Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Word Study: Chosen And Elect

From God’s Strategy in Human History by Roger T. Forster and Paul Marston.

Chosen and Elect- From the Greek word eklektos. Does imply unmerited favor, but the main idea conveyed is that God has bestowed an office, has given a task, a responsibility to perform. Those chosen have a calling, a vocation. We cannot “uncall” ourselves, but we can refuse to perform the task. Used in 6 different contexts (This list includes verses containing the adjectival or verbal forms of the word as well as the noun [eklektos]. The verses many are called but few are chosen will be dealt with below. The only other uses of this word are Lk. 10:42, 14:7, Acts 6:5, 15:7, 22, 25, Rom. 16:13, 1Cor. 1:27, 28, 1Tim. 5:21, James 2:5, 2Jn. 1, 13. None of these are important to this study.):

1. Of Christ: Lk. 9:35, 23:25, 1Pet. 2:4, 6 (Is. 42:1). Jesus is the only eternal Son, the only candidate to be the Messiah, but chosen in the sense of fulfilling a task (Is. 42:1, 49:3, 5, 6 [see also Lk. 2:32]). There is a link between Christ’s chosenness (eklektos) and his belovedness (agapetos)- Mt. 17:5, Mk. 9:7 (“This is my beloved Son…”)and Lk. 9:35 (“This is my Son, my chosen…”). We see that when either “elect” or “chosen” are applied to Christ, its primary meaning is not one of selection, but one of belovedness. See Lk. 23:35, 1Pet 2:4, 6 where the connection between chosenness and belovedness is made. Since Church is elect in Christ, the same connection between the two words is made.

2. Of the Church in Christ: Rom. 8:33, Eph: 1:4, Col. 3:12, 1Thess. 1:4, 2Tim 2:10, Titus 1:1, 1Pet. 1:2, 2:9, 5:13, 2Pet. 1:10, Rev 17:14. (Mt. 24: 22-31, Mk. 13: 20-27, Lk. 18:7?) Central idea in Eph. 1:4-we are chosen IN Christ. The Church is elect because it is in Christ and He is elect. Also, the Church’s election involves a task: WE have been blessed in every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies with Christ(Eph. 1:3, 2:6) , but in the heavenlies, there is a battle against the powers of wickedness(Eph. 6:12). Being elect means we are to fight in Christ’s armor, Eph. 6:2. We take up Christ’s task. We are to be the light of the world as he is the light of the world, Mt. 5:14, Jn. 8:12. Words about Christ in Is. 49 eventually applied to our task as Christ’s body. God will be glorified in Christ (Is. 49:3) and in Christ’s body, the Church (Eph. 3:21). God did not select who would repent and who would not. We were not chosen to be in Christ but we are chosen because we are in Christ. Our election is not separate from His election. What the Church has in Christ: Eph 1:3 and 2:6, 1:4, 1:6, 1:7, 1:11, 1:13, 2:13, 3:12. We share in His belovedness (Eph. 1:6 [only a hint here], Col. 3:12, 1Thess. 1:4, 2Thess. 2:13, Acts 15:25, Rom. 11:28, 2Tim. 2: 10-12, Rom 8: 1 [No condemnation for those IN Christ Jesus], 17,18, 32-34). Is. 49:7-the words speak of Christ, in Rom. 8: 31, 33, 34, Paul applies words to the Church. As those who are descendants of Jacob are chosen, those who are in Christ are chosen-as Christ’s death is ours, so is His election. Our election in Christ is a corporate election-We are living stones as Christ is (1Pet. 2:4,5) and we are elect as He is (1Pet. 2:4,6,9). You are God’s building (1Cor. 3:9) and you are the Temple of God (1Cor. 3: 16). “You” is plural, “Temple” is singular. The Church is collectively God’s Temple, built on the foundation of Christ. The Church is an organism of living stones with Christ as head. To become part of the building by God’s grace is to share in its election. Noah was chosen, Noah’s family was chosen in Noah.

3. Of the nation of Israel: Acts 13:17, Rom. 9:11, 11:28. (Is. 45:4, Dt. 7:7) God chose them from among all other nations; the whole nation was chosen. Israel’s task was to prepare the world for the Messiah, to bless the whole world. Some fell away from God’s purpose for them. God knew in advance what their reactions would be. The choice of the nation had nothing to do with the eternal destiny of individuals. Paul attacks belief of national selection as a guarantee of heaven in Rom. 2 and 9. God put His name on Israel (Num. 6:27), the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles when Israel failed to live up to her calling (Ezk. 36:20, Rom. 2: 24), yet God used Israel’s disobedience to stir the Gentiles to repentance. This was a corporate election. God did not chose certain individuals to be Jacob’s descendants, it was because they were descendants that they were elect. Birth was not only way to experience this election. One could chose to become an Israelite, Ruth 1:16. She entered Israel’s choseness so that she was in the linage of the Messiah. Choseness of Israel linked to task of servanthood (1Chron. 16:13, Ps. 89:3, 19, 105:6, 42,43, Is. 65:15).

4. Of believers within the nation of Israel: Rom. 11: 5, 7. Elect according to grace. Two groups, saved and unsaved, in Israel (Rom. 1:16-18, 2: 6-11, 3:19). Faith/grace verses works under the Law, Rom. 4:2-6. Can divide Romans into chapers 1-3-distinguishing the two groups, chapters 4-8-the mechanics of justification and salvation, finishing with thoughts on the future of the Church, chapters 9-11-returns to issue of two groups in Israel. Its not that Abraham had no choice but to have faith. Abraham’s faith earned him nothing, but God reckoned it as right standing. Faith brings right standing only because God in His grace reckons it as such on the basis of Christ’s finished work. Grace/faith inseperable, to be contrasted to works/debt.

5. Of the 12 disciples: Lk. 6:13, Jn. 6:70, 13:8, 15:16, 19, Acts 1:2, 24, 25. Apostles chosen, including Judas, who Peter said fell from his office. (Acts 1:17-25) God alone chooses. Unmerited. But not an irresistible blessing. A privilege, an opportunity for blessing, but also for condemnation. Same applies for the choosing of Israel. Salvation or condemnation came first to the Jews, then the Gentiles. Jesus had foreknowledge that Judas would betray him, but did not cause Judas to do so.

6. Of Paul: Acts: 9:15. See also Acts: 22:14, 1Cor. 9:1, 15, etc. Paul occupied a special position as an Apostle with the other Apostles and is thus called “a chosen vessel.”

Note: Augustine, in maintaining that God chose who would repent and go to heaven while the rest went to hell, incorrectly applied #’s 4 and 5 to the eternal destiny of individuals.

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