Thursday, January 17, 2013

2nd John Part 2

1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth, cont.

I do not expect this portion of my writing to be well received, but I am convinced that it is the Biblical structure the church was meant to be founded upon, and we have gone far away from it, led back into a priesthood/worshiper dichotomy courtesy of the RCC and similarly designed church structures. A plurality of elders, independently governing the local church they are a part of is God’s design for His body, with the Holy Spirit ruling over all.

We note that John is writing his note to the “elect lady” and her children. This term, along with similar ones such as “predestined” has been the source of vicious contention within the Christian church for centuries. The Greek word for elect is “eklektos” which is a derivative of “eklegomai.” The Greek means “to select or make a choice.” Strong’s Concordance states that this word can mean “to choose for oneself; not necessarily implying the rejection of what is not chosen, but “choosing” with the subsidiary ideas of kindness or love.” The word is used 16 times in the New Testament. Our Lord employs it 7 times throughout the gospels. Paul uses it 5 times in his epistles. Peter uses it twice; John likewise employs it twice, both times in this little letter. Another similar word “ekloge” is found 6 times in the New Testament, every time translated “election.” Of these 22 usages of the variants of elect Paul uses the word 5 times in Romans.

To substantiate that there is in fact selection going on, as the original Greek language implies, I’ll cite two verses where the word in question occurs.

And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days,” Mark 13:20.

For the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls,” Romans 9:11.

God’s choice is involved in the election, or predestining of individuals to salvation. God seems to show especial concern for the elect’s welfare, and wants them to know that their election is in no way tied to some degree of merit they have attained. In Romans 11:5 Paul describes this as “the election of grace,” going on to explain how God’s prestinating grace cannot mingle with man’s works or effort to be saved. They are mutually and eternally exclusive, Romans 11:6.

Peter, when addressing the self-same issue, wrote that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” 1st Peter 1:2. So our election stems not from human works and effort but God’s grace given to some knowledge He was aware of before He created us. Paul contributes, saying “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren,” Romans 8:28-29. Peter says that our election is preceded by God’s foreknowledge. Likewise Paul states that God’s calling is preceded by His foreknowledge. He does not predestinate unless He foreknows. This mysterious doctrine of election, Paul also reveals, is tied up with the acknowledgement of the truth which accords with godliness; the result of the reception of such truth is eternal life, promised before time’s beginning, Titus 1:1-2.

1 comment:

  1. The doctrine of election has long been a source of argument, largely because people have either rejected it outright, or gone overboard on it. The extremes are rarely valid about any subject.

    How the church is to be administered is another major conflict. I Corinthians 12:5-6 states, "And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." We spend a lot too much time arguing over things God has not specified rather than obeying him on things we do know. Interestingly, in the Old Testament God nearly always chose a single individual to take primary responsibility, and often does today as well. In any case, they are not set themselves above the people in any way.


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