Tuesday, May 30, 2006

18. Those who will be Given to Christ


.... After Predestination Phase 1, God evaluates the response in each person’s life to decide whether or not He will give them to Jesus and press on with Predestination Phase 2, the phase that will actually bring them to salvation (John 6:37). In our previous sections we discussed some of the more general parts of His criteria, but now let’s focus on the heart of this matter. Let’s look for an actual identification between Jesus Himself, as the Elect One of God (Isaiah 42:1), and those whom He will choose. For we know that He came into this world:

.... "having no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him."

(Isaiah 53:2-3)

.... Also, remember that Jesus was crucified in weakness (2 Cor 13:4). In every way, He came to us as one emptying Himself of reputation, taking the form of humility (Phil 2:5-8), and trusting in His heavenly Father (Heb 2:13). In response to this, God honored Him and exalted Him to His own glory (Phil 2:9-11), providing the perfect example of His eternal purpose, that He be glorified through His Son alone.
.... The Psalmist would summarize by saying:

.... "The stone that the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes."

(Psalm 118:22-23)

.... Jesus became the firstborn, the pattern, the Elect One of God; and those whom He will choose for salvation, who will become elect in Him, are the ones who identify with His own example:

.... "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones ..."

(1 Peter 2:4-7)

.... Or as Paul said to the Corinthians:

.... "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence."

(1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

.... So the identification goes beyond mere coincidence and is actually a form of criteria, for these are the sort of persons Jesus can ultimately be glorified in: "For My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9); and this understanding perfectly harmonizes with the mystery of God’s will, that He be glorified in us through His Son. Since we have nothing of which to boast, but Christ Himself is the pattern: "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Cor 1:31). This is the most Christ-centered perspective for the subject to be found.
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* Does any of this change the fact, that God foreknew which of these people would be adoptable, and that He would be calling them at the end of His efforts? "And in your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:16).
.... There is perfect harmony between these two points. But God must still begin such a work in their lives because no one is able to come to Him unless He does so. Even if He knows the end result, He must work in their lives toward obtaining that result.
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* Please notice that no one was called or refused because of their own works, will, or efforts (John 1:13; Rom 9:16). God had mercy on them because of the humility He saw in them: and even this was the result of His own efforts in teaching them, drawing them, and working through their pre-appointed occasions, and outward circumstances (see Eph 2:10).
.... In other word’s God’s criteria is in our lack of criteria. This will not seem strange to those who understand that God has confined us all under sin that He may mercy on all (Gal 3:22; Rom 11:32). This is simply a furtherance of the same concept for the same eternal purpose.
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* One last point. Paul says that ‘not many’ wise, mighty, noble, etc., are called, but he doesn’t say ‘not any’. Some will be called. Actually, this brings us to the true heart of the matter:
.... Those of the wise, mighty and noble who are called know better than to trust in themselves; they know they must empty themselves and place their trust in God alone – for this fulfills God’s eternal purpose. Paul summarizes with the real point two verses later by saying: "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Cor 1:31).
.... It’s simply that a foolish, weak, base or despised person – a nobody – is more likely to reach a humble conclusion about himself, and trust to God instead (1 Cor 1:27-28) See also Job 22:29; Luke 14:11; 18:9-14; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:6.

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