Etikettarkiv | by nature

God will judge us based on our faith and KNOWLEDGE

calvinism 13

I believe that we all have a chance to be saved, including those who have never had a chance to hear about Jesus Christ – like the oft-mentioned jungle people. The Bible teaches us that we will be judged based on what we know, and also IF we are striving to get more knowledge about our Creator, his mighty deeds and his eternal power. We are encouraged to believe the truth (and to DO the truth) and to come to the light.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

We are not able to choose between believe or believe not unless we have reached a certain mature age, which means that babies and small children are not able to make such a decision. Babies (whether born or unborn), are not able to lose their souls because they are not aware of the law and they have no ability to sin. Hell is for unrepentant sinners, and not for innocent blood.

Deut. 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

Rom. 9:11 (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;)

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Those who lived during the old testament were not able to believe in a person who had not appeared in the flesh yet (Jesus Christ), but they were of course able to believe in GOD (which Jesus Christ also is) and to get to know his will. In the old testament it was faith in God and living holy lives which could save a person, and just like in the new testament, people were able to REPENT and be restored back to life again. God is merciful!

Is. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,—7 And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;8 He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.—18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.—20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.—26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Isaiah continues on the same note a few chapters later:

Is. 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. —8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.—10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.-–31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.

Our conscience bears witness of what is in our hearts, and we will be judged accordinglyproverbs

Paul warns us about ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, but in order to act in a wicked way we must first be old enough to be aware of the law and choosing to be disobedient (despite that we could have chosen to be obedient). We will be judged according to our choices and actions, but babies are not able to make any choices whether good or bad. If we repent for our sins, ALL our transgressions will be forgiven and we are completely cleansed!

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:—28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;—:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It’s possible to by nature DO the things in the law, even if we do not have the law. This is revealed by the law written in our hearts, and what our conscience and thoughts reveal about us.

Romans 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another😉

We will be judged based on what we know, what we don’t know, and our willingness to get to know God and his ways. If we are blessed with lots of knowledge and abilities, much is also required from us.

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, NEITHER DID ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, shall be beaten with many stripes.48 But he that KNEW NOT, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

If we are able to see mighty works of God, God expects more from us.

Matt. 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

The parable about the servants who were given different amounts of talents. It shows us that we might start out in a way that might not seem equal, but we will be judged based on what we do with what we have. Our permanent life is not spent on this planet, but in the afterlife.

Matt. 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

You would have no sin if…

John. 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 

Not everyone is doing the will of God

John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

1 John. 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 Cor. 7:6 But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin,[b] does well. 38 So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better. (NKJV)

Matt. 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Do we seek knowledge or do we refuse to fear the Lord?

Prov. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.—22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Prov. 2:5 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

It’s a choice to be CHILDREN OF WRATH – Ephesians 2

Children of wrath and God’s election in Ephesians 2

There are some who believe that God randomly selects people to be saved and ignore the rest, and they try to use Ephesians 1-2 as support for this theory. The truth is that God wants ALL people to be saved because he IS a merciful God and he wants us to take after HIM when it comes to showing mercy. (We shouldn’t strive to be merciful to SOME and ignore the majority.)

2 Peter 3:The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

In Ephesians we can read about a corporate election, and the body of Christ IS indeed chosen to inherit his kingdom. I believe God decided before the world began that true believers shall inherit his kingdom, but the question is if we as individuals would like to join the body of Christ (the Church) or not. IF we so choose, the wonderful promises are also tied to us. ”Elect” is about value and can mean precious, and we are indeed precious if we choose to believe in our Savior and live holy and separate. The book of Ephesians concerns what BELIEVERS can look forward to in the future. Pay attention to how many times IN him, THROUGH him, etc, are mentioned in Ephesians 1-2. Being IN HIM is the condition for being one of the elect! Also pay attention to the warnings addressed to christians. Paulus starts out his letter by addressing FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS who therefore are HOLY and very special (elect):

Ephesians 1

When Paul talks about US he refers to both jews and gentiles who believe in Jesus ChristPaul puts a lot of emphasis on trying to get the jews to understand that they are not on the way to heaven just because they are born jews and are his chosen people. It’s through JESUS that we can be saved. It’s through his blood because only his precious blood can cleanse our sins. What God had decided from eternity past is NOT which individuals to provide faith and eventually save, but rather that whoever is IN HIM (”us” v. 4) are ELECT, and chosen to be holy and blameless before God thanks to the blood of Jesus! The condition is therefore that we must be IN HIM in order to reach the state where we have all the mentioned wonderful promises tied to us.  What is foreknown is that those who are IN HIM will through Jesus Christ be taken up as his holy children. Those who are not IN HIM are not forgiven for their sins and redeemed in his blood, resulting in that they are lost. We as believers have redemption through his blood, and that means we are on the safe side. We are therefore adopted as children and can expect an inheritance, but only as long as we’re not getting off the transportation going to heaven. (Let’s not forget that a son can be disinherited though.) Who is Paul addressing when he mentions all the wonderful promises? The saints. To the faithful in Jesus Christ. No one forced them to be saints and faithful, but they chose to be this by themselves. As such, the wonderful promises that Paul talks about, are theirs, provided of course that they continue on that path.

Eph. 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, TO THE SAINTS which are at Ephesus, and TO THE FAITFFUL in Christ Jesus

V. 5 below uses the word ”adoption” but this word didn’t mean exactly the same thing 2000 years ago as it does today in our modern world. The Greek word ”huiothesia” refers to the standing of someone who is ALREADY a son and Adoption is thus the inheritance or promise that the son can expect to receive as an heir. Huiothesia is not the same as salvation but it is the promise of God received by those who are believers in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:22-27).  The body of Christ is predestined to God’s kingdom and to receive the inheritance, and the question remains who would like to join and who will remain to the end. The body of Christ is heading there, but are YOU? Join the body-of-Christ-bus, but stay on the bus to the end station!

Eph. 1: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.7 IN WHOM we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace

The Holy Spirit is like a  deposit for us christians (and all the spiritual gifts will one day pass away when we enter God’s kingdom), but just like in all legal contracts our particular ”contract” with God can be broken (just like the old covenant was broken) if either of the party doesn’t follow the agreement. If you take a loan to buy a car and stop paying for this loan, the car will be seized despite that it was once in your possession. It’s also beneficial to keep your ”guarantee receipt” because it entitles you (if it hasn’t expired) to certain rights, but if you throw it away or if you lose it, then it won’t do you much good despite all the promises that are listed on it.

Having the Holy Spirit is often likened with being ”sealed”. This doesn’t mean anything unbreakable as shown here, but it means that we are ”marked” as very special and holy people who can expect a great inheritance. (As long as we remain in Christ of course.) We are separate from all others who do not have this seal, due to their refusal to repent and believe. The sealing occurs AFTER that we believe, and we can read in Acts 5:32 that the Holy Spirit is given to all those who OBEY him, so belief and obedience must come before we get the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that OBEY him.

We can also read that God works all things after the counsel of his own will. Does this will exclude the possibility that he might want to place conditions for salvation on us? No of course not, because God can do anything he wants and it’s clear that he require US to repent, believe and show good fruit. He is not going to do this for us. The mystery of his will is that he will one day gather all believers together and give them the inheritance – those who are IN CHRIST! And we can read that TRUST plays an important role in order to be one of the elect. God is not ”trusting” for us. WE are supposed to trust in him and we can read that Paul says that trust comes AFTER hearing about the gospel of our salvation.

Eph. 1: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 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.

Paul prayed a lot for the Ephesians, indicating that we can absolutely change the outcome of things with our prayers, and in this case Paul prayed for wisdom. Our prayers can influence others to be enlightened and to know what the HOPE is for God’s calling. We can read once again that it’s the SAINTS who get the benefit of the inheritance. We can also read that the CHURCH, which is the body of Christ will ultimately and once for all be under his feet. This is what the beginning of Ephesians is all about. HIS CHURCH – THE BODY OF CHRIST, consisting of BELIEVING SAINTS.

Eph. 1:16 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 2

Ephesians 2 starts with Paul telling us that God has quickened us who were dead in trespasses and sins. I can only say that it’s a very bad choice to  be dead in trespasses and sins! When are we spiritually DEAD according to the Bible? That is when we SIN because this separates us from our holy God.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Luke 15:(The prodigal son) 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.—32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was DEAD, and is alive AGAIN; and was LOST, and is found.

Nowhere in the Bible does it suggest that spiritually ”dead” people cannot make any good moral decisions or that they are unable to seek God. And nowhere does it say that we are totally depraved (words not even in the Bible), BORN as children of wrath or born with a sinful nature. On the contrary, even evil unbelievers can do much good, as can be seen here. How then do we become quickened/alive from the predicament that our sin has brought us into? We must of course REPENT for our sins and let the blood of Jesus cleanse us so that we can be born again and become righteous! Then we are no longer dead since we are alive in Christ and new persons. He removed all traces of sins on our account and we have left the old man behind. Paul explains that the Ephesians in time PAST walked in sin, but he doesn’t expect them to continue like that. Also note that in order to commit the sins that Paul lists, you must at least be an ADULT first. Babies are not aware of the law and they are unable to:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • be disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

So don’t get confused about the expression ”children of wrath” because the description fits only grown ups , and we can be labelled either children of God or children of Satan depending on our life styles. We can also read that the ”children of wrath” are also called  ”children of disobedience” so it’s clear that in order to fit the bill you must be able to DISOBEY – something that babies cannot do. Does God want people to disobey him? Clearly not! Evidently Eph. 2 doesn’t suggest we are BORN as children of wrath, but it provides details for how we can BECOME children of wrath by the way we live. Even the Ephesians WERE dead due to their choice to sin, but thanks to the blood of Jesus, and through their own repentance of their sins, they were restored. Paul says ”hath raised us up together”, but that is a picture of our future with Christ, because he continues the sentence with ”in the ages to COME”. We haven’t been elevated yet.

Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of DISOBEDIENCEAmong whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we WERE dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

And don’t get confused just because it says ”by nature”, because 1) it still doesn’t indicate we are BORN that way, 2) we can see below in Rom 2:14 that people can by nature do the things contained in the law, and 3) those who by nature are the children of wrath are those who have made a habit out of sinning and hardened their hearts. (Read more in Romans 1 about how certain men hardened their hearts to the extent that God eventually gave them over to a reprobate mind.) A diligent alcoholic might feel that it’s totally natural for him to get drunk once in a while, and in combination with a refusal to repent his habits might turn him over to become a child of wrath/disobedience. 

Rom. 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Eph 2:8-9

Now we have arrived to the famous verses which are likely the most cited verses in the entire Bible. These couple of verses are often used as an attempt to show that we can be saved even if we don’t show any fruit, and even if we SIN. That’s not what the verses are saying though.The gift of God in these sentences is NOT ”faith” but that we can be saved. You can read more why the Greek original text makes this clear here. We are either saved by the law OR by grace, and most of us can agree on that we haven’t chosen to obey the law to 100% so the only other option is GRACE (God’s mercy). To suddenly start to make good deeds will never cover for our PAST sins. It’s thanks to the blood of Jesus that we can be cleansed and saved. So does Eph. 2:8-9 suggest that it’s no longer damaging for our souls if we would sin and/or not provide any work? NO! It does not say that! It only informs us that salvation is by grace through FAITH. Nothing we do or believe can ever MERIT salvation, but there are still conditions. We must repent for our sins and believe. Breaking the moral law (the ten commandments) are just as important today as it was during the time of Moses, and as it was during the time of Cain and Abel. Sins always separate us from God whether we live in the old or new testament. Faith without works is dead, and works without faith is also dead.

Eph. 2:For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: IT is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Verse 10 is not nearly as popular and it’s rarely cited. This verse tells us that we are supposed to WALK unto good works.  Do you believe that God will accept us the way we are even if we would NOT walk with him and show good works? Hardly!  So this is a warning towards christians. Neither will God do the walking for us, because WE are created to do the walking. However, we can do nothing without Jesus so we have to be IN HIM. 

Eph. 2:10 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 hands12 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.

Paul continues to talk about the good news and what we can accomplish THROUGH Jesus, whether we are jews or gentiles – as long as we are believers. We are united together in one body through the power of the cross. Once again, Ephesians is about the Church and the body of Christ as in God’s family. Are you in or are you out? You decide and you know the conditions.

Eph. 2:14 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.

Keep the parable in Matthew 22 in mind where we can read ”many are called but few are chosen”. The ”chosen” ones are those who freely accepted to go to the party, and who also went.  As opposed to others who were on the guest list and expected to come by the King himself, but who still declined to go. We can place ourselves among the chosen elect if we choose GOD and show it by our actions.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Only in union with Christ do we become members of the elect, and God purposed from the creation of the world to form a people through Christ’s redemptive death on the cross. So election is grounded in Christ’s sacrificial death to save us from our sins (and we are only cleansed upon repentance), and election in Christ is primarily corporate (an election of a people). Therefore, election includes individual persons only as they associate themselves with the body of Christ, and there was a similar story for Israel, and those who identified themselves as the children of Abraham by having faith (leading to obedience) just like Abraham. The election to salvation and holiness of the body of Christ is always certain, but the certainty of election for individuals remains conditional on their personal living faith in Jesus Christ and perseverance in union with Him. God’s eternal purpose for the church is that we should be holy and without blame before him, and this refers both to forgiveness of sins and to the church’s purity as the bride of Christ. Fulfillment of this purpose for the corporate church is certain, but the fulfillment of this purpose for individuals is conditional. Christ will ”present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight: IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel”. 

At the point of faith, the believer is incorporated into Christ’s elect body by the Holy Spirit and thereby becoming one of the elect. Predestination concerns what will happen to God’s people (all genuine believers in Christ). So the church (of christians) is chosen by God to be his very own vessel, and all who desire to be a part of this elect vessel can do so through a living faith in Christ. As long as they are on the vessel they are among the elect, but if they choose to abandon the vessel, they cease to be part of the elect. because election is always only in union with the captain and his ship. Predestination tells us about the ship’s destination and what God has prepared for those remaining on it. God invites everyone to come aboard the elect ship through faith in Jesus Christ.

See also this article from Jarom.net about the uses for the word ”elect” (eklektos) in the NT (so not the Greek words eklegé, eklegó as per above), where it’s shown to have a meaning of quality, or being precious. If we have chosen to remain IN CHRIST, we are truly precious and of good quality. We are God’s holy and unique people