Thursday, June 30, 2011

Biblical Election

Why is there so much confusion over election?  In my experience, election is commonly understood as predestination.  Predestination is the idea that God, from the foundation of the world or even earlier, determined that some of the souls he created would be saved and go to heaven, and others would be eternally lost.  

According to Noah Webster (1828) one who is "elect" is:
chosen or set apart
taken by preference from among two or more
selected or designated to eternal life
designated by God to salvation
predestinated to glory
or set apart as a peculiar church and people.  

I, for one, am very happy to know we don't derive our doctrine from the dictionary, but from the Bible!

Who are God's elect?  If I am absolutely certain I am one of them, could I be wrong?  What if I am deceived by my own heart?

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Jeremiah 17:9 

Could you ever really have the "peace that passes all understanding" if you thought there was a chance that maybe, just maybe, God had not designated you to eternal life?  How could you witness to people with the confidence that, if they were willing to receive Christ, he would save them from their sins?  And, if God has ordained some to hell to begin with, and others are destined for heaven whether we tell them about Jesus or not, why bother to testify of him at all??

I submit to you that predestination, in the sense that God has pre-ordained some to eternal life and others to hell, is a false doctrine.

First of all, from the standpoint of logic, would it make sense that God would predetermine some to a hell that he did not create for man in the first place??  Of course not.  Matthew 25:41, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.  We can't rely on logic, however.  We'll take a look at the Bible instead.

At its root, "elect" means to be specially chosen.  According to God's word, his elect, specifically, is his Son, Jesus Christ.  Isaiah 42:1,  Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
This was fulfilled in Matthew 12:15-18, so we know the prophesy of Isaiah is speaking of Jesus Christ:
But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.
Election, or pre-destination, is based on being found IN CHRIST, who is God's elect.  If I am "in Christ", then I am elect.  Simple.  My righteousness is in his righteousness, and my election is in him also:
2 Corinthians 5:17,21:  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  [. . .]  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

So, now,  back to our dictionary definition, with better understanding we can say that one who is "elected" by God is:
chosen or set apart because he is in Christ
taken by preference from among two or more because he is in Christ 
selected or designated to eternal life because he is in Christ
designated to salvation because he is in Christ
predestinated to glory because he is in Christ
or set apart as a peculiar church and people

It's like this.  Say an airplane is scheduled to fly to NY.  We'll say it is predestinated to go to NY.  If you are in that airplane, then you are predestinated to go to NY with the airplane.  If you are not in the plane, you don't go.  This is an oversimplified illustration, but it works nicely anyway. If you are in Christ, you are predestinated to go to heaven.  And if you are NOT in Christ, you are under the wrath of God, NOT destined for heaven until you repent of your foolishness and your unbelief, and receive him as your Savior.  John 3:36, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  
We are chosen of God according to his foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2), that is, that he knew from the beginning who would be his.  And who would those people be?  Those who receive Jesus Christ.  John 1:12, but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.  I could not have been elected or predestined for heaven before I knew Christ, while I was still in my sins! No one is elect who is still in their sins! You have to be saved from your sins before you can be elected to eternal life.

A parenthetical thought: What does it mean to receive Christ?  Well, what does it mean to receive a guest into your home?  You open the door and invite him in, and provide for his wants.  That is what Jesus wants.  Open your heart's door and let him in.  In fact, give him the whole house, to do with as he pleases.  That is what it means to receive him.  Open the door and get out of his way.  Let him take over.  End of parenthetical thought.
Election seems rather simple.  So then, why IS there so much confusion over this?   Well, it's because of verses such as Romans 8:29, Whom he did foreknow, he predestinated... Predestinated to what? To be saved and go to heaven?  NO. be conformed to the image of his Son.  And, as the text goes on to say, those whom God predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, he also called, and justified, and glorified.  So, those who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour are predestined, according to the foreknowledge of God, to be made like him.  And is that not our goal as Christians, to be more like Jesus every day?

And then there's Ephesians 1, where it says, According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, [...] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Christ Jesus to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, etc.  Well, who is the letter written to?  The saints at Ephesus.  Saved people.  People who are IN CHRIST.  Turn there in your good ol' KJB and see how many times the words "in Christ" or "in whom", referring to Christ, appear there.  It's all based on the foreknowledge of God, not pre-determination.
People who teach predestination say that the will of man is so depraved that we could not possibly choose, on our own, to receive Christ as our Saviour from sin.  But the Bible says differently.  Look at the invitations we are given to come to him!  God wants us to respond to him!
Mark 8:35 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matt. 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
John 7:37[...] Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Rev. 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ is available to EVERY soul on earth.  The Bible says so.
John 7:37  [...] Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Romans 5:18 [...] even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
1 Tim. 2:3,4  [...] God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1 Tim. 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, [...]
1 Tim. 4:10  [...] the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Titus 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men,
Hebrews 2:9  But we see Jesus, [...] that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is [...] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
1 John 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Well.  That's pretty plain.  No one is predestined to go to hell.  All can go to heaven if they choose the right way and get IN the way -- Jesus.  He said,  I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
Writing these posts is good for me.  It helps me to learn the Bible better and to verbally defend my faith.  (Hey, I should  have my kids do this!)  I think one reason people are hesitant to talk about their beliefs is that they don't know how to defend them.  I want to be able to open the Bible and show someone what God says.  I always learn something when I do this, and I hope you do, too.  :)
Thanks for listening!
*   *   *   *   *

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, 
it was needful for me to write unto you, 
and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith 
which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude 1:3 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Violin Lessons

Just putting a plug in here for my daughter. :)  If you live in Cambridge, Minnesota, or in the Isanti / Chisago / Kanebec County area and are seeking a reasonable but experienced violin instructor for a beginning-to-intermediate student, look no further!  Alison charges $12 for a half-hour lesson.  See her contact info in the photo. (Keeps the spammers from finding her.) 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Foto Fun

The Diamonds in the Rough gang is back from a nearly week-long trip to somewhere I've always wanted to go (not), Detroit!  Oh we had such a wonderful time.  Van Born Baptist Church itself is a sort of "diamond in the rough", a gem of a church in a rough setting.  We spent three days and evenings with 41 other preachers, some with their families present also.  The fellowship was the best ever, and the preaching was right to the heart -- all sixteen messages! The Lord spoke to me plainly and gave me strength and encouragement. The church treated us visitors like royalty and really made us feel special. What a great week we had.

One of the highlights for me was meeting my e-friend, Sheryl Shaffer, who is the editor of the awesome Beautiful For Thee website, for the first time.  Mrs. Shaffer is a preacher's wife extraordinaire, and she is all the things I should be and want to be.  My daughter, Amy, photoshopped a shot of the two of us together, so now I have had my very own Dove Evolution experience! Wow, it was fun to watch my nose shrink, my jowels thin down, and my under-eye shadows disappear.  Ta da!  I'm ten years younger!

You gotta love the creepy flashing eyes in the background on the left, lol.   

I think my daughter has found her niche.  And I have found a new avatar. :)  

Friday, June 10, 2011

My People Love to Have It So

Where will it end?
Where is God's word today?  Do you know?  Without preservation, inspiration is worthless.  

Every time a "new" translation is published, it is farther from what God gave us, both in its words and in its message. Since the late 1800's Bible "translators" have had an agenda. Here's a word about their latest popular work:

THE PRO-HOMOSEXUAL GREEN BIBLE (Friday Church News Notes, June 10, 2011,, 866-295-4143) -
The Message, by Eugene Peterson, is extremely popular and influential. Rick Warren quotes it frequently, five times in the first chapter of The Purpose-Driven Life alone. It has been recommended by Warren Wiersbe, J.I. Packer, Jerry Jenkins, Joyce Meyer, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Vernon Grounds, Bill Hybels, Leighton Ford, Billy Graham, Joni Earckson Tada, Chuck Swindoll, Bill Gaither, John Maxwell, Gordon Fee, Gordon MacDonald, and Max Lucado, to name a few. [Do these people have no discernment??]  Yet, it is the goofiest, most frightfully corrupt “version” I have ever seen. It has a New Agey flavor (probably because of Peterson’s deep interaction with Catholic contemplative mysticism), even using the occultic term “as above, so below.” It is weirdly oriented toward environmentalism. In Romans 15:13, The Message says, “May the God of green hope fill you up with joy,” and in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 it says that those who “use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t quality as citizens in God’s kingdom.” The Message is also pro-homosexual, playing right into the hands of those who teach that homosexuality is a natural condition that God can bless instead of a sin that needs to be repented of. Every passage that condemns homosexuality is tampered with in The Message. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in the KJV’s “effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind” becomes the vapid and almost meaningless “those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex.” In 1 Timothy 1:10, “them that defile themselves with mankind” is changed to “the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever.” Romans 1:26-27 becomes “sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men--all lust and no love.” This fits into the humanistic thinking that as long as homosexuals “love” one another, everything is fine. One brother rightly observed that “The Message is simply a forerunner to what will be a ‘christless,’ sinless Bible.” Beware of The Message and of the deeply corrupt evangelical world that loves it!

The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means;
and my people love to have it so:
and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jer 5:31 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our new town is lovely, don't you think so, Jane?  I love old brick buildings on an old-time main street, and I love old houses with garrets and gables and artistry in the trim, and lilacs and peonies and lots of green grass!

This is the reason for the greenness of our new home -- rain.  Lots of it.

It has been very lovely.  Nice thunderstorms, some howling winds to keep us from being homesick, and a tornado warning or two.  The weather is never the same two days in a row, and that keeps life from becoming mundane. 

Soon after the above photo was taken, the sun came out and dried up the landy, landy.  (Anyone remember that song from VBS when you were a kid?)  Emily wasted no time in making new friends at our neighborhood playground.  The other children in the photo are also homeschoolers, and now my older two girls have a babysitting job!  Speaking of which.  I am woefully behind the times.  I found out our nephew makes $15/hr babysitting ONE child.  It is a special circumstance, because the families are good friends. The other teens in his neighborhood are making a paltry $12/hr. !!!  And here I was thinking the prevailing wages for babysitting might be up to about $3 by now.  I really am in the dark ages.  Alison and Amy won't be making $12/hr today, but they will have $65 to split between them this evening, plus coupons for freebies at Culvers. :)  Now there's a good spiff, as my husband says.

One of the ladies who has been consistently visiting our new church agreed to come over and teach Betsy and Emily how to make truffles, 

and caramels.  The caramels got too hot and were turned into toffees! Yum!

We have unpacked the necessities but have many more boxes to tackle. I am not feeling very motivated, especially since there is a distinct possibility of another move for us, locally, within the next year or two.  Lord willing we will be able to buy a house and have a garden and a bird feeder. :)   This little guy has been flitting around for a few days, and I can not find him in my birding book. Anyone know his name?  He is a sparrow or finch of sorts... possibly a purple finch?  But he is definitely NOT purple!  Right, Kristy.

Last week we enjoyed a quick trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  What pretty country!  Next week we'll be in Michigan, and our inter-state travels will end in July with an inspiring week at family camp in ND.

And then, hopefully it will be summer, because if it doesn't come by then, I don't think we are going to have summer this year at all!  We have a fancy tea part to look forward to next week, and another visit from the grands, also next week, our nephew's graduation open house tomorrow, and... more events coming up in the fall.

Now I must forsake the computer and go check out a pair of  $1 ladies snow boots at a nearby garage sale!


She is not afraid of the snow for her household:
Prov 31:21 
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