Lesson 2: A Sentence Begun in Eternity Part 4 of 4 (Ephesians series)
by John Lowe
“…which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” This expression, “in the One he loves” is translated “in the Beloved” in the RSV. “The Beloved” is a Messianic title for Christ, in whom that grace was gloriously exhibited.
We are now accepted by God the Father—in the beloved, the Son. When Jesus was baptized God said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” On the Mount of Transfiguration God said concerning Jesus, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!”
We are accepted by God the Father because we have received the Savior, the Son. What assurance we have, beloved! We are sons of God, children of God, adopted into the family of God, thereby an heir of God . . . accepted by God in the Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ who is our High Priest. Therefore we, as sons, come boldly to the Father in prayer, in the name of Jesus, making known our needs.
Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The lost do not seek Jesus. The natural man is blind, dead, totally and entirely depraved. Something must happen from without to stir the natural man within, before the natural man will accept Jesus as Savior. According to John 15:16, we who are believers, did not choose Jesus—he chose us. But remember, election never applies to anyone except believers. All the others are excluded. Men are not elected to be separated from God eternally. Men are not elected to be dammed. The word “election” cannot be used in such a manner. If we ever understand the election of God we must see clearly that Christ is the first chosen one. Christ is the first to be elect of God.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching, the islands will put their hope.” This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:1-7)
From this we clearly see that Christ is the first chosen one. He is the elect of God. Then God chose US in Christ. I trust I can get across to you what I feel in my own heart and see through the eye of the inner man. God chooses us in Jesus. Only those who are in Jesus are accepted of God, and God has chosen everyone who will accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Please do not accuse the Holy Spirit of being insincere or hypocritical. If individuals are elected and predestined to be lost, if individuals are foreordained to be dammed, the Holy Spirit would not have said through Paul, that Jesus by the grace of God should taste death for every man. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit would have said
that Jesus by the grace of God came to taste death for the elect . . . or for the chosen. Please be reasonable, and face the fact that God knows the end in the beginning—yet God’s knowledge of the end, in the beginning, has nothing to do with your free will. You as an individual have the opportunity to receive Jesus, and when you receive Jesus, God accepts you in the Beloved. “WHOSOEVER WILL, LET HIM TAKE OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY” (Revelation 22:17). The Lord has extended the invitation. Whosoever will may come. Don’t try to say that you are left out. God so loved the world. Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish. That “whosoever” means Tom Lowe. It means you—you can put your name right in there beside mine. Just because there are the elect, it does not mean we know who they are. You have no right to say that you are one of the nonelect. If you will open your heart, you can come. That is all you have to do. I don’t believe in the idea around today that you can have “mental reservations.” The problem is that you have sin in your life, and the Bible condemns it. If you come to Christ, it means you’ll have to turn from that sin, and some people just don’t want to turn from their sin.
Two doctrines—apparently at variance—are taught in the New Testament with respect to salvation. Man has complete freedom of choice. “Whosoever will may come.” But the New Testament also affirms, “He hath chosen us.” We may not be able completely to harmonize the two, but we can be sure that they are perfectly harmonized in the mind of God.
God sees the believer in Christ and He accepts the believer just as He receives His own Son. That is wonderful. That is the only basis on which I will be in heaven. I cannot stand before Christ on the merit of Tom Lowe. I am accepted in the Beloved. God loves me just as He loves Christ, because I am in Christ. Jesus said, “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23).
There has been, therefore, a threefold work performed by God the Father. He chose us in Christ. He predestinated us to the place of sonship. He has made us accepted in the Beloved. It is all to the praise of the Glory of His grace. He is the One who gets the praise. He is the One who did it all.
All of this is for your good and my good. I just like to revel in this, I like to rejoice in this, and I talk about this because it is worth talking about. It is so much more valuable than a lot of the chitchat that I hear today that goes under the name of religion. How we need to see the grace of God as it is revealed in Christ!
Here is the revelation the Holy Spirit has given to me concerning Bible election: God the Father elected the body—the New Testament church; and we know the body is made up of a certain number of believers. One day, some person somewhere will be born again, and that will complete the body. When the body is complete, the Rapture will take place that instant . . . “in the twinkling of an eye.” God the Father elected a body. God chose a body as a body. The body is made up of individuals. Individuals become members of the body by receiving Jesus of their own free will.