APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST: Petros apostolos Iesou Christou:
It must have been very pleasant to
his heart to write those words, — not “Peter, who denied his Master,
“not” Peter, full of imperfections and infirmities, the impetuous and
changeable one of the twelve; “but” Peter, an apostle of Jesus
Christ,” as truly sent of God as any of the other apostles, and with
as much of the Spirit of his Master resting upon him: “Peter, an
apostle of Jesus Christ”
How sweetly the apostle is obeying
his Master’s command, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy
brethren.” This is the same Peter who once began to sink beneath the
waves, yet now he is helping others to stand. This is the very Peter
who denied his plaster, but he begins his Epistle by owning himself to
be “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” What wonders the Lord Jesus had
wrought for Peter by his grace! It is no marvel, therefore, that he
should say to others, “Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
) (Petros; Latin = Petrus) is a masculine proper noun which means a "stone"
and generally a smaller stone than the feminine form petra
which refers to a massive rock or a foundation boulder (eg Mt 7:24-note).
is the Greek equivalent of the Syriac or Aramaic name Cephas
(Kephas from Aramaic kay fah) which was assigned
to Simon by Jesus.
Peter was not
always a model of rock-like (petros is a symbol of
imperturbability as determined from used in Greek literature)
firmness. Note for example his actions in Gethsemane, his denial three
times of Christ, his unsuccessful attempt at walking on water and his
conduct at Antioch (Gal 2:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21) where he is called
Despite all this Peter was clearly the leader of Jesus’ disciples, the
spokesman for the Twelve and one of the three closest to Jesus.
used 156x in 151v - Matt 4:18; 8:14; 10:2; 14:28f; 15:15; 16:16, 18,
22f; 17:1, 4, 24; 18:21; 19:27; 26:33, 35, 37, 40, 58, 69, 73, 75;
Mark 3:16; 5:37; 8:29, 32f; 9:2, 5; 10:28; 11:21; 13:3; 14:29, 33, 37,
54, 66f, 70, 72; 16:7f; Luke 5:8; 6:14; 8:45, 51; 9:20, 28, 32f;
12:41; 18:28; 22:8, 34, 54f, 58, 60f; 24:12; John 1:40, 42, 44; 6:8,
68; 13:6, 8f, 24, 36f; 18:10f, 15ff, 25ff; 20:2ff, 6; 21:2f, 7, 11,
15, 17, 20f; Acts 1:13, 15; 2:14, 37f; 3:1, 3f, 6, 11f; 4:8, 13, 19;
5:3, 8f, 15, 29; 8:14, 20; 9:32, 34, 38ff; 10:5, 9, 13f, 17ff, 21,
25f, 32, 34, 44ff; 11:2, 4, 7, 13; 12:3, 5ff, 11, 14, 16, 18; 15:7;
Gal 2:7f; 1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1
See nice summary of Scriptures
relating to Peter in the
Thompson Chain Ref
known by several different names in the New Testament as indicated by
the following passages.
Matthew says he was
who was called
Peter (Mt 4:18)
article on Simon Peter)
Later Matthew records that
"the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first,
who is called Peter..."
Matthew later refers to
him as "Simon
Peter" (Mt 16:16)
at his confession to Jesus that "Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the Living God."
Jesus "answered and said
Blessed are you, Simon Barjona
("Bar-jonas" = son of Jonah or John) for, because flesh and
blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in
heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter (Petros), and
upon this rock (petra) I will build My church; and the
gates of Hades shall not overpower it. (Mt 16:17,18)
At the inception of Jesus' ministry the apostle John records
another name for Peter writing that his brother Andrew
him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "You are Simon
son of John;
you shall be called
is translated Peter)."
has this note on
Peter's name writing that
"Thayer says of petros the Greek
word from which we get the name Peter, “an appellative proper name,
signifying ‘a stone, rock, ledge, or cliff,’ used metaphorically of a
soul hard and unyielding, and so resembling a rock,” and says that it
is so used in classical writings. Defining petra the feminine form of
the word, he says that this word means “a rock, large stone,” and was
used metaphorically to refer to a man like a rock by reason of his
firmness and strength of soul."
Wuest goes on to add that
find the English name “Peter,” used in the expression, “It just
petered out,” meaning that the thing referred to, just failed and
failed until it ceased to exist. This comes from the example of
Peter’s character before he was filled with the Spirit, vacillating,
unpredictable, frequently failing, especially in crises. But as the
Lord used it, it means what the Greek word means of which it is the
transliteration, and is descriptive of a rock-like man, dependable,
immovable, equal to the emergencies and crises that confront him."
(Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Simon Mt 4:18
Simon Peter Mt 16:16
Simon Barjona Mt
Peter Mt 10:2
Cephas 1Co 15:5
Cephas Jn 1:42
Peter fulfilled his commission by
laying the foundation of the church among the Jews on the Day of
Pentecost (Acts 2:14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,
32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40)
and also among the Gentiles after a special revelation resulting in
conversion of the Gentile Cornelius (Acts 10:1, 2, 3, 4ff, 34, 35, 36,
37, 38, 39, 30, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45).
As Paul in his letters does not call himself by his original
name of Saul, so Peter calls himself, not Simon, but
Peter, the name
most significant and precious both to himself and to his readers,
because it was bestowed upon him by his Lord.
addition of the title apostle
to his name, Peter at the very beginning of his letter, claims to be
one who is divinely commissioned to preach the gospel and authorized
to plant Christianity. Peter puts forward his apostleship in the
introduction probably because he is addressing churches with which he
had no immediate connection, and he appeals to his apostleship in
explanation of his writing to them.
from apo = from + stello = send forth) (Click
means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission
to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate,
commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission
and with the authority of the one who sent him.
Apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned
to a position or task, such as an envoy. Cargo ships were sometimes
called apostolic, because they were dispatched with a specific
shipment for a specific destination. In secular Greek apostolos was
used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special
In the ancient world
a apostle was the personal representatives of the king, functioning as
an ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials
to prove he was the king's envoy.
Apostolos - 80x in 79v - Matt 10:2; Mark 3:14; 6:30; Luke 6:13;
9:10; 11:49; 17:5; 22:14; 24:10; John 13:16; Acts 1:2, 26; 2:37, 42f;
4:33, 35ff; 5:2, 12, 18, 29, 40; 6:6; 8:1, 14, 18; 9:27; 11:1; 14:4,
14; 15:2, 4, 6, 22f; 16:4; Rom 1:1; 11:13; 16:7; 1 Cor 1:1; 4:9; 9:1f,
5; 12:28f; 15:7, 9; 2 Cor 1:1; 8:23; 11:5, 13; 12:11f; Gal 1:1, 17,
19; Eph 1:1; 2:20; 3:5; 4:11; Phil 2:25; Col 1:1; 1 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim
1:1; 2:7; 2 Tim 1:1, 11; Titus 1:1; Heb 3:1; 1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1;
3:2; Jude 1:17; Rev 2:2; 18:20; 21:14.
Apostolos is usually translated apostle with two renderings
Other resources on Apostle = Torrey
International Std Bible Encyclopedia,
Holman Bible Dictionary.
Unger's Bible Dictionary writes that...
The Jews, it is said, called the collector of the half shekel,
which every Israelite paid annually to the Temple, an
those who carried about encyclical letters from their rulers."
M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The
New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press)
parallel of apostle
is our English word ambassador defined by Webster as
diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign
government as the resident representative of his own government for a
special and often temporary diplomatic assignment". (cf Ep 6:20-note)
related verb apostello is used in the
Septuagint or LXX to describe the LORD
to Pharaoh so that you may bring My people, the sons of
Israel, out of Egypt (Ex 3:10)
times in the NT
carried the broad meaning of one sent as a messenger or delegate with
instructions from a group or an individual (cf
In its broadest sense, apostle can refer to all believers, because every
believer is sent into the world as a witness for Christ. But the term
is primarily used as a specific and unique title for the thirteen men
(the Twelve, with Matthias replacing Judas, and Paul) whom Christ
personally chose and commissioned to authoritatively proclaim the
gospel and lead the early church. The thirteen apostles not only were
all called directly by Jesus but all were witnesses of His
resurrection, Paul having encountered Him on the Damascus Road after
His ascension. Those thirteen apostles were given direct revelation of
God’s Word to proclaim authoritatively, the gift of healing, and the
power to cast out demons (Mt 10:1).
By these signs their teaching authority was verified (cf. 2Co
Their teachings became the foundation of the church (Ep 2:20-note),
and their authority extended beyond local bodies of believers to the
entire believing world.
In the present context Peter uses
in its more common specialized or restricted meaning.
The authority of Peter's message did not derive from the messenger but
from the Sender.
Acts 1:21, 22
Peter delineates the necessary qualifications of this latter group:
Therefore it is
necessary that of the
men who have
time that the
went in and out
day that He was
taken up from
witness with us of
So as used
here an apostle was
a man who had seen the risen Messiah and who was sent forth by Him with
His full authority to plant the flag of faith in every community to
which His master led him. Peter was Christ's emissary and spoke with
His authority. Peter who in the past had often manifested a "foot
shaped" mouth is now the mouthpiece of the King of kings. In He
the holy brethren were called to "consider
Jesus being the ultimate emissary sent out on mission and given "all
authority...in heaven and on earth"
of the Father.
While there are no apostles today (although we hear many
who lay claim to this title -- beware!) it is certainly to be expected
that believers, regardless of the spiritual gift they possess,
minister their gift as those sent on a mission with authority for as
Paul says in (2Co
ambassadors for Christ."
Note that by
designating himself an "apostle
of Jesus Christ", Peter called attention not to himself (as he often seemed to do in the
gospels) but to the One Who commissioned him. The double designation
is by design as it summarizes His true nature, Jesus
being the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, both
names meaning "salvation
and representing His humanity (fully Man).
is the Greek translation of of the Hebrew term "Messiah"
which means "Anointed" or the divine One (fully God) the
Jews were looking for and of Whom the OT bore prophetic witness. And
so for Peter and the early church the full name "Jesus Christ"
embodied their basic conviction that the human Jesus
was the anointed
the Bringer of messianic redemption (cf Acts 3:20)
Despite the strong acceptance by the early church fathers, some
contemporary scholars feel that the Greek text of this letter is
simply too polished to have originated from the pen of Peter for the
Greek text in this letter is even "smoother" than Paul’s and naturally
one would expect the latter's Greek to be far more
John MacArthur addresses this issue of the Petrine authorship:
"Because of his (Peter's) unique prominence, there
was no shortage in the early church of documents falsely claiming to
be written by Peter. That the Apostle Peter is the author of 1 Peter,
however, is certain....The only significant doubt to be raised about
Peter’s authorship arises from the rather classical style of Greek
employed in the letter. Some have argued that Peter, being an
“unlearned” fisherman (Acts 4:13), could not have written in
sophisticated Greek, especially in light of the less classical style
of Greek employed in the writing of 2 Peter. However, this argument is
not without a good answer. In the first place, that Peter was
“unlearned” does not mean that he was illiterate, but only that he was
without formal, rabbinical training in the Scriptures. Moreover,
though Aramaic may have been Peter’s primary language, Greek would
have been a widely spoken second language in Palestine. It is also
apparent that at least some of the authors of the NT, though not
highly educated, could read the Greek of the OT Septuagint (see James’
use of the
Acts 15:14, 14, 16, 17, 18). Beyond these evidences of Peter’s
ability in Greek, Peter also explained (1Pe 5:12-note) that he wrote this
letter “by Silvanus,” also known as Silas. Silvanus was likely the
messenger designated to take this letter to its intended readers. But
more is implied by this statement in that Peter is acknowledging that
Silvanus served as his secretary, or amanuensis. Dictation was common
in the ancient Roman world (cf. Paul and Tertius; Ro 16:22-note), and
secretaries often could aid with syntax and grammar. So, Peter, under
the superintendence of the Spirit of God, dictated the letter to Silvanus, while Silvanus, who also was a prophet (Acts
15:32), may have
aided in some of the composition of the more classical Greek."
TO THOSE WHO
RESIDE AS ALIENS: eklektois parepidemois diasporas: (See
& Strangers; see
Characteristics of pilgrims in
Thompson Chain Reference)
temporary residents (GWT)
those away from their homes
living as foreigners
those who have settled down alongside a pagan population
those temporarily residing abroad" (NET)
The Greek literally reads "to the chosen sojourners"
or "to the elect strangers".
1. Reside: as Aliens-1Peter
1:2, 2:11- See notes -
2. Lifestyle: Holiness - 1Peter 1:13; 14;15; 1:16 -
See notes -
3. Responsibility: To do What is Right - 1Peter 2:15;
2:20; 3:6; 3:13;3:17; 4:19 -
See notes -1Pe 2:15;
Glory to God -
1Peter 2:12; 4:16-see notes
Personal Suffering - 1Pe 2:20, 3:14; 15; 16; 17,
4:19, 5:9; 5:10-see notes
(3927) (parepidemos from para = near
by and here
implies a transitory sense describing one who passes near but on to something
epidemos = stranger, epidemos from epi
= in or among + demos = a people)
Parepidemos is used 3 times
in the NT (Heb 11:13; 1Pet 1:1; 2:11)
and is translated in NAS as exiles, 1; reside as aliens,
1; strangers, 1. KJV translates it twice as "pilgrim".
means a stranger alongside and so a stranger or sojourner. This person
is not simply one who is passing through, but a foreigner who has
settled down, however briefly, next to or among the native people.
What a picture of the believer in the midst of a crooked and perverse
Parepidemos describes one who makes a brief
stay in a strange or foreign place, who sojourns
(stays as a temporary resident) or who resides
temporarily among a native people to whom he or she does not
belong. The parepidemos did not expect to be regarded as a native of the place
he resided. Beloved are you
becoming too comfortable and too familiar with this evil world system
which is "devolving" and corrupting almost daily before our very eyes
(and ears)? Remember that you are an "alien".
Two cognate words (words related
by derivation), parepidemeo and parepidemia, are used in
inscriptions in connection with civil servants who distinguish
themselves for exemplary conduct while on international duty.
Vincent writes that
parepidemos refers to
"Persons sojourning for a brief
season in a foreign country. Though applied primarily to Hebrews
scattered throughout the world (Ge 23:4; Ps 39:12
parepidemos is used in Greek of both these OT passages), it
has here a wider, spiritual sense, contemplating Christians as having
their citizenship in heaven." (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the
New Testament. Vol. 1, Page 3-628)
In chapter two Peter uses parepidemos
to exhort his readers
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to (continually) abstain
from fleshly lusts (sensual urges, passions of your lower nature),
which (continually) wage war against the soul. (1Pe 2:11-note)
(Note: The Christian life is a continual war, not a casual cake
In the last use of
parepidemos in the NT the writer of Hebrews referring to the
patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) records that "
died in faith (controlled and sustained by their faith, cp He 11:1-note), without
receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them
from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers (xenos) and exiles (parepidemos) on the earth." (He
For the person of faith, God’s promise is as good as
the reality. His promise of the glory ahead (cp Titus 2:13-note was as encouraging and
certain to the patriarchs as actually possessing it could have been.
They were exiles or refugees in their own Promised Land. They
refused the temptation and urge to settle down and become
comfortable in this present world (Gal 1:4). Their desire was to pass through
the world without taking any of its character upon themselves, knowing
that this world and even its lusts is passing away (1Jn 2:17-note).
Their hearts were set on pilgrimage described by the psalmist below. These faithful
patriarchs were passing through the promised land of Canaan to a better
land. Let all God's
faithful family continually refuse the lure of the passing pleasures
the sins of this world have to offer and continually seek first His
kingdom and His righteousness
speaks of this "alien mindset" declaring
How blessed is the man
whose strength is in Thee. In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
(Ps 84:5) (See
Martyred missionary Jim Elliot
was such a man of faith once declaring the powerful truth that...
He is no fool to give what
he cannot keep,
to gain what he cannot lose.
It was when Lot stopped being a sojourner, and became a resident in
Sodom (Ge 13:1-18), that he lost his consecration and his testimony and
everything he lived for went up in smoke! (Ge 19:1-29)
Keep reminding yourself that you are residing as an
alien in this present evil age
and do not be conformed to
(poured into the mold of) this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Ro 12:2-note)
I’m a Pilgrim (Maxwell)
I’m a pilgrim and a stranger,
Rough and thorny is the road,
Often in the midst of danger,
But it leads to God.
Clouds of darkness oft distress me;
Great and many are my foes;
Anxious cares and thoughts oppress me;
But my Father knows.
Oh, how sweet is this assurance,
’Midst the conflict and the strife,
Although sorrows past endurance
Follow me through life.
Home in prospect can still cheer me:
Yes, and give me sweet repose,
While I feel His presence near me,
For my Father knows.
Yes, He sees and knows me daily,
Watches over me in love;
Sends me help when foes assail me,
Bids me look above.
Soon my journey shall be ended,
Life is drawing to a close;
I shall then be well attended—
This my Father knows.
I shall then with joy behold Him;
Face to face my Savior see;
Fall with rapture, and adore Him
For His love to me.
Nothing more shall then distress me—
In the land of sweet repose:
Jesus stands engaged to bless me—
This my Father knows.
Peter's point in using
parepidemos is that God's saints are just passing through -- our
future and our hope is in a city
not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens (2Co 5:1).
need to live our lives with a song in our heart, especially a song
like the little chorus we used to sing in Sunday School...
This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
God wants His "chosen out
ones" to live like it (like they're chosen out of this world which
is passing away) and to focus their spirit, soul, heart and mind on
the world to come. This does not mean that we become so heavenly
minded that we are no earthly good but it does mean that we hold
lightly the things of this world and continually seek
things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." (Col
Spiritual Christians keep themselves “loosely
attached” to this world because they live for something and
Someone far better. We need to remember that our stay on earth is temporary until they were called
Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem"
Webster says an "alien"
is one "belonging to another person & place", a good
description of believers who are not their own and don't call this
world their home. Christians should be different, not odd. When you
are different, you attract people; when you are odd, you repel them.
The saint should understand that although he or she is just "passing
through" and this world which is not our home, it does not suggest
that we are to withdraw from the world. What this great truth does
mean is that the sojourning saint should view all circumstances
people in the light of eternity. The way we think about eternity will
determine the importance
we attach to people and things. It is true that as a man thinks in his
heart, so he (or she) is and so will his conduct be. It is because a
saint sees all things in the light of eternity that he is the best of
all citizens, for it is only in the light of eternity that the true
values of anything can be measured.
Note that the NIV translates
parepidemos as "strangers" but this should not be
taken to mean that saints are not well known by their neighbors, but
rather that their status is those who no longer are a native part of
the world scene
"for our citizenship is in heaven, from which also
we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ Who will transform
the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His
glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all
things to Himself." (see notes
Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp,
bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we
are seeking the city which is to come. (He 13:13, 14-notes)
of the Christian life as that of an "sojourner" is
beautifully illustrated in an early anonymous Christian work, Epistle to Diognetus
"Christians...reside in their
respective countries, but only as aliens. They take part in everything
as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners. Every foreign
land is their home, and every home a foreign land...They find
themselves in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They
spend their days on earth, but hold a citizenship in heaven."
Spurgeon gives an interesting
picture of how aliens should live
"Imagine that you are in a round
tower with slits in the walls used for shooting through with guns. Now
imagine that you are whirled around the inner circumference. Would you
appreciate the beauties of the surrounding landscape? No. But there
are openings in the wall. Yes, but your eyes are set for objects near
and do not have the time to adjust to distance as you are whirled past
the slits. It would be as if the wall were solid. So it is with
earthly living. The near and earthly wall obstructs the view. An
occasional slit is left open, perhaps a Sunday sermon or personal
Bible reading. Heaven might be seen through these, but the eye which
is set for the earthly cannot adjust itself to higher things during
such momentary glimpses. So long has the soul looked upon the world,
that when it is turned for a moment heavenward, it feels only a quiver
of inarticulate light. Unless you pause and look steadfastly, you will
not see or retain any distinct impression of the things which are
Wherever a Jew settled, his eyes were always towards Jerusalem. In
foreign countries his synagogues were so built that, when the
worshipper entered, he was facing towards Jerusalem. However useful a
citizen of his adopted country the Jew was, his greatest loyalty was
to Jerusalem. What a lesson for believers today. We should recognize
ourselves as temporary residents of the world on their way to their
eternal home. Our eyes should be
constantly drawn to our "heavenly Jerusalem"
It's amazing how the world's glitter fades when we begin to make it
our habit to continually set our minds on the things above and not on
the things on the earth (Col 3:1, 2, 3-see notes
practical standpoint especially for you men out there who may be
tempted from time to time by the lure of the seductive "secret"
sensuality so readily accessible on the internet - there is a computer
program that you need to examine.
It is called "Covenant Eyes" and it
actually monitors & records (at a central location) all your "pages
visited" and shares that information with an accountability partner
you have selected. Men, if this is not an issue with you that's fine
but if it is and you're serious about living as a "sojourner" who is
setting your mind on the things above, I highly recommend that you examine this relatively inexpensive program by
(I receive no
J C Philpot
in his work "Pearls" has a note entitled "Strangers!" (Aliens)
and introducing his thoughts with a question worth pondering...
What makes the children of God
The grace of God which calls them
out of this wretched world. Every man who carries the grace of
God in his bosom is necessarily, as regards the world, a
stranger in heart, as well as in profession, and life.
As Abraham was a stranger in
the land of Canaan;
as Joseph was a stranger in
the palace of Pharaoh;
as Moses was a stranger in
the land of Egypt;
as Daniel was a stranger in
the court of Babylon;
so every child of God is separated
by grace, to be a stranger in this ungodly world.
And if indeed we are to come out
from it and to be separate, the world must be as much a strange
place to us; for we are strangers to . . .
in our daily walk,
in our speech,
in our mind,
in our spirit,
in our judgment,
in our affections.
We will be strangers from . . .
the world's company,
the world's maxims,
the world's fashions,
the world's spirit.
"They confessed that they were
strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (see note
"I am a stranger with you and a
sojourner, as all my fathers were." Psalm 39:12
"I am but a stranger here on earth." Psalm 119:19 (Spurgeon's
The main character of a child of God is that he is a stranger upon
earth. One of the first effects of the grace of God upon our soul was
to separate us from the world, and make us feel ourselves strangers in
The world was once our home—the active, busy center of all our
thoughts, desires, and affections. But when grace planted imperishable
principles of life in our bosom, it at once separated us from the
world in heart and spirit,
if not in actual life and walk. We are strangers inwardly and
experimentally, by the power of divine grace making this world a
wilderness to us. (J. C. Philpot. Pearls).
THROUGHOUT: diasporas: (Dt 28:64; 32:26; Est 3:8; Ps 44:11; Jn
7:35; Jn 11:52; Jas 1:1)
(diaspora noun form of diaspeiro from dia = through
sow, scatter seed) literally
means "through a sowing". "Speiro" is the derivative from which
sperma the Greek word for “seed” comes. All this
to say that diaspora indicates a scattering abroad
which is a technical term to identify Jews living outside Palestine.
Diaspora is used 3 times in the NT (John
7:35; Jas 1:1; 1Pet 1:1)
and is translated:
dispersion, 1; dispersed, 1; scattered throughout, 1.
There are 8 uses
of diaspora in the
(Deut. 28:25; 30:4;
Neh. 1:9; Ps. 147:2; Isa. 49:6; Jer. 15:7; 34:17; Dan. 12:2; Jn. 7:35;
Jas. 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1)
various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the Jews were
separated and scattered into foreign countries “to the outmost parts
of heaven (Deut.
resources on dispersion
Some of these dispersions were
voluntary (of great importance during the Greco-Roman period when Jews
voluntarily migrated to all the chief towns of the civilized world,
chiefly for the sake of trade), while others were forced upon them by
the conquering nations (see below: Assyria, Babylon, Rome, etc).
Jewish dispersions were
predicted and sovereignly decreed by God if Israel rejected His
statutes and their soul abhorred His ordinances so as not to carry out
all of His commandments, thereby breaking His covenant. And so in
Leviticus we read God' s warning to Israel
You however, I will
scatter (diaspeiro in the Greek translation of the
Hebrew) among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as
your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste." (Lev
Moses warned Israel again that
"Jehovah will scatter (diaspeiro in the Greek translation of the Hebrew)
you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the
nations where Jehovah drives you." (Dt 4:27)
So clearly the various Jewish diasporas, especially those
secondary to foreign conquest, were the result of the sovereign
outworking of the righteous justice of Jehovah. He is faithful to keep
all of His "promises"!
God speaking to His prophet Ezekiel in exile in
Babylon explained that
I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword
among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. (Ezek
The majority of the nation of Israel were apparently not of the elect
(as this term refers to salvation), but God's grace and mercy
preserved a godly group ("the remnant") in the nation. There never has
been nor ever will be a complete end to Israel.
Click study of doctrine of
One of the most interesting and
strategic "dispersions" occurred in Acts 8, after the stoning
of Stephen, at which time
"a great persecution began against the
church in Jerusalem and they were scattered (diaspeiro)
throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria" and "those who had
been scattered (diaspeiro) went about preaching
the word." (Acts 8:4)
The church was
scattered like seed so that they might spread the "seed" of the Word
of God, the Gospel.
that Peter is referring to took place prior to the
world-wide dispersion associated with the Roman conquest and destruction of Jerusalem
the Holy Temple in 70AD. Therefore at the time of Peter's writing the majority of the Jews living
outside of Jerusalem and Palestine were living there by their own
choice, the chief reason being the opportunity for business activity
which the Gentile centers of population afforded. They were in these
strategic population centers when the Christian missionaries contacted
them. They had been providentially sown there by the Lord of the
become themselves disseminators of the gospel which was to be given to
the Jew first and then to the Greek (Gentile).
Diaspora is used
two other times in the NT:
(1) "The Dispersion among the Greeks" (Jn
refers to the Jews dwelling either among the Gentiles generally or
among nations that used the Greek language.
diaspora took place over several centuries. While its exact beginnings
are difficult to date, two major events greatly contributed to it. In
722 B. C. the Assyrians captured the Northern Kingdom
(Israel) (Ed note: 10 tribes). Following this victory, the
Assyrians resettled large numbers of the Israelites in Assyria (2Ki
17:6). In 586 B. C. the Babylonians captured the Southern Kingdom
(Judah) (Ed note: Actually composed of 2 tribes: Judah and
Benjamin) and followed the same policy of resettlement. Many of the
residents of Judah were transported to Babylon (2Ki 25:8, 9, 10, 11,
12). While some of these persons later returned to Judah, many of them
remained permanently in Babylon. Later, other wars fought by the
Greeks and Romans in Palestine helped scatter more of the Jewish
diaspora was further encouraged by severe economic conditions which
gripped Palestine. The warfare in the land disrupted the ability of
the people to make a living. Also, heavy taxes were exacted from the
people by the dominant foreign powers. This made life even more
difficult. Adding to this impulse to leave Palestine was the good
reception the Jews generally received in other lands. As a rule, they
were allowed to practice their own religion without interference. The
result of the diaspora was that by New Testament times as many Jews
lived outside of Palestine as lived within the land. In almost every
city which Paul visited on his missionary journeys, he found a Jewish
synagogue (Acts 14:1; 17:1,17:10; 18:4). The diaspora thus helped pave
the way for the spread of the gospel." (See
Holman Bible Dictionary)
(2) James describes himself as "James, a bond-servant of God and of
the Lord Jesus Christ (writing) to the twelve tribes (titule
used in NT to refer to nation of Israel) who are dispersed abroad...." (Jas
James is referring to any place in the world outside of Palestine.
Over the previous several hundred years, various conquerors (including
the Roman Pompey in 63 b.c. who carried hundreds of Jewish captives
back to Rome) had deported Jews from their homeland and spread them
throughout the known world. In addition, many other Jews had
voluntarily moved to other countries for business or other reasons
(cf. Acts 2:5-11). By New Testament times, many Jews lived abroad.
In fact by the time of Philo (20bc to 50ad), a Jewish philosopher of
Alexandria, Egypt, an estimated one million Jews lived in Alexandria.
An equal number had settled in both Persia and Asia Minor, and about
100,000 lived in Cyrenaica and Italy. The Jews who were dispersed
throughout the world in this manner outnumbered the Jews who remained
in their native land. Though the "twelve tribes" were scattered
(and are to this day), they are not "lost" being listed at the
close of biblical history in the Revelation record (Re 7:5, 6, 7, 8-see notes
Rienecker & Rogers add
The Jewish diaspora
came about through deportation and voluntary movement to a foreign
land. The people generally lived in their own settlement or quarters ("Jewish quarter")
in a foreign land but were still vitally joined to the land of
Palestine and the city of Jerusalem with her temple. There was always
hope for the eschatological re-gathering of those who had been
SOME OF THE USES
OF DIASPORA IN THE SEPTUAGINT
THE GREEK TRANSLATION OF HEBREW OT
Each of the four OT verses below
uses diaspora (used 8x total in the OT Greek
translation) in the Septuagint, which was translated ironically by
Jewish scholars who were themselves dispersed in Alexandria!
All four of these uses relate to the hope of re-gathering of the
believing Jewish remnant, which will be consummated at the end of this
age, specifically at the termination of the "great tribulation"
(click for a detailed chart overview of this critical time
(1) The Jewish hope
of a future re-gathering of those scattered is based on
a promise recorded by Moses:
"If your outcasts (diaspora) are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will
gather you, and from there He will bring you back." (Dt 30:4)
(2) The promise is
reiterated after the dispersion and return from Babylonian captivity,
"but if you return to Me and keep My
commandments and do them (this refers to the remnant of
Jews who place their faith in the Messiah and are saved, the
culmination of which will occur at the end of this age [Ro 11:26, 27-see notes
27]-- in that day when God
puts His law within them, writing it on their heart [see Jer 31:33, cf
Ezek 36:26, 27] fulfilling His promise of
the New Covenant) , though those of you who have been scattered
(diaspora) were in the most remote part of
the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the
place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell." (Neh 1:9)
Although God had brought some of the Jews back to Jerusalem after the
dispersion to Babylon, as discussed there awaits a future promised
re-gathering of believing Jews at the end of this present age.
(3) The psalmist
similarly affirms the promise of re-gathering of the disaspora
"Jehovah builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the outcasts (diaspora) of Israel." (Ps
(4) Isaiah records a
similar affirmation by God declaring
"It is too small a thing that
You should be My Servant (the Father speaking to the Son, the
Messiah) to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the
preserved ones ("the scattered ones" =
diaspora) of Israel. I will also make You a light of the
nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." (Isaiah
GALATIA, CAPPADOCIA, ASIA, AND BITHYNIA: parepidemois diasporas Pontou,
Galatias, Kappadokias, Asias kai Bithunias: (Click
here for nice MAP) (Pontus,
These were all Roman province in "Asia Minor". Jews from
Pontus, Cappadocia, Asia had been present at Pentecost (Acts
2:9).These were contiguous states stretching along the southern shore
of the Black Sea, just those regions in which Paul wanted to minister
but was precluded by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6, 7, 8). There were a number
of churches in those provinces. For example, we know that in the
province of Asia there were at least eight churches. Seven of those
churches received letters from the Lord Jesus in Revelation 2 and 3.
Another church in the province of Asia, the one at Colossae, is not
mentioned in Revelation.
Clearly, this area was divinely preserved for Peter’s ministry, and
his mission was obviously successful, for Pliny, the Roman governor of
this region, pays eloquent though reluctant testimony to the steadfast
faith of the "aliens" to whom Peter had written. Years after Peter had
written this letter, Pliny the Younger was put in charge of Bithynia
and wrote to the Emperor Trajan concerning the Christians ("Christiani").
He tried to make them recant by force and have them acknowledge the
pagan gods, bow down before the image of the emperor and curse ("maledixerunt")
Christ. Some did, others did not, so Pliny asked for advice. He writes
"It seems to me to be necessary to get advice because many in every
age group, every status of life and both male & female are now in
danger and will be in the future. This plague of superstition has
spread over cities and over the fields and villages, but I believe
that its advance can be stopped." (Pliny the Younger: Letters,
Book 10, Letter 16, circa 112AD).
Christianity in fact was so
entrenched in this region that most of the pagan temples were
deserted, no doubt a visible fruit borne by the truth expounded in
CHOSEN: eklektois parepidemois diasporas: (1Peter 2:9; Dt 7:6;
Isa 65:9; Mt 24:22 ,24, ,31 Mk 13:20,22,27; Lk 18:7; Jn 15:16, 17, 18,
19; Jn 15:19; 2Jn 1:1,13) (Ro 8:29, 33, 11:2, 5, 6, 7, 28, Ep
1:4, 5; Col 3:12, 2Ti 2:10, Titus 1:1--
Related Resources on Election:
For more notes on this difficult doctrine of election see notes on
the following verses - type in "election" and search the page for the
notes on related doctrines of "calling" & choosing"
Notes on 2 Peter
translations - whom God the Father knew and chose long ago
The NASB is not an accurate rendering of the original word order. A
more literal word order is maintained in Young's Literal
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the
choice sojourners of the dispersion".
The Amplified also
retains the original word order:
"Peter, an apostle (a
special messenger) of Jesus Christ, [writing] to the elect
exiles of the dispersion scattered (sowed) abroad..."
following discussion is primarily a word study on eklektos and is not
intended to be a definitive study on the doctrine of election. Please
refer to other resources if would like more in depth and specific
discussion of the doctrine of election. Note also that this word study
has no major discussion of the role of free will in salvation but that
does not mean I do not believe in free will. Read the balance approach
of Dr. J Vernon McGee who said
are certain things which I believe that to me are not contradictory,
but they certainly are paradoxical. Election and free will happen to
be one of those...There is a theological argument that rages today on
election or free will. There are some people who put all their eggs in
the basket of election. There are others who put all their eggs in the
basket of free will. I’m not proposing to reconcile the two because I
have discovered that I cannot. If you had met me the year that I
entered seminary, or the year I graduated, I could have reconciled
them for you. I never have been as smart as I was my first year and my
last year in seminary. I knew it all then. I could reconcile election
and free will, and it was a marvelous explanation. Now I’ve even
forgotten what it was. It was pretty silly, if you want to know the
can argue about divine election and free will all you want
to, but it works. You cannot make it work out by arguing,
but it sure works out in life, friend...
comments on John 6:37 (All that
the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh
to me I will in no wise cast out.)
free will are both in this verse. “All that the Father
giveth me shall come to me” states a truth, and that is
election. But wait a minute! “And him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out” is also true, and “him that cometh to me” is free will.
I don’t know how to reconcile them, but they are both true. The Father
gives men to Christ, but men have to come. And the ones that come are
the ones, apparently, whom the Father gives to Him. You and I are down
here, and we don’t see into the machinery of heaven. I don’t know how
God runs that computer of election, but I know that He has given to
you and to me a free will and we have to exercise it. Because Spurgeon
preached a “whosoever will” gospel, someone said to him, “If I
believed like you do about election, I wouldn’t preach like you do.”
Spurgeon’s answer was something like this, “If the Lord had put a
yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, I’d go up and down the
street lifting up shirttails, finding out who had the yellow stripe,
and then I’d give them the gospel. But God didn’t do it that way. He
told me to preach the gospel to every creature that ‘whosoever will
may come.’” Jesus says, “and him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out.” So, my friend, you can argue about election all you want
to, but you can come. And if you come, He’ll not cast you out. Someone
may ask, “You mean that if I’m not the elect I can still come?” My
friend, if you come, you will be the elect. How tremendous this
is!"...Does election shut out certain people? No. Life eternal is to
know the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent. Do you have
a desire to know the true God and Jesus Christ? Then you are not shut
out. You must be one of the elect. He gives eternal life to those who
have heard the call and have responded down in their hearts. They have
come to Christ of their own free will...We cannot avoid the doctrine
of election, nor can we reconcile God’s sovereign election with man’s
free will. Both are true. Let’s keep in mind that this is His
universe. He is sovereign. I am but a little creature on earth, and He
could take away the breath from me in the next moment. Do I have the
audacity to stand on my two feet, look Him in the face, and question
what He does? That would be rebellion of the worst sort. I bow to my
Creator and my Redeemer, knowing that whatever choice He makes is
right. By the way, if you do not like what He does, perhaps you should
move out of His universe and start one of your own so you can make
your own rules. But as long as you live in God’s universe, you will
have to play according to His rules. Little man needs to bow his stiff
neck and stubborn knees before Almighty God"...I cannot repeat often
enough that election is God’s choosing us in Christ. I emphasize again
that men are not lost because they have not been elected. They are
lost because they are sinners and that is the way they want it and
that is the way they have chosen. The free will of man is never
violated because of the election of God. The lost man makes his own
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
(Listen to the Mp3's on this section -
C. H. Spurgeon, when asked how he
reconciled God’s election with man's free will replied, “I never have
to reconcile friends!” Touché! He also commented that...
You might go for fifty years to
some places of worship, and never hear the word “elect” even
mentioned. Modern ministers seem to be ashamed of the grand old
doctrine of election; but it was not so with the apostles and the
early Christians, they were accustomed to speak of one another as the
elect of God. The doctrine of election was most precious to their
hearts, and therefore Peter writes: “elect according to the
foreknowledge of God the Father,”
The first Christians were not so
afraid of the doctrine of election as some are now-a-days. Peter was
not ashamed to address the saints as the elect of God, for so, indeed,
they are, if they be saints at all. It is he that chose them, not
because they were sanctified, but that they might be sanctified —
chose them to eternal life through sanctification. Oh! happy are they
who by grace have made their calling and election sure (see note
2 Peter 1:10),
and now ascribe all the glory of their salvation to the sovereign
choice of God. “Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied.”
from verb eklego which in middle voice [eklegomai] means
select or pick out for one's self which is derived from ek
=out + lego =call) means literally the "called out ones"
or "chosen out ones". The idea of eklektos is the
ones who have been chosen for one's self, selected out of a larger number.
Eklektos - 22x in 22v
- Mt 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Mk 13:20, 22, 27; Lk 18:7; 23:35; Ro
8:33; 16:13; Col 3:12; 1Ti 5:21; 2Ti 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1Pe 1:1;
2:4, 6, 9; 2Jn 1:1, 13; Rev 17:14. The NAS renders ekletos
as = choice(2), choice
man(1), chosen(1), chosen(9), chosen one(1), elect(8). Note however that the proper interpretation of the meaning of elect
in each of these NT uses depends on the
In regard to election as related to salvation,
Wuest comments that
election does not imply the rejection of the rest (those
not chosen out), but is the outcome of the love of God lavished
upon those chosen-out."
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Webster's definition of elect
is not bad --
"to pick out; to select from among two or more, that
which is preferred...in theology, to designate, choose or
select as an object of (divine) mercy or favor".
The 1828 Webster's is even better writing
that election means...
theology, divine choice; predetermination of God, by which persons are
distinguished as objects of mercy, become subjects of grace, are
sanctified and prepared for heaven. (Webster, N. Noah Webster's first
edition of An American dictionary of the English language)
Someone else has written that
Election is God's eternal choice of
persons unto everlasting life -- not because of foreseen merit in
them, but of His mere mercy in Christ - in consequence of which choice
they are called, justified, and glorified.
You may not realize it but you've
sung about the "elect" if you've ever sung
"The Church's One Foundation" because the second stanza (in
the original version) begins
"Elect from every nation...." (Note: When you
click this hymn on "Cyberhymnal",
you will notice that the second stanza has been ALTERED! "Elect
from every nation"
has been removed and replaced by "She is from every nation"! How tragic to see the
Drift from Doctrine which is sound and true! I think the writer Samuel
Stone would roll over in his grave to see this downgrade regarding the
truth of election!
for the original UNALTERED VERSION! Election is a
doctrine worth singing about, worth studying and eminently worth
Have you encouraged your sheep
with the glorious truth that they have been chosen (?)
in Him (Christ) (WHEN?)
before the foundation of the world, (WHY?
TO WHAT ETERNAL PURPOSE?)
that (they) should be holy and blameless before Him" Ep1:4-note)
Comment: As R B Kuiper put it "When
God chose certain persons unto eternal life he did not do so in order
that they might be in Christ, but He viewed them from eternity as
being in Christ.") (Oh, that the Bride would be diligent to keep
her gown spotless, adorned in fine linen which is the righteous deeds
of the saints [holy ones] - see Re 19:7, 8-see notes
The prince of preachers, C H
Spurgeon was right when he said
There seems to be an inveterate
prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine (of election) and
although most other doctrines will be received by professing
Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one
seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded.
doctrine of election is surely "solid food" and as such it is tempting
as a pastor to avoid preaching this truth ,but remember that
food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses
trained to discern good and evil." (Heb 5:14-note)
Comment: As George Whitfield put it "Let a man go to the grammar school of
faith and repentance before he goes to the university of election and
Jeffrey writes that
of divine election, with its subheadings of
predestination and divine foreknowledge, provide the millstones by
which countless theological efforts in Western Christendom have been
ground. Yet in its rudiments, election means simply the act of
choice whereby God in love picks an individual or group out of a
larger company for a purpose or destiny of his own appointment.
(A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English literature. Grand
Rapids, Mich. Eerdmans)
God's angels are referred to as "chosen (eklektos)
angels" (1Ti 5:21).
Jesus is referred to as "the Christ of God,
His Chosen (eklektos) One.” (Lk 23:35) and "choice (eklektos) and
precious in the sight of God" (1Pe 2:4-note).
Peter quotes the Septuagint translation of Isa 28:16 writing that "this is
contained in Scripture (in Isa 28:16):
BEHOLD I LAY IN ZION A
CHOICE (eklektos) STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER
stone AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED" (1Pe
2:6-note) which again clearly refers to the Messiah.
called "a choice (eklektos) man in the Lord."
The meaning of eklektos in uses such as this conveys the idea of the
"best of class", thus one who is excellent or preeminent. Colloquially
we might say "the cream of the crop."
This section in 1 Peter 1:1-2 is the most concise passage of
Scripture dealing with the doctrine of election. Note how Peter
begins his letter with theology, because he knows that the truths
about their sure election will strengthen suffering saints. Elect is
plural in this verse and as such refers to those who are chosen of God
(“selected out ones”) for
salvation, who enjoy His favor and who are called to lead a holy life
in everlasting communion with Him. In chapter two Peter goes on to
inform his readers that
they are a "chosen (eklektos) race
(offspring, posterity, generation, kin)" (1Pe 2:9-note),
in a sense designating believers as a separate "race" of men (cf
2Cor 5:17), who have been "elected"
by God to
"proclaim the excellencies of Him
Who called" them "out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1Pe 2:9-note)
Comment: The elect are to
proclaim the gospel.
The elect is used
three times in Jesus' Olivet Discourse, our Lord declaring to His
believing Jewish disciples (Peter, James, John and Andrew were the
only ones present) that
those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for
the sake of the elect (this is the first use of eklektos
in the NT) those days shall be cut short."
(Mt 24:22, cf Mt 24:24)
He went on to declare that
at the end of the Great Tribulation He would
send forth His
angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect
from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
In context "the elect" in Matthew 24 is referring to Jews
who place their faith in Messiah during the
Tribulation at the
end of this age. Obviously there will be Gentiles saved during this
time (and they are also clearly of the elect), but the in the context,
the Gentiles do not appear to be the primary
group of "the elect" Jesus is addressing in the Olivet Discourse.
MacArthur commenting on who the "elect" are in Matthew 24 writes that
"The elect could represent the nation of
Israel, which is often referred to in the Old Testament as God’s
elect, or chosen, people. It could also include those who become
Christians during the Tribulation (Re 7:14-note). Both applications
seem appropriate, because God will preserve a redeemed remnant of
the nation of Israel as well as some redeemed Gentiles." (Matthew
The elect of God is
a privilege which conveys the responsibility to walk worthy of the
calling to which we have been called. Thus Paul reminds the Colossians
"those who have been chosen of
God, holy and beloved" should strive to "put on a heart of
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience..." (Col
clearly accepted the doctrine of election writing to Timothy that
this reason (the preeminence of Christ and the power of God's
word - 2Ti 2:9-note) I endure all things
(WHY? WHAT DROVE PAUL?) for the sake of those who are chosen (ELECTED
- destined for salvation but not yet brought into this glorious state), that they
also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it
eternal glory. (2Ti 2:10-note)
The doctrine of election did not
discourage Paul from evangelizing the lost, but in fact had the
opposite effect. Don't let the truth about election discourage you
from proclaiming the gospel to all men.
last use of eklektos in the NT, we see that at the end of
this age rebellious men led by the Antichrist
will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome
them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are
with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." (Re
The elect will have the incredible
privilege of witnessing the overthrow of the final evil world ruler
and all those who follow him.
Eklektos was used in secular Greek to describe anything
that was specially chosen, such as specially chosen ("choice") fruit, articles
specially chosen because they are so outstandingly well made or picked
troops specially chosen for some great exploit.
Eklektos carries the accessory ideas of kindness, favor,
love. Specifically in regard to salvation, God’s choice is part
of His predetermined plan, not based on any merit in those who are chosen, but solely on His grace and love. The verb form (eklegomai
is used in Ephesians 1:4-note
where it is rendered “chose,” referring to the act of God in sovereign
grace choosing out certain ones from among mankind for Himself "before
the foundation of the world". The verb (eklegomai) is middle voice (reflexive...conveys
the sense of "for Himself") which indicates that God as the subject
was acting in His own interest.
Horatio Bonar's hymn beautifully
depicts the Father's electing love for His "wandering sheep."
I WAS A WANDERING
by Horatio Bonar
I was a
I did not love the fold:
I did not love my Shepherd's voice,
I would not be controlled.
I was a way-ward child,
I did not love my home:
I did not love my Father's voice,
I loved afar to roam.
The Shepherd sought His sheep,
the Father sought His child:
He followed me o'er vale and hill,
o'er deserts waste and wild:
He found me nigh to death,
famished, and faint and lone,
He bound me with the bands of love,
He saved the wand'ring one.
Jesus my Shepherd is:
'Twas He that loved my soul,
'Twas He that washed me in His blood,
'Twas He that made me whole:
'Twas He that sought the lost,
That found the wand'ring sheep:
'Twas He that bro't me to the fold,
'Tis He that still doth keep.
No more a wand'ring sheep,
I love to be controlled,
I love my tender Shepherd's voice,
I love the peaceful fold:
No more a way-ward Child,
I seek no more to roam:
I love my heavenly Father's voice,
I love, I love His home!
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary writes that election
and free act of God by which He calls those who become part of His
kingdom and special beneficiaries of His love and blessings. The Bible
describes the concept of election in three distinct ways. (1) Election
sometimes refers to the choice of Israel (see next paragraph) and the church as a people
for special service and privileges. (2) Election may also refer to the
choice of a specific individual to some office or to perform some
special service. (3) Still other passages of the Bible refer to the
election of individuals to be children of God and heirs of eternal
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Numbers added)
The principle of God's
sovereign good pleasure in election is illustrated In the OT
Israel where God reminds Israel
have chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the
peoples who are on the face of the earth." (Dt 7:6).
The "election" of Israel differs from election of believers in the NT
as the former election is national and does not necessarily imply salvation of
those chosen, whereas election in the NT refers only to those who are
The Greek word eklektos
occurs some 83 times in the
(Gen. 23:6; 41:2, 4f, 7, 18, 20; Exod. 14:7; 30:23; Num. 11:28; Deut.
12:11; Jdg. 20:15, 34; 1 Sam. 24:2; 26:2; 2 Sam. 8:8; 21:6; 22:27; 1
Ki. 4:20, 23; 2 Ki. 8:12; 19:23; 1 Chr. 7:40; 9:22; 16:13; 18:8; Ezr.
5:8; Neh. 5:18; Est. 8:12; Job 37:11; Ps. 18:26; 78:31; 89:3, 19;
105:6, 43; 106:5, 23; 141:4; Prov. 8:19; 12:24; 17:3; Cant. 5:15;
6:9f; Isa. 22:7f; 28:16; 40:30; 42:1; 43:20; 45:4; 49:2; 54:12; 65:9,
15, 23; Jer. 3:19; 10:17; 22:7; 25:34; 31:39; 46:15; 48:15; Lam. 1:15;
5:13f; Ezek. 7:20; 19:12, 14; 25:9; 27:20, 24; 31:16; Dan. 11:15; Amos
5:11; Hab. 1:16; Hag. 2:7; Zech. 7:14; 11:16). Some of these
occurrences utilize eklektos to describe those who are or
who will be saved. For example, in a prophecy describing a believing
remnant of Israel who would come into the millennial kingdom of
Messiah, God promises
I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and
an heir of My mountains from Judah; even My chosen (elect =
eklektos) ones shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell
there. (Isa 65:9)
The faithful Jewish remnant will inherit the land of Israel at
the end of the Great Tribulation, which immediately precedes the
millennial reign of Christ from an earthly Jerusalem. In the context
of the 1000 year reign God goes on to add that
"My chosen (elect =
eklektos) shall not toil in vain, neither shall they beget children to
be cursed; for they are a seed blessed of God, and their offspring
with them." (Isa 65:23)
One familiar use of eklektos is
found in Mt 22:14 where Jesus concludes a
parable on the king's wedding feast with the declaration
are called, but few are chosen (eklektos)."
How is this to be interpreted? How does the use of "call" in
Matthew's gospel differ from the use of "call" by Paul (and
Peter)? The "call" spoken of in this parable is referred to as the “general
call” (“external” call)—a summons to repentance and faith that is
inherent in the gospel message. This call extends to all who hear the
gospel but clearly does not constitute or guarantee election. For
example the Jews heard but did not heed the call, as Paul explains in
(Ro 10:16, 17, 18-notes).
“Many” hear it; “few” respond (Mt 7:13, 14-notes). Those who respond are the “chosen,”
the elect and for them the call has been an "effectual
call". In the writings of Paul and Peter “call” usually
equates with those who are the elect and thus is an effectual call (see
sermon by Spurgeon).
D L Moody said it this way
are the whosoever wills, the non-elect are the whosoever "won'ts".
Schematically the difference is
depicted in the table below:
In Matthew 22:14
"The Called" may
or may not = "The Chosen"
In Paul & Peter's
"The Called" =
This truth of “effectual
call” is often referred to as God’s irresistible call extended to the
elect (Ro 8:30-note).
This “effectual call” is the supernatural drawing of God for Jesus
No one can come to Me, unless the Father Who sent
Me draws him... (Jn 6:44)
In Jesus' parable here in Matthew 22, a "general call" is in
view, and this call extends to all who hear (presumably the gospel) —
this call is the great “whosoever will” of the gospel (cf. Re 22:17-note).
So now we see the proper balance between human
responsibility and divine sovereignty: the “called” who reject
the invitation do so willingly, and therefore their exclusion from the
kingdom is perfectly just. The “chosen” enter the kingdom only
because of the grace of God in choosing and drawing them. All Israel
had been invited, but only a remnant would accept the invitation and
follow Jesus. Those Jews who accepted this general call were clearly
the chosen. Now are you totally confused?
Election is not an easy doctrine for finite man to
understand and so it is not a popular doctrine. Election however does allow
God to be God and all attempt to make it "logical" in our
detracts from the sovereignty of God in salvation. If one has difficulty resolving
the doctrines of divine election and man's free will, the difficulty
lies not in God's plan but in man’s mind. One must accept that Scripture
teaches both doctrines. The doctrine of election is a "sacred secret"
that belongs to God's children, a "family truth" intended to foster
the welfare of believers, and to strengthen and encourage saints in
their affliction. It is not a doctrine that believers can cogently explain to
the unsaved. The miracle of divine election does not depend on
anything that we are or that we have done, for If God saved a sinner
on the basis of our merit or works, nobody would be saved. Election
and salvation is all through God’s grace that it might all bring glory to God.
Andrew Fuller remarks, in a letter
to two relatives:—"I used to think that the doctrine of election was a
reason why we need not pray, and I fear there are many who split upon
this rock, who think it is to no purpose to pray, as things will be as
they will be. But I now see that the doctrine of election is the
greatest encouragement instead of a discouragement to prayer. He that
decreed that any one should be finally saved, decreed that it should
be in the way of prayer; as much as he that has decreed what we shall
possess of the things of this life, has decreed that it shall be in
the way of industry; and as we never think of being idle in common
business, because God has decreed what we shall possess of this
world's good, so neither should we be slothful in the business of our
souls, because our final state is decreed." — Feathers for Arrows
O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice
Oh, happy day, that fixed my
On thee, my Saviour and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.
O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.
’Tis done: the great transaction’s done!
I am the Lord’s and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.
Now rest, my long divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest.
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heavenly pleasures fill my breast.
High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life’s latest hour I bow
And bless in death a bond so dear.
Some quotes on election from
well respected saints...
Thou didst seek us when we sought
thee not; didst seek us indeed that we might seek thee. - Augustine
Man is not converted because he
wills to be, but he wills to be because he is ordained to election. -
God chooses us, not because we
believe, but that we may believe. - Augustine
You begin at the wrong end if you
first dispute about your election. Prove your conversion, and then
never doubt your election. - Joseph Alleine
Election is a doctrine I am called
upon to believe; evangelism is a command I am called upon to obey. -
At the heart of the election
doctrine throbs God's freedom. - Carl F. H. Henry
Election demands evangelism. All of
God's elect must be saved. Not one of them may perish. And the gospel
is the means by which God bestows saving faith upon them. - R. B.
Nothing could be further from the
truth than the suggestion that God's choice destroys moral effort on
our part. - Sinclair Ferguson
None can know their election but by
their conformity to Christ; for all that are chosen are chosen to
sanctification. - Matthew Henry
Election, so far from undermining
evangelism, undergirds it, for it provides the only hope of its
succeeding in its aim. - J. I. Packer
Election is always to
sanctification. Those whom Christ chooses out of mankind, he chooses
not only that they may be saved, but that they may bear fruit, and
fruit that can be seen. All other election beside this is a mere vain
delusion, and a miserable invention of man. - J. C. Ryle
Our election is not based on our
wills but on the purposes of the will of God. - R. C. Sproul
God has not chosen us because we
were holy, or because he foresaw we should become holy, but in order
that we might be holy. - Charles Simeon
Until we have come to the place
where we can sing about election with a full heart we have not grasped
the spirit of the New Testament teaching. - Sinclair Ferguson
It is idle to seek assurance of
election outside of holiness of life. - B B. Warfield
Amiable agnostics will talk
cheerfully about man's search for God. For me, they might as well talk
about the mouse's search for a cat... God closed in on me. - C. S.
The believer who knows his own
heart will ever bless God for election. - J. C. Ryle
You must first deny the
authenticity and full inspiration of the Holy Scripture before you can
legitimately and truly deny election. - C. H. Spurgeon
Election is the cause of our
vocation and vocation is the sign of our election. - Thomas Watson
Sanctification is the earmark of
Christ's elect sheep. - Thomas Watson
God never repents of his electing
love. - Thomas Watson
The realization that we are
predestined and elected to life is one of the mightiest incentives to
Christian living. - W. H. Griffith Thomas
As God did not at first choose you
because you were high, so he will not forsake you because you are low.
- John Flavel
Let a man go to the grammar school
of faith and repentance before he goes to the university of election
and predestination. - George Whitefield
Who Shall the Lord's Elect
Who shall the Lord’s
’Tis God that justifies their souls;
And mercy, like a mighty stream,
O’er all their sins divinely rolls.
Who shall adjudge the saints to hell?
’Tis Christ that suffered in their stead;
And, the salvation to fulfill,
Behold Him rising from the dead!
He lives! He lives and sits above,
For ever interceding there:
Who shall divide us from His love?
Or what should tempt us to despair?
Shall persecution, or distress,
Famine, or sword, or nakedness?
He that hath loved us bears us through,
And makes us more than conquerors too.
Faith hath an overcoming power;
It triumphs in the dying hour:
Christ is our life, our joy, our hope,
Nor can we sink with such a prop.
Not all that men on earth can do,
Nor powers on high, nor powers below,
Shall cause His mercy to remove,
Or wean our hearts from Christ our love.
Pastor Steven Cole has a
well reasoned approach to a thoughtful believer's study of difficult
doctrines like election...
Before we examine the text (Ed:
see his sermon on 2Timothy 1:9
Why Suffer for the Gospel?),
I want to respond to a frequent objection that I hear that goes like
this: “Steve, why do you put such a strong emphasis on God’s
sovereignty in salvation? You’re always bringing up the doctrine of
election. It’s just a divisive issue that gets people upset. Some have
left this church because you hammer so much on this. Why not just
emphasize other things that aren’t so controversial? Besides, people
want to hear more practical truth. This may have been an interesting
topic in seminary, but we need practical help with our problems. So,
Here is my response. First, the
reason that I mention the subject of God’s sovereignty so often is
that the Bible mentions it often. I preach through the Bible verse to
verse. If it’s in the text, I talk about it, even if it’s
controversial. It just so happens that the Bible often talks about
God’s sovereignty with regard to our salvation. Not only Paul, but
also Jesus spoke often about these matters. But I cannot be faithful
in preaching the whole counsel of God if I tiptoe around the subject
of God’s sovereign election. I realize that it is difficult to
understand and that it takes time to grasp these things. It took me a
long time to wrestle with these truths before I embraced them. I grant
you the time to struggle. Because of this, I feel the need to take the
time to explain these doctrines when they are in the text. But I won’t
dodge biblical truth just because it is controversial or difficult to
By the way, I did not come to
believe in these truths by reading Calvin or Edwards or Spurgeon or
any other of the men who taught these things. I came to believe these
things as a college student by wrestling with God’s Word, especially
Romans 9. I didn’t read Calvin’s Institutes until I had been a pastor
for about 13 years. To label and dismiss these truths as “Calvinism”
is not fair or intellectually honest. Calvin was just wrestling to
understand the same Bible that we have. You should follow that
example. So, I’m not doing you a favor if I dodge what God saw fit to
put repeatedly in His Word. These truths are intensely practical,
because they have to do with your view of God, your view of man as a
sinner, and your view of salvation. When Paul taught these truths, he
burst into spontaneous praise (Rom. 11:33-36). So the bottom line of
understanding these truths is so that we would bow in worship and
ascribe all glory to God. Paul didn’t write Romans for theologians,
but for the believers in Rome, many of whom were uneducated slaves.
Jesus taught the truths of election to the common Jewish farmers and
fishermen of His day. So I exhort you not to run from the hard work of
thinking through these truths by saying, “Nobody can understand these
things or come to agreement, so why bother?” (Why
Suffer for the Gospel?-
His sermons are highly recommended)
Please note: If you are
with the doctrine of the elect (which we all have done at some
point in our spiritual journey), let me encourage your to
look at some of the following resources.
Oswald Chambers commenting on “I have chosen you”
"Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is
not that you have got God, but that He has got you. Why is God at work
in me, bending, breaking, molding, doing just as He chooses? For one
purpose only—that He may be able to say, “This is my man, my woman.”
When once a saint puts his confidence in the election of God, no
tribulation or affliction can ever touch that confidence. When we
realize that there is no hope of deliverance in human wisdom, or in
human rectitude, or in anything that we can do . . . this is the
finest cure for spiritual degeneration or spiritual sulks."
The great revivalist preacher George Whitefield once said
"Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance before he
goes to the university of election and predestination."
Spurgeon also reminds us that
sure result of divine election is the world’s enmity.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because
ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.” (Jn 15:19)
So you too, my brethren, chosen out from among men, to be the peculiar
people of God, must expect to be partakers of the cross, for the
servant is not greater than his Lord; since they persecuted him they
will also persecute you...He who swims with the stream shall find all
things go easily with him until he reaches the cataract of
destruction; but he who stems the torrent must expect to breast many a
raging billow; and therefore to such the strong consolations of the
gospel are necessary.
In his sermon on
Election Spurgeon opens by saying
"If there were no other text in the sacred
Word except this one, I think we should all be bound to receive and
acknowledge the truthfulness of the great and glorious doctrine of
God's ancient choice of His family. But there seems to be an
inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine; and
although most other doctrines will be received by professing
Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one
seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded. In many of our
pulpits it would be reckoned a high sin and treason to preach a sermon
upon election, because they could not make it what they call a
"practical" discourse. I believe they have erred from the truth
therein. Whatever God has revealed, he has revealed for a purpose.
There is nothing in Scripture which may not, under the influence of
God's Spirit, be turned into a practical discourse..." In another
sermon delivered on Spurgeon added "I do not hesitate to say, that
next to the doctrine of the crucifixion and the resurrection of our
blessed Lord - no doctrine had such prominence in the early Christian
church as the doctrine of the election of Grace."
Clement, referring to the persecution of Nero 64AD, mentions a "vast
multitude of the elect," who were contemporary with Paul and Peter,
and who, "through many indignities and tortures, became a most noble
example among ourselves" (that is, the Roman Christians).
I SOUGHT THE LORD
(A Hymn on Electing Grace)
sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
No, I was found of Thee.
Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm vexed sea.
’Twas not so much that I on Thee took hold,
As Thou, dear Lord, on me.
I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
Of love is but my answer, Lord, to Thee!
For Thou were long beforehand with my soul,
Always Thou lovest me.
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody
Publishers) succinctly summarizes the thematic substructure of
Howard Marshall wrote that
The case could be made that if one
were to be ship wrecked on a desert island and allowed to have only
one of the New Testament letters as a companion, then 1 Peter would be
the ideal choice, so rich is its teaching, so warm its spirit, and so
comforting its message in a hostile environment. (Howard Marshall --
Intro to 1 Peter in IVP Commentary Series.)
on the emboldening effect a firm grasp the "doctrine of
election" will give a man or woman said...
"No man will be so
bold as he who believes that he is elect of God. What
cares he for man, if he is chosen of his Maker? What will
he care for the pitiful chirpings of some tiny sparrows
when he knows he is an eagle of a royal race? Will he care
when the beggar pointeth at him, when the blood royal of
heaven runs in his veins? Will he fear it if all the whole
world stand against him? If earth be all in arms abroad,
he dwells in perfect peace, for he is in the secret place
of the tabernacle of the Most High, in the great pavilion
of the Almighty. 'I am God's,' says he, 'I am distinct
from other men. ... Is not my name written in God's book?'
Does he care for the world? Nay: like the lion that careth
not for the barking of the dog, he smileth at all his
enemies; and when they come too near him, he moveth
himself and dasheth them to pieces. He walks about them
like a Colossus; while little men walk under him and
understand him not. His brow is made of iron, his heart of
flint--what doth he care for man? Nay: if one universal
hiss came up from the wide world, he would smile at it,
for he would say, 'He that hath made his refuge God, shall
find a most secure abode" (Sermon
Election by C H
Spurgeon, Delivered on Sabbath Morning, September 2,
F B Meyer in his
book Tried by Fire has the following comments...
This Epistle was the
child of many tears and of much sorrow. It was written
probably about the year A.D. 65, when the followers of
Jesus of Nazareth were regarded with growing dislike,
whilst clouds of suffering and persecution were passing
over the house of God (1Pe 4:17-note).
The disciples had already begun to learn by bitter
experience that they were to follow their Master's steps
by way of the Via Dolorosa to the light of the
Resurrection morn; and that they must not expect softer
names or usage than had been accorded to Him. They needed
comfort; a stimulus to patience; a recital of the
arguments for heroic endurance--all of which the Spirit of
God supplied through these fervid and persuasive
And thus there is
hardly any portion in the Word of God which has been more
eagerly read than this Epistle, by those who were pressed
with many trials and weaknesses. By exiles in distant
lands, shut out from all human tendernesses; by travellers
and voyagers; by persecuted and suffering saints, hunted
into the dens and caves of the earth, or immured in the
living rock and beneath the boom of the ocean wave; by
those whom sore sickness or venerable age may have
incapacitated from meeting with the visible church--these
words have been lovingly pondered and treasured, as a
To a student of the
earlier life of the Apostle Peter it would have seemed in
the highest degree unlikely that one so impulsive, so
rough-handed, so fond of action, should have been selected
to write some of the tenderest and most consolatory words
that have ever fallen on the ears of suffering and
persecuted saints. Yet so it befell. And we are left to
infer how keenly this strong nature must have suffered
before it could have become so sweetened and softened, so
humble and tender, as to afford a tropic soil for the
luxuriant growth of the balsam and spicery of Divine
comfort. Very different was this Apostle of Jesus Christ,
when he wrote this Epistle, from the fisherman who girded
himself in early life to his toils--from the disciple who
abandoned all to follow the Master with enthusiastic
ardour. Frost and fire had disintegrated the rock. Age had
diminished the writer's strength, taken the sparkle from
his eye, sown his head with grey, and bowed his frame. His
self-reliance had learnt to cling to a stronger than
himself; his wisdom to defer to a wiser. The asperities
and ruggedness of his character had been toned and
mellowed by suffering and sorrow, as the tints of a
picture are softened by the breath of the years. In the
deepest sense he was "converted'' at last, that he might
set himself to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32).
We cannot now recover
his hidden history, lost in the gulf which separates this
Epistle from the moment when last we caught sight of him
emerging from the prison at Jerusalem (Acts 12:19), or
exciting the indignation of St. Paul at Antioch (Gal.
2:11). We have no certain record of how those years were
spent. Though, since he speaks so familiarly to these
saints scattered throughout Asia Minor, many of whom may
have received their first impressions from his lips on the
day of Pentecost (comp. first verse with Acts 2:9), we
should judge that he traveled with his wife (1Cor. 9:5)
for some time throughout those regions, settling for a
longer time in the new city, which was rising on the
ancient site of Babylon (1Pe 5:13-note).
This Epistle was written there; and the countries
mentioned are enumerated in the order which would
naturally have suggested itself to one looking out on them
from a commanding central position.
1. THE INSCRIPTION
To the “Strangers of
the Dispersion.” These words clearly designate Jews as
principally addressed. While as yet the site which was to
be occupied by Rome was covered by but a few straggling
huts within a rude enclosure, the King of Assyria was
already engaged in carrying into exile the ten tribes of
Israel (2Kings 17:6, etc.). They were captives quite a
century and a half before Judah and Benjamin were
transplanted to Babylon; and it does not appear that they,
to any great extent, participated in the restoration
decreed by Cyrus. They remained in the land of their
adoption, whence many travelled in various directions
until, at the time of the writing of the New Testament,
they were found in all the principal cities of the world.
These were the "Strangers of the Dispersion." Their
speech, their garb, their physiognomy, their religious
rites--marked them out as perfectly different from those
around them, and identified them with the holy city and
with that peculiar people whose name they bore.
Many of them had become
Christians, not only through the influences experienced
when visiting their national metropolis, the very
atmosphere of which must have been impregnated with
Christian thought; but also through the labours of the
Apostle Paul, whose first efforts were always directed to
his own people, and whose name must be for ever associated
with the infant churches which he founded in the regions
where so many of the Jews of the dispersion had settled.
But we must not limit
the scope of these words to Christian Jews. There are
phrases which demand a wider interpretation. That, for
instance, which alludes to "former lusts" of those
addressed (1Pe 1:14-note);
and that also which speaks of them as not having been "a
people" in time past (1Pe 2:!0-note).
Besides which, the term strangers is distinctly employed
in a spiritual sense (1Pe 2:11-note),
and so applies equally to all who go out to Christ without
the camp, bearing his reproach, and who confess that they
have here no continuing city, but seek one to come.
Do we cultivate enough
the spirit of the stranger? We know what it is to turn
from the attractions of a foreign city, with its wealth of
art, its churches and its picture galleries, its antique
buildings, and the glitter of its modern boulevards,
towards a tiny box of brick in a grimy street, which is
endeared to us as home. We may not linger longer; we are
going home. Or if we stay on from day to day, we hardly
unpack our portmanteaus, and certainly do not secure a
settled abode, because it is not our home. Nor are we too
much troubled by the discomforts and annoyances of our
hotel, or by the risings of popular excitement around. Of
what consequence are such things to those who may indeed
bestow a passing interest on events transpiring around
them, but whose interests are elsewhere, in the place
which, however humble, differs from all the world beside
in being home?
Oh for more of the
amongst God's people!
But it is only
possible, when they catch sight, and keep sight, of "the
city which hath foundations." When that city is a city of
tradition or dream, men will begin to dig the foundations
of permanent homes and ample fortunes. But when it is
realized as the object of passionate persuasion, descried
by faith rising above the mists and plains of time, and
embraced by outstretched eager arms, they dwell in tents,
and confess themselves strangers and pilgrims.
It is said that when,
in a strange land, the Swiss soldier hears the rude melody
which gathers the cows back from the pastures, he is so
filled with longings for home that he will cast down his
sword, tear off his foreign livery, renounce his claims
for wage, in order to hurry back to his mountain home.
Would that such an effect might be experienced, after a
spiritual sort, by many readers of these lines; who, as we
speak of the inheritance, shall also array their spirits
in the pilgrim garb, and start, not as they did in the
Middle Ages for the holy sepulchre, or in quest of the
holy grail, but for the New Jerusalem, on which the hand
of invasion has never fallen, nor sin left its blight!
2. THE SPIRITUAL DESIGNATION
Scattered in the
countries, and yet gathered in God's election, chosen or
picked out; strangers to men amongst whom they dwelt, but
known and foreknown to God; removed from their own
country, to which men have naturally an unalterable
affection, but made heirs of a better.
Before all worlds God
chose us in Christ (Ep 1:4-note).
There is no election outside of Christ. He was chosen, and
all who were one with Him, in a union which was before
time, but which is manifested in the process of time. We
know little or nothing of the secret transactions of
Eternity; but we can tell if we were included in them by a
very simple test. All whom the Father gave to Christ come
unto Him (John 6:37). If, therefore, we have come to
Christ, attracted to Him, as steel filings to the magnet,
we may assure our hearts, and dare to lay claim to the
blessings and responsibilities included within that mystic
But notice to what
we are elect!--
We are elect to
OBEDIENCE. Not merely that we should escape the penalty
due to sin, or that we should pass into a region where
storms do not rave and sin does not molest. No, this is
but a small thing in the history of our souls. We are
elect to obey; elect to suffer, that through suffering we
may become strong; elect to be the saviours, and helpers,
and priests, of other men, through a very baptism of blood
and tears; elect to be nearest Christ, because resembling
Him most closely in ministry, and devotion, and love.
Election is no
Those who think it is,
and who lay flattering unction to their hearts that they
at least are right, and may therefore leave the world to
its fate, are probably utterly deceived; or have only
beheld the faintest glimmer of what God means by his high
calling and choice. We are chosen to obey; to serve; to
learn; to suffer; to die daily that others may be blessed
and saved. Elect stars shine--to illumine the night. Elect
nations--to lead the van of the world's progress. Elect
spirits, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, Luther, and Knox--to
be the channels down which, at much cost to them, the
grace of God may better reach the world beneath their
According to the
foreknowledge of God the Father.--
From all eternity He
knew those who would accept the overtures of mercy. Shall
we say that He foresaw the certain affinity between the
elect One and those who would cleave to Him by faith? And
concerning all these, whom He foreknew, He also
predestinated, determined, resolved, that they should be
conformed to the image of his Son. To those who are really
saved by faith in the Lord Jesus, there is an infinite
source of comfort here, in knowing that--beneath all the
changes of our moral and spiritual condition--outlasting
time, strong as Omnipotence, tender and true as the heart
of God, there is a Divine purpose which is pledged to
carry us onwards to beauty of moral character, and an
obedience which is fashioned after the pattern of Christ's
(From F B Meyer's book
"Tried by Fire" a commentary on 1 Peter)