Hello Dear Elder Chet,
It has been a while since I asked you a question, hoping to give you a rest. But recently a question was asked of me, which I find a little hard to answer. So, I ask your help, please.
In Ephesians 1:3-12, it seems that Paul was speaking about himself, and the other believing Jews, who “first trusted in Christ,” but then he says that the Gentiles also trusted in verse 13, which seems to make a separation between the group in the first 12 verses. So the question is: does the election and predestination of Paul and the others who first trusted in Christ, speak of an election to Apostolic Office, and not of election/predestination to Eternal Life in this case? I hope this makes sense.
Thank you for any insight you can give me. I tried to find something on this in Elder Beebe’s Works, but haven’t found anything yet.
Yours in hope of Life Eternal,
January 23, 2010
Thank you for your kind inquiry. Your questions have never been tiresome or laborious to me although I continue to apologize that I find myself insufficient to address them. I shall endeavor to set forth such as I have been given, if light at all, and pray that the Holy Spirit will teach all things.
To begin with, there is one faith and that faith is not bound or controlled by time save in the manifestation of it in the lives of the chosen people. The only faith that has any regard to the purpose of God for the elect is the faith of Jesus Christ which is imputed to them. Every child has it as it is a fruit of the Spirit and there are no vessels of mercy in whom the Spirit does not dwell. There are different times of manifestation of this same faith and there is a working of it to the perfecting of the saints and a diminishing of the flesh they inhabit.
Paul does not set any difference between one who believed first and one who believed latter as there cannot be such a thing for all believe IN Christ Jesus. Therefore IN HIM all have been chosen, being predestinated before the foundation of the world ... that we (all) should be to the praise of His glory who before have hope in the anointed. The word ‘first trusted’ in verse 12 means ‘having hope from before’. This hope can be nothing more or less than, “Christ in you the hope of glory”. Whose glory? His glory, which we (the children chosen in Him) should be. Then we ask, before what? Before the foundation of the world (vs. 4). Thereby we conclude that the whole of the elect family has this hope when they become partakers of flesh and blood because they have been eternally united as one with Him and He has predestinated them to such things during the time of their habitation.
Therefore, verse 13 states, “in whom (Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world having this same hope) ye also heard the word of truth.” The word ‘trusted’ does not appear in the text nor does the time reference of ‘after’. Rather it states that In Him you heard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation. Not after some carnal attempt at preaching what man thinks is an acceptable and well prepared message, Not after reading, meditating or praying some wildly psuedo-passionate prayer, but, IN HIM the child heard the gospel or the power of God unto salvation. He is the Word that became flesh. He is the Word that goes forth into all the world and does not return void but accomplishes all that the Father has purposed and He is the Word of truth that is spoken to the heart of the redeemed by the Spirit of truth, from faith to faith. The conclusion of verse 13 is, “In whom ye also heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: In whom also ye believed and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, (again) unto the praise of His glory.”
There can be no separation or distinctions between the children for they are all members of one; each member being fitly framed together, growing up into the Holy habitation of our God. And to some, in the church, for the edification of the body here in the world, He has granted distributions of the Spirit, some apostles, some pastor/teachers, some prophets and various others as He decrees to be needed as the husbandman tends to His vineyard.
I hope I have been able to give you some direction to the answer of your question. May the Spirit lead you in all truth and may you cast out the wisdom of man.
Your servant in Christ,
January 24, 2010