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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 4

Chosen in Him

In considering the various aspects of truth that relate to the hope we have through Jesus Christ it is difficult to differentiate or make one more important than another. This is because they so complement each other that the end result is one. Many scriptures come to mind as I think of the oneness of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.

This oneness is perhaps set forth best in Eph. 4:4-6. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in the hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through you all, and in you all.”

Getting back to our text in Isa. 28:16, let’s note that it is the Lord who is responsible for the stone being laid in Zion for a foundation. From eternity to eternity God is the author and finisher of our faith. Heb. 12:2.

Although Nebuchadnezzar believed in many gods (Dan. 4:8), he learned the hard way that there is only one truly sovereign God whose dominion is everlasting. After seven years of chastening it was this revelation that caused Nebuchadnezzar to confess: “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom from generation to generation:

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand or say unto him, What doest thou?” Dan. 4:34-35.

When Jesus died on the cross there was a great earthquake and the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom thus signifying that salvation was from God to man. Matt. 27:51, Heb. 10: 19-20.

Until we see that salvation begins with God and ends with God we will never have rest. This is the sure foundation that he would have us to build our hope on. Anything less is subject to the assault of Satan and unbelief. The so-called gospel that puts more emphasis on what man must do or not do to be saved will never bring us rest.

It is not a matter of what man does, but what God has done for us through his Son Jesus Christ that enables us to cease from our own labors and enter into his rest. John 9:14-16, Heb. 4:1-11. Apart from a knowledge of this truth all we can do is struggle and strive in our own strength. How beautiful and wonderful when we see we can do nothing but accept what he has done for us!

HIS SHEEP

God’s sheep were known and chosen from the foundation of the world. Eph. 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

Let’s note the positive statements in this passage of scripture that point to the sovereignty of God in our salvation: “... who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

Note the past tense expression: “... hath blessed us — hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world — having predestinated us — according to the good pleasure of his will.”

This is why Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27.

There are no “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it, his sheep hear his voice. There is a distinct difference in sheep and goats. Goats never become sheep and sheep never become goats. Lost sheep are not goats and never will be. Although lost and not aware of their bearings, they are still sheep. It is through the gospel that the great shepherd seeks and finds these lost sheep. Matt. 18:11-14. Every single one will be found and brought into the fold.

The Father gave the sheep to Jesus from the foundation of the world. Everyone of these will hear the voice of the shepherd through the gospel, and will come.

John 6:37 says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

RELIGIOUS DELUSION

So often we have heard evangelistic invitations telling the sinner to come to Jesus because the scripture says, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” They actually cause the sinner to think that their salvation is all up to them — the decision is theirs. They fail to quote the first part of the verse which says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.”

Thy psychology of this type of preaching and half truth is designed to get decisions whether the person is ready or not. The end result is many professions of faith by people who do not count the cost and are not ready.

Although they may have a head knowledge of Christ they are not truly born again. They will either fall by the wayside in process of time or be deluded by their religion. This is the wide gate and broad way that many enter and travel to eternal destruction. Matt. 7:13.

Jesus warned us of this religious type when he said, “Strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24.

It will be noticed that these referred to here are actually trying to be saved. They are the ones that are struggling and striving and yet never entering into the rest of faith.

Many of these superficial believers enter the prison of damnation through strong delusion. II Thess. 2:11 & 12. They are often religious and diligent to maintain good works and think that they will be saved by what they do. Jesus said, “Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. 7:22 & 23.

However, regardless of the potency and measure of truth people are exposed to, goats cannot be changed into sheep. Jesus said in John 10:26, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”

In my earlier years as a minister this was a grievous thing for me to accept. I thought I had to convert everyone and if I failed some would go to hell because of my failure. But the truth is, the word will not profit most people that hear it.

Most of the people who heard Jesus, the prophets and the apostles never came to saving faith. This was the burden that Jesus carried when he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Matt. 23:37.

Paul likewise shared this burden when he said that he had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart and that he would be willing to be accursed to save his brethren according to the flesh.

But the conclusion of the matter was that the word would not help most of them because they were not true Israelites. They were Israelites of the flesh but not of the Spirit. Rom. 9:1-8.

This premise is not an isolated text but is taught throughout the Bible. Rom. 2:28-29, Rom. 8:28-39, 10:1-4, 11:1-6, Gal 4:22-31, Heb. 4:2-3.

Regardless of the religious myth that exists today in the professing Christian world concerning the Jews as God’s chosen people most of them, like the Gentiles, will be lost. John 1:11-13, 6:53-66, 8:43-47, 10:26.

Out of all the people born into the world, Jew and Gentile, only a remnant will be saved. Were it not for the election of grace everyone of Adam’s descendants would be lost. Isa. 1:9, Rom. 11:5 & 6, Matt. 7:13-14.

These are the sheep that Jesus speaks of so often. Only the sheep will hear the word and believe it. “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” John 8:47.

They were given to the Son by the Father. These are the ones the Son is concerned about. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:9-12.

It will be noticed in verse 9 of John 17 that it is those given to the Son by the Father that the Son is praying for. In fact he emphatically states that he does not pray for the world. Why should he? It is cursed and all that are a part of it including unbelieving mankind.

Those given to the Son by the Father are going to come. John 6:37. These are the ones the Father draws through the gospel by his sovereign grace. Jesus said in John 6:44. “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Let me hasten to add that from our vantage point we do not know who these lost sheep are. This is the purpose of preaching the gospel. His sheep will hear his voice and none of them will be lost.

I fear much time and effort has been spent on trying to make sheep out of goats. This is casting our pearls before swine. Matt. 7:6. We need to simply preach the gospel in the power of his Holy Spirit and leave the saving to our Lord.

GOD CANNOT FAIL

Regardless of our zeal, misconception, inertia and other failures God will not fail. What he purposed to do back in eternity will be done. Although we are privileged and honored to have a part in this great work, our own personal failure will not defeat nor delay his plan and purpose.

He has graciously and condescendingly chosen us to work together with him but it is his church, his kingdom, his work and his battle. He is still saying to us, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16.

If these things were not so we wouldn’t have a sure foundation. It would be shaky and uncertain. His plan was drawn and set in motion before our substance was made in the earth. Psa. 139:15-16.

Nothing is taking God by surprise or being done on the spur of the moment. To Jeremiah the Lord said, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jer. 1:5.

THE TWO SEEDS

To better understand why we have a sure foundation we need to know something about the two seeds — the seed of God and the seed of man, or the spiritual seed and the natural seed.

The seed of man is natural or created seed. This seed can be and was corrupted by the fall. This is why in Adam we inherit a depraved nature. Our nature is according to the seed we come from. In fact everything brings forth after its own kind.

All created life is cursed with death, therefore it is temporal. The only life Adam had before the fall was created life. However he could have conceivably lived forever had he not sinned. The day that he sinned death possessed him and it was just a matter of time. Gen. 2:17.

As a result of Adam’s sin he was banished from the garden of Eden lest he partake of the tree of life and live forever in his corrupt condition. From that day on Adam’s descendants were also cursed with sin and death. Rom. 5:12. When Adam sinned everything about him was corrupted including his seed. In fact the ground, the world and the whole created universe was cursed because of sin. Gen. 3:17-19, Rom. 8:18-23, Job 25:5.

This is why all of this original creation must be destroyed with God’s unquenchable fire and new heavens and a new earth will take their place. II Peter 3:10-13, Rev. 21:1-5. This new creation including man himself will never again be subject to the curse of sin and death.

The new man that will inhabit this new creation will be born of God’s incorruptible seed and become one of the family of God. Eph. 3:14-15. He will partake of the divine nature and have a kinship with God’s only begotten Son. II Peter 1:4, Gal. 4:6-7, Heb. 2:11-12.

The seed of God was not created, therefore it is eternal and incorruptible as is God himself. In fact, it comes forth and is part of God. Peter speaks of us “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” I Peter 1:23.

Through the new birth man partakes of this seed which is incapable of sin. It is this new man that John has reference to in I John 3:9. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

But let us not be confused as some are that this also has reference to the old or Adam man which we must put off literally at death or the coming of Christ. Although the new or inward man is the product of God’s incorruptible seed which cannot sin, the old or outward man is the product of Adam’s corrupt seed.

This old man will give us trouble as long as we are in these bodies of flesh. As Paul says we must keep him under and die daily. This is the greatest cross we have to carry as we learn to live and walk by faith. The greatest enemy we have is the one we see when we look in the mirror. I Cor. 9:27, 15:31, II Cor. 5:7, Heb. 10:38.

As a part of God himself his seed will endure forever. Psa. 89:29. Only those born of this seed can and will overcome the world. I John 5:4 says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Even as a human infant cannot beget himself neither does a spiritual babe or child of God beget himself. Although a natural infant is born with a capability of partaking of its mother’s milk and crying when hungry, it has nothing to do with its conception and birth. John 1:11-13 says, “He came unto his own and his own knew him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Please note that this birth is not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. This is a positive statement of fact that man and human resources have absolutely nothing to do with the new birth. Actually man in his unregenerate condition is in rebellion and opposition to God and righteousness. No human being would ever be saved if left to himself. John 6:44.

Man’s will is to hate the light and flee from the presence of God like Adam and Eve did after they had sinned in the garden. Rom. 3:11 says, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”

This is why it is necessary for the shepherd to seek the lost sheep and bring them into the kingdom through the new birth. John 3:3-7, Luke 19:10. This is accomplished by the gospel. James 1:18 says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

NO ABORTIONS

There are no abortions or miscarries in those God chooses to bring to the new birth. Of course we are fully aware of those who profess to be saved and then lose it. And it’s true that many are affected or influenced by the gospel and actually make an effort to be a Christian. Like Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24.

The many who try and fail are the result of many factors. Some are trying to merit their own salvation by good works. Still others base their hope on false doctrines or dutiful obedience to their church system. And some have demon-inspired religious experiences that delude them into thinking they are saved.

Of all of these that try and fail there are a few that are truly saved later on. Some get so close and experience so much light that they become reprobate when they fall away. Like Esau they could not be saved if they wanted to. Heb. 6:4-9, 12:16-17.

All of these failures lack one vital and essential ingredient. That ingredient is faith. Heb. 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

When one thinks of faith or a lack of it he immediately considers it to be a personal problem in which the individual is solely responsible for his condition. It’s like telling a man to lift himself by his boot straps. Although faith comes by hearing the word of God, Rom. 10:17, it is impossible for the person to believe apart from a supernatural intervention by the Holy Spirit. The word must be quickened to man’s heart before he can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

This is the spiritual birth in which the person receives the Spirit of Jesus Christ. No gimmick, prayer, crying, seeking or religious exercise can accomplish this. It is a sovereign impartation of the Holy Spirit in which the individual receives the Spirit and faith of Jesus Christ. It is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Rom. 8:8-11. It is the same faith that enabled Jesus to overcome the world. John 16:33, I John 5:4-5.

It is not our life or faith that enables us to overcome the world but his. I John 4:4. It is Christ in us the hope of glory. Col. 1:27. In Gal. 2:20, Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

It is by Christ’s life in us that we are able to overcome. This is the faith that many come so close to and then fall back. They are like the children of Israel who came to the threshold of the promised land and then fell back because of their unbelief. Heb. 3:18-19. They simply do not come to faith or believe to the saving of the soul.

Heb. 10:38-39 says, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition: but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

It will be noticed that there are two types, distinctly different from each other, in verse 39. One group draws back unto perdition and the other believes to the saving of the soul. The group that draws back unto perdition are not saved people and never will be.

TO THE UTTERMOST

It is truly wonderful when we see that salvation is eternal and not conditional upon anything we do or fail to do. The real key to this revelation is when we see that Jesus is indeed “...the way, the truth and the life...” John 14:6.

Too many are trying to get to God some other way than Christ. There is no other way. This is the reason so many fail in process of time. Regardless of church membership, good works and religious experiences, Jesus alone is the door to God and heaven. John 10:9.

Only those who come to God by Jesus Christ have everlasting life. This is because our salvation is the result of what he did for us and not what we do. As our intercessor at the right hand of the Father he points to our sin debt that he paid on the cross.

In confirmation of these thoughts, Heb. 7:25 says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Often there is fear and anxiety that people will be lost if we don’t use evangelistic gimmicks and unusual measures to get people saved. Instead of preaching the simple gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and trusting God to work in hearts we trust in the arm of flesh to get the work done.

Although this type of ministry will not frustrate the grace of God nor keep one elect soul from being saved it does beget Ishmaels that can never inherit the promises. Sarah’s effort to have children by Hagar did not keep God from keeping his promise and giving them a true heir but it did create unnecessary problems. Gen. 16:1-5, Gal. 4:22-31.

May we realize that God will bless and honor us as we honor the divine principles embodied in his word. He will not break his covenant to his people. Our only concern should be to find the will of God and move in it. Like an irresistible river God’s prophetic plan is active and moving according to schedule.

Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6.

The above scripture is not only true from an individual’s standpoint but it is true in regards to the Jew, the Gentile, the church and the whole creation. A lack of knowledge of these things ministers doubt, unbelief and fear. And this scripture is fulfilled which says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6.

This is certainly not the sure foundation that Isaiah is speaking of in Isa. 28:16. Discovery of this foundation will dispell our fears and anxiety. This is the anchor both sure and steadfast for our soul. Heb. 6:19. Someone has said, “Those on the rock may tremble and shake because of ignorance and unbelief, but the rock itself remains solid and eternally safe.”

Is it any wonder that Isaiah said, “He that believeth shall not make haste?”

WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD

Perhaps the most powerful scripture in the Bible that shows us the sovereignty of God and the security of the elect is found in Rom. 8:28-39:

“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.

“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.

“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.

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

“Who is he that comdemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep, for the slaughter.

“Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come.

“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What more can be added to this scripture? If we can’t believe these positive statements anything I could say would be meaningless. It was an understanding of these great truths that inspired the great old hymn:

HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my gracious, omnipotent hand.

When thro’ the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow:
For I will be with thee thy trials to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When thro’ fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply:
The flames shall not hurt thee, I only design ,
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

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