WARNING: Who’s That Knocking At Your Door?

SCRIPTURE:  2 John 1:1-13

Verses 10-11 (The Message)

10-11  If anyone shows up who doesn’t hold to this teaching, don’t invite him in and give him the run of the place.  That would just give him a platform to perpetuate his evil ways, making you his partner.

The cults will always come knocking on our door, especially during the holidays.

The ESSENCE of this little letter, a biblical Postcard as some have said, because of its brevity and it is a caution against endorsing a CULT.  But I’m a little ahead of myself and need to begin at the beginning of John’s letter.

The Elder…

The writer of this letter, the apostle John, is referred to as “the Elder”–this is referring to age–usually an old man (Luke 15:25; 1 Timothy 5:1) and perhaps an Elder in the local church as well.

John was clearly an aged man when he wrote this “Postcard”, or small letter.  In David Guzik’s 2 John Commentary: 

John the apostle, who was now a very old man, generally supposed to be about ninety…He is allowed to have been the oldest of all the apostles, and to have been the only one who died a natural death.”  (Clarke).

So the use of the word “Elder” is not necessarily referring to an office in the church.  That said, the word could also refer to the rank or office in the Jewish Sanhedrin (Matthew 16:21).  It can refer as well to the local church (Acts 11:29, 20:17; 1 Timothy 5:17, 19).  What really matters here is his position rather than his personal name.  The word “Elder” simply means, “a venerable figure in the church known with affectionate [respect] as ‘the old man’.”  [referenceMarshall]

Who is the Letter Written to?  (verses 1b-6)

To the Woman who is CHOSEN–ELECT (v. 1, 13).

“ELECT” is eklektos, one picked out or chosen.  The reference is to the fact that this lady was one of the elects of God, one chosen-out one of God, chosen-out from among mankind by the sovereign grace of God for salvation.”  [reference – Wuest]

ELECTION –

“The eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of people to be recipients of the special grace of eternal salvation.  This ELECTION is unconditional [i.e., there is nothing in the creature that conditions God’s choice] pre-temporal (before the foundation of the world), unmerited (by grace), as the basis of SALVATION.”  [reference – Basic Theology, Ryrie]

(Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9)

Caution –

Whoever this lady was, it opens the door for a variety of interpretations:

  1.  Figuratively referenced to a local church.
  2.  A lady named Electra [meaning, chosen].
  3.  Karia [a Greek word for lady].
  4.  Or, it could be that the lady’s name is anonymous.

“whom I love in truth–also to all those who have known the truth.”

John uses the word agape (“love”) which is not a word of personal endearment, like agapetos (“well-beloved”).  He omits the word to avoid anybody in the church making something out of his correspondence to her.

  • He also uses the word “truth” – lit. “his love was in the sphere of truth.”
  • He equally includes her children as the object of his love.

All of this would stop any gossip in its tracts, keeping everything without the appearance of anything improper.

The CONTINUATION of the TRUTH –

“Because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever.”

WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

  1. Jesus Christ Himself (John 14:6).
  2. The Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17).
  3. The Word of God (John 17:17).

The SOURCE of the TRUTH – 

From God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father is TRUTH and LOVE.

Here we see God the Father and the Son placed on equal footing, something the Gnostic denied.  [See Got Questions.org “What is the definition of the term Gnostic?”]

The SUBSTANCE–What Comes from God to us (verse 3).

  • GRACE – God’s unmerited favor for everything we need to do God’s will.
  • MERCY – God not giving us what we deserve.
  • PEACE – The result of grace and mercy (heart peace AND not absence from war).

The COMMANDMENT (v. 4 b) –

WALK IN LOVE…

John is about to hit the old nail on the head.

The Problem–

In that day, hospitality was essential because a safe places were rare, and often unsavory people lurked in the few places open for a traveler.  Traveling ministers, or missionaries, were dependent upon godly people taking care of their needs.  To respond to such visitors required serious discernment since not every minister was of God.

Romans 16:17-18:

 

The Implication…

This woman might have been guilty, though without intent, of taking in these cultic deceivers.

2 John 1:10 (PHILLIPS):

[10] “If any teacher comes to you who is disloyal to what Christ taught, don’t have him inside your house.”

But aren’t we as Christians supposed to show our love to all others?  Good question.  Let’s see what the Bible adds to what LOVE is and isn’t:

1 Corinthians 13:6 (AMP)

[6] “It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.”

So turning away CULTS is not a lack of LOVE, but actually an expression of it.

The Warning Against Receiving Cults (verses 7-11) –

“The DECEIVERS” (v. 7) –

Deceivers: derived from a verb meaning “to wander, rove, to mislead, to lead into error, imposters.”

“Not the content to be deceived themselves, these men/ women cannot rest until they have deceived others for they do not bother pagans,  Their prey is true Christians”  [Lenski].

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

 

DANGER EXPOSED (v. 8) –

2 John 1:8 (AMP)

Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full].

Being seduced by FALSE TEACHERS is one way Christians can lose their reward at the judgment.  With this in mind, John writes that the reason to guard against DECEIVERS is our own desire NOT to lose our rewards.

Every Believer has the potential to receive a full reward or complete loss of a reward:

“If a man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet as through fire”  (1 Corinthians 3:15).

The determining factor is our FAITHFULNESS to Christ Jesus.

Justification isn’t in view here because it’s not something we worked for, but something we received as a GIFT from God.

The Only Defense (vs. 9) –

Here we have the present participle “proago-ago, LEAD” and pro “before.”  So the verb means “go before, precede, to go on ahead.”

It may be translated in verse 9 “goes too far” (NAS), or “run ahead” (NIV).

Our defense is to abide in  God’s TRUTH as found in His written Word.  So the verb “runs ahead” [goes too far] in 2 John might be understood as “is so advanced”.  So here it carries the importance of “to go beyond” or “go on ahead.”  They. the deceivers thought of themselves as having been so “advanced” beyond these unenlightened Christians.  The truth is that the CULTIST believed they had “advanced” beyond the TRUTH.

The Godly Disgust (vv. 10-11) –

REFUSE HOSPITALITY —

It shouldn’t take long to find out if a person is sound as to the Doctrine of Christ:

  • His deity,
  • Virgin birth,
  • Atoning death,
  • Resurrection,
  • Ascension,
  • His coming again.

TWO major CULTS today specialize in going door to door; Mormons and so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Both CULTS are heretical with regard to the person of Christ.

“Meet them at the door,” John says, but don’t invite them in–you’ll find them hard to get rid of–persuasive and persistent.  Shut the front door firmly in their faces.

This isn’t talking about the unsaved, the lost who come to visit us, but people who are on a mission to spread a false gospel message that DENIES the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

If we encourage them in any way, we’re helping the devil do his work through them.

Let’s say I let one of them in and then they go to my neighbor’s house and say, “Hellow, I just came from your neighbors’ house.  Isn’t he a great guy?  We had a great discussion about ‘spiritual things’ and we would like to take a few minutes of your time to share something very important to you and your family.”

The form of “IF” used in verse 10 assumes that this sentence is a statement of reality.  FALSE TEACHERS actually were coming to this woman’s home; men who didn’t carry with them the genuine teaching of Christ.  When this happened, John’s command was clear.

DO NOT RECEIVE THEM!

Coming to a CONCLUSION –

The next time a CULT member comes knocking on your door–maybe you should begin singing, “I hear you knocking…but you can’t come in!”

Some sound advice:  If there are those who deny the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST–that He is God…that He was manifested in the flesh–don’t invite them into your home.  If they make Jesus out to be less than God, whether they say He is “the Son of God” and not God Himself [as the Jehovah’s Witnesses contend], or whether they say He is the spirit brother to Lucifer [as the Mormons teach].

DON’T LET THEM IN!

And don’t let heretics into your house through the Internet or the television set.

SHUT THE DOOR on False Teachers!

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CREDITS –

Commentaries Used for this study:  Townsend, Nelson Study Bible, Basic Theology, by Ryrie. Marshall’s Commentary; Wuest; Clarke; David Guzik; Lenske.

Hebrew and Greek Dictionary:  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search, Advance settings.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or as noted in the text.

Song Recording:  “I Hear You Knockin,” by Smiley Lewis -YouTube

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! – PART 3

The Nation of Egypt And Their Judgment (Ezekiel 29)

egypt-in-the-bible

EGYPT was a large nation south of Israel.  They looked upon the land of Canaan as being part of her own territory and in doing so, she reluctantly gave the land to other nations temporarily till she could re-claim it.  And as you know, the Israelites were SLAVES.  They lived there for over 400 years and were greatly influenced by the Egyptian culture.

EGYPT never learned its lessons from the pain it received during the period of the Exodus.

The SIN of Egypt and its ACTIONS lead the Israelites away from El-Shaddai- All sufficient supply.  Bestower of power, gifts, blessings, and the One who make all of us fruitful–ALMIGHTY GOD!

Egypt’s influence had never been acceptable to Jehovah Mekkaddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies.  They led the Hebrew people into IDOL WORSHIP.

Like other nations, the king of Egypt–PHARAOH–saw himself as a god.

Over and over again, EGYPT had not left the Israelites alone.  So in order for His ELECT (His “kids”) to finally be FREE from bondage in Egypt, it was time for God to enact retribution.

DON’T MESS WITH GOD’S KIDS!

Ezekiel 29:1-3 (AMP):

[1] In the tenth year [of the captivity of Jehoiachin by the king of Babylon], in the tenth [month], on the twelfth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying,  [2] Son of man, set your face toward Pharoah king of Egypt and prophesy against him and against all of Egypt.  [3] Say, ‘Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I am against you, Pharoah king of Egypt, the great monster [of sluggish and unwieldy strength] that lies in the midst of his [delta] streams, [boastfully] declaring, My river Nile is my own and I have made it for myself.”

This MESSAGE Ezekiel is speaking the above verses took place a year after the siege of Jerusalem had begun.

EGYPT was partly responsible for ISRAEL’S king Zedekiah’s rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 27:6-15).

The king [Pharoah] of Egypt at this time was Hophra.  Like the king of Tyre, he too thought more of himself than he should.

This human trait was not exclusive to the seven nations surrounding Israel during Ezekiel’s place in history

Look at the warning the apostle Paul gives to the church in Rome – Romans 12:3 (AMP):

[3]  For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have ab exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

The NILE RIVER was the lifeblood for the Egyptians.  

Hophra started bragging that he, and he alone, was the CREATOR who formed the Nile.  He played a role of a tough guy, who like a CROCODILE dared anyone to come near him.

JEHOVAH ELYON – The Lord Most High –

The LORD announces that He will hunt down this monster dragon and dispose of him because of his claims to be a deity [“My river Nile is my own and I made it for myself” – 29:3]

Catching ‘CROC’S –

EZEKIEL 29:4:

[4]  But I will put hooks in your jaws and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales.  I will pull you out from among your streams, with all the fish sticking to your scales.

The River Nile Crocodile

I used to like watching the “Crocodile Hunter” on TV.  His specialty was catching crocodiles.  It was a special technique he used   He would place a lasso on the upper jaw of the reptile causing a natural instinct of the monster to spin, which would wrap the rope around its jaws.  He would then pounce on it, securing the rope around the jaws, then tie up its legs. Then he would pull it along with a bunch of other men up on the land.

These were mercenaries [“fish”] from other countries (Ezekiel 29:5):

[5] I will leave you in the desert, you and all the fish of your streams.  You will fall on the open field and not be gathered or picked up.  I will give you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky.

The CROCODILE is an aquatic reptile with its home on land or in the water.  But it depends more on being in the water.

On some scientific films I’ve watched over the years, I noticed the effects of drought on this creature without a water source when a crocodile will be stranded out of its natural environment.  It will die, resulting in scavengers eating the remains.

GOD’S PROPHECY…Our Righteous God is going to do a similar fate to Pharaoh and his army.

Have you ever noticed today in Egypt the Sphinx’s and the Pyramids? The Egyptians were really into the after-life and a proper burial was a big deal.

Historic records indicate the Pharaoh [Hophra] was strangled by a rival (Jeremiah 44:29) and did not receive a proper burial and was cast aside as Scripture foretold.  [See Footnote [i] for sources]

FAMOUS WORDS that have come back to bite us over the years is when we BELIEVE someone who says to us, “You can count on me!”

Our Lord and Savior wouldn’t fall for these vain promises:

Job 15:15-16:  

[15] If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,  [16] how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!

Psalm 146:3-4:

[3] Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.  [4] When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Isaiah 30:1-3:

[1] “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;  [2] who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.  [3] But Pharaoh’s protection will be your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.

PHARAOH had influenced the king of Israel by his promises to be one of his allies.  IT WAS A WORTHLESS PROMISE which wound up costing thousands of Israelite’s lives.

Don’t Mess With God’s Kids!

Nebuchadnezzar went after and destroyed Egypt as he had done to Israel. Holy Adonai Yahweh had first

Holy Adonai Yahweh had first given His people a punishment as the book of 1 Peter tells us,  

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good  (1 Peter 4:17-19).

God’s people (Israelites) would be banished from their land for seventy years.   And Egypt would receive a similar judgment.  His land would be left desolate from North [Migdol] to the South [Sevench] for forty years.  

MIGDOL means “watchtower” and SYENE or Sevench means “marketplace”.

All of Egypt would be affected by this war.  The Babylonian army out of the North sweeps by the northern watchtower fortification and destroys everything in its path until it reached the most southern portion of the country.

EZEKIEL 29:13-15 (AMP):  EGYPT’S FUTURE AS A NATION.

[13] Yet thus says the Lord God: “At the end of [their] forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered. [Jer. 46:25, 26.]

[14] And I will reverse the captivity of Egypt [as I will that of Israel] and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros [under Egypt], the land of their origin, and they shall be there a lowly kingdom.

[15] It shall be the lowliest of the kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; I will diminish [the Egyptians] so they shall never again rule over the nations.

This would be the LAST TIME the Egyptian Dynasty would ever be a strong nation.  They will be a lowly [base] nation from now on!

Our Awesome and Great Jehovah Shamma (‘God is there!’ – Ezk. 48:35.), is always there to make things right!

The king of Babylon was God’s agent in dealing with the city-NATION of Tyre.  It took over 13 years for Nebuchadnezzar to ultimately defeat ‘Old Tyre’ on the mainland.

Although technically, Nebuchadnezzar WON the battle, he never was compensated for all those years.  Since the king was unknowingly acting as the Lord’s servant, God would give him EGYPT as his payment for waging war against Tyre.

Ezekiel 29:19-20:

[19] Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth.  He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army.  [20] I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.

GOD GIVES STRENGTH AND HOPE TO HIS KIDS YESTERDAY AND TODAY!

God promises His children (Israel) that He will bring forth a new king and son of David to lead His people (Ezekiel 34:22-31).

And He is doing so today.  Not only the Jews but to Christians spread over the earth.

‘KNOW MY SHEEP’–know My people or My church.

John 10:14 (AMP):

[14] I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and My own know and recognize Me.

The word “KNOW” is used as an affectionate regard or love.  It implies such knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in the welfare of His ‘kids’.

So as believers in Jesus today, we should know Him as our Shepherd, our Savior, that He will defend and aid us no matter the circumstances.

I hope this three-part study in Ezekiel as not only been informative but also encouraging as we see antisemitism in the world today.  Know that God’s plans don’t change; Don’t Mess With God’s Kids yesterday and don’t mess with God’s family today!

Let me know your thoughts in the COMMENT section.

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i]:  Pharaoh Hophra – International Bible Encyclopedia.

VINES COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS.

Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), and the Amplified Bible (AMP).

Photos:  Google Image Search.

[NOTE:  See further resources and credits used for this 3-PART series in PART I of Don’t Mess With God’s Kids! ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconditional Election

 

Well, here I sit at my laptop computer, television cable news on low volume in my ear, and trying to focus on the message coming from Scripture, all at the same time.

imagesIt is season of ELECTION here in the United States, and between the robocalls, car bumper stickers, political signs placed in front yards, and every television and radio station broadcasting partisan campaign rhetoric…it’s still over two months from election day.

It is hard to accept all the hype of the campaign’s politicians.  But at the same time, the outcome of the election can’t change one’s acceptance of the results–positive or negative.

Accepting God’s Unconditional Election – A Study in Romans 9

My hesitancy, even my personal objections to this topic fell apart as I studied and meditated on God’s Word.  I could no longer explain away Romans 9.

What is UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION?

John Piper, Founder and Teacher of desiringGod.org states the definition as…

“God’s free choice before creation, not based on foreseen faith, to which traitors He will grant faith and repentance, pardoning them and adopting them into His everlasting family of joy.”

My public Prayer:

Father, I need your Spirit to enlighten me in explaining Your word on this sometimes difficult topic.  May I be clear in explanation and stay out of the “rabbit holes.”  Thank You in advance, Amen.

GRACE & ELECTION –

The real question is NOT “Why are only some saved?”, but “Why are any saved?”

Without God’s ELECTION, none could, would or even should be SAVED from His judgment.

The true children of God, God’s election of His family, is not determined by the will of mankind, but by the eternal decree and divine counsel of Almighty God Himself!

Let me state right up front, that there are some hard things to understand in the Bible–like Unconditional Election or the Calvinist approach to predestination.

Here are three passages of Scripture to read and meditate on:  Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:11.

Romans 8:29 (KJV):  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.

Ephesians 1:5 (NAS):  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Ephesians 1:11 (AMP):  In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained  (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.

If election is true, what happens to human responsibility?  And, If some are “predestined” to heaven, then why bother with evangelism in the church?  How can people be guilty of sin, since they are doing what they were predestined to do?

This topic of conversation can–has, caused friendships to fracture, churches to split and divide Christians into different doctrinal groups.

Let me give you my understanding, and you can agree or disagree.  I have a simple mind, so this might not be satisfactory to everyone reading this.

God is supremely SOVEREIGN and we are responsible to our response to His calling.

The word “sovereign”, “Sovereignty of God”, is the biblical teaching that ALL THINGS are under God’s rule and control, His authority, and nothing happens without His direction or permission.  [See footnote [i] ]

Romans 9 emphasizes the SOVEREIGNTY of God while Chapter 10 emphasizes man’s foundational response (I’m sticking with Chapter 9 for this blog).

The apostle Paul doesn’t seek to relieve the tension, nor does he fully explain the working out of election and responsibility of his listeners in this chapter.  He seems to be more interested in pointing out the pompous hearts that dares to question the Creator.

Election and Responsibility as taught by Jesus in John 6:37:  

“All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me” [divine election]; “and the one who comes to Me” [human response] “I will most certainly not cast out {I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me]” (Amplified Bible in italics).

THIS BLOG’S BIBLE TEXT:  ROMANS 9:19-29

In my study this week on the above passage, I found 7 different questions in regards to UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION.  While Paul doesn’t specifically answer each of these questions, there’s at least 3 answers that are given.

God DESIGNS with purpose (vv. 19-21)

[19] You will say to me,  Why then does He still find fault and blame us [for sinning]? For who can resist and withstand His will?”

Paul has given reference to Moses as an example, where he states that God will have MERCY on whom He will have MERCY and COMPASSION on whom He will have COMPASSION (v.15).  Paul further states that the MERCY is God’s gift (v. 16) and not on one’s own willingness nor works.

Paul then contrasts MERCY with STUBBORNNESS, as with Pharaoh’s condition of an unyielding heart (vv. 17-18):

[17] For Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over.

[18] So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens whomever He wills.

Paul’s not concerned with the person’s question in verse 19, as much as his concern for the “attitude” behind the question.

Paul’s seemingly agitated response in verse 20 is to the point:

[20] But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? 

In the New International Version of the bible, it reads “talk back”.  Paul was putting the person’s attitude in his place for “talking back” to God.

It’s not wrong to ask questions of our Father God, but we cannot presume to correct Him.

We should be reminded of what God said in Job 38:2-3:

[2] Who is this that darkens council by words without knowledge?  [3] Gird up now your loins like a man, and I will demand of you, and you declare to Me.

Job is put in his place in 40:2:

“Shall he who would find fault with the Almighty contend with Him? He who disputes with God, let him answer it.”

I love the way Job responds in verses 4-5:

[4] Behold, I am of small account and vile! What shall I answer You? I lay my hand upon my mouth.  [5] I have spoken once, but I will not reply again–indeed, twice (have I answered), but I will proceed no further.

It is hard for us at times, just to be still when God declares His will.  Many of us want to have the last word with God.

God has the absolute rights of ownership.

By putting together passages from Isaiah 28:16, Isaiah 64:8 and Jeremiah 18:1-6, Paul shows that as Creator, God has the absolute rights of ownership (v. 20 b.):

“…Will what is formed say to him that formed it,  Why have you made me thus?”

He then expands the analogy of the Potter and the clay (v. 21)

the-potters-choice-romans-91433-10-638

[21] Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?

God Delays punishment (verse 22-23)

God DESIGNS with a purpose and He also DELAYS punishment to some, in order to show His MERCY to others.

[22]  What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction?

[23]  What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory–  (NIV).

Notice the two uses of the phrase “What if…”

Paul states 2 categories of people here.  The Bible often uses extreme terms to separate people into two groups.

  • The SAVED and the LOST,
  • Children of God and children of Satan,
  • Light and darkness.

The last words in Verse 22 make it a tough passage to deal with–“prepared for destruction”.  It is written in the “passive voice” for grammatical correctness.

It shows that people prepare themselves for DESTRUCTION by their sins.  It’s not that God makes people sinful, but that He leaves them in their sin unless they REPENT and receive Jesus.  If people resist and reject God, they end up preparing their own destruction.  If, during the time of “divine delay,” any individual repents and receives Jesus, he or she becomes an “object of His mercy.”

EZEKIEL 18:30-32 SAYS,

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So, who then, are the OBJECTS (“vessels”) of MERCY?

God gets the GLORY either way!  He even uses Israel’s unbelief to further His purposes.  Actually, He uses ALL CIRCUMSTANCES to promote His Glory.

VERSE 23 (AMP):  And [what if] He thus proposes to make known and show the wealth of His glory in [dealing with] the vessels (objects) of His mercy which He has prepared beforehand for glory.

There’s the grammatical construction in verse 23, that’s different–we don’t prepare ourselves for glory because we are “prepared beforehand for glory” by God.

God is delaying His JUDGMENT so that you will repent and receive Jesus.  But He won’t wait forever.

At the beginning of this POST, I made the comment that God is supremely sovereign and that we are responsible for our response to His call.

So SALVATION starts with God and ends with God.  If UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION is true, then it means that we can never claim any credit for our SALVATION, or anyone else’s SALVATION.

We don’t even get points for seeking the Lord, because He sought us before we sought Him.

Someone may say “Why should I bother responding?  If I’m “predestined”, God will save me when He’s ready.”

The Bible says that God SAVES those who place their FAITH in Jesus Christ.

Henry Ward Beecher, a Congregationalist clergyman during the 1800’s, used to say the ELECT were the “Whosoever wills” and the non-elect were the “Whosoever won’ts.”

If you are wondering whether God has chosen you to SALVATION, just answer this question.  Have you ever placed your FAITH, your TRUST, in Jesus Christ–and in Him alone for your SALVATION?  If you answered “Yes,” then you have been “Unconditionally Elected” (“chosen”) to enter Heaven.  But what if the answer is “No”?

One reason God has delayed His punishment is to give you more time to be SAVED. If you go to hell, it won’t be God’s fault.  He’s done everything necessary to make sure you go to heaven.

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION simply put…God chose you first and if He didn’t choose you first, you would never have chosen Him.

In other words, God so arranged the circumstances, when the moment was right, I had no other choice but to freely choose Jesus.  That occurred in the evening, August 15, 1972.  I was 30 years old, and God had been calling me for an unknown period of time but I was stiff necked in responding to His call.

Our CHOICE is a FREE CHOICE, but it is made possible only by God’s Spirit enabling us to BELIEVE and be SAVED.

 


Footnotes & Credits:

Footnote [i]:  Definition of God’s Sovereignty from Theopedia.

Bible Translations:  King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV); New American Standard (NAS); Amplified Bible (AMP).

Photos:  Google Image Search.