προορίζω: Preordained, predestined…verb, aorist active participle masc nom singular

The first step is the sinner's salvation is election according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, "Elect" is from a word which means to “pick out” or "select.' It refers to God in sovereign grace choosing people to salvation. The same word is translated "chosen" in Ephesians 1:4 means "chosen out of" or a choice that is made out-of a total number.

God chose us out of a total before the foundation of the world. Yes, that foundation of the world in the eternity before time began, long before the universe came into existence, before time could even come before time in a sequential manner-a time out of mind. God had us in His heart for salvation before there was a before.

“…To God’s elect….who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood 1 Peter 1:1-2

Election was/is according to the foreknowledge of the Father. The word translated "foreknowledge / πρόγνωσιν” is from a Greek word which in an association like this means more than mere previous knowledge.

It is also used here in the same context: "…delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" Acts 2:23

The words "counsel" and "foreknowledge" being in used in a way in the Greek text which makes the “foreknowledge” refer to the same thing "counsel" refers to. In other words they both emphasis the word “determinate”. This word is a translation of the Greek meaning "appointed or decreed." What was delivered? Him or τοῦτον in the Greek. Him who? Look at verse 22. Jesus of Nazareth! This means the word "counsel" refers to a trading or exchange of opinions, an advising, or a sum of deliberate decision making of judgment.

This means the word "foreknowledge" in 1 Peter 1:1-2 refers to counsel of God in which, after purposeful judgment, specific people selected out of a total in humanity were elected to a certain station: Salvation. Salvation is the position being defined by the context of 1 Peter. Go read it if you don’t believe me.

“…for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation…” 1 Peter 1:9-10

This means the election of the saints (believers) determined in the counsel of God which consisted of a decision that was the product of a premeditated plan, that judgment having decided the selection of elect people to a positioned defined in the context which is salvation.

The interesting thing is the word foreknowledge does not have within it anything that would require a movement in and of itself or a “to do” that would actually make the election. It’s just knowledge. So how is the election actualized? If election was already foreknown then the election is in accordance or “according to” (v.2) God the Father. This means that election has to have been the first step to our salvation. Our second step also resides within verse 2 in the form of the “sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit”. Sanctifying /hagiasmo/ἁγιασμῷ " is to quite literally "set apart".

We must dedicate and forfeit all we possess to God. We must die to self. We are to be set apart to a specific preordained and foreknown position by God. The Holy Spirit sets us aside and essentially “earmarks” us. As such a down-payment is made on us to reserve us to said position. This “setting aside” and “down payment” is the indwelling of the Spirit Himself. As a matter of fact Paul even tells us in Ephesians 1:13-14 that:

“…In him [Jesus] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory…” Ephesians 1”13-14

This passages us tells us that we are guaranteed our inheritance of salvation [eternal life]. How are we guaranteed this salvation/inheritance? It is guaranteed by the “seal / ἀρραβὼν / arrabon” in verse 13. That “seal / ἀρραβὼν” is the Greek word for a “down payment” or “earmarked” or the traditional idea of money being deposited by the purchaser to ensure the completion of the purchase.

Here we have the act of God the Holy Spirit setting the individual apart, based upon them being “selected out” or hand chosen by God the Father. Sweet!

The idea in the Greek is that God the Father picked me, Andy to do and be something special that He designated is AWESOME! I was picked and set apart by the Holy Spirit. I didn’t chose Him, He chose me! The Holy Spirit took hold of me so He could bring me to the act of faith in the Lord. What we see described here is the obedience of the sinner to the faith

“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7

Peter is saying that a person placing faith in the Jesus is the act of God through the Spirit in setting apart the individual, is His work of bringing a sinner like me to a place where I put my faith in Christ. There is nothing in my the sin-stained heart that would make me reach out to Jesus as my Savior. Faith must be forced or initiated by the Holy Spirit. In this scenario my salvation is a work of God from start to finish. Even though I am a sinner I must also have a volitional act of will to place faith in Jesus. Just because the Holy Spirit had to “drag” us to faith doesn’t allow us to abdicate our responsibility of doing so. It is also still out choice.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:44

In this verse the word “draws/ ἑλκύσῃ” is actually “drags”. At the same time it is freedom to choose, Scripture supports both. It is here we see the sovereign nature of an omnipotent, omniscient timeless God. that can see all of time at once and work concurrently with the actions of people to affect events and have them transpire.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17

The last portion of Peter’s verse “sprinkled” with blood. Is symbolic of what happens to us when we accept Christ’s death but becomes reality in terms of our salvation. In God’s divine decrees it was ordained that the sprinkling of blood or the life of the animal in Old Testament ceremonial law represented cleansing. Therefore the cleansing blood of our Lord is the payment of sin and serves as the atonement for our sin.

In an act of faith that we have been dragged to we are then sprinkled with the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. We are then justified in the eyes of God and God’s justice is served and mollified and we are justified or vindicated or befitting of our role as suitable for salvation. Perfect? No. Are we suitable in the eyes of God, yes…but we always have room for improvement through sanctification. Jesus’ righteousness has been imputed or accredited to us and we receive the Holy Spirit as a down payment to earmark us for Salvation. We then stand complete forever because Jesus took on our sin in our stead.

So to surmise all of this in an outline that you can cut out and put on an index card and use to evangelize people:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(1) As a believer I am elected or chosen out.
(2) It's a choice decided by purposeful counsel of God the Father
(3) I am chosen and I am set apart by the Holy Spirit
(4) The work of God the Spirit imparts faith to me.
(5) My faith is responded to by Jesus
(6) Jesus who allowed Crucifixion & shedding of His own blood
(7) This blood cleanses me and serves as atonement for my sin
(8) Atonement brings me to Salvation which is an eternal life
(9) So that I can live in eternal relationship with Him
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To make this even simpler
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

God the Father chooses me
God the Spirit brings me to an act of faith
God the Son cleanses me from my sin

So reach out and touch other people with your faith and He will be faithful to drag others to the Cross also.

Photo credit: Ben Bender

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