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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell -

MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part I: Making Sense Of God's Election
Chapter II: Making Sense Of God's Election Through An Inductive Bible Study
C. Interpreting Ephesians 1:4-5
  1. To "make sense" of God's election in contrast to what we have shown the major election positions do, we now perform an induction on 1 Peter 1:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and Ephesians 1:4-5.
  2. We follow our expositions of 1 Peter 1:1-2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 by expounding Ephesians 1:4-5:
    1. This passage reveals God chose believers in Christ before time to be holy and blameless before Him, and that in connection to His having predestined them to the adoption as sons through Christ to Himself.
    2. There is a problem that immediately confronts the interpreter of a major view when he views this passage:
      1. The sphere of God's election is "in Him," and elsewhere in the New Testament where "in" (en in the Greek text) modifies Christ in some way, it always describes believers already in Christ and not about to be placed into association with Him, Moulton & Geden, Conc. to the Greek Testament, p. 331-333.
      2. Yet, election's goal is the believer's "holy and blameless" status, something in Scripture applicable only to those who are already justified, Ibid., p. 53 (for amomos) and p. 11-14 (for hagios).
      3. Thus, a major view interpreter strains over how one can be seen to be "in Christ" and need to be saved!
    3. The problem is solved by a study of the Greek text's words "before" and "holy and blameless" as follows:
      1. The word, "before" comes from the Greek text's word, katenopion that, in secular usage, means the literal, "physical presence" of a party, Liddell & Scott, Grk.-Engl. Lex., p. 422; Moulton & Milligan, The Vocab. of the Grk. N.T., p. 335, 220; Hatch & Redpath, A Conc. to the LXX, vol. II, p. 749.
      2. Though the N.T. Koine Grk. lexicons claim katenopion can be figurative in sense to mean "in the sight of," we assert (along with Moulton & Milligan cited above!) that in the N. T., it has only the literal "physical presence" so that in Ephesians 1:4-5, it depicts the believer's heavenly glorified state:
        1. In the N. T., katenopion occurs only in Jude :24, Eph. 1:4 & Col. 1:22, Ibid., Moult. & Geden, 539.
        2. Then, in both Eph. 1:4 and Col. 1:22, katenopion is used together with "holy and blameless" (the Greek terms, hagios and amomos ), and these two words are used elsewhere in the N. T. only in Eph. 5:27 to depict believers in heaven, Ibid., p. 53, 11-14; L. S. Chafer, The Eph. Letter, p. 154.
        3. Also, as Jude 24 uses katenopion in clearly the literal sense of believers in the glorified state, and it also appears with amomos there, Paul may well have used katenopion with hagios and amomos in Ephesians 1:4 and Colossians 1:22 to describe believers in their heavenly, glorified state!
        4. Further, Colossians and Ephesians were written about the same time -- affinities in vocabulary and literary style suggest it (cf. Donald Guthrie, N. T. Intro., p. 492-499), further arguing Ephesians 1:4 and Colossians 1:22 used these words to describe the believer's glorified state.
      3. Then, the "adoption" named in Ephesians 1:5 may picture either the believer's positional son placing at justification (as in Galatians 4:5) or his experiential adoption at the glorification of the body at the believer's rapture, cf. Romans 8:23, and the context thus determines which of these meanings apply!
      4. Well, if we seek to avoid the illogical, major election views in handling Eph. 1:4-5, and if we go with the word usage seen above regarding katenopion, hagios and amomos, we find Eph. 1:4-5 reveals that, in the eternal (we have found this from Ephesians 1:4-5!) past, God chose those He perceived (in some way (we have yet to define this in future studies!)) already to be justified in Christ to become experientially holy and blameless in His heavenly presence following their earthly sojourn!
  3. Summary Findings Of Our Induction on 1 Peter 1:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and Ephesians 1:4-5: We find (A) 1 Peter 1:1-2 reveals God eternally chose believers unto righteousness in the Christian life , (B) that 2 Thessalonians 2:13 shows God chose them to be raptured and that (C) Ephesians 1:4-5 discloses God chose them to be holy and blameless in His heavenly presence after that rapture event!
  4. Conclusion To Our Inductive Study Of These Three Passages:
    1. The major election views of Arminianism, Amyraldianism, Moderate Calvinism and Calvinism all err in being illogical by making justification the result of God's election relative to faith and justification.
    2. However, we found God's election results in post-justification blessings and positions only.
    3. Hence, relative to faith and justification, divine election is God's selection in eternity of those He viewed as being related to Him through faith unto post-justification blessings alone in their relationship with God.
    4. We must next view all the relevant Scriptures to know the roles of God's and man's wills in justification!