Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20031217.htm
APPLYING THE CHRISTIAN'S POSITIONAL RICHES IN CHRIST
Part I: Applying The Truth That Believers Are In God's Eternal Plan
Lesson: Every Christian is "in the eternal plan of God," meaning God in eternity past knew he would become His child, so God eternally chose him to be divinely predestined as His child to be translated and transferred into heaven, and God then called him to salvation by Christ's Gospel in his earthly life.
- At times, the believer's experiences in his earthly life may cause him to be so frustrated at the evil he faces or sees that he may wonder if he is worth anything or if it is worthwhile trying to live rightly in life!
- Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology, volume III on Soteriology lists thirty-three truths that are not themselves experienced, but which apply to every believer in Christ, and the first of those truths, that Christians are "In the Eternal Plan of God" (p. 234-236), if applied, overcome this disheartening idea:
- Applying The Truth That Believers Are In God's Eternal Plan.
- The fact that every believer is "in the eternal plan of God" is itemized and described in these four ways:
- Each believer was eternally FOREKNOWN in Christ by God one day to BE His CHILD, 1 Pet. 1:2:
- Difficult as it is for us humans who are bound by time to understand, it is a fact that from all eternity past, God foreknew who would believe in Christ and belong to Him, 1 Peter 1:2 with Romans 11:2.
- Though some claim "foreknew" here means "ordain" or refers to what God ordained to exist so it could be knowable, the verb, proginosko ("foreknow") and its noun, prognosis ("foreknowledge") throughout classical Greek, the Koine (common) Greek or the Septuagint always mean only "to know beforehand," cf. C. Gordon Olson, Th. D., "Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: Toward An Amyraldian Soteriology," a paper presented to the Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting, December 29, 1981; also, there is no proof that Scripture verses using these words refer to anything besides "knowing beforehand." (See our notes on "Making Sense of God's Election . . .")
- Accordingly, from eternity past, God knew beforehand who would believe in Christ and be saved.
- Each believer was eternally PREDESTINED in Christ by God one day to BE TRANSLATED into Christ's likeness AND TRANSFERRED INTO in God's heavenly PRESENCE, Romans 8:29:
- The believer was predestined according to Romans 8:29 to "be conformed to the image" of Christ, a phrase in this context that refers to the translation of the believer into the "heavenly image" of Christ at the rapture, cf. Romans 8:18-25, 29-30 with 1 Corinthians 15:49.
- Ephesians 1:4 reveals God intended for believers in Christ to be with Him in His heavenly presence, the meaning of "before" (katenopion) being that of local presence rather than figurative viewpoint, cf. katenopion and its use in the New Testament and classical Greek, Koine Greek and Septuagint as noted in our notes on "Making Sense of God's Election . . .").
- Thus, God from eternity predestined all in Christ one day to come into His heavenly presence conformed to the bodily image of their glorified Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Each believer was eternally CHOSEN in Christ by God due to God's love and full acceptance of him in Christ TO EXPERIENCE this PREDESTINATION to HEAVENLY BLISS, Ephesians 1:3-6.
- Each believer in Christ was then called to this destiny by Christ's Gospel, Rom. 8:30; 1 Thess. 5:24.
- Applying this positional truth of being "in the eternal plan of God" produces great confidences for the believer in his earthly life regardless what he might face that appears to make his life futile (as follows):
- Realizing that since he believed the Gospel, God called him by it and eternally foreknew him as His own and now fully accepts him in the Beloved One, Jesus Christ, the believer sees his existence is invaluable in God's estimation, and so is motivated to adopt God's view that his life is invaluable to God so as to live righteously for God's glory in a futile world, Eph. 1:3-4; 1 Pet. 1:2 with 1 Jn. 3:1!
- Realizing that since he believed the Gospel, God called him by it and from eternity past chose him to be predestined to be translated into Christ's likeness and taken to God's heavenly presence, the believer is assured that his earthly sojourn is not an exercise in futility, but a part of a meaningful plan that will end in eternal glory ! He is thus motivated to live righteously in view of that destiny, 1 Jn. 3:2-3.
Application: Realizing the implications of being "in the eternal plan of God," may we who trust in Christ ACCEPT our EXISTENCE as INVALUABLE, and LIVE RIGHTLY in view of our DESTINY!