THE HOUSE OF GOD - part 12

 

 

Salvation is given to a man, and subsequently releases him from darkness, from his inherent ignorance of the things of God, for it shines the glorious Light of the Gospel of God upon him (see 2 Cor. 4:3-5). “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Salvation has to do with knowledge. Salvation cannot come without knowledge. You cannot separate knowledge from salvation, for salvation comes only by the acknowledgement of God’s truth (see 2 Tim. 2:25), and never in spite of it. To believe the true God one must know the truth of God. To believe the truth of God, one must know what that truth is. Without knowledge of the truth of God one simply cannot believe it. One cannot know God whilst residing in ignorance of Who He is, and how He saves. To not obey the Gospel is to not know God. “Why do men fear the dark? Because darkness is ignorance made visible. And do men despise ignorance? No, they prize it above all things! But only so long as it remains invisible.” Man hates to be reminded of his ignorance. And he reacts angrily to the reality that he is without God and without hope, and scoffs at the fact that he refutes the things of God by his inability to discern them. Man much prefers to believe that he is not ignorant of spiritual truths, and yet, his failure to know, and obey the true God, and believe in His only Gospel is a constant reminder of the inherent ignorance which resides in every man by nature. Seeing that man is dead in sin and dead to God, it must be God that reveals the precious salvation knowledge unto all whom He has chosen. Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith. God does this by revealing His Gospel Message about Who He is, and the only way He saves. No other way can save, for there is no other God, and no other gospel that can provide the directions to the House of God apart from the Gospel of God. This is why it is critical, that to be saved, a person must believe God’s Gospel, he must trust and follow God’s directions to His House, and no other's. Only those who believe the Gospel of God qualify as the lively stones that are utilized in the building of God’s spiritual House.  No false gospel has ever led anyone to the true God. Faith in a perverted gospel does not qualify anyone as a lively stone used in building the House of God. The simplicity of God’s Word is seen in the fact that if one believes God’s Gospel one is saved, and if one does not believe God’s Gospel what other condition could such a person possibly be in than lost. Just as there is no such place as limbo, as the Roman Catholics assert, or Barzakh which Muslims are taught, or Hamistagan of the Zoroastrians, there is no middle ground when it comes to the Gospel of Christ, nor between saved and lost, or Heaven and Hell, after death.

 

Christ the Lord said, “He that is not with Me is against Me…” (Matt. 12:30). If you do not obey the Gospel of Christ you are against the true Christ, and if you are against the true Christ you cannot have Christ. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9 cf. 1 Cor. 16:22). The apostle also presents the same criterion in the following way: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 Jn. 2:23). To not abide in the true doctrine of Christ is to deny the true Lord Jesus Christ. A denial of the Gospel of Christ signals the absence of the Father and the Son from one’s life. The Word of God plainly declares only two spiritual states of being: saved and lost. The saved have God, evidenced by their believing in the Gospel of God, and the lost do not have God, evidenced by their not believing the Gospel of God. This is also the guiding principle by which we can know if a person is of the House of God, or not. That which deceives billions, particularly those who claim to be Christian, but are not, is that they believe they do trust in grace for salvation even though they insist upon their contribution to salvation which they say grace has enabled them to perform. To rightly, correctly, believe one doctrine of grace is to believe them all, and to believe them all is to believe the Gospel of God’s grace, alone. To rightly believe all the doctrines of the grace of God in the salvation of His people is to consent to the fact that anything which is added to grace takes away from grace. In fact, anything which is added to grace, nullifies grace altogether. The apostle Paul stated that even if circumcision was added as some kind of contributory act in order to secure salvation, and seen as assurance that a person is saved, then Christ could not be appealed to as one’s Saviour. It’s either Christ alone, or you alone. It’s either grace or works, it’s either faith or law. Interestingly, the worship of false gods always promotes one’s own righteousness as the way to Heaven. To seek to establish one’s own righteousness is to become self-righteous, it is to be self-satisfied, and always leads to a feeling of superiority over others, and of boasting in oneself. This is why the worship of false gods is, in reality, a worship of self. A person’s own righteousness always engenders boasting in who they are, and what they have done (see Matt. 7:22; Lk. 18:11,12). Whereas, the Righteousness of Christ always leads a person to glorify God for Who HE is, and what HE has done (see 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Psa. 68:19,20; 2 Cor. 9:13). “The French philosopher Blaise Pascal is believed to have said, ‘There are only two kinds of people in the world: the righteous who understand themselves to be sinners, and the sinners who believe themselves to be righteous’.”

 

It’s either Christ’s Righteousness, or your righteousness. You can only stand before God with one, or the other. Just as there is no Scripture which supports grace and works in salvation, so too, the blasphemous concept of a composite righteousness—made up of Christ’s Righteousness and a man’s own righteousness—is nowhere to be found in the Word of God. Like grace and works, Christ’s Righteousness and that of man’s are always contrasted, and never harmonious. Obviously, this clear teaching from the Word of God explicitly shows that only God is requisite for salvation, therefore, salvation is only of the Lord and, consequently, can only be by the unadulterated grace of God. Grace, faith, and the Righteousness of Christ equals the salvation of a man. All has been done, all is provided, for the ones God has reserved to Himself. Salvation by grace is never to be diluted with the works of man. PEOPLE HAVE GOT TO REALISE THAT ADDING ANYTHING TO GRACE IS NOT MERELY TAKING AWAY FROM GRACE, BUT IT IS TAKING GRACE COMPLETELY OUT OF THE PICTURE. “…if it be of works then is it NO MORE grace…” (Rom. 11:6 cf. Rom. 4:4,5; 1 Cor. 15:10). If salvation is by works, even grace-inspired works, then salvation is no longer by grace alone. The key to all this, that which is pivotal to a proper, Biblical, understanding of the Gospel of grace, and a gospel of works is this: whatever it is which salvation waits upon, whatever that last thing is which needs to be done before a man is saved, THAT is what saves a man. If it is what God does then you have true grace, if it is what a man must do, then you have a counterfeit grace, a satanic grace which is no grace at all, and you are not saved. If it is something you must do, then you have usurped the rightful place God has given His grace, and salvation is no longer based, or dependent upon what God has done, therefore, grace is no more grace, but works, and “…if it be of works, then is it no more grace…” (Rom. 11:6). “For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect” (Rom. 4:14). The Scriptures say salvation is of the Lord, by grace through faith, and so this is what salvation awaits. If the final move must be made by a man, whether it be by grace, or not, then salvation depends on what a man does. If man must do something SO THAT God can then save him, THAT is a works gospel, and not grace in action. Grace saves. What God does saves. A man is saved by God, by God doing, and not by God enabling. Works do not lessen the role of grace in salvation, they remove grace altogether. You either hold on to grace, or your works. You cannot hold to both. You either appeal to God’s grace, or to your works. You cannot claim the grace of God whilst holding to your righteousness. All that grace is the cause of—from forgiveness, made possible by the washing away of sin and guilt, to the imputation of Christ’s Righteousness—simply disappears if one adds any act of obedience on man’s part as that which is indispensable to salvation. Anything which is added to grace immediately banishes all grace. That which is added to grace confines salvation by grace alone to the realm of mythology. Whatever is added to grace simply blots grace completely out of the picture. Grace is completely removed, and all one is left with is not the deeds of Christ the Saviour, but one’s own miserably inadequate, and sin-laden efforts at obedience, not to mention copious amounts of unatoned sin. One simply cannot legitimately appeal to grace whilst simultaneously negating grace by insisting upon the essentiality of one’s own contribution to salvation. You cannot have grace and works. You cannot have Christ’s Righteousness and your own righteousness. Just as “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other…” (Mat. 6:24), no man can appeal to grace whilst under subservience to any religious rule, or tradition, upon which salvation is conditioned. No one whose faith is in the Righteousness of Christ will ever seek to again establish a righteousness of his own. A man will either despise the one, and love the other, or else he will only hold to one, and hate the other (see Phil. 3:9).

 

To love the Righteousness of Christ is to despise one’s own righteousness (see Phil. 3:8,9). To seek salvation by including one’s own righteousness is to despise the Righteousness of Christ, counting it as insufficient to save without the augmentation of your own righteousness. You have either acknowledged and submitted yourself to God’s Righteousness, or you are going about trying to establish a righteousness of your own (see Rom. 10:2). Anyone seeking to add their own works in order to ensure their salvation is one who is seeking to establish their own righteousness. They may not even be aware that they are, but seeking to obey some law, or rule of religion, and clothing it with the rags of a factitious grace, in order to merit anything from God, is to deny grace, it is the manifestation of an outright and sinfully obstinate refusal to be saved by grace alone. There is no such thing as salvation by a collaborative effort on the part of God and man, except in the minds of the lost. Salvation is either by the grace of God, or by the efforts of man. The former will save you, the latter will serve only to condemn you. Salvation is not by grace and works, but by grace, or works, you cannot have both. Any gospel that preaches a combination of grace and works as that which saves, is a denial of grace. To love God is to not have any other gods before Him. Likewise, to love the Gospel of God, to believe in the Gospel of the grace of God, one must not seek to add, or blend anything with it. Grace and works is nothing short of spiritual adultery, and all who are guilty of it shall be eternally damned. (see Rom. 7). If you trust in your own efforts you cannot appeal to the grace of God, and if you trust only in the grace of God YOU WILL NOT EVER look to your own righteousness as that which forms any part of the ground of salvation. The saved man never looks to his own righteousness, for he knows, and is most assured in knowing, that it is the Righteousness of Christ, and no other which will save him. The Christian’s only desire is to “…be found in Him, not having (his) own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9).

 

As we have seen, 1 Peter 4:17,18 is not the only passage in the Word of God which speaks of the House of God. There are several others which mention the House of God, and in so doing they reveal the significance of Christ’s relationship to the House of God, and more about those who are part of the House of God. Hebrews 3:6 speaks of, “…Christ as a Son over His own House; whose House are we…” We see here that God’s House is also Christ’s House. The “we” mentioned here who are part of that House are the Gospel believing Jewish Christians to whom the Letter was written. This is confirmed in Hebrews 10:19 in the words “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” Of course, the inspired Letter to the Hebrews was, in effect, also written for everyone who would become Christian, all of the elect, all of the House of God. “…thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:15,16). God has determined that salvation be not restricted to Jewish believers, for He has chosen a people from every nation to become His people, and be part of the House in which He dwells. “…Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9 cf. Rev. 7:9; Jn. 11:51,52). The elect of God, those who believe and obey only the Gospel of God, are described in Scripture as the House of God. These people, this House of God, are also Christ’s people, for they are also His House. “…Christ as a Son over His own House; whose House are we...” (Heb. 3:6), which, “…is expressive of His right to heirship and government, and of the esteem and reverence He had in His House, and of His fidelity as a Son there (see Jn. 8:35); and though He was a servant, as Man and Mediator, and had a great service to perform, and which He has performed with diligence and faithfulness, yet He was also a Son, Lord and Heir (see Heb. 1:2), as Moses was not; and He is over the House of God, as King, Priest, and Prophet in it, and as the firstborn, Son and Heir, and as the Master and Governor of it; and which is called His own, because it was given Him by the Father (see Jn. 17:2), purchased by Himself (see Acts 20:28), and which He has built, and in which He dwells. The Church of God is also referred to as the Body of Christ. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body's sake, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). “Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Cor. 12:27). Referring to Christ, the apostle Paul says, “…He is the Head of the Body, the Church…” (Col. 1:18 cf. Eph. 5:23; Eph. 5:29,30; 1 Cor. 12:13).

 

The writer to the Hebrews informs us that there is “…an high priest over the House of God” (Heb. 10:21). It should come as no surprise that as High Priest over the people of God’s House, Christ Jesus represented only those people to the Father. Christ’s dying for anyone else, simply makes no Scriptural sense whatsoever. God the Father has given all His chosen ones to the Son, and Christ has laid down His precious life for them, His Church, the ones entrusted to Him (see Eph. 5:25 & Jn. 17:2), and who would become that which would be used to build the very House of God. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house…” (1 Pet. 2:5). Not one of these people chose God, for He chose them before the foundation of the world to be the recipients of His grace and salvation. “…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, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6). God’s having chosen and predestinated His people shows that their eternal salvation could have come no other way. Their salvation could not have been instigated by them, but only by God. God’s having to predestinate His chosen, provides overwhelming, and irrefutable evidence that none could ever have chosen Him. None could ever have come to Him on their own volition, thus all must be drawn by the Father. Christ said “…no man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” (Jn. 6:44). What Arminians, and religionists alike, have so very wrong is that they believe they chose God. The problem with this claim is, when exactly did they choose Him? More to the point, how did they choose Him? How could they have chosen Him? Does a man choose God before he is made a new creature in Christ? How can that be when prior to being made new creatures, being made spiritually alive unto God, being born again of God, all are dead in sin (see Eph. 2). If the enemies of God’s Gospel say God made them alive, new creatures, etc., because of their choice of Him, then they must count as wrong the verse in 1 John 4 which says God's people love God only because He loved them first. Our love and worship, etc., of God is the fruit of His having loved us first. The true Christian’s love for God, in truth, is evidence of the Presence of God in their hearts. Love begets love. The Christian’s love for God comes from God’s love for His people. Those who cannot accept this must be told in no uncertain terms that they do not follow the principle of grace, but are part of the world’s network of religions which are based on the principle of works. With man salvation is impossible, thus leaving only God, by grace, as the sole hope for salvation. The concept, the very nature, of salvation is built upon the principle of grace: “…ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you…” (Jn. 15:16). The basis for salvation is being saved by Another, based on Another. No part of salvation can possibly be based on anything the saved person is, or does, for then salvation could not be by the grace of God at all. Acknowledging the obvious—that no man can come to the Lord except by the Father’s grace—it is a given that man has no will, by nature, to even seek the God Who saves only by grace. The key terms and phrases in Scripture which deal with salvation, including the word salvation itself, all point to the saved as being saved wholly by Another. Election, predestination, adoption, grace, mercy, the good pleasure of the will of God, chosen generation, atonement, redemption , sanctification, imputed Righteousness, etc., all these words point clearly to God having done that which those whom He saves could not possibly do for themselves.

 

Salvation is by grace alone. “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). This not only teaches how God saves, but also that salvation can come no other way, and by no other means than by the grace of God. Seeing that grace is that which cannot be earned or merited, it is abundantly obvious that salvation is that which is given by One to another just as justifying Righteousness is by the obedience of One for another. Grace is not something which can be procured, nor can God be persuaded by any to deal with them according to His grace. As grace is a gift it can only be given. Remember, it is God’s grace, and so it is God’s to give to whomsoever He chooses, based on His will, love and purpose, which is exactly what the Scriptures teach. Salvation comes by no other means than by God doing everything for an unworthy creature that can do nothing to come to Him. “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, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself” (Eph. 1:3-9). Many say they agree with these Scriptures, but add that one must maintain a certain level of obedience so that one will not lose their salvation. There was no point in God having established and provided a Perfect Righteousness, if that Righteousness was not everlasting! If the Righteousness that saves is not eternal then it must be conditional. If salvation is not eternally based on Christ and His Righteousness, then all we are left with is a ‘salvation’ in name only, and which is restricted by, and conditioned on, man and his futile efforts to obey the Law. Seeing that by the Law no man is justified, none could ever be saved by such a poorly conceived, and flawed salvation ‘plan’. If the gift of salvation by grace is not eternally based on the Righteousness of Christ, then it must be that God has conditioned salvation on individuals who could never do anything to obtain it, or keep it, and, therefore, it would have been nonsensical to provide it. Salvation is all about God. A man is saved only by what God does. Grace is God doing. The entire Word of God points only to God, just as salvation by grace points only to God.

 

Christ intercedes for the people God has entrusted Him with, having died exclusively for those of God’s House. “…Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24). “And having an high priest over the House of God” (Heb. 10:21 cf. Col. 1:18 & Heb. 10:20; Heb. 2:17). Christ is High Priest over His own House, His own people, and no other, therefore, Christ has entered Heaven to now appear on the behalf of His own people. Christ is not the High Priest over all humanity, but exclusively of those who were designated by the will and purpose of God to be the residents of His Father’s House, who would become His Church, for which Christ would lay down His very Life “…Christ…loved the Church, and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25 cf. Jn. 10:11; 13:1). The Lord Christ was not directed by the Father to make sacrifice for the people of the world, but exclusively for His own chosen, predestinated and adopted people called out of the world, and entrusted to His Son. Christ offered Himself as a substitutionary Sacrifice exclusively for these people, those who have been given to Him by the Father, for they alone are of His House over which He is the great High Priest. Anyone for whom Christ died can be assured that their sins have been dealt with. CHRIST’S DEATH MAKES THE DIFFERENCE. There is absolutely no room here at all for a general, or universal sacrifice, the success of which is dependent upon, and only subsequent to,  its reception by those for whom it was made. Who are those whom Christ has borne the sins of? God reveals in this next verse exactly who they are: “...for the transgression of MY PEOPLE was He stricken” (Isa. 53:8; cf. Psa. 85:2,3; Isa. 53:6; Ex. 28:30); “…by His knowledge shall My Righteous servant justify many; FOR He shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:11). Clearly, the many who were to be justified are God’s people, for Christ has borne their iniquities, and it was for them, God’s people, that He was stricken. Everyone for whose sins Christ was stricken shall be justified. This is called Substitutionary Atonement, and it is the only Atonement the Lord God has ever put His name to. None can be saved unless they have been chosen by God, and had their sins atoned for by Christ His Son. These Scriptures provide us with clear, and irrefutable evidence of the fact that Christ died for a specific people: God’s people. They did not become God’s people by choosing Him, or upon their being saved, but were chosen of God to be His people: “…God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation…” (2 Thess. 2:13). Those whom God chose, He gave unto His Son, entrusted His chosen people to His Son for Him to provide justifying Righteousness for, and to wash away their every sin (see Jn. 17:2,3). Christ was stricken for the sins His people committed, and He has put away all the sins of those people (see Heb. 9:26,28). Payment has been made in full on their behalf. “The Old Testament sacrifices (see Lev. 1, 4 & 16) vividly evidence the fact that the Divine punishment incurred was inevitable, yet that that punishment could be borne by a substitute, and on THAT ground the offender could be restored to favor. The principal thing they were designed to exhibit was the indispensable necessity of atonement by vicarious expiation.” In other words, Substitution! There could literally have been no substitution without the sins of a predetermined people to be atoned for. Those who believe the true Gospel know there is no co-existence possible, no dual occupancy conceivable, in God’s House, between those who believe God’s Gospel, and those who obey it not. The doctrines of Christ’s death for God’s people, and His alleged death for all people are poles apart, and are as distinct as reality is from fantasy. Therefore, to believe in Jesus’ death for all is to not believe according to the Scriptures, and, therefore, evidences a state of lostness. It is to believe a false gospel which denies the reality, the truth, of Christ’s death, and replaces it with a lie, the belief of which is an out and out denial of God’s truth concerning who God’s Son died for, what His Son has done, and, therefore, Who His Son is.

 

The popularly accepted teaching, that Christ died for all mankind, believed by the vast majority of those claiming to be Christian, is no less despicable a lie than if there were none who believed it. ‘Universal atonement’ is an oxymoron, for not all are saved for whom, it is claimed, atonement was made. Such an 'atonement' could not have been completed without the final ingredient of a man’s acceptance of it, for it to actually become effective. Conversely, when atonement was directed to be made by God, it was always, and exclusively, on behalf of His people, not for everyone on the planet, and it was always 100% successful. The Scriptures know nothing of an inefficient, or ineffective, sacrifice, nor of the success of an atonement hinging on the acceptance of it by those for whom it was made. This means that if Christ had died for all mankind then all would be saved, seeing that the atonement made by Christ was acceptable to God. Since it is patently obvious that all are not saved, Christ’s sacrifice could not have been made on the behalf of all, but only for those whom God had directed, thus the case, the doctrine, of universal atonement drowns in its own juices of unreality. The truth of the Gospel of Sovereign grace has always been under attack from the lie of universalism. This is principally due to the fact that universalism is a humanistic tenet. It places man first, and God second in its theological order. “The student of Church history soon learns that the lie which preaches a universal love of God, sovereign-man and self-salvation is a chameleon, constantly changing its appearance in order to infiltrate...and gain control of the content and preaching of the Gospel.” One of Satan’s main aims is to get people away from the truth that Christ has died for the elect. If he can do this, he can limit the glory due unto God for salvation from being something that is wholly of grace, and shift the focus to what a man must do, thus giving him a share in that glory. Atonement was always made exclusively for the people of God, and it was always successful. The only thing that a popularly accepted lie proves is that it is popular. Often, the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it. This is no evidence of its veracity, but only serves to prove the ignorance of those who have accepted it as truth. Universalists, as one, reel in horror at the phrase limited atonement, whilst failing to realise that whether one believes in the Gospel truth that Christ died for the people His Father entrusted to Him, or for everybody, a successful atonement is either limited to God’s choice, or man’s choice. Whichever way you look at it not all will be saved. Universal atonement is a concept which is simply not in accord with what the Scriptures teach. Such anti-Christ teaching that hundreds of millions of people consider impervious to scrutiny, does not align itself with what the Word of God teaches: that Christ is the High Priest over His own House, His people, and no other. The Old Testament high priest made sacrifice for the nation of Israel, for they were God’s people. He did not make sacrifice for everyone in the world, Jew and Gentile—those who were God’s people, as well as those who were not—but for God’s people exclusively: those whom God told him to make atonement for. “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins…” (Lev. 16:34 cf. Lev. 16:16).

 

Jesus said He prayed for those He was given because they are the people of God, adding further weight to the Scriptures’ teaching that the elect are those who receive the grace and mercy of God, and no others are included. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; FOR they are Thine” (Jn. 17:9). Everything that has been done, has been done for the people of God, and no others. They are God people, not because they chose Him, but because He chose them before the foundation of the world. Christ does not pray for people who are not among God’s people, who are not of His House, who have not been given to Him by the Father. Those who blindly claim that the word world when used in Scripture is always referring to everyone in the world, can hardly claim, in light of this Scripture, that Christ even prays for everyone, let alone died for everyone, when it is Christ Himself Who categorically states that His prayers are for those who are God’s people, and no others. Christ not praying for the world does not, for one moment, suggest He prays for no one, for Jesus declares that He does pray for those God has given Him. Consequently, the word world here cannot mean every individual ever born. Christ distinguishes God’s people from those who are of the world, just as Peter distinguishes God’s people from those who are not of God’s House, for they do not obey His Gospel. Christ does not pray for anyone who is not of the people, or House, of God. Christ does not pray for those He is not the High Priest of, and so according to Biblical reason, Christ could not have died for those He does not even pray for. This is a clear sign of Christ’s affinity, His intimacy, with the people chosen by God, and given to Him to be a King and High Priest over. The Letter to the Hebrews further enriches our understanding in this next verse: “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” (Heb. 7:25 cf. Jn. 14:6; 17:2,9). And who are they who come to Him? “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37 cf. Heb. 2:13). They are the ones Christ makes intercession for. They all come unto God by Him, and are, therefore, the ones He saves. Christ does not make intercession for those of the world, but only for those whom God has called out of the world, and given to Him (see Heb. 9:15). Nor does Christ appear in Heaven in the Presence of God for anyone other than those for whom He died and prays: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the Presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24). As High Priest, the Lord Jesus appears on the behalf of God's chosen, the ones He laid down His life for, the ones He exclusively makes intercession for. Who else would Christ appear before God on the behalf of? Those He did not die for? Those whom the Father had not given Him? Those for whom He does not pray? Hardly.

 

Christ laid down His life for His people, His sheep, His Church, those who are of His House. Christ died exclusively for those God gave to Him, and they are the only ones He intercedes for. This coincides perfectly with the fact that Christ only prayed for His people: the ones God entrusted to Him for the purpose of salvation. A HIGH PRIEST’S PRAYERS WERE FOR NO ONE, BUT THOSE WHOM HE MADE SACRIFICE FOR. It would be ludicrous to say that while Christ prays only for God’s chosen, He died for all mankind. There is no Scripture which will support such an absurd claim. The undeniability of the exclusive and unbreakable connection between God and His chosen, is a theme which courses throughout the entire Bible. The Biblical teachings of election, predestination, adoption, the sacrificial, substitutionary and atoning death of Christ individually and collectively corroborate the fact that Christ died for the sins of His people, the chosen of God, and no other. Many see all this as being unfair, and that God the Son would be unjust in only praying and dying, for some. Such people fail to realise that all men are sinners. Man is NOT a neutral creature. Contrary to the world’s view, a man is not some innocent victim of God’s not having chosen him to salvation (see Rom. 9:19), but is his own worst enemy having sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, and forever incurring the Wrath of God. Those who always raise the issue ‘What about those who have never heard the Gospel’, also fail to remember the sobering fact that man is not a neutral creature, no man is innocent, but all are accursed creatures, by nature, for all carry within them the sin seed, and thus are fully deserving of nothing but God’s Wrath. The saved man is a most grateful beneficiary of God’s mercy and grace, for he knows that he has been spared from an eternity in Hell, and saved to a life which will be everlasting in Heaven with the Almighty God. The chosen of God are sinners who are saved by grace. The fact that grace is required for the salvation of any shows clearly that no man, by nature, is deserving of God’s love, let alone salvation.

 

The element, or presence, of grace in salvation rules out any notion that salvation can be obtained any other way. Salvation by grace is a gift from God. Therefore, salvation by grace is according to God, to what God has done, and not as a reward for what a man does, or was foreseen would do. Man forsook God at the Fall, and has gone about following other gods ever since. Thus, no one, by nature, seeks the true God. There is no unjustness on God’s part in the election of grace, for “…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25 cf. Job 4:17; Job 34:10,18,19; Job 36:23). Paul’s respondent in Roman’s 9 asked: “…Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?” (Rom. 9:19), and was met with the answer: “…O man, who art thou that repliest against God?...” (Rom. 9:20). “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him?...” (Job 40:2). “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” (Job. 4:17). Job said of the Lord: “…He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him…” (Job. 9:32). “…not to questions put by Him, but in a judicial way to charges and accusations He should exhibit; no man in this sense can answer Him…” What is unjust is the fact that all have sinned against God, and come short of the glory of God. Only in light of this reality can one gain a proper perspective on the true God, and how He saves. What God has done in saving some is truly a merciful act, full of love and according to His grace alone (see Rom. 9:20-26). Salvation is only according to grace, for there is no other means whereby a man can be saved. There can be no unjustness in grace, or mercy, for these are things which are not granted in random fashion, but are consequent to the express will of God, and the fulfilment of God’s purpose. The argument that election is unfair, is fundamentally flawed, for those who make it, fail to take into account the fact that election is by grace, because man is dead in sin, does not understand God nor seeks Him, by nature. Election by grace is not God saving His people according to their works, or because He foreknew they would choose Him, for there is none righteous. Salvation is only in accord with the will, purpose and grace of God which comes not after anything a man does, for this grace was given in Christ before God had even made the world, let alone man. God “… hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). God has elected His people according to His grace by His love which can only be engendered by His will. Neither election, or saving grace, could exist without the will of God. So, to say election is unfair is to say God is unfair, that His will is unfair and that He has no right to love only those He has chosen to save, etc. Again, the only thing unfair is that man has sinned against the God Who so lovingly created him. The only thing which is improper is that sinful man would even dare to falsely accuse God of any injustice in His loving some, and not all.

 

There are two things that have emerged from the Fall of man: (1) the mercy and grace of God in electing some to salvation, and (2) the right and just punishment of those He has chosen not to be merciful toward. What insolent man’s real argument with God is, is ‘Why has He not chosen to be merciful to all?’, if He saves some, why not all, it's just not fair?’ Man’s whole argument against election is: 'If God has chosen to save some, He should have chosen to save all'. It is based on nothing, and comes from a heart that is so corrupted with sin that its evil is beyond compare. If God had chosen to save all, this same line of thinking, spawned by man’s sinful nature, would no doubt rise up in protest that God has not allowed those who do not wish to be saved, the freedom to go to Hell if they want to. The answer to the question ‘Why has God not chosen to be merciful to all?’, is: WHY SHOULD GOD HAVE CHOSEN TO BE MERCIFUL TO ANY!! Contrary to humanistic thinking, man is the lowest of the low! Man is not even worthy enough for God to cast a momentary glance toward. “… the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:15,16 cf. Psa. 8:4; 144:3; Isa. 40:17; Jer. 17:9; Eccl. 9:3). Man is a worm, who, even at his best state, is nothing but vanity (see Job 25:6; Psa. 39:5,11). From where does man summon the utter gall to find fault even with the precious mercy of God! Is there no end to the horrors of man’s sinfulness? To even entertain the thought that God has done an injustice is evidence enough that the only injustice is that of man’s in accusing God of any wrong. “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” (Job 4:17 cf. Job 40:8). It is incumbent upon every man to look at the Scriptures, and face the truth that all mankind has rebelled against God, that man is a Fallen race rightly deserving of nothing more, or less, than the Wrath of God for all eternity, and that the only way anyone can escape this most dreadful of all destinies is through the will, grace and mercy of God. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not….the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live…” (Eccl. 7:20; 9:3).

 

Man seems to think that God is somehow obligated to show mercy to all.  Apparently, man is of the view that, by fair means, or foul, all are worthy of grace and mercy! That if God shows mercy to some, then He should show mercy to all! That no man is deserving of any punishment for his sin! Man acts as if he has rights with God, that he is deserving, not of God’s Wrath, but of His mercy and grace! Only the unsaved, unregenerated mind of a lost man could possibly reach such a conclusion, the inaneness of which is exceeded only by his belief that it is a reasonable and justified rendering of God’s Holy Word. The reality is “…The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty…” (Ex. 34:6,7 cf. Num. 14:18; Nah. 1:3). It would be an injustice if God were to not punish the guilty. There is absolutely nothing wrong with God not being merciful to any who deserve only His Wrath. That God is merciful to any, is a manifestation of the goodness of God, and not something to be ceased upon as some gross miscarriage of justice. God’s saving some is a merciful act, while God punishing others is a Righteous act. To attempt to attach any unfairness to either action is perhaps the greatest evidence of how the warped mind of a lost man processes what the Word of God clearly states. God’s mercy in electing some is a display of His goodness, and can, in no way, be rightly deemed inequitable, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23 cf. Rom. 3:9,10). The Lord says: “…I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Ex. 33:19). “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:13-16). “No human being deserves God’s mercy. The choice of Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau must be construed as a merciful one. In other words, the stunning thing for Paul was not that God rejected Ishmael and Esau, but that He chose Isaac and Jacob, for they did not deserve to be included in His merciful and gracious purposes. Human beings are apt to criticize God for excluding anyone, but this betrays a theology that views salvation as something God ‘ought’ to bestow on all equally….What is fundamental for God is the revelation of His glory and the proclamation of His name, and He accomplishes this by showing mercy and by withholding it. God’s Righteousness is upheld because He manifests it by revealing His glory both in saving and in judging.” There is nothing arbitrary in God’s hatred for some, for all are worthy only of God’s Wrath because of their sin. Again, man is not some innocent victim of a megalomaniacal God Who randomly chooses to hate, or love, whomever, and whenever He feels like loving, or hating, at the time. God’s Wrath is justified, and is directed toward those who have sinned against Him. Man has incurred God’s Wrath. Coupled with the fact that God is a Just God, man is in the dilemma he now faces because he is a sinner “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). Those who are elected unto salvation, have been chosen by a Righteous and Benevolent God, Who, by His will, love, purpose and grace, has chosen to show His mercy to some. Anyone who still insists that election is unfair, that, somehow, God rightly punishing the guilty, and choosing by grace to show mercy to others is just not right, evidences the clear fact that they remain in bondage to their carnal reasoning, and are the servants of sin.

 

 

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