I have found that the truth always motivates people to holiness, to turn loose of the world and run after God; but a lie always makes people comfortable where they are, and there are a lot of lies out there. Anyone who has come out of a mainline denomination probably has been fed the lie of "unconditional eternal security".
A while back, during a meeting with two preachers from a mainline denomination, I learned that they had gotten a revelation of election, and though their denomination doesn't generally accept election, these two had seen that the elect were going to be in the kingdom. This led them to use the predestination of the elect as just another tool to teach "once saved, always saved". I pointed out to them that, "You're leaving out half of the equation here. You're talking about the elect, but you're not talking about the called".
Being saved is not the same as being called
Their theory about the called was that the world is called to come to Christ, and they either choose to come or choose not to come. However, I pointed out that all of the called in the New Testament were covenant people. I have looked at every occurrence of the word "called" in the New Testament and not one is talking about inviting the lost to come to Jesus; there's not a single case in the New Testament where the lost Gentiles are called to come to Christ and they say, "No". That's because calling starts when a person is saved, as is made clear in 2 Timothy 1:9, "who saved us, and called us with a holy calling". A person has to be saved before they can be called.
The word "called" in Greek is kaleo and it means "to be invited". So now the question becomes: invited to do what? In Hosea 11:1 we read, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt". Being called out of Egypt means they were being invited to forsake the world and to sacrifice to God in the wilderness, which is what we have been invited to do.
When the Israelites first came out of Egypt, they passed through the Red Sea, in type being baptized unto salvation in the cloud and in the sea. They had already partaken of the Lamb and the death angel had passed over them. Only then did they pass through the sea, where they were baptized in the water, baptized in the Spirit, and proceed into the wilderness. All of these people were saved ("I ... called my son out of Egypt") and all of these people were called, but almost none of them made it through the wilderness to the promised land.
We, too, are called to partake of Christ in our wilderness. In the wilderness, a person makes choices about whether they are going to believe in the Lord and His Word, or whether they are going to walk by sight, walk by fear, listen to the devil and crawl and stumble.
Example after example can be found in the New Testament proving only the saved are called. There is Hebrews 3:1 which reads, "holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling". In other words, we're the ones who are receiving the invitation to partake of Jesus and come out of Egypt. If we look at 1 Timothy 6:11 we find, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things;" (referring primarily to materialism here) "and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal".
People misunderstand and ask, "I already have eternal life, so why do I have to lay hold of eternal life?" They don't realize that while a person has eternal life by faith and eternal life in Jesus Christ, that their eternal life must be manifested by having Christ in them. The Scripture continues, "lay hold on life eternal, whereunto thou wast called". We've been called to partake of eternal life, and eternal life is righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness; in other words, Jesus Christ.
We read in 1 John 5:11 "that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son". There are people who think, "Well, God made for me me this gift of eternal life". But Galatians 3:16 says of the promise, "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ". The promise wasn't given to us; the promise was given to Jesus Christ, which brings us to 1 John 5:11. "And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son". God didn't give us anything outside of Jesus Christ. The life that God gave us is in Jesus Christ.
Bearing fruit by abiding in Christ
Since we are called to be in Jesus Christ, how are we to do that? Jesus says in John 15:1-6, "if you abide in Me, you bear fruit. If you bear fruit, My Father Who is the husbandman won't pluck you up and throw you in the fire". In 1 John 2:5,6 we are told what it is to abide in Christ. John mentions this multiple times and the sequence is interesting. Verse 5 says, "but whoso keepeth his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him: (6) he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked". Therefore, abiding in Christ is to learn to walk as he walked.
A person may say, "Well, David, in some ways I'm walking as He walked, in some ways I'm not". The truth is that a person is abiding in Christ only to the extent that they are walking as Christ walked. Where a person is not walking as Christ walked, that person is not abiding in Christ.
The flesh does not want to walk in Him; the flesh is the enemy of God. When a person walks after their flesh, since flesh is not subject to the laws of God, that person is not walking as He walked. But a person's spiritual man walks as He walked, and his spiritual man is growing. While the outer man is decaying, the inner man is being renewed, and this spiritual man is learning to walk as he walked.
Another verse that is growing in importance as we draw towards the end times is found in 1 John 2:24: "If that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father". In other words, God told the disciples, who also were learning to walk in Him, "You go make disciples and you teach them to observe everything that I have told you". Please understand that it's not just any doctrine a person wants to believe, it's the doctrine that was heard from the beginning: no adding to it, no taking away from it. Those who add or subtract come under the curses He pronounced.
Gaining the doctrine enables a person to walk in the power, because the power comes from faith in the doctrine. A person must be convinced that what Jesus gave those first apostles is what they passed down to the next disciples and on down to us. The mainline preachers, whom I mentioned earlier, were very surprised that I believed elders could lay hands on the sick and they would recover, because that wasn't their experience. My answer to them was, "Well, that's because you don't have elders. Elders are apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists". Those two thought that they were assistants to the pastor, not ordained people who are older in the Lord. I reiterated to them that, "When elders lay hands on the sick, according to James 5, they recover; that is, if they're laying hands on a believer". They were still taken aback, so I said, "If you were to come over to our little assembly, you'd see a lot of people healed that way", and I mentioned miracles that these people have never seen in their church because they're not elders.
Now a person doesn't go from not walking in Christ to completely walking in Christ. It's a learning process. Read 1 John 3:6. "Whoseoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither knoweth him". Just as a baby learns to walk, so do we learn to walk in Christ, and so do we learn to bear fruit, which is the evidence that we are walking as He walked.
Who is this person being spoken about that doesn't sin? He is the spiritual man, the one who's growing up in each of us. He's the born-again man, born from above. We need to understand that a person's spiritual man never sins. It's a person's flesh that sins, and when a person gives in to their flesh, then their flesh is going to cause them to walk outside of Jesus Christ. The Bible says (1 Jn. 3:5) "... in him is no sin", so when a person walks in sin they cannot be walking in Christ because there is no sin in Him.
Paul exhorts people not tofall into fornication, whether spiritual or physical, asking, (1 Cor.6:15) "shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot?" What he's saying is that a person is either one or the other, but can't be both; they can't be in Jesus walking in sin. The spiritual man doesn't walk in sin because he's born from above. It's the carnal man that walks in sin, and if a person walks after sin, if a person walks after the flesh, they must die. But if, by the Spirit, a person puts to death the deeds of the body, they will live, as explained in Romans 8. It's a choice whether to feed the spiritual man or starve him.
Look at 1 John 3:6 again: "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither knoweth him. (7) My little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous...". We hear that people who call themselves "Christian" are righteous. This is a grace that's not the truth and it's called lascivious grace, a license for a person to do whatever they want to do. Do not be deceived by the apostate leadership of Christianity. That's not what God says. According to God, "... he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous: (8) he that doeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil".
To abide in Christ is to walk as He walked, to accept the doctrine that was once given in the Scriptures, and to depart from sin. It is also to keep His commandments. (24) And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him. This is important because a person needs to bear fruit. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, you'll bear fruit". And bearing fruit is learning to abide in Him so that the sap that flows through the vine will flow through the branches and give life to each of us.
Scripture is clear that eternal life is only in the Son, therefore to lay hold on eternal life a person needs to abide in the Son, by faith accepting eternal life as a given gift, by faith proclaiming that they are saved, by faith proclaiming that they were and are delivered, by faith proclaiming they are made free from sin, by faith proclaiming that the old things have passed away and all things have become new, by faith proclaiming deliverance from the powers of darkness. We proclaim these things by faith because they are ours by faith, but now what we have to do is walk in that faith so that they become ours by manifestation.
Faith without works is dead
Suppose a person has claimed eternal life by faith, yet they never walk in it. The Bible says faith without works is dead, it's incomplete. James says, "See, I'll show you my faith by my works", or in other words, "I'll show you the person who has the correct doctrine".
The Baal prophets had their sacrifice and Elijah had his sacrifice, and the God Who answered by fire burned up that sacrifice. A brother and I both received the same Word from the Lord: (1 Ki.18:24) "... the God that answereth by fire, let him be God". We are living sacrifices, we are a burnt offering unto the Lord. The continual burnt offering is not some fire over there in Jerusalem. It is we who are the continual burnt offering as the Bible says, it is we who present our bodies as a living sacrifice and go through these fiery trials in order to burn up the wood, hay and stubble.
Elijah's offering was burned up, which is proof that his God was God. This is important because if a person has the wrong god, their offering is not going to be burned up. But when a person has the true God, the true doctrine, the doctrine that was given in the beginning, their offering is going to be burned up. This may appear to be a digression from the subject of calling and election, however, the people of the kingdom have been called to partake of eternal life, and a person needs to be able to discern correct doctrine so that they can walk in that doctrine by faith.
The many called vs. the few chosen
As previously mentioned, there is no example in the Bible where an individual who was out of covenant with God received a call and didn't come because the calling is to the saints. Matthew 22:14 says "many are called". It doesn't say "all are called". So who are the many called? (Mat. 22:1) And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto them, saying, (2) The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, (3) and sent forth his servants to call (kaleo) them that were bidden (kaleo). So the certain king sent out his servants to call them that were already called. We see that He's calling people who were already called, and that is the Jews. Jesus said, "I've only been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". He wasn't going to the pagans, He was going to the Jews. He says to call them that were called to the marriage feast, and they would not come. (4) Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them that were bidden (or "called", the same word, kaleo) Behold, I have made ready my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage feast. (5) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise; (6) and the rest laid hold on his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. Who was doing this? The Jews were doing this to the prophets of the Lord and the proof that it was the Jews is found in the next verse. (7) But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city (which came to pass in 70 A.D.).
The Jews rejected their call to come and partake of the marriage feast, which the body and blood of Christ represent. Jesus told His people, who were listening to Him and following Him, that "if you don't eat My body and drink My blood, you don't have any life in you". That's also our challenge, to partake of the life of Jesus Christ, His body, which is the Word of God, and His blood, which is the nature. The nature of a person, the life, nature or soul of their flesh, is in their blood. We see that when the Jews, those who were called, rejected the call, Christ called somebody new. (8) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they that were called (or "bidden", the same word, kaleo) were not worthy. (9) Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid ("call", kaleo) to the marriage feast. This is not calling them that were called, this is a new call. Nor is it to the first people, who rejected Him; this is the Gentiles' call. (10) And those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was filled with guests. To a Jew of that time, "bad" here would be a dog, or a swine, or an unbelieving Gentile. (11) But when the king came in to behold the guests, he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment: (12) and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. (13) Then the king said to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (14) For many are called, but few are elect (eklektos). "Chosen" is the word "elect". The same word that is translated "elect" in other places is "chosen".
In Romans 13:14 we are told to put "on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof". When a person puts on Jesus, they are not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, but the desires of the Spirit by walking after the mind of the Spirit. The bride in Revelation 19 has on a bright garment, which is called (8) "the righteous acts of the saints". That's the wedding garment. When we put on Jesus Christ, we're putting on His actions, His nature, His character.
We were baptized into the Name of the Lord. The word "name" means nature, character and authority. A person puts on Christ by faith when they are baptized. After a person is baptized, they put on Christ by manifestation as they walk in that faith. Walking in faith means a person is going to go through trials, and as their faith is revealed through those trials, a person receives what they believed at the beginning.
So we see that many are called but few are chosen, and the chosen are not going to be lost. The Lord has planted a field, a vineyard, which Isaiah 5:7 tells us is all of Israel. But when the Lord goes to pick the fruit, He complains that there is very little fruit to pick. When someone goes to harvest a crop, they don't harvest the plant or any green fruit, they harvest what is ripe. "Chosen" here is picking fruit. God doesn't want the plant, He wants the fruit. The Lord called His son out of Egypt, but how many bore fruit and went into the promised land? Contrary to popular opinion, the wilderness was the place of bearing fruit, and if they didn't bear fruit there, they didn't go to the promised land.
Look at Matthew 25:14. "For it is as when a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods". That man is Jesus, Who called (kaleo) His own servants and gave one servant five talents, another servant two talents, and another servant one talent. Now we see here that the servant with the five talents and the servant with the two talents brought forth fruit of what the Lord put in, but the servant with the one talent didn't bring forth any fruit. Did God pick him? No. He cast that servant into outer darkness, the same as we read in Matthew 22:13. That last servant wasn't picked to go into the kingdom, into the Father's house. And in verse 29 we find, "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away". The Lord took away the one talent from the unprofitable servant and gave it to the servant who had received the ten talents. (30) And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
This word "servant" is "bondservant". Throughout the Bible, the only people whom the Lord calls His bondservants are His people. He talks about the bondservants of sin, He talks about the bondservants of Satan, and He talks about His own bondservants. So the man in this parable who called his own servants is the Lord, and the people He called are His servants. These are not the lost, but the servant who didn't do anything with what the Lord gave him was cast into outer darkness. Being cast into outer darkness is not spoken about the lost who never come to Christ. In every case in the New Testament, when being cast into outer darkness is spoken about, it's referring to an unfaithful servant of the Lord, someone who had not borne fruit, who had not done anything with what God gave him.
At this point, one of the preachers said, "Well, you can't prove that that's the Lord. It's a parable". Yes, it's a parable, but it certainly fits with everything else in the Bible, although I can't prove that to someone who doesn't want to see that this is the Lord and that the people being called are Christians. But the fact is that they are. As in Galatians 1, there's no difference between what happened in Jesus' day and what's happening in our day. People calling themselves Christians are not going to bear fruit because they're not abiding in the doctrine that was once delivered unto the saints. When Jude said to "contend earnestly for that faith" he was addressing the Christians, who were saved, but these preachers just couldn't accept it. All they kept saying was, "You can't believe that because once saved always saved is true".
A great falling away
Yes, many are called but few are chosen. There is going to be a great falling away, especially of people who don't hold to the doctrine that was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1) Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are called, (he is talking about all the called here) beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: (2) Mercy unto you and peace and love be multiplied. (3) Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, (Here he is addressing only the called and he says they all have a common salvation; next he warns them.) I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints. (4) For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. He's not talking about denying that the Lord is the Lord. The people in the wilderness never denied that Jehovah was Jehovah. That wasn't their problem. They just denied what the Lord said.
Even the devil believes that Jesus is Lord, but he's not going to admit what he says. He wants to distort it. The first words the devil spoke to Eve were, "[H]ath God said?" He wanted to change what God said. If a person changes what the Lord says, then that person doesn't abide in Him. If a person doesn't abide in Him, then that person doesn't bear fruit. And if that person doesn't bear fruit, then the Father, Who is the Husbandman, is going to pluck up that person.
We continue with Jude 5: "Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not". This shows that a person can be saved and then destroyed, saved and then lost. A person can be saved if they are only called and not the elect, because there are many called but few elect. The apostle Paul, for example, knew that there was a condition to election. Those people who make no condition to election other than accepting Jesus as their "personal savior" have a rude awakening ahead. The wilderness is coming, whether they like it or not, and if they don't believe what the Bible says, when they get in that wilderness they are going to fall. There's going to be a great falling away.
Revelation chapters 12 and 17 tell us that the wilderness is a tribulation period; we're coming to a great wilderness. I am not saying that a person isn't in their individual wilderness. We're supposed to walk out into a wilderness, but, frankly, the Church has refused, so God is going to push them into what He calls His wilderness, and that's the tribulation period.
Conditions to be elect
Since we are discussing the called and the elect, what are the conditions to be elect? (Galatians 1:6) I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel. After being called, a person can remove from Him by a different gospel. What is a different gospel? "Just accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior". That's another gospel, friends, and it's not in the Bible. The Bible says repent, which means changing your mind. What those preachers were not doing is changing their mind when they read the Word.
The apostle Paul was called. (Gal. 1:15) [W]hen it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, (16) to reveal his son in me. He has called us to reveal His Son in us. Paul uses the analogy of being separated from his mother's womb to describe coming out of his dead religion. He's not talking about his physical mother. He came out of Judaism and came into Christianity. (14) I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. (15) But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me. Understand that we have to come out of our mother, who is Babylon, as explained in Jeremiah 50. We've been in apostasy and we've been in religion. Now we have to come out and follow the Lord.
Paul says that he was called, therefore, according to these preachers, the apostle Paul couldn't be lost. Yet, as long as a person is called, that person can still be lost. A person may question, "But what if I'm elect?" A person doesn't know that because they can only prove that they're called. A person can prove that they're called because they were saved. In order for a person to prove that they are elect, that person needs to bear the fruit that God is coming to pick.
Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?" And the One that's going to receive the prize is Jesus Christ, the Elect. Everybody who abides in Him is going to receive the prize. If a person is not abiding in Him, then that person is not going to receive any prize. (25) And every man that striveth in the games exercises self-control in all things. (This is very important. If a person is not exercising self-control, they are not going to be elect.) Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. That means we have to exercise self-control in order to get our crown. (26) I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: (27) but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.
"Rejected" here is the word "reprobated", adokimos. The apostle Paul said if he didn't keep his body under submission, he would be reprobated. And he was the one who said he was called. When he was saved, he was called, but now he has to keep that flesh under so that he can bear fruit, and not be reprobated.
Again, how is a person going to prove that they are elect? (2 Pet. 1) Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained a like precious faith with us in the righteousness of our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ: (2) Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; (3) seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; (4) whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust. (5) Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; (6) and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; (7) and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love. (8) For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these verses, Peter speaks about all the attributes of Christ.
It starts with the truth, and all of it has got to fit together or it's not the truth. The apostate church likes to throw out whatever they want to, but the truth is a person has to accept it all. (9) For he that lacketh these things (talking about these attributes) is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. The Lord, indeed, delivers from sin. He did that 2000 years ago. If a person believes the Gospel, a person has to believe that they have been delivered from sin. To believe that a person is a sinner saved by grace is not believing the Gospel. We were sinners and we were saved by grace, and His grace delivered us from the power of sin. The Bible says so. If a person believes that they are always going to be a sinner, then they are always going to be a sinner, and that is another Gospel. Sin can never be overcome that way. (10) Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: For if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble..
Making our calling and election sure
We've got to make two things sure here: that we're not only called but elect. If a person does the things instructed by verses 5-7, they are not going to stumble and they're going to enter the kingdom. The question may arise, "Didn't a person enter the kingdom back there when they said 'Jesus is my savior', 'I'm saved', and so forth?" It was their spirit that entered the kingdom. The Bible says a person's soul is born again through their obedience to the truth. How much truth does a person obey when they first come into the kingdom? Not much. Where is a person going to bear fruit? We see that God gave us a new spirit so we'd bear fruit in our soul, and a person who does not bear fruit in the area of the soul, which is a person's nature and character, is not elect.
Our spirit is saved, our soul is being saved, and our body will be saved. That's what the Bible teaches, but to make our calling and election sure we have to do these things. And to do these things, a person has to walk by faith. (1 Jn. 5:4) ... this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. A person has to walk by faith because if a person doesn't have these things, then they have forgotten that they were cleansed of their old sins. The person who professes that they don't have these things does not remember that Jesus took away their sins, or else they never knew the Gospel in the first place. A lot of people have never heard the Gospel; they've heard another gospel. The true Gospel is, (Rom. 8:2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death; (Rom 6:11) Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus; (Gal. 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me... That's the Gospel. So does a person have all these things? Yes, a person has them by faith, and as they walk in that faith, God will be sure to give them what these say. We have to make our election sure. It's not a sure thing. Fruit is what God is choosing and choosing means "elect", eklektos.
When we look at the next part of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10, we realize that it cannot be separated from 1 Corinthians 9. In Chapter 10, Paul exhorts us not to be like those Israelites. (1) For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; (2) and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) and did all eat the same spiritual food; (4) and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed: and the rock was Christ. (5) Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (6) Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (7) Neither be ye idolaters... and so on. The point is that everything that happened to them is a warning to us, because we're in the same position they were in. And what Paul is saying is the same thing he just got though saying: "Look, I've got to keep this body under submission or I'm going to be rejected and won't enter the promised land, just like the Israelites who were overthrown". So we see that though Paul said he was called, he also said he could be lost. He didn't believe in unconditional eternal security. Eternal security is our right only as long as we abide in the Son.
This agrees with 1 John 5, which tells us that eternal life is in the Son. (1 Jn 5:11) And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life. If a person abides in the Son, then they have eternal life, and if they don't abide in Him, then they don't have eternal life. Hebrews Chapter 3 makes the same application. Verse 1 states that we, the Christians, are partakers of the heavenly calling. Then in verse 6 we read, "but Christ as a Son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end". That's an exhortation to walk by faith and to continue to walk by faith, to prove whose house we belong to. Verse 12 warns us, "Take heed, brethren", (that's saved people) "lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God". We see by this that a person can fall away. And verse 14 continues, "for we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end". We are partakers of God only if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence unto the end.
Being indwelt of Christ
It's common to hear a mainline denomination say, "We already 'got' Jesus". In fact, some of them say, "You 'got' all the Jesus you're ever going to get". But that's a lying devil because when a person starts on this walk they don't receive all the Jesus that they're ever going to get. Yet, in Ephesians Chapter 3 the apostle Paul prays (16) that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; (17) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith". Mainline denominations tell us that Jesus came into our heart when we were saved. The apostle Paul disagrees. He was praying that God would strengthen believers by His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ can dwell in the believer through faith to the end that the believer (18) "would apprehend (not comprehend, as the King James says) with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God". We need to be strengthened by His Spirit in order to apprehend (to actually take hold of) everything that Jesus is.
Why is Paul praying for Christians in this way? It's because that's what we need, that's what bearing fruit is. Bearing fruit is (Col. 1:27) "Christ in you, the hope of glory". Fruit is Jesus. The Father sowed the seed, and the seed was the Word. The word "seed" used there is the word sperma, His Word. The Word is sown in our hearts and that's where it bears fruit, as in the previous example, 30-, 60-, and 100-fold. Only one out of four bears fruit and that's the many called, but few chosen.
What is the fruit?
If the Word of God is God's sperma, then the fruit is Jesus Christ. Each seed brings forth after its own kind. He sowed the Word in our heart in order for Him to be manifest in us, the length, breadth, height, and depth of Him: all the fullness of God. And if it were impossible for us to attain to that, why did Paul pray this prayer for us? In the next chapter, Paul's words are, (Eph. 4:11) And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: (13) till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ". Bearing fruit is coming into the perfection of Jesus Christ. (Heb. 4:1) Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. Abiding in Him is coming into His fruit. The fruit is Him. He is growing in every believer just like a baby grows in the womb of her that's with child. He said in John 16:12, "I'm going to see you again, like you're a woman in travail and when the baby is born, I'm going to see you again, and you're going to rejoice". The fruit that's being born to us is Jesus Christ. Soon it's going to be manifest to the whole world, and that's going to be a time of rejoicing, because when Jesus is manifested in us, that is the hope of our salvation. That's why we entered this walk in the first place, and that's what fruit is, and that's what eternal life is, Christ in you.
The warning in Hebrews 4:1 above adds to the importance of (2 Cor. 7:1) Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. We see here clearly that God's promises are what we use to perfect holiness, and we should indeed fear lest we leave out one of those promises. The fruit is born of the seed that's sown in our heart, and the seed is the Word of God. We have had this good news, this Gospel, preached unto us, but is this good news of necessity going to do us any good? Hebrews 4:2 continues, "For indeed we have had good tidings (or good news, the Gospel) preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard".
Your faith unlocks the Gospel
In other words, the Gospel is useless without faith. The thing that unlocks the power of the Gospel is a person's faith. The Israelites had the Gospel preached to them and it didn't profit them, because when they got into the wilderness they staggered through unbelief; they didn't hold fast to the Gospel and they lost out. John 10:27-28 is used by mainline denominations as proof of "once saved, always saved". It reads, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (28) and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand". But they don't like the verse before it, because the verse before it identifies Who He's talking about here. And it's not man that's going to pluck up those that don't bear fruit. Jesus said in John 15 that it was the Father Who is going to pluck up -- not a man, the Father. Here's the point. If a person is a disciple of Jesus, they have nothing to fear. Nothing. They have eternal life and are eternally secure because a disciple of Jesus Christ hears His voice and follows Him. What does "follow" mean? Obey. What does "disciple" mean? A mathetes is a follower.
Yes, a person can "accept" Jesus and not follow Him. There are multitudes that do that and go to church every Sunday, yet still don't follow Him. But for those who do follow Him, I don't think they have anything to worry about according to what Jesus said right here. He said "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand". I don't think it's possible for that person to be lost. There is no power on this earth that could make this person be lost. They are a follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Being written in the Lamb's book of life
People who like to make up their own gospel turn the grace of God into lasciviousness by choosing to believe that once saved is always saved. That means there's no use in taking any of these warnings seriously, since that false doctrine negates the possibility of being lost. These people are not motivated because they erroneously believe their "ticket's been punched". God wants us to take the threat seriously, not live in ignorance of who it is that's ultimately going to be with the Lord. Revelation 17:14 states clearly that only the "called and chosen and faithful" will be with Him. (Rev. 17:14) These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they also shall overcome that are with Him... These people spoken of here were written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world. All of the called were not. All of the called who are elect were written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world, which can be proven from Revelation. (Rev. 13:7) And it was given unto him (talking about the beast) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. (8) And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain. So everybody without exception who is not written in that book is going to worship the beast..
First of all, we need to prove that only those people who were written in the book of life of the Lamb from the foundation of the world are the elect. Although Jesus was physically slain just 2000 years ago, yet He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world because this whole plan was in God's mind before the creation, and He speaks the end from the beginning. In God's mind all of this was accomplished, but Jesus wasn't slain until just 2000 years ago, which was 4,000 years from the beginning. Now if Jesus wasn't physically slain 6,000 years ago in the beginning, were the names of the elect physically written 6,000 years ago, or were they physically written later?
The answer is that a person's name is written in the Lamb's book of life when they get saved, as Psalm 87 says, "(5) Yea, of Zion it shall be said, This one and that one was born in her; And the Most High himself will establish her. (6) The Lord will count, when he writeth up the peoples, This one was born there". So we see that when a person gets saved, then the Lord writes their name, but if they don't overcome, He blots it out. Revelation 3:5 tells us this truth. "He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; (there are the wedding garments) and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life..". We have to overcome temptation and sin in the wilderness, which is the reason we are put there. And the person who overcomes is not going to be blotted out, but the person who fails is going to be blotted out. A second witness of this is found in Exodus 32:33: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book". A third witness can be found in Psalm 69 where it speaks about those among His people who persecute His people. Starting in verse 26, we read, "For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; And they tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded. (27) Add iniquity unto their iniquity; And let them not come into thy righteousness". In most cases, it's what we call God's people who persecute God's people.
Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, yet He was not physically slain for another 4,000 years. The elect were in Him before the foundation of the world and their names were written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world, yet their names were actually manifestly written in the book when they got saved. So the ones that God foreknew and predestined that were written in the book, seeing the end from the beginning, are the ones that are still there at the end and are not blotted out. The elect, even though they are called, are also going to endure to the end. They are never going to be blotted out of the book, and they are the ones that God foreknew to never be blotted out of the book.
Look at Revelation 3:11: "...hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown". That's what he told the same people. When speaking about the elect, we are not just talking about the called, we are talking about the called who have overcome and have borne fruit. (Rom.8:28) And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. Notice everything doesn't work together for the good of them that don't love God. And who is it that loves God? Those that are obedient. According to Jesus, that's the only way a person can prove that they love God.
Whom God foreknew
I used to think, and I was told, too, that "foreknew" means God looked down the road and He saw you were going to be a good person, so He wrote your name in His book. Not so. "Foreknew" here is talking about like Adam knew Eve. It's a personal knowledge of this person, a personal communication or communion with this person. (Rom.8:29) For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained (or predestined) to be conformed to the image of his Son. The ones who are foreknown are going to come into the image of His son. The ones that He saw from the beginning were the ones that were there at the end. And what about the people who were written in and erased out in the middle? They weren't there at the end. Read carefully: "whom he foreknew, he also foreordained (or predestined) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: (30) and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified".
Notice that He's only talking about one certain group of people, because we start at the beginning of verse 29 and have to come out at the bottom of verse 30. He didn't give us any choice. He's not talking about all of the called. He's talking about all the called who become justified and glorified, which in the case of the first-fruits is represented by the Shulamite, and in the case of the ingathering harvest is represented by the virgins, queens and concubines. But we see that there's a great falling away of those people who are in-between.
The Bible says God foreknew, He saw the end from the beginning, and He speaks the end from the beginning. The people who are written in that book at the beginning are going to be there at the end. They were written in and never erased, whereas other people were called and were written in but then were erased, and those people are not going to be there at the end. We're talking about a very large group of people. Many are the called, but few are the chosen. The chosen endure to the end. The elect endure to the end to be chosen. They are a crop, just as Revelation 14 and Revelation 6 tell us. It's a crop that the Lord is coming after. Jesus said, (Jn. 15:1) "my Father is the husbandman". Revelation 14:15 calls this a harvest and the angel goes and reaps the harvest. He sends in his sharp sickle and the harvest of the earth is ripe. Well, ripe or not, fruit cannot be picked where it doesn't exist, nor is fruit picked green. Revelation 6:13 tells us the exact time of this harvest. It's at the last trump. "[A]nd the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig tree casteth her unripe figs when she is shaken of a great wind". We are the fig tree. First Israel after the flesh and then Israel after the Spirit, but all true Israel shall be saved. So we find that Israel is the fig tree, but those green figs are going to be rejected at that time.
Time is short for bearing fruit
Luke 13:6 warns us that we only have a certain amount of time to bear fruit. "And he spake this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. (7) And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why doth it also cumber the ground? (8) And he answering saith unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: (9) and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down". The tree is not the fruit. God is only after the fruit. How do we know that? Because the fruit is Jesus and Jesus Himself said, (Jn.3:13) ... no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven. The only One going into heaven is Jesus. Your flesh is not going into heaven. Your flesh is rejected from the kingdom of God. But Christ in you is the One that has the hope of glory. He's the One that's going into the kingdom. So what about these plants that are cut down? The fig tree is the physical part of the plant. It's not the fruit. There are many people to whom God gives a certain amount of time, and when they do nothing with the time that He gives them, He cuts them off.
More proof is found in Isaiah chapters 4 and 5, which talk about this vineyard that the Lord has. The Lord was complaining because He planted this nice vineyard, and put a nice tower in it, but the fruit was sparse. The fruit was also wild fruit, wild grapes. How could a vine bring forth wild grapes? False doctrine. False teaching. (Isa. 4:1) And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name. That sounds like a lot of religious people, doesn't it? The seven women here are the seven churches, and they say, "Look, we just want to be called by Your name, but we'll eat and dress up the way we want to do it. We'll put on what we want to put on". But the Lord says in Isaiah 4:2, "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (3) And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem". So we see that this is talking about a war that is going to kill a great number of people, that they're going to lose. But those that remain are going to be written among the living and those are the ones that the Lord calls holy.
Continuing in Isaiah 5:7, we read about this tower in this vineyard that the Lord built. He says that this vineyard "is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant (or his favorite plant): and he looked for justice, but, behold, oppression; and for righteousness, but, behold, oppression; for righteousness, but, behold, a cry". (Now read carefully what follows.) (8) Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no room, and ye be made to dwell alone in the midst of the land! That's denominationalism. The "ye be left alone" are the people on the outside looking in, and they are few in number. He's talking about denominationalism, about the harlot. The true people of God are few in number. (9) In mine ears saith the Lord of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, (those houses He's talking about are the denominations and they are certainly going to be desolate) even great and fair, without inhabitant. In verse 10 that desolation is described: For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah. In other words, this is a great field but there's just a little bit of fruit here. Many are called but few are chosen.
Those that are left in Zion, where their names are already written as Psalm 87 shows, those who are still there at the end are the ones the Lord is calling holy. They're the ones that bore fruit, as opposed to the many called. (13) Therefore my people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude are parched with thirst. (14) Therefore Sheol (or hell) hath enlarged its desire, and opened its mouth without measure (we're talking about God's people here) and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth among them, descend into it.
At one point I was kind of complaining to the Lord that a lot of people weren't paying attention and a lot of people were falling away. Many of them would go just so far and they'd go back, and then Lord gave me a revelation in Jeremiah 7:27,28. I was thinking about this, because the Lord had spoken this verse to me previously, and at that time He didn't connect a lot of things for me. When I looked at the text of this, it was just an awesome revelation, because I think this was fulfilled in one way when I was talking to those preachers. (27) And thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt call also unto them; but they will not answer thee. (28) And thou shalt say unto them, This is the nation that hath not hearkened to the voice of the Lord their God, nor received instruction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth. That's the verse the Lord gave me, and it comforted me a little to know that I should expect this.
If we go back to verse 4, we will see that it's exactly what the Lord means. (4) Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these. (5) For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute justice between a man and his neighbor... In other words, these are the people that are the temple of the Lord. They are even saying, "I'm the temple of the Lord'; "We're the temple of the Lord"; "This is the temple of the Lord". What God is going to do with the temple of the Lord is told in the rest of the chapter. He warns them He's going to destroy them, just as He destroyed the temple in Shiloh. (8) Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. (9) Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal (which is a false Jesus), and walk after other gods that thou has not known, (10) and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered; that ye may do all these abominations? (Does this sound familiar? "We're delivered; we can do what we want to do; we're still going to be saved".) (11) Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith the Lord. (12) But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I caused my name to dwell at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. (He destroyed that temple.) (13) And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not: (14) therefore will I do unto the house which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I give to you and to your fathers, as I did unto Shiloh. (15) And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. That means the Lord is going to destroy two temples. People don't think that God can destroy His temple. What does He do when He destroys? He reprobates that temple and then He destroys it.
The covenant that God made between Himself and us is ratified primarily by our faith. If a person doesn't exercise faith, then God doesn't have to keep that covenant. Yes, He made a promise, but remember Numbers 14:30: "[S]urely ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware that I would make you dwell therein". We are told every one of God's promises is conditional upon one thing, that it takes two sides to make a covenant. (11) And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people despise me? and how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have wrought among them? (12) I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them.... So we see that even though they say, "Well, once I'm in inheritance I can't lose it", the Lord says, "I'm going to disinherit them and make of thee a nation greater and mightier than they". Because of their unbelief, God did not have to keep His covenant. He said in verse 34 that they would "know my alienation". The footnote for "alienation" says "revoking of my promise". Hosea, as a type, married two harlots and they were both unfaithful. We are told in mainstream denominations that the church is never going to fall into the same example that Israel did and become divorced, reprobated, and so on; but it is going to happen to the church.
We previously discussed the difference between the called and the elect, both as relates to the end time and as relates to salvation. It's an important subject. It really solves the problem of the argument over once saved always saved. Jesus said, (Mat.22:14) "many are called, but few are chosen" (or elect). It's the same word. And the Bible tells us that the elect were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. It doesn't say that about the called, because the called is talking about the many. There are many called, but few chosen. He gave us many parables about the called and the chosen. He called His servants, He gave them talents. One of those called servants didn't do anything with the talent and was cast into outer darkness. He called the people to a marriage feast. A man came in who didn't have on a wedding garment and he was cast into outer darkness. In every case the word "called" in Scripture is talking about the saved. We've been taught that the word "called" is talking about the calling of the lost to Jesus, but actually the Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:9 that He "saved us, and called us". The word "called" is only used in the Scriptures concerning God's covenant people. And it's the word kaleo. The word eklekto is the word "elect", and the elect are the people who are going to make it because they endure to the end. They bear fruit; they do everything that the Bible tells us we as Christians should do in order to make our calling and election sure.
The Bible says "if you do these things". There's that conditional word "if". (2 Pet. 1:10) Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble: (11) for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It's not unconditional eternal security. It's eternal security, but it's not unconditional. We are proving our election here by going through trials of our faith to prove that we're believers in Jesus Christ, much like God called His elect. He called His son (the Israelites) out of Egypt and He brought them into the wilderness to see if they would continue to be believers in Jesus and bear fruit as believers in Jesus.
Only the elect entered into the promised land on the other side because many of the called fell in the wilderness when they were proven not to be believers. This answers a lot of questions. (Jude 5) Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. This means there are many called. The word "called" here means "invited"; we are invited to partake of the benefits of Jesus Christ, but as you know, there are a lot of Christians who are Christians in name only, and they don't really partake of the benefits of Jesus Christ, including sanctification.
Scripture says that without sanctification no man shall see the Lord. Jesus told us, (Mat.10:22) ...[B]ut he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. We have to walk in our faith. Colossians 1:21 says, "And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, (22) yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreprovable before him: (23) if (there's a condition) so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye heard". The condition to be considered holy, unreprovable, blemishless, is to continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel. Therefore, in order to ultimately have that blessing, a person has to continue in the hope of the good news and believe in the good news that Jesus delivered them from their sins, and delivered them from the curse. Most Christians don't partake of the benefits of Jesus because they don't endure in their faith to receive.
One reference is often brought up to try to disprove this. (Eph.1:13) ...in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, - in whom, having also believed (this is saying that we are in Him before believing), ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (14) which is an earnest (or the down payment) of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God's own possession, unto the praise of his glory. And people say, "Well, you see, I've received the Holy Spirit and I've been sealed, and that means I can't ever be lost". Of course it doesn't say that there. But if we go back to see who Paul is talking to, this is a very unusual address here, because he's not addressing just the called, he's addressing the elect.
In verse 1 it reads, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus". In Romans 1:7, where Paul addressed the church, he addressed the called to be saints. Again, the word "called" is the word "invited" -- "invited" to be saints, which we are. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification". The word "saints" means "sanctified ones". We are called (invited) to partake of the benefits of Jesus Christ and become sanctified, which is the separation of a person from their sins. (Eph. 1:1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. (He's addressing the faithful in Christ Jesus.) (2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. That's a promise and Jesus said the violent take it by force. These promises are ours by inheritance of Jesus Christ; every spiritual blessing is ours to just reach out and take. All these blessings are in Christ, as is our salvation and eternal life. The Bible says (1 Jn.5:11) "... God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son". Only if we abide in the Son do we have the life and the blessings. (4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world. The word "chose" here is the word eklekto and it means "elect". He chose us. It's not just the called who were in Christ before the foundation of the world, because many of the called are not going to endure to the end. It's the elect who were there at the foundation that are going to be there all the way to the end, and they're not going to be erased out of the book of life. Their part is not going to be taken away from the tree of life because they've not taken away from the Word of God.
The last few verses of the Bible tell us that if we take away from the words of this book, He'll take away our part from the tree of life, and if we don't overcome, He's going to erase our name out of the book of life, even though it was written in. (Rev. 18) I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: (19) and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book. However, the names of the elect are going to be in the Lamb's book of life at the end, because they're going to be overcomers, they're going to bear fruit, they're going to have on the wedding garment, and so forth, all those promises that Jesus gives us.
Here he's addressing the elect, which are the few now. There are many called, but few chosen, according to what Jesus said. Many have been invited to partake, but few are partaking, which has to be done through the promises of God and through faith. In fact, from verse 3 to verse 14, there's no period. That's all one run-on sentence. It's all connected. And reading down through there we find out it says "in Christ", "in him", "in the beloved", "in whom", "in him", "in him", "in whom", "in Christ", "in whom", and in verse 13 previously quoted, "in whom". The Bible says we're in Christ before the foundation of the world, therefore the elect were in Him before the foundation of the world.
So the people who started out in Him from the foundation of the world were in Him, and they were in Him, in God's mind, even before they believed. (13) ...in whom, ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Notice that they were in Christ before the foundation of the world, before they even heard the Word, before they even believed they were in Him. Did that make any difference? Only the fact that God called them, He drew them, and He gives them the grace. Does He offer this to all the called? Yes, He offers the grace to all the called. It's just that they're not going to bear fruit. According to Jesus in the parable of the sower, there were four different groups that received the Word of God, but only one of them bore fruit. Many are the called, but few are the chosen. The chosen bore fruit 30-, 60-, and 100-fold because they held fast to the Word of God. They did something with what they received.
The sealing is the manifestation of these people's election. He is not saying that once a person receives the Holy Spirit that person is sealed and can't ever be lost. He's talking about the elect here and these elect are never going to be lost because they're going to take their invitation seriously, they're going to partake of the Lamb. Jesus said in John 6:53, "...Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves". The elect are partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh, and this bread is that Word that came down out of heaven that gives life to the world. If we partake of this Word and we sow this Word into our hearts, it's going to bring forth the life of Jesus Christ, and that, according to Timothy, is eternal life.
In all these parables that we've mentioned, Jesus used the word "called" to the many and the word "elect" only applied to the few who bore fruit, who had on the wedding garment, and so on. The wedding garment is Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14 says, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof". In Romans 8:29 we have many exhortations to the called to be the elect, to be the overcomers who won't be erased out of the book. And in this verse, he's again talking about the elect. A person may say, "Well, that's me". However, 2 Peter says, (1:10) Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble. And the things he was talking about are the attributes of Christ found in 2 Peter 1. So we're here to prove our election, to prove that we are the elect.
God brought those Israelites into the wilderness to prove who they were. He put them through the trial of their faith to see who they were, but in Romans 8 He's talking about the elect. We know this because Paul says about them, (29) "For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: (30) and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified". Not everybody is going to manifest sonship and many are going to fall away. The Bible says there is a great falling away in these days, and that can only be talking about the saved, because the lost can't fall away. "[T]hat he might be the firstborn among many brethren, and whom he foreordained, them he also called". We could say it that way because He saved you and called you.
"And whom he called, them he also justified". This is really important. This is the next step. After calling there is justification. "And whom he justified, them he also glorified". Who's going to come into glorification? The ones He called and the ones He justified are going to come into glorification. Who is He talking about? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? The elect are justified. And all the called are justified. As long as they walk by faith they're justified.
To define justification, there's a cute little saying, but it's really true: "It's just as if I'd never sinned". Justification is imputed righteousness. It's God reckoning a person righteous, considering them righteous because of their faith. (Rom 5:1) Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; (2) through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. When a person comes under judgment, no matter what kind it is, if a person holds fast to their faith, God is going to say, "This is my righteous son". They're going to be standing in grace and they're going to receive His grace to be delivered.
Justification is given to us because of our faith. We just saw that Colossians says a person must hold on to that faith and endure in that faith to continue to have that benefit from God. The Israelites didn't do that in the wilderness. (5:1) Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; (2) through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand. So we have access to grace by faith. All forms of grace come to us, no matter whether it's grace to be healed, grace to be saved, grace to be delivered from some kind of a curse; all the grace comes to us through our faith. Jesus said, (Mat.9:29) "According to your faith be it done unto you". So we see that faith gives us access to grace. If faith is not exercised, then grace is not received. It doesn't matter if a person is a Christian, they still will not receive or obtain grace. A good example of that is in Romans: (3:3) For what if some were without faith? shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, And mightest prevail when thou comest into judgment. What we need when we come under judgment is justification.
The apostle Paul went through many terrible things and yet he said that his God would deliver him out of every evil work. And God did. Paul went through shipwrecks and tortures and persecutions, and God delivered him out of them all, just as he said. The devil likes to separate us from our faith, and he likes to use condemnation to do that. Condemnation is righteous and just when a person is in willful disobedience, but when a person is in failure and when they have made mistakes, and when they have done things they didn't want to do, the apostle Paul in Romans 7 tells us that we shouldn't accept condemnation in those cases.
When you're in willful disobedience, that's a different story. (Heb. 10:26) If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a certain fearful expectation of judgment. A person who is in willful disobedience should expect judgment.
We have no ability in ourselves to be justified. Romans 5:1 says we're justified by faith. In the early text it just went right on; there wasn't a 5 there so we need to go back to chapter 4 and get the explanation of this. (19) And without being weakened in faith (it's referring to Abraham and Sarah) he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about one hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; (20) yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God. What the Lord is pointing out to us here is that Abraham and Sarah had absolutely no physical ability on their own to bring forth fruit; they were dead. That's how we come to God. We come to God, we're dead. We have no ability to bring forth fruit. He's the only One that has the ability to bring forth fruit. It was Abraham and Sarah's faith that gave them justification, and justification is what gave them grace, and when they got grace they brought forth fruit, totally beyond the realm of the natural man. It was not within the bounds of their natural ability to bring forth fruit, and it's not in our natural ability to bring forth fruit because the fruit is Jesus Christ. And we are from below and He is from above. We have to be born again from above, so the ability doesn't come from us, it comes from Him, and it only comes in one way. Abraham didn't waver through unbelief. He considered the inability of himself and Sarah to bring forth fruit, but he didn't waver through unbelief. Instead he waxed strong in his faith, giving glory to God. He believed God was able to do this because God promised it. God has made these same awesome promises to us. He's able to do it. We are not able to do it.
Justification means reckoned righteous, considered righteous. Abraham was not considered righteous when he was able to bring forth fruit. He was considered righteous when he wasn't able to bring forth fruit. That's when he was considered righteous, only by his faith, only because he believed God was able to do this thing. We're also believing God is able to do this in us. We're believing God is able to give us fruit, the fruit of Jesus Christ, the 30-, 60-, and 100-fold that He promised to the elect, to those whom He's chosen. Our faith is now accounted as righteousness. He is imputing righteousness to us because of our faith. And it's not only justification that a person gets when they believe God, because when a person gets justification, grace comes along with it. The people who are justified get grace. When we believe God, we receive justification, and remember, the ones who were justified were the ones whom He glorified.
The apostle Paul said that in these days the Lord is coming (2 Thes.1:10) "to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believe (because our testimony unto you was believed) in that day". He's going to come to be glorified in His saints because they're justified, because they believe the Word of God, they believe the promises of God, and they've got grace because they believe. It has nothing to do with what we feel, it has to do with what we believe.
We believe the Word and we're not going to accept condemnation. There's no use in accepting condemnation when it's not legal condemnation. In most cases it's not, because if a person has condemnation, they don't have faith. It is not possible to have them both at the same time. (1 Jn. 3:21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; (22) and whatsoever we ask we receive of him. If a person's heart does not condemn them, the devil knows he can separate a person from faith, from justification, and from grace if he can just get condemnation into that person rather than faith.
So the Lord is talking to us in what He is saying about Abraham and Sarah. (Rom.4:21) [A]nd being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (22) Wherefore also it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. (23) Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned unto him; (24) but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned, who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, (25) who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. He is saying we can receive fruit by faith in Jesus Christ, but we've got to endure in that faith, not walking by sight. We cannot be like the Israelites, who after receiving their salvation at the Red Sea and being baptized unto Moses in the clouds and in the sea, went out into the wilderness to be tried in their faith and walked by the things that they saw.
The Bible tells us we're going to be tried the same way. The Israelites were constantly being tried to see if they believed the promises of God. They went through this trial and that trial, usually lack of provision or lack of something. The Bible says He suffered them to lack to see what they would do. And so when they labored through unbelief and didn't hold fast the confession of their hope that it waver not, God was angry with them. He didn't justify them. He only preserved them for a seed's sake. The two that went into the promised land in the body without dying were Joshua and Caleb. So this was written for us. He says we are justified by faith, and we have peace with God, and we have access into this grace by faith in which we stand. Then he goes on to say, "(3) And not only so (that is, saved), but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness; (4) and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness hope", and so on.
Believing the promise
The same story is told in Romans chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11; it's just that it's changed a little bit here and there, but it all means the same thing. (Rom. 9:3) For I could wish that I myself were an anathema from Christ for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh: (he's talking about Israelites according to the flesh) who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises... In other words, all of this was given to the Israelites, all the Israelites, it was theirs by inheritance as the seed of Abraham. This was their promise. It was theirs by inheritance. Did they all enter into it? No, they didn't. (5) [W]hose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (6) But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought. (He said that because they didn't all enter in.) For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel: (7) neither, because they are Abraham's seed, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed. In other words, those children who believe the promise, that's the true seed. A person may ask, "Weren't all these people Israelites?" Yes, they were all Israelites, but they didn't all believe the promise. That's the point Paul is making.
Were they all called? He called every one of them out of Egypt. He said, "I called my son out of Egypt". Jude starts out by addressing the called, then talking to them about their common salvation. (5) Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. So we see that they were all called, they were all invited to partake of God's benefits in the wilderness. We also are all invited to partake of the benefits that are given to us through Jesus Christ, but we're going to find out who the true Israelites are. (Rom.9:9) For this is a word of promise, According to this season will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. (10) And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, even by our father Isaac -- (11) for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election (the choosing) might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, (12) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (13) Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated. Paul called this election. Jacob he loved, but Esau he hated.
Esau was a son of Abraham, the firstborn of Isaac, and he had the birthright. However, he didn't think much of his birthright, according to Genesis 25. He thought so little of it that when his belly cried out to him, he sold his birthright to Jacob. Hebrews 12 also says of this Esau -- that he sold his birthright. But first it tells us in verse 14 that without sanctification no man shall see the Lord, and that we should be careful that a root of bitterness doesn't come up, defiling many. (16) [L]est there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat (or flesh) sold his own birthright. He had a birthright as Abraham's seed and as the child of Isaac. He was an Israelite. He had the birthright but he sold it because when it came time for him to make a decision and value the birthright, he instead valued the flesh.
You see, his belly cried out to him. The Bible says, (Phil.3:19) "whose god is the belly". His belly cried out and he gave up his birthright and obeyed his belly instead. Therefore, what does God say about him? (Heb. 12:17) For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; (that's the word "reprobated") for he found no place for a change of mind (or repentance, same word) in his father, though he sought it diligently with tears. He wanted a change of mind, but it didn't happen.
Of these two brothers, Jacob was called the "supplanter" because when Esau was born, Jacob came out of the womb holding onto Esau's heel. "Supplanter" here means he was the "one who takes the place of". In other words, this right wasn't first given to him, this right was first given to Esau, but Jacob took it from Esau. The Bible says don't let anybody take your crown. If a person gives up their crown, somebody else will take it. There's somebody standing there waiting for it. Esau had it by birthright, but he gave it up, he sold it, he traded it for something that he thought was more valuable, which was flesh.
We read in Romans that if we walk after the flesh, we must die. He's talking to Christians. (8:13) [F]or if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Our birthright has got to be more important to us than following after the flesh. That's what Esau did, he followed after the flesh, that the purpose of God according to election might stand.
That would seem to indicate that they were both called, but the elect ended up being only Jacob, because he didn't sell his birthright. Esau sold his birthright. Paul wasn't talking about the calling here, he's talking about the election. He's talking about who's going to be there at the end. We see God, before either one of these were born, and before they'd done anything good or bad, said, "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated". This is because Jacob was chosen in Him from the foundation of the world, as the Bible says, and he received his sealing. (1 Cor. 10:11) Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come. They were written for an example of what's going to happen to the church.
God used these Jews as a parable to show us, among other things, that there are many called but few chosen. There are a lot of people that come out of Egypt, they come out of the world, they receive salvation, they eat the Lamb, they go into the wilderness, but they don't all go to the promised land. The ones who go to the promised land are the chosen.
Romans 11:1 reads, "I say then, Did God cast off his people? God forbid". Well, did He cast off any people? He cast off the Israelites. What is Paul talking about here? "God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin". We see Paul is an Israelite. Jesus came to bid those that were called to the marriage feast. That was the Jews. He invited the Jews first because they had an Old Testament calling. However, when Jesus came, few people heard His message and followed Him of the Jews. Paul was one of them. What did that prove? He was accepting the call, accepting the invitation, paying attention to the invitation. He wasn't selling his birthright as a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. God did not cast off His people which He foreknew.
Yes, He cast off all those people, but He didn't cast off the ones that He foreknew, because the ones He foreknew were the elect. We just read that in Romans 8:29,30. But He did cast off the called who didn't bear fruit. (Rom. 11:2) God did not cast off his people which he foreknew. Or know ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he pleadeth with God against Israel: (3) Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have 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 left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
Elijah said, "I'm the last one left", but God said, "I have 7000 out there that haven't bowed down to that false Jesus". That's who Baal was, a virgin-birthed son of god, a false Jesus. Paul called him "another Jesus". Out of all of Israel there were only 7000 who hadn't bowed down and were still submissive to God. Many are called, but few are chosen. The rest of them had fallen away to follow another Jesus, a lascivious grace Jesus.
Note verse 5. "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace". There always has been a remnant. There are the many called in those churches out there who have had an experience with God, but they're doing very little with it, and the majority of them won't do anything with it. According to Jesus, only one out of four in the parable of the sower is going to actually bear fruit of the seed of the Word of God in their hearts. There is an even greater number of people who have had an experience of salvation out there in the world, not going to church, totally departed from God, than there are in the churches right now. There are many people out there who'd say, "Oh, yeah, I was saved, I was saved here, I was saved back here when I was such-and-such". Many of them in the churches aren't bearing any fruit, either.
The whole purpose for God planting a crop is to come and pick the fruit, not the plant. Nor can fruit be harvested if it is nonexistent or green. The Lord only wants the fruit, and the fruit is Jesus. That's God's plan: the fruit is the elect. It's the ones who have borne the fruit, Jesus Christ. The Lord says that at this present time there's an elect of grace, just like those 7000. There's still a small group of people who are bearing fruit unto Jesus Christ and going to be picked because God's coming to harvest His crop and He's going to pick the fruit. (5) Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. That's the Jacobs, not the Esaus. (6) But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. And the election according to grace is the people who were justified by faith. How do we have access to this grace in which we stand? It's the people who are justified by their faith. And when they come into judgment and they let God be true and every man a liar, they are justified in the midst of that judgment. They receive grace and they overcome it, and they're given their provision in the midst of it.
The falling away
The same thing is about to happen to the church. The church is about to go into a great wilderness. And because they have refused to go into it so far, God is about to push the church into a wilderness where some are going to grow up and some are going to fall by the wayside. The Bible says very plainly in 2 Thessalonians 2 that before the coming of the Lord there is going to be a great falling away and the son of perdition is going to be revealed. Who was the son of perdition? Judas. Judas Iscariot was revealed in the falling away in Jesus' time. But Romans 11:7 says, "That which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened". At this present time there's also an elect who are going to receive grace. The rest are going to be hardened and it is they who will become our enemy.
We see this as a type in the people who persecuted the apostle Paul and the disciples when they were the elect who were taken out of Israel. The ones that God hardened were the ones that were doing the persecuting. That's what is coming in these days. Those who started out with God but didn't bear fruit, didn't consider their calling important, their invitation to partake of the benefits of Jesus Christ important, are going to be hardened. The elect are going to bear fruit, and the unfruitful are going to be hardened against the elect, just as those who killed the apostles, who were called out of Israel, were those that were hardened.
I pray that this teaching will be for every reader an exhortation to grow up in the Lord.