Elect

Elect. There is a word that is prone to raise the dander of various Christ-believers and the very foundation upon which others choose to mark their position. I think I will go out on a limb and cite what I believe Jesus is saying to me about it through the scripture. Come along, if you dare. Even the mildly curious is welcome!

May I start with 1 Peter 2:6? My takeaway in a spiritual nutshell: Jesus, the I AM incarnate, is the elect. We are/may be elect only so far as we are in Him. Let us read the first ten verses of 1 Peter 2, placing our targeted verse in context.

1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 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.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:1-10

About verse 8, which most translations have as something similar to the KJV, the translation as “appointed” escapes me. I admit it. The Greek ἐτέθησαν thus translated is used one other time, in Acts 7:16 in Stephen’s account of Jacob and his being laid to rest.

If I were doing the translating (which I am clearly and admittedly unqualified to do), I would have leaned toward the last words in 1 Peter 2:8 being “to which they were set”. From which, I would have understood the meaning to be “set in their ways, or fixed in their understanding”, i.e. as the result of their stubbornly-held anti-Jesus belief. To me, this interpretation of verse 8 squares nicely with Jesus’ statement, “According to your faith be it unto you.” upon healing the blind (Matthew 9:29). It is ironic that one of the aims of King James in wanting his own translation of the Bible, is that it not be so… Calvinistic. I get the sentiment. Calvin was living in Geneva and heavily influenced early English translations.

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_peter/2-8.htm

I invite you to prowl around relating to this passage at Bible Hub for yourself. You too, can become an unqualified researcher of the Scripture in the original languages. If you are one who leans toward idolizing Calvin, I urge you to reconsider the merits of being known by any name than Christ’s. But, I digress.

In Titus 1:1-2 – Paul gives his own conversion as an example of election as of (according to) the saved-by-faith-in-Christ, thereby amplifying that election (ἐκλεκτῶν) is simply imputation of the elect nature of Jesus into the life of the believer by faith.

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;

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:1-2

Let me say, as an aside, that godliness is not powerless man trying to act as God acts; rather, omnipotent God acting in the heart of yielded man.1

Luke 18 contains two parables I would like us to look at, dear reader. The first mentions the elect (v7) being quickly answered by God. Jesus, then asks the rhetorical question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v8). To me, this reinforces the link between faith in Jesus the Elect and our election by virtue of being in Him, if so we (choose to) be.

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 18:1-8

Isn’t it handy for a parable to open with a direct statement of the object lesson to be remembered?

The second parable is of the tax gatherer and Pharisee praying; Jesus is asking his hearers, “Who was justified?” Verse 9 explains (before the story) this parable is against those who are trusting in themselves and despising others. Seems to me this parable has a direct application to any who presume salvation because they are raised in a Christian home, a member of any particular denomination, or whatever human “election” criteria one can devise to view themselves as therefore “in”, while others are, by inference, “out”. Not different than an Israelite believing himself “in” by birthright as a “son of Abraham”.

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14

There you have it. My understanding of election as intimate communion with Jesus, who is THE Elect. Thank you for reading to the end. Please do not saw off the limb I am now out on. I am only trying to help those who would draw closer to the Elect.

1 When I use the word “man” in the absence of a definite article, I imply neither sex, as this is the way the language has traditionally been used. I find the modern he/she/whatever approach clumsy and frankly, an affront to a right understanding of the creation by His Unmistaken Majesty. You may now visualize me dismounting my soapbox.

Stubborn

Me: Good morning Holy Spirit! I am perplexed by the way You told Isaiah to deliver a message (chapter 6) that Jesus later quoted in Matthew 13 to explain why He taught in parables.

Isaiah’s Commission

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

Jesus’ Explanation

13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Holy Spirit: Good morning Jon! Part of the problem being addressed is willfulness. In your idiom, one might say “he didn’t want to hear it”, or some such expression implying a closed mind or heart. How does that work out in practice? The message being delivered is contrary to the belief or desire of the recipient, so he discounts it entirely.

Jesus taught in parables because they were stories that were easily remembered and contained a somewhat oblique example of the truth that He wanted to teach. This approach at least has a chance of getting past the mental defenses of the willfully disobedient to get some level of consideration. An important aspect of a parable is that it is about someone other than the hearer; it is not a direct challenge to his mistaken beliefs. Nor is is an override of the choice of the individual. He may take it or leave it; spend time musing about it, or not.

You were created with the ability to filter the information you perceive, to categorize, to make judgments as to its value and to remember what you consider important. Control of this process is mostly subconscious and is regulated by your beliefs. Filtering of information was designed to be subconscious. If it were not so, it would increase the burden instead of easing the work the attentive part of the mind must do. Taken together, your beliefs and understanding of your environment is sometimes called your worldview.

Looking inward, people have beliefs about themselves. The same filtering of perceptions takes place related to self and to one’s behavior. For example, if you believe “I’m a good person”, your are less likely to be able to determine if criticism of your behavior is valid than if you believe you are good insofar as you are submitted to the leading of Christ. No one is harder to correct than the person who is completely convinced he is right.

Me: Of course, I believe He is good, and what I do is good if it is of His leading. (Mark 10:18, John 15:5) Still, I recognize that I sometimes have a negative script running in my head. At least I may recognize it if it rises to the level of consciousness or if negative emotions get egregious enough to bring it to the forefront.

Holy Spirit: That is why the scripture tells you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). And you know from the process of learning anything difficult, that takes time and repetition. You should also recognize that as you have submitted to My leading that negativity has greatly diminished over time.

Me: You could remove it in the twinkling of an eye.

Holy Spirit: My way assures that it is obvious that it is your choice.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
We watched an old movie last night: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I found it disturbing, the inmates of the insane asylum stripped of their fundamental human rights by their keepers and afforded no dignity as those made in Your image.  It would have been different if the authorities running the institution were actually trying to help those afflicted.  But, not only that, it highlighted the ravages of Satan’s work on the mind and heart – on both sides of the institutional hierarchy. Of course You know my attempts to help my own brother and how that has worked out.  I don’t know now whether he is even alive.  But I can surely understand his fierce desire to remain independent, even if he doesn’t eat.
ABBA:
Yes, the film did not whitewash how Satan’s schemes play out in the lives of My children.  It saddens me that it is so.  That is why Jesus came to redeem.
Me:
Even though the Lamb of God has paid the price for sins, it still seems to prove unlikely that the deceived will put their faith in Him.  Except You cause them to hear and cause them to see, it seems they remain unaware of the Gift.  Maybe not unaware, in many cases, more that they are unwilling.
ABBA:
Consider this passage:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’ (Quoted from Isaiah 6.)
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matthew 13)
Me:
Why, Lord?  Why has it not been granted for them to know the mysteries of the kingdom?  How do I reconcile this with the scripture that says You are not willing that any should perish? (2 Peter 3:9)


ABBA:
If I make all the Truth obviously and irrefutably plain to those who have not already chosen to embrace Me, you could not say they actually had a choice in the matter.  The plain explanations to the disciples show what it is like for those who have already decided to follow Me.  The choice comes first, then the revelation.  I Am not willing that any should perish.  But I choose to keep My desire subjugated to the choice of the individual.  I do know the end from the beginning.  I could have chosen to give you no choice.  I desired that those who love Me do so of their own free will. Nothing short of that actually fits My definition of love.
As far as reconciling the scripture, if your foundation is the knowledge that I Am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, you will suspect that the passage in the Greek is much more nuanced than the English translation shows.  Isaiah’s prophecy sheds more light.  The people do not hear because of their hearts.  They close their eyes.  Is that not a voluntary act?

Me:
Thank You Father!  I am grateful for Your patient explanations!  I love you!
ABBA:
You are welcome!  I love you!