Note the term, “according as” in the text. It looks back to verse three (3) of this chapter, and the words, “hath blessed”. This past tense phrase has inherent in it the blessing of being chosen in Christ before the world began. Plainly, Paul says: The salvation of the elect of God has for its foundation the eternal and gracious choice of the Sovereign Lord of heaven. The Greek word from which our English, “hath chosen” comes, literally means, “to mark off”, or “to select out” for one’s self. Owing to and according with the Father’s good pleasure, wherein He elected an infinite number of mankind, their blessings accrue. (Colossians 3:12)
words, “chosen”, or “choose” are used many times and in various
ways in the New Testament, but in our text, (Ephesians 1:4) it
specifically to the salvation of sinners. The Greek word “ekiego” means
to pick out, or choose for one’s self, and it is from this very Greek
that we get our word “elect”. Seeing then that the picking out of some
of Adam’s posterity was done before Adam was ever created, it is
to refer to the objects of God’s merciful choice as “the elect of God.”
is not salvation, but it is a Divine guarantee of the salvation of all
whom Jesus represented in His vicarious suffering on the cross.
election does not send any person to hell, but if it were not for God’s
election of grace, all men would justly go to hell. The doctrine of
election is hated by the vast majority of professing Christendom, but
root of all opposition to this God honoring doctrine is found to be in
fallen man’s conceit or inflated self importance.
doctrine of election was precious to Paul, and this fact is made
by the great emphasis he put on it in his writings. However, keep in
that the teaching of this great doctrine is not peculiar to Paul, but
is uniformly taught throughout the whole of Scripture. To oppose the
of eternal election is to go against the plainest revelation of
and is thereby a denial of the authority of God’s word. Speaking of the
usurpers of God’s word, Paul said: “Having a form of godliness, but
denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” (II Timothy 3:5)
In John 3:16, our Lord is telling Nicodemus that His love extended beyond Jewish nationality, and that His love was not inextricably bound to the seed of Abraham, but under the infinite canopy of His elective love was an innumerable host of Gentiles (Romans 9:24).God’s love is exactly that; His love. And He says: “. . . it is not of him (man) that willeth . . . but of God that showeth mercy.” (Romans 9:16). There is not a heresy more damnable than that which teaches God cannot accomplish His redemptive purpose except fallen man join his will to that of God’s, or cooperate with God in His efforts to save.
What is true of “Whosoever will may come,” it is equally true, that permission without desire or ability profits nothing. And so it is Christ says to the Jews: “And ye will not come to Me that ye might have life.” (John5:40) In the exercise of their will they crucified Christ, and the Gentile heart is as desperately wicked as that of the Jews, for in nature, there is no difference. The elective decree of God needs NO human adjuncts, nay, not the will nor the work of man. And so it is, volitional salvation of the creature is not merely a stranger to the Bible record, but it is a gross usurpation of the God honoring doctrine of election.
John 5:40 and 6:44 teach that man, as he is in nature, has neither the power nor the will to come to Christ, and every man left to his native strength is as sure to be in hell as Lucifer himself. But thanks be unto God, for He has chosen some of Adam’s helpless posterity unto salvation, and those Whom He has chosen are identical with the believers of John 3:16. The Holy Spirit brings conviction, contrition, and conversion to the heart of all God’s elect. Commensurate with these blessings, they learn that they have been enabled by the power of God to come to Christ without any effort on their own, and their heart is filled with gratitude toward God for His electing LOVE.
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