The concept of the Elect.

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Van

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    According to the Arminian and Calvinist understanding of Ephesians 1:4 everyone that has been saved and everyone that will be saved was chosen as foreseen individuals before creation. My view is that God chose His Redeemer before creation and as a consequence chose corporately as a target group all those the Redeemer would redeem. Either view is completely consistent with Ephesians 1:4 with the two views differing on what it means to be chosen "in Him." My view is modeled on Karl Barth's view that Christ was chosen and as a result those who Christ would redeem were chosen in Him.

    The way to resolve the issue of two views appearing to be a viable understandings of the text is to look at other verses and passages that impinge on the same issue to see if one view appears more consistent with the balance of scripture. When I say the verse is consistent with my view, the verse either does not say anything about being chosen before the person lived as a sinner, or does not imply election prior to the physical lifetime of the person.

    In Matthew 22:14, at the end of the parable of the Marriage Feast, where the King looked over those called to the dinner, and chose to reject someone not wearing appropriate clothing, the text reads “For many are called but few are chosen.” I think the idea is that some who came were unwilling to trust in Christ, to so to speak, put on His protective propitiation. But no matter what, clearly those chosen were called, teaching election occurs during our lifetime.

    In Matthew 24:22, we see that the Elect existed at the time they were referred to as the Elect, which is consistent with being chosen individually during their lifetime.

    In Matthew 24:24, we see again that the Elect are folks living at the end times and it is not clear whether they could be deceived, but if they could the signs and wonders of the false teachers would deceived them. So this text again is consistent with being chosen individually during their lifetime.

    In Matthew 24:31, we see the Elect gathered at the end of the age, again consistent with being chosen individually during their lifetime.

    In Mark, the references are the same as in Matthew.

    In Luke 18:7, the Elect cry out to God, indicating they are those who believe in God, again consistent with being chosen individually during their lifetime.

    In Luke 23:35, we see Christ referred to as God’s Chosen One.

    In Romans 8:33 we see that no one can lay a charge against God’s Elect, again consistent with being chosen during our lifetime unto salvation. On the other hand, this verse precludes the elect being charged has having a nature of children of wrath, and requires election after we are conceived with a nature of children of wrath for we were just as the rest of mankind, Ephesians 2:1-3.

    In Romans 16:13, we see that an existent person, Rufus is referred to as a choice man in the Lord, again consistent with being chosen and placed in the Lord.

    In 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, we see that God chose us out of this world, clearly teaching we were chosen individually after creation, during our lifetime. Also those chosen, not many wise, not many mighty, not many well born, were chosen to shame those who value worldly treasures, folks that think others are ignorant, folks that think they are powerful, folks that think their birth circumstances places them above others.

    In Ephesians 1:3-4, we see that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. The idea is that we have been the beneficiary of God’s blessings from before the foundation of the world, when God chose Christ to be His Redeemer, and as a consequence we were chosen conceptually as the target group of believers who would be redeemed, then during our lifetime when we were placed in Christ we are covered with the grace granted those in Christ from all eternity, and so, at judgment we will be holy and blameless before Him because we are in Christ.

    In Colossians 3:12, we see advice given to folks who are alive and referred to as chosen of God, again consistent with being chosen during our lifetime.

    In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 we see God chose us for salvation by means of sanctification – being set apart for God, and faith in the truth. This is consistent with being chosen individually during our lifetime, after we put our trust in Christ.

    In 1 Timothy 5:21, we see angels referred to elect Angels because they are associated with Jesus. This establishes a possible pattern, entities associated with God’s Chosen One can be referred to as Elect as the consequence of the affiliation, such as being “in Christ.”

    In 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul tells us that when we are “in Christ” we share in the purpose and grace granted those “in Christ” from all eternity.

    In 2 Timothy 2:10, we have a very powerful verse in support of being chosen during our physical lifetime. Paul says, “For this reason [God’s work is not imprisoned] I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal life.” Paul is saying his work is for the sake of those who are chosen, or in other works for the sake of those God will choose. If they were already chosen, Paul’s work would not influence their salvation, it would be a done deal.

    In Titus 1:1, we see Paul indicated his work as an apostle of Jesus Christ is for the faith of those chosen of God, again allowing the idea that his work is preparatory to being chosen.

    In James 2:5, James teaches the same thing Paul teaches, that God chooses folks of faith, folks who do not value worldly treasures, who are the poor of this world, but rich in faith, folks who see their treasure in heaven, folks who are heirs to the kingdom which God promised to those who love him.

    In 1 Peter 1:2, we again have a very important verse in support of being chosen during our lifetime. Folks alive at the time, are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge, or in other words according to God’s planned method of selection, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit sets us apart when He spiritually baptizes us into Christ, to obey Jesus – once in Christ we have the power to obey Jesus, not perfectly but faithfully – and be sprinkled with His blood – we are justified in Christ – may grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure – referring to process sanctification in Christ. This verse tells us how we are chosen and it applies to those living and in need of justification.

    In 1 Peter 2:4, we see that when we are saved, newborns in Christ, we come to Christ, rejected by men but choice and precious in the sight of God. This is consistent with being altered by our conversion in Christ, such that in Christ no charge can be brought against us.

    In 1 Peter 2:6, we see that Christ was precious and choice when chosen. Amen.

    In 1 Peter 2:9-10, we see another power passage in support of being chosen during our lifetime. Verse 9 says that we are a chosen race, a people for God’s own possession, so we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, (verse 10) “for you once were not were not a people but now you are the people of God, you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy. This says that we were alive and not part of God’s chosen people, and then we received mercy and became part of God’s chosen people.

    In 2 John 1:1, 13, we see John refer to existent ladies as Elect, again consistent with being chosen during our lifetime.

    In Revelation 17:14, we see a nice summary verse of my Soteriology, those that are with the Lord are those who are the called and chosen and faithful. When we hear the gospel, we hear the call, when we receive or affirmatively respond to the gospel with all our heart, we are the called, and then when God accepts our faith as sufficient for His purpose and spiritually baptizes us into Christ we are the chosen, and during our spiritual baptism God converts us and protects our faith and gives us the Holy Spirit to help us walk humbly with our Lord, and therefore we are faithful.
     
    #1 Van, Jan 22, 2012
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  2. convicted1

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    release the hounds.........:eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
  3. OldRegular

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    The reformed, and I believe Biblical, view of Election is completely different from the Arminian view. I suspect you know this. If you don't then you need to educate yourself!

    You have any Scriptural basis saying that "God chose His Redeemer"?
     
  4. Amy.G

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. Amy.G

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    Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

    Matthew 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.


    Edit: I'm not saying I agree with Van, but just wanted to show that Christ is God's elect redeemer.
     
    #5 Amy.G, Jan 22, 2012
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  6. quantumfaith

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    You have no idea how MUCH I appreciate those three words. Thank you.
     
  7. OldRegular

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    Thanks Amy. G! I appreciate the reminder.

    The problem that I have with Van's use of the statement
    is it leaves open the idea that the three persons in the Godhead are not coequal. Perhaps I am reading too much into the statement but I would like to see Van's explanation.
     
  8. Mark_13

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    So evidently you think its a complete mystery to God what a person's "choice" will be until they make it. And if not, then God chooses to bring someone into existence knowing what their choice will be regarding Him. So he voluntarily chooses to create people knowing they will be eternally damned. Or possibly you think he doesn't control whether or not some individual comes into existence.

    And then what of people who have never heard the gospel. That situation into which they are born is completely outside of their control. (And for that matter, you can't decide to be born - how can you decide to be born again.) But maybe you don't think its absolutely necessary for someone to hear the gospel in order to be saved.

    The whole concept of "libertarian free will" which is what your doctrine is contingent on, can ultimately be viewed as an incoherent concept, because it means that a person's decisions arise from factors that cannot be explained. IOW, with determinism, (the opposite of libertarian free will) you can explain a person decisions based on factors external to them which we can observe. If a person's decisions cannot be explained in terms of deterministic factors, then their decisions are essentially random, i.e. free will equates to randomness.

    God says there is nothing in the universe that is random to him, so ultimately nothing is random at all. God says that the lot is cast (i.e. dice are thrown) but its every outcome is from him.

    You or someone else on the opposite from me needs to explain Romans 9:11-26. Is that not the definitive statement of the sovereignty of God. But that is not the only passage - they are all over the New Testament.

    Purely off the top of my head, in II Peter it talks about those born to be caught and destroyed.

    I often questioned the Salvation of those who argued against the Sovereignty of God as you are, in that it seemed to me an outright rebellion against the clear teaching of scripture. I don't think that way now, I don't think you're damned for opposing it.

    But the human will is not some sacrosanct exalted entity on par with God himself, which is what you are doing in exalting human choice as you are.

    But I think these discussions in general (pro and con regarding Calvinism, etc) are just a black hole. God's Sovereignty doesn't change what we are commanded to do in scripture as far as spreading the gospel and so forth, and those who are intractable on the subject of God's sovereignty are not going to be swayed.

    This is just all my off-the-cuff analysis, could have been stated better.
     
    #8 Mark_13, Jan 22, 2012
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  9. Mark_13

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    To Van:

    I didn't mean to completely dodge the issues you brought up in your post. Evidently you're saying that God doesn't even make a choice himself regarding if a person will be saved until that person is actually living and exhibits faith (Did I get that right). So evidently you're saying God is not even omniscient regarding his own choices he will make until he makes them.

    --------------
    I should have probably addressed you arguments one by one - will try to come back and do that
     
    #9 Mark_13, Jan 22, 2012
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  10. Mark_13

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    OTOH there are verses that do equate men to Gods, i.e. putting man's will on par with God. In a sense that is the only context in which it would seem justified to put a person in Hell for eternity, if in fact their will was a sacrosanct entity on par with God's will. So I'm flip-flopping here. In some sense the whole Soveriegnty issue is the most profound one there is. But as I say, arguments regarding it seem to be a black hole.
     
  11. Mark_13

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    Van [OP]:

    In Matthew 22:14, at the end of the parable of the Marriage Feast, where the King looked over those called to the dinner, and chose to reject someone not wearing appropriate clothing, the text reads “For many are called but few are chosen.” I think the idea is that some who came were unwilling to trust in Christ, to so to speak, put on His protective propitiation. But no matter what, clearly those chosen were called, teaching election occurs during our lifetime.

    "Many are called and few are chosen" -
    Would you agree that this principle is most aptly and succinctly illustrated in scripture by the parable of the Sower and the Seed. A sower is just randomly tossing seeds around and whether those seeds germinate and grow or not is all contingent on specific deterministic factors - was the soil deep enough, where there rocks present, did some birds come along steal the seeds. Now what in the parable correlates to the will of a human being. All the parable talks about are factors external to a human being - cares of this life, obstacles, malevolent entities, etc.

    In Matthew 24:22, we see that the Elect existed at the time they were referred to as the Elect, which is consistent with being chosen individually during their lifetime.

    Its also consistent with them NOT being chosen in their lifetime. So its a wash, so why list the verse. By listing this verse it implies somehow it supports your position which it doesn't. You have laden down your entire post with scores of these verse which are nuetral as to your claim (i.e. that we are not chosen until alive) with their shear volume evidently meant to imply the volumne of support in scripture for your idea - utterly disngenuous.

    In Matthew 24:24...

    (see my comment on Matt 24:22)

    In Matthew 24:31...

    (see my comment on Matt 24:22)

    In Mark...

    (see my comment on Matt 24:22)

    In Luke 18:7...

    (see my comment on Matt 24:22)


    In Romans 8:33 ...this verse precludes the elect being charged has having a nature of children of wrath, and requires election after we are conceived with a nature of children of wrath for we were just as the rest of mankind, Ephesians 2:1-3.

    Let's see if your interpretation is consistent with the preceding verses of Romans 8:

    (Rom 8:29-30 NASB) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    (Interestingly, he describes are FUTURE glory as if already occurred)

    In Romans 16:13...

    (see my comment on Matt 24:22)

    In 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, we see that God chose us out of this world, clearly teaching we were chosen individually after creation, during our lifetime. Also those chosen, not many wise, not many mighty, not many well born, were chosen to shame those who value worldly treasures, folks that think others are ignorant, folks that think they are powerful, folks that think their birth circumstances places them above others. [emphasis added]


    (1 Cor 1:27) but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

    (1 Cor 1:28) and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

    The passage does not say that foolish or weak individuals, i.e. human beings, were chosen. It says foolish things were chosen. Abstract things do not have a temporal existence. They are conceptual and timeless. This passage is characterizing the conceptual framework overriding the "choices" of God. It is not support for your argument that God chooses people for salvation only after they are alive (and spefically after the humans themselves make a choice which I think clearly is your implication.).

    Parenthetically, it is certainly true that the choice of God can become manifest at a point in time, but this does not indicate when the choice was made.

    Someone else can take up where I've left off - I have to watch the Giants/49'ers for now..
     
  12. OldRegular

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    Van

    Your continuing mantra that the "elect" are chosen during their lifetime is utter nonsense! I suspect you are posting such nonsense simply to be obnoxious!
     
  13. Mark_13

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    Van, in my previous post I criticized you for listing a bunch of verses that are neutral wrt your claim. You also were listing some verses that detracted from your claim, so maybe your intent was just to cover all the relevant passages. So just wanted to acknowledge that.
     
  14. Van

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    Hi Mark 13, thanks for actually responding to my position. Yes,I was demonstrating that all scriptural references are consistent, i.e. do not conflict with my view. Many could be understood either way, but none point away from my view.

    First, yes I do not believe "exhaustive determinism" as held by many Calvinists accurately reflects what the Bible teaches about reality. Jesus said something happened by chance. Certainly some things are predetermined and God causes them to happen just as He declared they would. The big idea is that scripture illustrates that people were called (to the wedding feast) but not all called were chosen, the guy with the wrong attire was tossed. Calvinism has God choosing then calling, which puts the cart before the horse.

    Please address my position as to what Romans 8:33 says about the timing of election.

    As far as Romans 8:29-30, this passage is also completely consistent with my view. When God developed His predetermined plan of Redemption, before the foundation of the world, He chose His Redeemer and therefore chose corporately all those His Redeemer would redeem. So who did God foreknow? Those who His Redeemer would redeem, i.e. anyone who loves God and trusts in Christ fits the target group of His redemption plan. Anyone in this target group, the redeemed, will be conformed to the image of Christ, because that is God predetermined plan and He brings about whatever He declares.

    Then during our lifetime He calls with the gospel and some put their trust in Christ. And those whose faith He credits as righteousness (Romans 4:4-5/24) He chooses and puts in Christ spiritually. Many are called but few are chosen. So Paul uses "called" to refer to "the called" or the "called out" rather than simply hearing and understanding the gospel call. But those He puts in Christ, He justifies and those He justifies He glorifies, which is not future but a done deal upon salvation. We are spiritually glorified in Christ, but in the future we will be physcially glorified also, but that is not in view here.

    Bottom line my view is completely consistent with all scripture including Romans 8:33 which is not consistent with the Calvinist view.

    If you think 1 Corinthians 1:20-30 is not referring to our election for salvation, you hold a minority view. Here is the HCSB version:

    20 Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?

    21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.

    22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom,

    23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.

    24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom,

    25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Boasting Only in the Lord

    26 Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.

    27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

    28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something,

    29 so that no one can boast in His presence.

    30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
     
  15. Aaron

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    Let's condense the OP. Noncalvinism: God elects a class of individual according to his merits. Calvinism: God unconditionally elects individuals according to His own will and sovereign choice.
     
  16. Mark_13

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    Just to continue where I left off in #11,

    Concerning 1 Cor 1:26-28, I pointed out that it was foolish and weak things that are chosen - the passage does not say people, it says things, in fact it says it repeatedly. Why, ask yourself, the repeated reference to things as opposed to people - wouldn't it indicate conceptual abstraction (as I indicated previously).

    But also look at the tense: "God has chosen the foolish things... has chosen the weak things..."

    This is the present perfect tense in English (and from the NASB so presumably something comparable in Greek).

    Here is the first description I encountered for the Present Perfect:

    "We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important" [just Google it, I'm sure you'll hit the same thing]


    Your whole argument is about time - God's supposed "choice" defnitely occurring only after a person is born, (and in reality after the person himself makes a choice, right?)

    Is that description of the present perfect tense consistent with what you are trying to claim?

    But moving on:

    [Van - OP:]"In Ephesians 1:3-4, we see that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. The idea is that we have been the beneficiary of God’s blessings from before the foundation of the world, when God chose Christ to be His Redeemer, and as a consequence we were chosen conceptually as the target group of believers who would be redeemed, then during our lifetime when we were placed in Christ we are covered with the grace granted those in Christ from all eternity, and so, at judgment we will be holy and blameless before Him because we are in Christ."

    So on the surface it would seem this passage is detracting from your point very markedly (so you are to be commended for your honesty in posting it), but you give your own spin on it - you say we were only chosen "conceptually". Its interesting you would identify abstract conception here, and not in I Cor 1:26-28 above, where as noted it repeatedly talks about conecptual "things" instead of people. Its just weird you would not notice it there, and in the very next passage you discuss (Ephesians 1:3-4) you invoke "conceptual" there when I don't believe its in evidence, especially in light of the very next verse (which somehow you apparently didn't read):


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

    So, does this strike you as "conceptual" only?


    [Van cont.] "In Colossians 3:12, we see advice given to folks who are alive and referred to as chosen of God, again consistent with being chosen during our lifetime."

    Same point as in Mat 24:22 I remarked on in my post #11 - neturality for your argument is also neutrality for the opposition, it doesn't support either side, so should be left out presumably. I will skip all further passages you note from the OP which are neutral like this - same principle holds.

    "In 2 Timothy 2:10, we have a very powerful verse in support of being chosen during our physical lifetime. Paul says, “For this reason [God’s work is not imprisoned] I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal life.” Paul is saying his work is for the sake of those who are chosen, or in other works for the sake of those God will choose. If they were already chosen, Paul’s work would not influence their salvation, it would be a done deal."

    You know I think most people would see the exact opposite as you. You just assert to us that where Paul says "those who are chosen" he really means those who will be chosen, and you say it has to mean that because otherwise Paul's work would be pointless. This must be the fundamental misconception held by you and others. You don't understand why Paul's work is necessary if people's salvation is a foregone conclusion. But it was also a foregone conclusion that Paul would be obedient. Just because an outcome is certain does not mean that that outcome is not contigent on precursors that must occur. If the outcome is certain then the precursors are certain as well. Is that really too difficult to understand? Your misunderstanding here is really the crux of everything.


    "In Titus 1:1, we see Paul indicated his work as an apostle of Jesus Christ is for the faith of those chosen of God, again allowing the idea that his work is preparatory to being chosen."

    Exact same inexplicable conclusion by you here as in 2 Timothy 2:10.


    "In James 2:5, James teaches the same thing Paul teaches, that God chooses folks of faith, folks who do not value worldly treasures, who are the poor of this world, but rich in faith, folks who see their treasure in heaven, folks who are heirs to the kingdom which God promised to those who love him."

    (James 2:5 NASB) Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

    This is probably your strongest argument thus far, but still a failure. So, there is a connection between being poor in the things of this world and salvation. What is that connection? Its just as it says in the parable of the Sower regarding riches and cares of this world causing unfruitfulness. It is why Jesus said regarding the Rich Young Ruler, it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. But the life situation of being poor is one that in that day and age extended over generations usually. It certainly had nothing to do with the person's own will, and it is a person's "will" which you yourself mentioned repeatedly in the OP as the crucial factor directing God's "choice" of that individual. So poorness or richness in that day and age was to a large extent a life status, not something you had a choice over.

    "In 1 Peter 1:2, we again have a very important verse in support of being chosen during our lifetime.

    I don't see that - at all.


    "In 1 Peter 2:9-10, we see another power passage in support of being chosen during our lifetime."


    (1 Pet 2:9-10 NASB) But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD'S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.


    This is talking about the Church, especially including the Gentiles. SHould it not be noted that the passage does not address an individual and say (for example) "You Epaphras, once you had not not recieved mercy, now you have recieved mercy..." Clearly, its talking about a corporate body, the Church, which is the true chosen people as opposed to the Jews. And the manifestion of the Church took place at a point in time, or after a certain time.
    There is no doubt that things play out in a chronology, even wrt individuals, where they hear the gospel or what have you, a change is manifest in their life and so on. But does that lend support to the idea that God somehow just when the person was saved, just then made a capricious decision or choice for them to be saved right then, or that it wasn't his choice at all, but really the person involved (which is clearly what you want to imply through your semantics.)

    "In Revelation 17:14..."

    (Rev 17:14 NASB) "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him called and chosen and faithful."

    This was a pretty good verse in support of your idea. So you ended on a strong note. Guess I can throw you that bone there. Maybe someone else can take a stab at it.
     
    #16 Mark_13, Jan 22, 2012
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  17. Iconoclast

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    :thumbs:
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  18. jbh28

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    Well, you know when Paul said before the foundation of the world, he really mean during our lifetime...:rolleyes:
     
  19. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
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    Well-Known Member

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    :laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  20. DHK

    DHK
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    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

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    Or, Let's not. :rolleyes:
     

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