Copyright © 2016 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (I Peter 1:2—KJV)
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10—KJV)
The term “elect” is employed several times in the New Testament, sometimes translated as “chosen.”
Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (I Peter 1:2)
It is obvious that mankind is divided into those who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, and the rest of the world. This goes against the American ideal of equality, and that may be why we do not hear it emphasized very often. Also, I believe this concept was sometimes abused in the past.
For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. (Acts 18:10—KJV)
The verse above probably refers to the elect. In any case, it does show that our evangelistic efforts should proceed with the understanding that God knows whom He wants us to deal with. It is not to be just a blind approach to see how many we can get saved.
We would like to get everyone “saved” and made eligible for residence in Heaven and a mansion. But the Bible does not present the entire Christian salvation as a goal we attain to merely by “accepting Christ,” unless we follow through with a diligent Christian discipleship.
It absolutely is true that salvation (freedom from the threat of Hell) is available to whoever will choose to accept it. It also absolutely is true that he (or she) who believes in Christ and is baptized shall be saved. How then can we reconcile the concept of an election with the fact that the Divine salvation is open and free to all people, which the Bible plainly declares?
And should our understanding of the truth affect missionary efforts, and if so, in what way? One way would be to place an emphasis on spiritual growth and union with Christ, instead of just getting more people “saved.” Some of the people we are attempting to evangelize may be members of God’s elect, and there is a great deal they need to learn and experience!
I have heard of the conflict of Calvinism and Arminianism, in which the one stresses predestination and the other, free will. Since both ideas are found in the Bible, they must both be true. And indeed they are! How could one be an error when it is found in the New Testament? To argue about such an issue is a sure sign of immaturity. “I am of Paul. I am of Apollos.”
The problem is not in the Divine redemption, it is in our understanding of the Divine plan.
If we examine the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, we find that there are three classes of people, two of which are “saved” meaning they are living on the new earth. The third class is “lost,” meaning their residence is the Lake of Fire. Since most church people are somewhat satisfied that there will be individuals in the Lake of Fire who are lost, we will confine our thinking to the two classes of “saved” people.
When we think of the program of redemption as resulting in two distinct classes of “saved” people, it is relatively easy to accept the idea that there is an “elect” who are saved and then another group of mankind who also are “saved.”
Let’s look for a moment at the end product of the Divine redemption.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:2,3)
God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. There are two different groups here.
- The first group is termed “God’s dwelling place.” God’s dwelling place is the new Jerusalem. It is the Church, the Body of Christ, the eternal House of God.
- The second group is termed “the people.” God’s dwelling place (the Church) is now among the people.
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)
“The people” are the “sheep” of Matthew, Chapter 25. They have been drawn from the nations of the earth. They have believed and been baptized, and therefore have been “saved,” according to the Word of God.
There is one more consideration, and that is the manner in which they have treated God’s elect, the members of the Royal Priesthood. Let’s take a look now at the “sheep” drawn from the nations of the earth.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. (Matthew 25:31-33)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:34-36)
Here is a thought that is not always stressed. The Kingdom of God has been prepared for the “sheep” of the nations. What is the Kingdom of God? It is the elect, the Royal Priesthood, the Church, the new Jerusalem, the eternal dwelling place of God.
The qualification for the “sheep” to inherit the Kingdom of God is how they treated God’s elect. When they gave aid and comfort to the members of the elect, they were giving aid and comfort to Christ Himself.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)
Keep in mind that when Christ comes, He will bring with Him His elect. So the sheep and the goats mentioned here are not of the elect. They are the people saved from the nations, as missionaries have gone out to the nations and made disciples. They are the “sheaves” brought in by the evangelists.
Christ’s elect are His brothers and sisters that He mentions in Chapter 25.
Let’s look for a moment now at the interaction between the “sheep” and the elect.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
“Its light” refers to the Church. The Christians are the light of the world.
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations—their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:11,12)
Can you see in the above—Israel, the Royal Priesthood, and then the nations and kingdoms of the earth? Israel is God’s elect, His chosen. Not the Jews after the flesh, but the Jews and the Gentiles called in the Lord Jesus Christ. Both groups, Israel the elect, and the people from the nations who are willing to receive Christ as their King, will be saved to enjoy the wonderful new world of righteousness.
As to the people from the nations:
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (Isaiah 65:21)
I realize that the verse above is in the context of Israel. However, since the elect will be a people especially close to God, priests who serve by bringing the Presence, blessing, and rule of God to the people of the earth, I think the farming will be left to the citizens of the new earth rather than to the Tabernacle of God.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:3)
And as to the elect in the new world of righteousness:
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3.4)
To see the Face of God is a nearly unbelievable blessing. It is reserved for the elect.
To be saved to the new world of righteousness, it is necessary only to receive Christ as our King and to be as helpful as we can to Christ’s brothers and sisters.
However, to be part of the elect, to which some have been called, requires that we present our body as a living sacrifice.
Consider the Apostle Paul, writing in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians. In spite of his unparalleled fruitfulness in the ministry, and his suffering, he still was pressing forward that he might know Christ in a greater way. So there is more to being a member of God’s elect than to merely “accept Christ” and then go on our way living in our customary manner.
The Lord mentioned thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. I think that the thirtyfold refers to the amount of Christ possessed by the sheep drawn from the nations. Everyone who is privileged to live in the new world of righteousness must have a portion of Christ in him or her. Perhaps the sixty and a hundredfold is speaking of two levels of closeness to Christ enjoyed by those who compose the new Jerusalem.
“Two levels of closeness to Christ” in God’s Israel reminds us of David’s “mighty men.” They were of Israel, but distinguished by their ability in war. Perhaps in God’s eternal dwelling place there will be some who are distinguished by their ability in spiritual warfare. Could this be true, do you imagine?
I think there always is room for us to grow in the knowledge of Christ. But whether one can pass from being a citizen of the new earth to the ranks of the elect I am not certain. Being chosen to be one of the elect appears to be decided from the creation of the world.
The question remains: if some are predestined to be members of the elect, can one lose his or her position? From what I have seen as a dedicated Christian for more than seventy years, I would say “Yes, one can lose his or her part in the Royal Priesthood.”
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? (Hebrews 12:25)
Since the writer of the Book of Hebrews beyond doubt is writing to God’s elect, it appears we need to be diligent in our service to Christ, not relying on the “easy believism,” as it sometimes is termed. The Bible cautions us to make our calling and election certain. Also to watch, lest someone take our crown.
I believe the highest honor that can come to a human being is to be a member of the Christian Church, the Royal Priesthood. Our calling as a saint, a holy one, must be treasured and nurtured all through our life. Nothing else is as important as our heavenly calling.
There is a great wall that divides the eternal Tabernacle of God from the remainder of the new earth. That wall is described in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John.
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (John 17:9)
The seventeenth chapter of John tells us that the elect are to become one with Christ and one with each other as Christ is one with the Father. This oneness is speaking of a consecration that is not always preached. In the case of each of us, we must be circumcised by the Lord. That means that our old adamic nature must be pruned away so that our life may be governed by the Spirit of the resurrected Lord Jesus.
We are to become life-giving spirits so each of us can serve as a tree of life to the inhabitants of the new earth.
To become one with the Father and the Son, and with all the other members of the elect causes us to lose our right as a solitary human to do as we please. We never lose our identity as a person, just as our Lord has never lost His identity as a Person, even though He is one with the Father.
We must give ourselves so totally to the Lord Jesus so that our thinking is in concert with His; our speaking is in concert with His; and our behavior is in concert with His. This is how the Lord Jesus lives and reveals the image of God, by being in concert with all God is and does.
When we thus are a part of Christ, we have the wealth of God to give to the people of the new earth. Obviously the life and healing they need cannot come from our adamic nature. We must be willing to set aside our natural life so that we can say with the Apostle Paul, “I am not living any longer. It is Christ who is living in me.”
It indeed is a staggering marvel that God has chosen to make us part of Himself. It is as though God is enlarging Himself by creating a family of sons and daughters who give all they are and possess that they may come to know Him. The Divine family of sons and daughters is totally obedient to their Father, and to Christ, His appointed Lord.
This is why we must be born again!
If we are called to be part of that family, and especially to be in a rank close to God through the Lord Jesus, we should make sure there is nothing in our life that is causing us to come short of the Glory to which we have been called. Don’t forget, not everyone has that insatiable desire to be part of Christ and God. It is a Divine gift to us.
I think that sometimes all the members of a congregation are under the impression that any moment now they will fly up to Heaven and have a great time while many are left on the earth to endure the cruel reign of the Antichrist. It is my opinion that their hope is not scriptural. It is the elect who will be gathered to Christ, who will be changed, who will be caught up, not to Heaven but to the staging area in the air where Christ is. Each will mount a white war stallion, and descend with Christ in the fury of His destruction of Antichrist and his armies. Are you ready for this? Am I?
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:31—KJV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)
APPENDIX FOR THE ELECT
(King James Translation)
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)
For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. (Isaiah 45:4)
And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. (Isaiah 65:9)
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (Isaiah 65:22)
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. (Mark 13:20)
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22)
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (Mark 13:27)
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? (Luke 18:7)
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (Romans 8:33)
(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (Romans 9:11)
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (Romans 11:7)
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. (Romans 11:28)
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (Colossians 3:12)
Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. (I Thessalonians 1:4)
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (I Timothy 5:21)
Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (II Timothy 2:10)
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; (Titus 1:1)
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (I Peter 1:2)
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (I Peter 2:6)
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. (I Peter 5:13)
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10)
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; (II John 1:1)
The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen. (II John 1:13)
(“The Elect”, 4301-2, proofed 20210725)