Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Warnings to the Remnant According to the Election of Grace

Monday, May 7, 2018

Warnings to the Remnant According to the Election of Grace

Biblical Zionism
Warnings to the Remnant According to the Election of Grace
Romans 11:5 states “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”  The remnant of the “seed of Abraham” is “born again” Jews who have trusted in Jesus according to Romans 10:1-13.  Paul was part of this remnant.  The reminder of Romans 11:1-6 is that salvation is “by grace.”  This refers to the Abrahamic Covenant.  The importance of the reminder is that salvation is a gift of “grace through faith.”  Salvation by grace plus works of the Law is a contradiction in terminology.  Therefore, salvation “by grace through faith” is defined in Romans 11:1-6.  Also, the “remnant” is defined as people who have been saved solely “by grace through faith.”  If a person claims salvation by any other means than “by grace through faith,” such a person is not one of the “remnant.”  This is the primary warning of the text.  Just as national Israel drifted away from salvation “by grace through faith,” the Church is equally susceptible to such corruption. 

1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace {the Abrahamic Covenant}, then is it no more of works {the Mosaic Covenant}: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works {the Mosaic Covenant}, then is it no more grace {the Abrahamic Covenant}: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:1-6).

          “Hath God cast away his people?  God forbid.”  The answer “God forbid” is from the Greek phrase me (may) ginomai (ghin'-om-ahee).  Literally, the phrase means absolutely not caused to be!  The notion that such a proposition as God casting away his people is utterly preposterous.  The evidence as well contradicts such a proposition.  Paul, as one of the twelve Jewish Apostles, was a “Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5).  All twelve Jewish Apostles were the foundations of the new remnant that began the Church Age (Ephesians 2:20).  The “about three thousand souls” that were saved on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41) were all Jews.  According to Acts 4:4, another five-thousand Jews trusted Christ and were “born again.”  The number of Jews trusting Christ after His resurrection and after the Apostles explained the Gospel ballooned exponentially in the weeks and years following. 

4 Though I {Paul} might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith {faithfulness} of Christ, the righteousness which is {the gift} of God by faith(Philippians 3:4-9).

          Being “of the tribe of Benjamin” signifies that Paul was not from one of the ten unfaithful Northern tribes belonging to apostate Israel.  Secondly, the transition of Paul’s claim to the Abrahamic Covenant and the Seed “which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16) does not lay in his physical birth descendance from Abraham or in his Law-kind righteousness.  Paul’s claim to the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant lays in the same dynamic of Abraham’s entrance into the heavenly, eternal promises of that Covenant; “by grace through faith.”  Paul did not understand this prior to his understanding of the doctrine of Christ and his understanding of the Gospel in the Law.  Once Paul understood the doctrine of the Promised One/Messiah/Christ (Galatians 3:6-29), only then did he understand the Abrahamic Covenant.  He discovered the same discovery that Abraham “found” in his understanding of the doctrine of the Promised One/Messiah/Christ; salvation and the fulfillment of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant were “by grace through faith,” not “the works of the Law” (Mosaic covenant). Romans 4:1-16

1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness {before he was circumcised}. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it {justification} is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham {including Gentiles}; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be” (Romans 4:1-16).

          In Romans 11:1-6, Paul is now discussing in detail what he introduced in Romans 9:1-13.  Therefore, we must maintain the doctrinal and contextual continuity introduced in that portion of Scripture.

1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:1-13).

          Paul carries this same doctrinal continuity into the beginnings of Romans chapter ten before expanding in detail upon the faith response that defines obeying the Gospel (Romans 10:16). 

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:1-4).

          This is the contextual continuity that introduces Romans chapter eleven as Paul begins to define the reality of the Abrahamic Covenant in detail as including all nations “by grace through faith” in the “Seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).  

Therefore, these three chapters of Scripture (Romans nine, ten, and eleven) unequivocally refute the theological misnomers and aberrations of Covenant Theology and the Eschatology, Ecclesiology, and Soteriology of Reformed Theology.  God has not “cast away Israel.”  God has not replaced the nation of Israel with the Church.  We are not presently in the Kingdom Age.  God’s plan and program for the Kingdom is not Theonomic Reconstructionism.  God does not have a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Grace.  Election is vocational, not salvational.  All these corruptions of truth are presuppositions imposed upon the Scriptures without ANY exegetical foundations whatsoever.  

Paul details election being vocational, not salvational in Ephesians chapters one and two.  Election is corporate and vocational; i.e., corporate as it relates to the Church as a whole “in Christ” and vocational as it relates to the Priesthood of all believers in our new High Priest “after the order of Melchizedek . . . in Christ” both individually as individual priests and corporately as a new Melchizedekian Priesthood “in Christ.”  

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14-22).

          As we read Ephesians chapter two, we must see it from the contextual continuity of Ephesians chapter one.  The believer’s election is vocational (Ephesians 4:1) “in” Christ as a new priesthood and corporate as “the church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23 and Colossians 1:18).  Therefore, there is a warning involved in the revelation of the believer’s vocational obligations in the priesthood of all believers.  Every believer is accountable for allowing Christ, the believer’s High Priest, to live through them.  This spiritual dynamic defines the obligation of the word “saints” in Ephesians 1:1. Those obligations are defined in detail through to the end of the epistle to the Ephesians.  

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 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: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times {the New Genesis} he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:1-14).

          The whole doctrine of election is found “in Christ,” meaning in the “born again” children of God who are now priests of “the regeneration.”  Jesus Christ, the God/man, is the foundation of the doctrine of election in that He is the “firstborn” into “the regeneration” by His resurrection and glorification.  This is the theological extension of Jesus’ propitiation of God’s wrath and the justification of sinners “by grace through faith.”  Every “born again” New Covenant believer is spiritually birthed into a new priesthood of this New Genesis “in Christ” and is corporately and vocationally elected to that new priesthood of the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23).  There are vocational obligations to this election. 

This election extends beyond the means (“by grace”) and the method (“through faith”).  All aspects of Christ’s redemptive work opened a “door” of salvation into “the regeneration” (New Genesis) “in Christ.”  Being removed from the condemned Adamic creation is not the end of the New Covenant “in Christ.” This is merely the beginning of “our so great salvation.”  Being “born again” is a removal from one existence (the “darkness” of the Adamic curse) and an entrance into a new existence (the “light” of the New Genesis).  Throughout the Ages, Jesus (the Promised One) has been the promised “door” into the New Genesis.  All Church Age believers are the “firstborn” into this New Genesis “in Christ.”  John 10:1-16

1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice {the truly redeemed of the Old Covenant}: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold {not Jews}: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd {in ‘the regeneration’}” (John 10:1-16).

          John 10:1-6 is a critical text to understanding the doctrine of election.  It cannot be understood apart from its historical context.  Here, the historical context is critical to accurate exegesis.  The text lies within a period of historical transitioning from the Dispensation of Law to the Dispensation of Grace.  The text is saying almost the same thing that the Apostle Paul says in Romans 9:6-8.  Those of the “sheepfold” are those trusting in the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant. 

6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Romans 9:6-8).

At the time of Christ’s arrival upon the scene of history and the beginning of His ministry at the age of thirty years old, the nation had been led into apostasy by the apostate priesthood of Israel (the “Scribes and Pharisees,” Matthew 23:13-32).  Yet, there were many individuals within the nation of Israel that were saved “by grace through faith.”  In other words, they had entered the Abrahamic Covenant through faith provided by the grace of God.  The Abrahamic Covenant was made between the Father and His preincarnate Son.  These Old Covenant believers are the group that Christ refers to as the “sheepfold,” referring to spiritual Israel or “the regeneration” (those trusting in the Promised One’s promise of the propitiation of God; Romans 9:8 and Galatians 3:6-16; although only positionally regenerated and justified at this point in history).  

          There were also lost Jews within the nation of Israel that thought they were within the “sheepfold” due to their genealogical connection to Abraham (Romans 9:7).  However, they entered “not by the door {the promise in the Abrahamic Covenant through faith in Christ} into the sheepfold.”  In other words, they were not part of “the regeneration” or the “sheepfold.”
          We tend to see the “sheepfold” through the eyes of modern examples.  We think of a “sheepfold” as an area surrounded by a fenced area separated by some distance from the shepherd’s living quarters.  The word “sheepfold” at the time of Christ referred to the courtyard surrounded by a wall and often directly connected to the living quarters.  This is where the sheep were brought for the night.  This would parallel what Christ refers to in John chapter fourteen.  The “sheepfold” does not refer to national Israel.  The “sheepfold” refers to spiritual Israel (i.e., saved Jews who trusted in the Promise offered in the Abrahamic Covenant).  These believers in the Promise were positionally regenerated “by grace through faith” in the Promised One. 

          The “shepherd” would need to enter the “sheepfold” (“the regeneration”) in the same way as the sheep.  He would need to die, be resurrected, and be glorified to become the New Federal Head of “the regeneration” (the New Genesis).  Therefore, His death, burial, resurrection and, glorification made Him the “firstborn” from the dead into “the regeneration.”  Since Jesus was without sin, His death was vicariously offered to propitiate God’s wrath upon sin, opening the “door” to “whosoever will” to enter “the regeneration” “by grace through faith” in Christ’s “finished” work of redemption and reconciliation.  Therefore, Christ becomes both the Shepherd and the “door” into the “sheepfold” (“the regeneration”). 

          Christ is the “firstborn” of “the regeneration.”  God’s foreknowledge regarding election is the foreknowledge of all those throughout the Ages that would trust in the Promised One of Genesis 3:15 Who would crush the “head” (Federal Headship) of Satan taken from Adam through Eve’s deception.  These are the “other sheep” referred to in John 10:16. There were saved non-Jews prior to the Abrahamic Covenant and the establishment of the nation of Israel and there would be saved Gentiles in the Church Age that would be “born again” into “the regeneration.”  These Church Age believers (saved Jews and saved Gentiles will be the new Priesthood of Israel during the Kingdom Age.  Church Age believers will be the “kings” Jesus will be “King” of and they will be the “lords” Jesus will be “Lord” of (Revelation 17:14).  They will rule with Jesus over the restored Kingdom of Israel (a one world Theonomy) in glorified bodies (Revelation 2:27; 3:21).

4 To whom {Jesus Christ} coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also {Church Age believers}, 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 {Jesus Christ}, 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 Aaronic Priesthood of National Israel}, 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 {Church Age believers} are a chosen generation {an elect genesis}, 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” (I Peter 2:4-10).

          The fact of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and glorification is the “corner” stone of “the regeneration.”  Apart from this living “corner stone,” the edifice of a living Temple of “lively stones” to the glory of God could not be constructed.  The reference to Christ as the Elect “living stone” and to all believers “as lively stones” is to the Temple that God has created to His glory, first in “the Church” (i.e., “body” of Christ) and, ultimately in “the regeneration” (i.e., “new creation”).  This Temple will be the corporate unification of all believers into a living organism of eternal worship and praise to God. 

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven {glorification}: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (II Corinthians 5:1-5).

          J. B. Lightfoot addresses this in his Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul regarding Ephesians 1:4 (Page 312) as quoted in Robert Shank’s book; Elect in the Son[1]:

en Christo] i.e. ‘by virtue of our incorporation in, our union with, Christ.’  As God seated us in heaven ‘in Christ’ (ii. 6), so also His blessings upon us there in Him.

en auto] i.e. en Christo.  In God’s eternal purpose the believers are contemplated as existing in Christ, as the Head, the Summary, of the race.  The ekloge [the election] has no separate existence independently of the eklektos (Luke ix.35, xxiii.35) [the chosen One, Christ].  The election of Christ involves implicitly the election of the Church.”[2] 

          Lightfoot’s statement “the election of Christ involves implicitly the election of the Church” is a clear representation of the central idea communicated in Ephesians 1:3-14.  Election is vocational and corporate.  The words “chosen us in Him” clearly refers to the corporate entity of the Church as a unity.  This union is of all believers “in Christ” and is what the context of the whole epistle to the Ephesians is about.
          John Peter Lange in his Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Ephesians says:

“ . . . ‘us’ should be taken in its wider meaning . . . and should not be limited to the Apostle . . . nor to the Jewish Christians, but applies to His people, all men, who have become or will become Christians”[3]

          Lange makes a similar comment regarding Romans 8:28-30 in his Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Romans:

“ . . . Christ is the elect in God’s real kingdom in the absolute sense, so that all His followers are chosen with Him as organic members, according to their organic relations (Eph.i).”[4]

          Dr. M. G. Cambron in his book The New Testament, A Book-by-Book Survey (pages 201, 203) states:

“The words chosen and election have to do with the purpose of God in service.  Israel was that chosen nation which God used to preach the Kingdom of God to the world.  The Church is that nation through whom God is now preaching the Kingdom of God.  The only requisite to become the called of God is faith.”

          This corporate entity called the Church and the “body” of Christ is the “tabernacle, not made with hands” referred to in Hebrews 9:11.  It is also to what is being referred in Colossians 1:18 (Christ, the “head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”) and Hebrews 12:23 (the “general assembly and church of the firstborn”). 

8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all {the heavenly Holy of holies and the Throne of grace} was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle {Old Covenant Temple} was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:8-15).

10 For it became him {Jesus Christ}, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:10-16).

          Election in Christ is clearly the emphasis of Ephesians 1:1-14 as shown by the phrases “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 and 10), “chosen us in him” (Ephesians 1:4), “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), “purposed in himself” (Ephesians 1:9) and, “in whom” (Ephesians 1:11 and 13).  The question we must ask and answer to understand this text’s teaching on election is, what does the phrase “in Christ” mean as it relates to what God is saying about election?  Of course, the answer is to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture (Sola Scriptura).  There are many Scriptures that use the phrase “in Christ.”  For brevity, I will refer only to the most definitive of these texts.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many” (I Corinthians 12:12-14).

          The “one body” into which all believers are “baptized” “by” the “Spirit” is the body of Christ.  The body of Christ refers initially to the “church of the firstborn,” but ultimately to “the regeneration” under the new Federal Headship of Jesus Christ.  This becomes apparent as we look at the use of the phrase “in Christ” inductively throughout its New Testament usage.  This will also define the doctrine of election “in Christ” as referred to in Ephesians 1:3-14. 

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:12-28).

          As we saw earlier in John chapter ten, Christ is both the Shepherd of the sheep and the “door” into the “Sheepfold.”  The “porter” in that text (John 10:3) is the Person of the Holy Spirit.  People are “born again” into the “Sheepfold.”  The “Sheepfold” is “the regeneration” (“in Christ” equals “new creature;” literally “new creation,” II Corinthians 5:17 below).  The fact that Christ is “risen from the dead” and glorified is critical to His transition into “the regeneration.”  He opens the “door” into “the regeneration” for “whosoever will” by His universal propitiation (I John 2:2) of God’s wrath (condemnation).  He passes into “the regeneration” as its Federal Head in His resurrection and glorification.  Christ’s act of the propitiation of God’s wrath through His substitutionary death leaves the “door” into “the regeneration” opened to anyone willing to believe the objective facts of the Gospel and confess Jesus as Lord calling on Him to save/rescue him from the fallen creation and its condemnation (Romans 10:9-13).  This is the meaning of Christ being the “door” into the “Sheepfold.”  He as well leads His “sheep,” through His glorification and ascension to the Father, into the “Sheepfold” (Ephesians 4:8) “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:16-21).

          The fact that believers are baptized into the “body” of Christ at the moment of their salvation is an evident reality.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17 above).  Being “in Christ” means that believer has become, by a divine act of regeneration, “a new creature.”  The “old things” (all aspects of the believer’s old life in the fallen creation and “in Adam”) have “passed away” positionally once the believer is baptized “in Christ.”  God has chosen (elected) the Shepherd (Christ) and the “Sheepfold” (“the regeneration” or “new creation”).  Anyone can become part of that Election by entering the “Sheepfold” through the “door” of faith in Christ (the Shepherd).  

26 For ye are all {Jews and Gentiles alike} the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus {see Eph. 4:1-6}. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed {see Gal. 3:16}, and heirs {see Eph. 1:11, 14, 18 and I Peter 1:4} according to the promise {i.e., Abrahamic Covenant}” (Galatians 3:26-29).

    “In Christ” “neither circumcision” (being a Jew) has any merit, “nor uncircumcision” (being a Gentile) has any merit.  The only thing that matters, or has any merit, is to become “a new creature” (i.e., one of “the regeneration”).  A place in, and being made part of, “the regeneration” is the believer’s “inheritance.”  Regenerated believers are Christ’s “inheritance” in “the regeneration.”  This “mighty power” of regeneration was “wrought in Christ, when he {God} raised him from the dead.”  {See Ephesians 1:15-23 below.)  Election is “in Christ.” 

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-23).

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:6-22).

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

          Isaiah 49:1-12 certainly reveals that Christ is the prophesied Deliverer.  However, the emphasis of deliverance is often focused more on what the sinner is delivered from rather than where/what the believer is delivered to.  What the sinner is delivered from is really secondary to what the believer is delivered to.  The sinner is delivered from God’s wrath in His condemnation of the first creation and the Adamic race.  The believer is delivered into God’s grace (Romans 5:2) and the unfolding of “the regeneration” Eschatologically.  

          It is critical to see that Isaiah chapter forty-nine is Messianic in its scope of revelation.  This text is not referring to Isaiah or Israel.  It is referring to the Promised One fulfilled in the incarnation of God in man in Christ Jesus.

1 Listen, O isles, unto me {the Son of God}; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me {Messiah} from the womb {of creation; Rev. 13:8}; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me {the mystery of Christ and “the regeneration”}, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; 3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified {revealed in all of His majestic attributes}. 4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God {propitiation}. 5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth {whosoever}. 7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. 8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation {Gal. 4:4} have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted” (Isaiah 49:1-12).

          Isaiah 49:9-12 literates the idea of John 10: 1-16 in the restoration of the nation of Israel during the Kingdom Age and the Church Age saints as the “other sheep have I” of John 10:16.  The Kingdom Age is only a partial fulfillment of Isaiah 49:9-12.  This prophecy is not completely fulfilled until the creation of the New Heaven/Earth and the final phase of “the regeneration.”  

“Unlike Calvin’s thesis that particular men are unconditionally elect from eternity and other particular men are unconditionally reprobate, the thesis that election to salvation is corporate and comprehends individuals only in identification and association with the elect body does not require for its defense ingenious interpretations of simple, explicit categorical statements of Scripture.” [5]

[1] Robert Shank, Elect in the Son, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minn., page 43
[2] J.B. Lightfoot, Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul, page 312
[3] John Peter Lange, Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Ephesians, page 28 as quoted by Robert Shank in Elect in the Son, page 45
[4] Ibid
[5] Robert Shank, Elect In The Son; Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minn., page 48

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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