Saturday, April 07, 2007

# 194: Are You and I One of God’s Chosen?

To God Almighty, nothing in all creation happens by chance. In the beginning—if there was a beginning—while God was conceiving in His mind what the world would be like, He watched what was happening to all inanimate materials according to the laws of physics He established. As these elements started to take shape, according to God’s evolutionary plan, He continued to gaze as the gigantic, infinite universe took shape. He saw that it would be good and all would work just as He planned.

Now looking at the big picture: God’s purpose for this physical universe was to create an infinite number of celestial bodies which would have a congenial environment for intelligent physical life to exist. As God looked into the infinite future, He said that it would work just as He desires/d.

Here is the punch line: The ONLY reason for God to create a physical universe was so that throughout ALL ETERNITY, He would continue to reproduce Himself through willing, intelligent, physical beings. Almighty God pushed his creative button (spoke the Word) as it were, and it all started to take shape.

Our planet is no doubt one of an infinite number of worlds that had, have, or will eventually have, intelligent life. My attention will now be centered on planet earth, the only world we are intimately acquainted with. According to the latest astronomical figures, our planet is approximately four-and-a-half-billion earth years old, and the universe, as far as we can probe at this time, is at least thirteen-billion or so earth years old.

The Old Testament does not demonize the scientific community for contradicting what God told Moses to write about the six-day creation period. But with the Godly insight from one of His chosen, this author agrees with Moses, but only after greatly expanding the creative Biblical time frame. Listen to what Peter said in 2nd Peter 3:8. "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." The reason Peter is saying this is because some were saying that Jesus is slow in His return. Then Peter makes the point that Jesus is no hurry, since time does not exist in eternity where Deity makes His home. Since that fact is undisputable, the thousand years Peter mentioned could have been a million or a billion years, except that the word “billion” is not mentioned in the entire Bible. Therefore, when it comes to measuring the work of God, it is impossible to evaluate time by means of a realm of timeless eternity. For that reason, I am expanding the first four chapters of Genesis into thirteen-billion years. Actually, the first chapter by itself could have accomplished the same time frame. (When done reading this post, click on # 143: "Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design.") It puts holy logic behind God’s creation process.

If there was no unequivocal hard-core evidence of the approximate age of the earth and the universe—but there is—it would be understandable why many denominations staunchly stick to the belief that the universe is only about 6,000 years old. If they were to concede to the scientific evidence, they could not claim the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.

Some unbelievers who would like to become Christians just can’t accept a belief of that sort; therefore, they reject the remainder of the Bible, thinking other parts of Scripture are also in error. And there are. Nonbelievers would think, "Who would want to believe a Book that has errors in it?” Those human errors actually give the Bible more credence; it was written by men for men/women, so not everything was word- perfect. Remember, it was written through the flawed memories of holy though fallible men, even though it was inspired by God (although not verbatim). Click on # 110: "Contradictions and Uncertainties."

Here is the wonderful part of all creation: Before the physical universe came into being, God knew exactly how every person on earth and elsewhere would live their lives, as He saw Himself tweaking (inspiring) His chosen to help them fulfill their holy desires, so that their belief and behavior would conform to His will; however, God never inspires anyone against their free will.

1st Peter 1:1. "To God’s elect, strangers in the world . . . who have been CHOSEN according to the FOREKNOWLEDGE of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ . . ." [emphasis added].

God inspires all His chosen to help them live as they desire by having mercy on them. Yet, to fulfill His eternal purpose, God also hardens those He wants to harden, meaning those who are not His chosen. Listen to what Scripture says: Romans 9:17-18. "For Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I [God] raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power to you and that my name might be displayed to all the earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." This hardening God did to pharaoh, I can understand. The reason for the hardening of others, at this time is a mystery to me.

There is one possible exception. By this time, George W. Bush knows that his war in Iraq is a disastrous mistake. Yet, he insists on denying that fact. Anyone in their right mind would have admitted their mistake and taken a different course of action; regardless of the course of action, the consequences for that region will be horrendous. Could it be that God is hardening Bush’s heart—the most powerful man on earth—for FALSELY CLAIMING TO BE a born-again Christian? God may be letting the world know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Bush is NOT one of His chosen. Even those who are not Christians must believe he is a madman’s madman, and all for his pride of wanting to leave an honorable image of himself for his legacy. Actually, I believe Bush's approval rating would be near zero if it wasn’t for those 40 million fake evangelicals, along with their disgraceful former leader, Ted Haggard, who put Bush into office and still support him.

If God is behind hardening this demonic fool’s heart, the reason could be that this heart-break of a war is a prelude to Armageddon. The reason I say that is because that region is such a volatile tinderbox, it would be a miracle if something disastrous doesn’t happen (nuclear warfare between Jews, Arabs and soon Persians from Iran) as an outcome of the insatiable hatred generated by all concerned, which Bush’s war rekindled and exacerbated. It is a crying shame for all Americans to have such an evil man as the leader of our country. When I get writing about Bush, I get carried away. In fact, I could write a book about him and all the follies he has engaged in for the past six years.

Back to the subject on hand . . . therefore, since God knew beforehand how everyone would live, He will choose only those whom He knew, before the fact and through their own free will, that they would live exactly as He desires. It sounds like divine cheating, but it isn’t. To God, that will mean all uncertainties and errors will be eliminated as to who will qualify to be in His presence.

That means many who are not born yet, if Christ dallies, are His chosen. That means some who are living ungodly lives at this time are his chosen, because He knows they will repent of all their wrongdoing, believe in Christ’s work of Salvation, love God and neighbor, and obey what Jesus Christ teaches. That means there are some who at this time claim to be Christians, who will not be one of His chosen because for whatever reason, they did not continue to live up to (endure to the end) what the New Testament demands of all who claim to be His chosen.

Without dancing around this question, how will you and I know with certainty that we are one of God’s chosen? Without making any excuses; excuses are not valid in God’s sight. This is the answer:

1) To start with, we first must be aware of a GENUINE NEED for an unfailing purpose in this life, something this world does not and cannot offer—a life which will be much better than we are now experiencing, better in this life and in the hereafter. That controlling and dominating purpose will give rise to trust and hope in the One that promises this better (the best) life.

That is where childlike faith comes into play. The reason childlike faith is needed is because only a small child or a fool would entrust their entire life to the hands of an invisible God, at least as the world sees us. That makes disciples of Christ into holy and blessed "fools" for God, while on this earth. In 1st Corinthians 4:10, the apostle Paul writes: "We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ."

2) Then, a genuine wholehearted repentance before God and Christ of all our past wrongdoings. Without that repentance, sin and disobedience would persist.

3) We must BELIEVE with our whole being that Jesus Christ did everything necessary for our Salvation by the perfect life He lived, the wicked death he died, and by the power of His resurrection.

4) Our faith, hope and trust in God must be the catalyst which gives us the desire to love God with all our faculties and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This requires much more than beautiful words. It requires action, which brings us to the next step.

5) To prove our love for God and man/woman, we are to be obedient to all that is required in the New Testament. This is where the situation becomes dicey. There are many verses that display the importance of obedience as a result of our faith, and at the same time, confirmation of our love, but never as a necessary add-on for salvation. I will give just three verses to substantiate that fact, although there are many more verses elsewhere in the New Testament and in this blog.

John 15:24. "He who does not love me will not obey my teaching."

Acts 26:20. "I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds."

John 14:15. "If you love me you will obey what I command."

After conversion, when anyone faithfully follows the above requirements to the end, they can be absolutely certain they have been chosen by God to spend eternity with Him. Isn’t that wonderful?

Hebrews 6:11. "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope SURE.”

2nd Peter 1:10. "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election SURE. For if you do these things, you will never fall." [emphasis added].

The next four paragraphs are on Biblical literacy.

I am certain where many may fail is when it comes to obedience. Most do not know what is commanded in Scripture, especially in the New Testament, to live as required for acceptance into God’s kingdom. The tragedy is that most churches don’t teach that part of the New Testament to any great degree. The only way to be certain we are being obedient to all Biblical commands, so as to confirm to ourselves we are one of God’s chosen, is to read and reread the Bible as I have mentioned over and over. Another alternative is to read and reread this blog. I did not spare the mention of even one of those requirements. By the way, Christ’s commands are not ambiguous. I know many parts of the Bible are boring and some are difficult, if not impossible, to understand. But as time passes, many of these hard-to-understand verses will shed light as to their true meaning.

As for the book of Revelation, it is mostly symbolic, displaying God’s wrath on this evil world; it is extremely scary. It might be best for beginners to read the book of Revelation once and then not dwell on it too much. The reason I say that is when the Bible was being correlated by the early fathers in the first several centuries, a large portion of the existing church leaders of that time thought it would be best if Revelation was excluded from the holy canon.

One aspect of Christianity that I want to simplify, which will take much of the controversy out of understanding the New Testament, is this: We are taught we must be obedient to Christ’s commands, continue to bear good fruit, do good works, produce good deeds, etc. All these are spurred on because of our faith in Jesus Christ and as evidence of our love for God and for our neighbor (the Christian life). We don’t do all these good works to improve our Salvation, as that would be impossible, but we do them because we are saved—or better yet, being saved. The reason I use both terms is because both “saved” and “being saved” are used synonymously in the New Testament.

If the Bible was as easy to understand as portions of this blog make it, we would have little or no need for pastors to give us an expensive sermon every week. The clergy silently makes us believe we can’t understand what the Bible is teaching; therefore, only a learned person can understand the complete gospel message. That is absolute holy bull. If an uneducated nobody like myself can understand what is being taught by God through His Bible, I am certain most anyone can; then, with persistence and determination, any/all "nobodies" can eventually circumvent the weekly sermon by becoming a student of the Bible (an educated disciple of Christ), which should be the goal of every genuine Christian.

Just because some may not need the sermon does not mean they won’t need to get together with those of like beliefs; that is a must. We need good old-fashioned fellowship via the House Church, the type we had before electronic communication came in vogue. For more information on the House Church, click on # 96: The House Church.

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