Saturday, May 27, 2006

21. Predestination (phase 2)

.... In Predestination Phase 1, God worked with all men toward their salvation, and afterward reached a decision based on their response (Section 17). Through the teaching and drawing process of that phase, some persons had both heard and learned from the things He taught them, so He made a decision to ‘call’ them and give them to Christ. This is not the same thing as their being saved, since only faith in the gospel can save anyone (Rom 1:16). But it will prepare the way by drawing them near:

.... "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me."

(John 6:44-45)

.... "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out . . ."

(John 6:37)

.... Once these persons are ‘called’, a new phase of predestination will commence, to actually bring them to the adoption as sons unto God by Christ (as in Eph 1:5). In other words, God will now begin a specific work that will bring them to the place of hearing the gospel, facing the truth, receiving Jesus and being saved. This intermediate process, from their calling to their conversion, is what we will call ‘Predestination Phase 2 ’.
.... Once Predestination Phase 2 begins, these persons will infallibly come to Jesus. Scripture leaves no doubt that this will be done infallibly (John 6:37, 44-45); but God must still do a great deal of work in our lives in order to bring this to pass. For Paul writes:

.... 'God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth'

(2 Thessalonians 2:13)

.... This verse brings two very important distinctions that will help us understand Phase 2 better. The Greek word that is used in this passage for ‘chosen’ (haireomai), is a different Greek word than the one normally used in the New Testament. It’s special meaning is ‘to choose by the act of taking’ (with reference to Section 18), so it is not the same as the election in the sense that we become elect in Christ (Eph 1:4).
This brings us to our second important distinction. It has been widely assumed that Biblical phrases such as "chosen from the beginning" refer to a time before the world began. However, passages such as this one seem to indicate the time of a person’s calling as their beginning point. They are ‘called’ as soon as they are chosen for salvation (haireomai), at the end of Predestination Phase 1.
Passages about foreknowledge also point toward the time of one’s calling as the beginning point in their relationship with God (e.g., Rom 8:28-29). In Phase 1, these persons have responded to God for the first time, and so a relationship of sorts has begun – and Phase 2 will bring this relationship to fruition. Predestination Phase 2 commences with specific workings which are described in the following sections.


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