The Salvation of the Christians: Election, Part 2

Bible and crossLet’s take another look at Eph 1 and consider what these verses meant in Paul’s context. Paul’s point is that the Gentile converts enjoy the same covenant promises as the Jews.

Well, what are those  promises? Why does that matter?

Think about it. There’s no reason that God should grant Gentiles salvation by faith. That promise was made to Abraham and his descendants. To invite the Gentiles in is to give them rights of inheritance that they don’t own. They inherit nothing from Abraham since they aren’t genetic descendants of Abraham.

Just so, when God chose Israel as his “treasured possession” and granted them sonship, he did that for Israel in contrast to the surrounding nations. Indeed, one of the points often made in Deu is that God has a special, unique relationship with Israel.

(Deu 4:5-8 ESV)  5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.  6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’  7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?  8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

(Deu 7:6-8 ESV) “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.  7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,  8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 

If you were raised on passages such as this one, you’d correctly conclude that Israel has a unique relationship with YHWH.

So how would you react upon seeing the Gentiles invited in? How could it be that the uncircumcised, unclean Gentiles would also become God’s treasured possession? Loved by YHWH out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth?

For a Jew, to see the Gentiles enter the Kingdom was unthinkable, unimaginable. And yet Paul exults in this. He finds it grounds for celebration! It’s not that God has rejected Israel, but rather than the blessings of being Israel have been extended. Israel loses nothing and the Gentiles gain … everything.

So re-read Eph 1 from this perspective —

(Eph 1:3-6 ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us [Jews and Gentiles] in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  4 even as he chose us [Jews and Gentiles] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  5 he predestined us [Jews and Gentiles] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

The entire covenant system has been fulfilled. More than that: transformed and transcended. What was once true of only the Jews is now true of all who believe in Jesus. No longer is race a barrier. Descent from Abraham no longer excludes. Faith opens the heavens to receive all who believe.

(Eph 1:7-10 ESV)  7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 

The forgiveness promised by Jer 31:31 ff (speaking of the new covenant) has been opened to all who believe in Jesus by way of the cross. As a result, we can see God’s destiny coming true. We can see God defeating his enemies and heaven and earth being joined (as will happen fully when Jesus returns but is beginning even now).

(Eph 1:11-12 ESV) 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 

God has now given an inheritance both to the Jews and Gentiles. God had always planned for this moment to come, and so it was certain to come, but we are blessed to live in a time when we can see the fulfillment of God’s intentions.

The Jews were the first to accept the Messiah, and those who did bring praise to God as others find Jesus through them.

(Eph 1:13-14 ESV)  13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Gentiles responded to the preaching of the gospel, and so they also received the Spirit, demonstrating that God had opened Israel to those not born of Abraham. The presence of the Spirit among the Gentiles guarantees them God’s adoption and their inheritance.

You see, to be added to Israel is everything. For us Gentiles, it’s the only path to forgiveness and to the new heavens and new earth. The only promises that matter are the promises given to the Jews — and into which we’ve been adopted by God.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Atonement, Connection of Church with Israel, Election, Soteriology, The Salvation of the Christians, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Salvation of the Christians: Election, Part 2

  1. Richard constant says:

    No that’s just a great complimentary statement. To me. Just simple enough.
    And you got the backup statement right before that.
    Talk about a tangled messed up line of ontology.

  2. Richard constant says:

    Although J.
    don’t ever forget about the Active ingredient that God gave us.
    the body of Christ.
    where what Resides.
    Actively communicating on an instantaneous level.
    With
    and that’s a promise.
    😉

  3. Richard constant says:

    And of course that has to do.
    With how we understand those what those scriptures.
    To exercise the judgment of God exercise the judgment of Christ.
    how and why.
    Read about first Corinthians in it that they had a problem.
    And read about 2nd Corinthians they resolve the problem.

  4. Richard constant says:

    I have not failed I have just found 10 000 ways that don’t work!
    Thomas Edison

  5. rich says:

    8:53 pm
    Galatians

    Salutation
    1:1 From Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead) 1:2 and all the brothers with me, to the churches of Galatia. 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, 1:5 to whom be glory forever and ever! Amen.

    1:11 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 1:12 For I did not receive it or learn it from any human source; instead I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ.

    1:15 But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased 1:16 to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being, 1:17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before me, but right away I departed to Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.

    2:8 (for he who empowered Peter for his apostleship to the circumcised also em-powered me for my apostleship to the Gen-tiles) 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a
    reputation as pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

    2:15 We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners,

    2:16 yet we know that no one is justi-fied by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

    2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    2:21 I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!

    3:5 Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard?

    3:6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,

    3:7 so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham.

    3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”

    3:9 So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believ

    8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”

    3:9 So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer.

    3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 3:9 So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer.

    3:10 For all who rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.”

    3:11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith

    3:12 But the law is not based on faith, but the one who does the works of the law will live by them.

    3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)

    3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gen-tiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith

    3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abra-ham and to his descendant.

    Scripture does not say, “and to the descendants,” referring to many,

    but “and to your descendant,” refer-ring to one, who is Christ.

    3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God?
    Absolutely not!

    For if a law had been given that was able to give life,

    then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

    3:21 Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

    3:23 Now before faith came

    we were held in custody under the law,

    being kept as prisoners
    until
    the coming faith
    would be revealed

    JAY
    WHOSE FAITH IS IT???

  6. Richard constant says:

    and naturally my computer download doesn’t have 3:22
    boy oh boy
    I’m not even going to say anything about that cut and paste job

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