Friday, September 16, 2011
The election of any man or woman is an election within the sphere of the elect community of God, namely the body of Christ. Election is established and marked out in the election of Jesus Christ. Christ is the true Elect. The election that Paul addresses in his epistles is not in respect to particular individuals—unconditionally elected—but rather, the election is in respect to the body of Christ (ekklhsia). This union with Christ comes about through faith in Jesus. Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, expresses forcefully the method God employs to incorporate one into the Elect of God:
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
God chose the Thessalonians to be saved through “the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth,” God did not select them separate and apart from these two truths. Once more, the words of Paul are to the point in the first chapter of Ephesians: “you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). Were they unconditionally elected without respect to the gospel of God? No! Paul emphasizes that they were included when they believed, not before. In conclusion, consider the following Scriptures that capture the concept that election is only in the body of 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 (Ephesians 1:4-5).
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant (Colossians 1:22-23).
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).
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 (Ephesians 1:7-9).
From the above Scriptures, one observes that the election is corporate and comprehends individuals only in association with the Elect body, that is to say, the Body of Christ. Perhaps, one more Scripture is appropriate to summarize this message on “Election of Men is Comprehended Only In Christ.” Listen to John as he calls attention to life and where it is to be found:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:11-12).