"Elect" - 1 Peter 1:2
Introduction: This is the same basic message I preached from Ephesians 1:3-14 entitled “What God Saw.”
Much has been said about the term “elect” down through the ages and no matter what is said there will never be an end to the debate. That’s sad considering God didn’t put it in the Bible to be a point of contention among believers but that is exactly what it is. There is more “mud-slinging” and hateful speech used concerning this one subject than any other subject in the Bible. No matter what side of the argument you fall on there will be people that oppose you.
Let me make a point right here – God didn’t put things in the Bible to be confusing. It says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that “God is not the author of confusion” and if that’s the case then He certainly didn’t want us to be confused on this issue. Certainly, there will be things we don’t understand, but this isn’t supposed to be one of them. God put enough in the Bible on this topic for us to know, with a certain degree of certainty, what He meant by the term “elect.”
This verse shows that all three of the persons of the Godhead are involved in salvation. We will look at that particular point in the next message on 1 Peter – this message is on the term “elect.” I take from a message I preached a number of years ago on Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-14 some points regarding this topic – so we need to read those texts to get a better understanding.
That is the eternal plan that God has for every person that was ever born. The part we have in it is accepting or rejecting the call. Every person can be saved, but God knew, and knows, that all won't be, so He refers to those that chose Christ as the "chosen, called and elect." And that is what we are in Christ.
One very important point to keep in mind when studying the Bible, and more specifically, predestination, is that when this word is used (4 times), in every case, it is referring specifically to Believers, to the saved, to those that are born-again.
This outline is taken from Ephesians 1:3-14:
I. God saw us living like, and for, Christ – vs. 4; cf. with Romans 8:28- 30
Rom 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
A. Live as a new creation
In Romans 8 we find that we are to be "conformed" to the image of His Son - the word conformed means "metamorphose" - changed from one form to a completely different form 2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
B. Live a holy, separated life
1Pe 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
C. Live a righteous life (blameless)
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
The importance of really living the Christian life is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders, that he became bitter toward the things of God.
II. God saw us as being heirs with Christ – vs. 5-6, 11a; cf. with Romans 8:12-17
Rom 8:12-17 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
A. This is the only time the word "predestination" is used in accordance with grace – vs. 7. We are predestined by God to receive the inheritance of sonship with Christ based solely on God's grace alone, apart from any merit, or works, on our part.
B. We are heirs with Christ because we have been adopted as children of the King.
Gal 4:4-7 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
C. We have been adopted simply because God wanted to adopt us – it was His sovereign will to do so – "the good pleasure of His will.
III. God saw us glorifying the Father – vs. 11-12
A. By our own personal salvation – vs. 12 – "who first trusted in Christ" – also vs. 13-14
B. By our fruits
Php 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Joh 15:1-8 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except yeabideinme. 5 Iamthevine,yearethe branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Donald Grey Barnhouse cites an amazing example of lasting fruitfulness.
In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about 1,000 years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each year. Even though some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they bear
much fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them.
He is the vine, and we are the branches. And when we need pruning, the goal is always more fruit.
C. By our reaction to trials and sufferings
1Pe 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Adoniram Judson, the renowned missionary to Burma, endured untold hardships trying to reach the lost for Christ. For 7 heartbreaking years he suffered hunger and privation. During this time he was thrown into Ava Prison, and for 17 months was subjected to almost incredible mistreatment. As a result, for the rest of his life he carried the ugly marks made by the chains and iron shackles which had cruelly bound him. Undaunted, upon his release he asked for permission to enter another province where he might resume preaching the Gospel. The godless ruler indignantly denied his request, saying "My people are not fools enough to listen to anything a missionary might SAY, but I fear they might be impressed by your SCARS and turn to your religion!"
Conclusion: What has God seen in our lives? Does He see us as He predestined us, as He determined us to be, or have we chosen not to be like Christ? Have we chosen not to be fruitful? Have we chosen not to endure the sufferings of this world in order for someone to be saved?
We've been predestined to be what God wants us to be - let us live like it.