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June 24, 2021 8:00 am
Coming up on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce combats the shallowness of our day by offering a minicourse in theology in an age that Dr. Boyce calls very introspective and disgustingly subjective will discover the wonderful depths of election redemption and the application of sovereign grace to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. We all try to slip a little of our own spiritual goodness into our salvation would really like to take a little bit of credit for our destiny.
Yet today's discussion of sovereign grace from Ephesians 1 leaves little room for boasting.
I pointed out in her previous study that when we search through the Bible by text talk about grace which I did in preparation for this series we find a great portion of the Old Testament.
At least in the new international version as we have other only eight occurrences of the word right Old Testament are other works are more gracious occurs more often than the word favor lovingkindness and things like that were grace itself only occurs eight times a gap in the New Testament that occurs 128 time. Obviously we have great revelation of the grace of God in the New Testament when you begin to search through the New Testament to find where that word occurs, you find that it's not evenly scattered throughout the New Testament book are some books that don't even use it. For example, you don't find it in Matthew, Mark gospel of Luke. The other synoptic gospel was found, once quite often. It's in the benediction grace and peace.
Something like that but it's not explained. It's not a theological section New Testament word graces found primarily in the book of Ephesians Romans and Galatians and then there are other important theological passages scattered about how Ephesians as I say is a great book about grace were found 11 times resting thing for our study found three times in chapter 1, three times in chapter 2 suppose if I were speaking to an average group of fairly biblically literate evangelical Christians and harder and harder to find like that today. But supposing a group like that exist when I say take a chapter in the Bible that has to do with grace.
Many would point to the second chapter of Ephesians and rightly so, because we know those bars are often we memorized or saved by grace your cell works as anyone should boast.
For it is my grace that you are saying that phrase.
It is by grace.
If you are saved twice in that second chapter. So we think that second chapter is a great chapter about grace, that we look at the frequency of the word graces is found in the book we find that it occurs at equal number of times in chapter 1. What's the difference between chapter 1 and chapter 2. They're both talking about salvation. They're both talking about grace. Chapter 1 talks about grace and salvation from God's point of view is what God is God displaying a salvation and chapter 2 talks about grace our point of yet what it means to we have been brought out of darkness into light on spiritual death been made alive by being joined to Jesus Christ. Naturally, we applied to the start of our age were all very introspective, disgustingly subjective, and so we always like the tax describe what happens to ourselves significant, however, is when Paul begins in this book explain the way of salvation. I call it a minicourse in theology centered on the church.
He begins with ourselves where we are, but he begins with God and where God is because after you understand what God does in salvation as he unfolds it in the first chapter that you're prepared to see the second chapter describing what we experience in its proper place. We look at chapter 1. Some of you will now.
I'm sure that versus 314 in the Greek text, all one long sentence. Probably the longest sentence in the entire Bible know in the new international version of most English versions.
They break it up because it is not possible to have a sentence that one in English and will remember when you get to the end where you started in at the beginning so you find that our English text that verse three is a separate sentence and end with her. He goes on just about as long as they think they can sustain it from verses four through six. But there's another.
There it picks up again with verse seven.
Very sensible division of the past, but in the original… One sentence as Paul begins to unfold. Doctrine after doctrine of what God has done for our salvation is just as if he gets swept along with what he is doing. People talk about it scribe… A cascade phylloxera chain.
Many, many links or the flight of any goal or things of that nature. And that's what it is now hard outline how do you outline the section and people have tried outline it this way.
They say it's temporal has to do 100 happened in the past but God the father is done and it has to do with what happens in the present work of Christ and the Holy Spirit joining us to him and then it has to do with what happens in the future let's one way to do it. Some of the commentators just give up on any kind of outline Martin Lloyd Jones is one of the doesn't give up easily. Your you're well aware, but he just takes it phrase or word at a time trying to explain what it means dried up CNE outlined in all it's a Trinitarian outline. By that I mean it tells us what God the father is done for our salvation. Secondly, it tells us what the son Jesus Christ is done for our salvation and finally tells us about the work of the Holy Spirit in achieving our salvation in every case, the emphasis is upon God and what God has done, where I'm sure that when God does something bearing upon what we experience. Chooses honestly say what the passage says.
Sooner or later were going to come to realize that were going to experience it. The emphasis is their first chapter. Emphasis is upon God's work and that's why I call this sovereign grace going to approach it that way. Your same. According to this chapter because of the sovereign will of God Almighty and because of that, only doctrines here. That's why someone like Martin Lloyd Jones go through it and take it phrase at the time I want to give you an outline. I will help you understand the emphasis in each of these three persons of the Godhead little acrostic and I think you can remember it because it's across the ERA stamp before rights amendment, and it doesn't stand for the soap has the same name but equal rights amendment of the South will help you remember the acrostic ERA stands for election. That's what God the father doesn't emphasize tiered predestined chooses the R stands for redemption.
Jesus Christ does stroller other things mentioned chiefly its redemption and finally a stands for application back to his unfold because the way in which the Holy Spirit applies salvation achieved by Jesus Christ to us is multiform has to do with our choice are being joined to Christ and are being sealed by the promise of the work of the Holy Spirit. All that is very important, but it's also soon under the idea of application like us to look at. First of all selecting choice and then secondly redemption accomplished by the sun. And thirdly, the application of those things to us in a personal way by the Holy Spirit. What makes us a Christian for small election. That's emphasize in a variety of ways to work.
Predestination is found there in verse four he destined us to be adopted as his sons find in the same passage that words in accordance with his pleasure and well that's what I've been talking about one I've tried to define the word sovereign sovereignty means according to the pleasure and goodwill of God and that only grace is explicitly mentioned by that of those opening verses talk about the work of God. And finally, there's this phrase which he has freely given was for phrases or words put together emphasize very strongly in these verses were Paul is talking about the work of God the father in our salvation that he is elected us to be. Say these verses are probably the strongest expression of sovereign grace of all of Scripture are other passages say that but all Scripture. These are perhaps the strongest words to actually state that stated clearly people like that. Of course, and they try to get around this idea of election a variety of ways.
One way to do it is to deny an outright deny grace Messerli, José God, of course, was gracious and devising this great plan of salvation that had to do with Jesus Christ coming in dying for our sin and he was certainly gracious in sending Jesus Christ to die for our sin with a stop at that point go beyond it to say that God has chosen from before the foundation of the world. Those are going to come to faith in Jesus. Christ the Savior. They developed so doesn't really have to do with the election of all the way many of these people think now it's very understandable that because we don't like to have our destiny determined by somebody else that some ways the very essence of sin. I'm going to be the master of my own faith to be the captain of my own ship like meeting salvation or are unlikely to salvation lately actually thinks I say is understandable.
You can't study the Bible for very long before you begin to say that the Bible from beginning to end, says salvation is of God. Jonah saw there belly of the great fish. Salvation is of the Lord. So Jonah and that in some ways is the theme of the whole Bible. So one way people avoid simply by denying the doctrine out right now. Another way is that they try to lessen its effect by basing it on foreknowledge heard that argument on elects salvation, but the people he elects are those that he foresees are going to come to faith or believe in Jesus Christ. When the gospel is preached two things wrong with the first one is that it changes the meaning of election so that it doesn't even become election kind of election is the chooses, but has to wait to see what somebody else is going to do before its effective letters in the election of all in the system of theology like that God doesn't like anybody we do is elect ourselves, we ordain ourselves to salvation by our faith we choose to believe and we are electing ourselves and God foresees it. Of course, he knows all things.
That's not election so first thing is that it destroys the very meaning of the work. The second is even more fatal to it because all you have to do is ask this question. If the Bible is right when it describes the heart of man is being desperately simple so that there are none righteous, no not one on that understanding on the sea, God asked the question what could not possibly foresee as he looked down the long channels of human history but unbelief on the part of everybody we really are as simple as God said God is standing back, waiting for something good to come out of the corrupt part of management away forever. So, for God foresees anything which of course he does say because he foresees all things is only because he is first of all, determined to put their mentioned that because of course that is exactly what the second chapter of Ephesians is going to come to what is talking about how grace comes to Austin mentions faith because faith is the channel by which it comes at you and I believe God is a bully for us but Leslie somehow at that point begin to slip in a little bit of our own ability to come somehow determine her own destiny and decide for ourselves whether or not were going to be say Paul makes very clear that even Matt says is not from ourselves is the gift of God. God foresees any faith which he does because he put it there in the first place. He doesn't basis election upon set of God foreseeing faith in choosing because of the faith nonelectric with think there so that's what the Bible means when it talks about election now as I say, a lot of people have trouble with that but the way to deal with that is that I've already indicated the problem that we have an election really is not with the doctrine of election with the doctrine of human depravity. We really don't believe were simple, as the Bible says we are because we don't believe that we still want to retain some confidence in our own ability to do good, and spiritual areas apart from the grace of God.
Soon as we begin to say that when the Bible says we felt we felt all away, so there's nothing we can do to save ourselves even reach out God unless he enables us to do the reaching. As we begin to understand that the election is not only obvious, necessary and hopeful because that's the only way anybody is ever going to say get into a discussion with anybody about election try to get that doctrine of the fall settled first asked the question how far men and women fall when they fell kind of answers given that I like about three of them, but here they are.
The first view is that when human beings fell they fell apart. That's the view of evolution is quite a few of your modern humanness will say that we are all perfect.
Of course no better matter for all the world still has a lot of imperfection in it getting better and better all the time you remind we have as many wars in the world today as we ever had and the poverty is there in the world today as it always was people are abusing other people today just as they did in antiquity nevermind all the black liberals believe anything. One of the things they believe is getting better and better. You can believe that. I suppose you can believe everything. All you have to do is read the newspaper to be disabused of that. How do we call them. The second view is that when men and women fell they fell halfway might say that they tumbled over the edge. They landed on the lead and there they are there in trouble course because they're not up on the edge where they want abatement are not at the bottom either one is are on the ledge well or something they can do for themselves and so there working away trying to get back up there for indoor rock climbing, all that sort of thing. Now the biblical view is not that biblical view says when human beings fell instantly fell away way to the bottom where they live or unable to do anything to save himself running water on the bottom or they can sit on the bottom is topical about it. They can be nice people on the bottom. They can be nasty people on the bottom but on the bottom say the only whether to get back up at the top is of God by grace reaches down of his own free will and electing choice put them up again.
That's what election is all about thought out again and again in church history really surprising. It needs to be fought out again in every age, but the only obvious reason for it is that we don't like election. So we all inclined to an Arminian position was fought out many times the first great battle between the British monk Pelagius in St. Augustine. Pelagius had great faith in human nature had the idea that when we are born we are more or less neutral and moral issues have a blank slate. It's true that we choose to sin, sinful behavior establishes bad behavior patterns, so it gets hard for us to do the right thing, but it's always possible for us to do the right thing.
Pelagius didn't see Ali could be something that is not really possible for us to do now at the beginning. Augustine thoughtfully Pelagius did come out of paganism. He had the same confidence in human ability and spiritual things.
Most of us that, but he began to see that Pelagius is view when you measure it by the Bible's teaching fall short of at least two points. First of all, the when I mentioned doesn't do justice to sin was described as being born with blank slate, or neutral disposition of it says were inclined to sin from our youth and even before that inclined to sin from the world. That's what David says in the 51st all every moment of our existence on the very moment of our conception is not within us that which naturally inclines towards them.
So we saw that many said secondly, and this is very important for what were talking about Pelagius's view doesn't do justice to grace because it is in the final analysis were say because of something in us is not the grace of God, God and be gracious.
Of course that's not what were talking about God is gracious, but the reason we are saved is not because God is great because we do something responding with grace. So Augustine said no you have to take the Bible's teaching and in the end you have to say. Salvation is Lord.
I was fought out again and again. Time of the Reformation afterwards fought out on her own time.
Also but that's the teaching I like to say whenever I'm talking about election that once you understand it and begin to appreciate it and approach it from the Bible's point of view actually is a doctrine that brings great blessing and I want to get affordable before we move on. First of all, election eliminates posting. We don't mind boasting a whole lot. As long as where the people who get to do it but we don't like it and other people and you can bet that God doesn't like God hates posting so much he says is going to be any boasting in heaven that's sufficient to come to that will not have boasting and yet you see if salvation is not by election that is by the sovereign will of God is sovereign will of God, only if it had something to do it. That's only a fraction of a percent. Then there will be boasting inescapable target to get to heaven. That's the way it works and somebody's going to say to us one day maybe not right off because will be contemplating the glories of the DNA but maybe a million years down the road. Why are you here said by the grace of God. Know what I mean.
The personal Sammy, why are you here and looking over the edge and so is not here about the grace of God there not here God's gracious everyone is in the why are you here and there not here. Well I hate to admit it because were in heaven we ought to be glorifying God blessed them if you press you obviously are doing. If you if you press me.
They heard the message and I heard the message of the reason I'm here and they're not here is because I respond, I believe I take much of the credit you understand.
I want Gloria to go to God but little bit of it to see those to me because after all, I'm the one you can escape God or theirs posting so the one thing election doesn't eliminate boasting people think of it is just the opposite. They say all these people think they are like what they must think there's somebody special.
They think they are after ongoing rock got elected them as it actually is the other way around. We elected God will then got elected officer actually is on is the second blessing of the doctrine election gives the assurance of salvation with the other way around. Suppose we get into salvation by electing ourselves in getting by electing ourselves, then we can get out. By electing ourselves out. And if you know your own heart you know perfectly well that you would do it and you had times in your Christian life you say to yourself while my in this war. Anyway, I wish I was somewhere else doing something else may be having a good time would be having a good time elsewhere, but that's the way we think, and so we would say to ourselves I could get out of this is get out of that while you try something else. That's the way we would operate to see if salvation is by the electing grace of God, then it makes salvation secure because of the principal and his will and not ours. God is not wishy-washy regarding you and I double minded.
We would begin. We would be out sometimes. Her eyes were love close were far away God and I like that God is constant, unchangeable the same yesterday today and forever, before the foundation of the world. He said his electing love upon you in order that he might save you by grace. God does not change that election.
One of the great secrets of getting on in the Christian life is to realize that say well I can frustrate God, I might as well get on with it, so stop fooling around with seven begin to follow wholeheartedly Christ. That's a second blessing is the third election leads to holiness. Ephesians 1 also teaches that because it talks about predestination therein. Choice of verse four mentions are being holy and blameless. He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Another word to see election is simply a matter of God bringing us in the Christ in order that our sins might be forgiven. God is also elected or predestined that we will be holy, where it's not just the end.
He's talking about my thoughts about election of all the steps along the line that includes our growth in holiness and following after Christ is 1/4 blessing and I want to move on. If this election promotes evangelism. Some people said well election makes evangelism unnecessary reason to save some person not going to save them, say them. It doesn't make any difference what I do. Therefore I'll do nothing else it back and do not work that way. God elects the ends also likes the means God determines everything standing off using something and forgetting something else and letting them most of the things go their way. God ordains means as well as the answer. That means that God has ordained the salvation of Joe Smith or Mary Jones.
God is also ordained a way that will happen. And God tells us that the way people come to believe is by hearing the word and the way they hear the word is by Holy Spirit sending people. God is determined that Joe Smith and Mary Jones going to hear the gospel because you're going to be the witness that you must be the witness makes absolutely necessary. I say well that's something that gives us encouragement as we go. I would sure hate to think that the salvation of eternal souls hinge on how well I can explain the gospel or how consistently I can limit. That's the way it was. I'm talking to somebody and have a profound question. I don't know the answer and just happens to be that moment of their spiritual made when they need the answer to that question question so they go away say Christians don't have any answers the question must not be anything to Christianity and they turn away and they perish in their sins because I didn't have the answer. How anybody can look with different statin God elects to salvation draws people to Jesus Christ. Then I can rejoice like I don't have to be a perfect tool that I never going to be up early one anyway I can say what I know and I can explain the scriptures that I understand and God was the God of grace will take those pictures and apply them to the human heart and bring people to faith salvation. You see from God. Getting that on a collection how about redemption. These verses tell us beginning in verse seven that we have redemption in Christ. That is, through his blood, involving the forgiveness of sins and other great blessings.
This matter of redemption involve all three persons of the Godhead.
Of course, because God the father is usually described as the one who planned balls, God the son because Jesus Christ is the one accomplished by his death on the cross. He redeemed us by dying in Our Pl., Holy Spirit is involved because the appliance that redemption for those God's chosen and yet redemption is naturally associated with our Lord.
He's the one who is described as the Redeemer in the Bible. Why is that it's because of the meaning of the word redemption means to buy in the marketplace of the set free and has reference to the trade of slaves in antiquity. Many, many people were sold every single day in the ancient world. They would pass from hand-to-hand retention describes the process by which a price is paid in the slave is set free Bible says were slaves of sin, but merely were guilty because of our sin and under the wrath of God in places that is also true redemption talks about our slavery can't break free.
That's why when the gospel is preached in Response sin as to doesn't set us free word destined to be in bondage for ever.
Lord Jesus Christ came by paying the price of his death, set us free from redeeming us in order that we might never have to go back in the marketplace again. Apostle Peter was writing about redemption when he said it's not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, the precious blood of Christ, lamb, blemish and without spot is a question for you talking about redemption were talking about redemption of the context of election.
There is a question for whom did Jesus Christ die answer you want to give instinctively. Is this Jesus Christ died for the whole world Metro and I admit to getting us a sense in which that is true, certainly not for all kinds of people all over the world all races, all nations, and there's no doubt that his death has infinite value. So was sufficient to pay for the sins not only for this world and all the people in this world, but indeed all the people of any worlds and billions of worlds like this one pattern throughout the universe, blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to atone for the mall but that's not the question I'm asking the question I'm asking is this for whom did Jesus Christ specifically die whose sins that he atoned for by his death how you want to say everybody sins. And if that's what you're saying and the question is, well, then, does that mean that everybody say universalism. Nobody's going to be and how you don't mean that well then what's the difference the answer then to give at that point is that you tend to say. Well, Jesus died for all their sins, but someone having someone fully sounds very reasonable to Jesus died for the sins of the whole world would someone believe and therefore they perish. Well that sounds reasonable until you think a little bit about the nature of that unbelief.
What is that unbelief from Jesus to sin is something neutral, something neutral and it is in the center. Why should that keep them from salvation. That's not a sin.
Why should they be condemned. This is you have to say is that a sin for which Jesus died, or is it not there, you're forced back to one of the other two positions I do you become a Universalist. At that point say well yes a guy that scintilla so there in heaven say, well, he didn't die that's and therefore he didn't die for the sins of all men away a great Puritan emotion John Nolan described was probably the greatest of all the Puritans in one of his greatest writings of the book called the death of death death of Christ on argue that there are only three possible options for Christ's death concert. Think before I be glad to hear I don't know of anybody ever hands over and said it's either that's number one.
Jesus died for all the sins of all men, so that all or say universalism or number two. Jesus died for all of the sins of some man these, but not all, or say it's Calvinistic teaching. That's what I maintaining or number three. Jesus died some of sins of all men balance the latter die for only some of the sentence of all man that all are lost because they have to perish the sentence for which he did not die. Second is the only correct answer possible what to say at that point, as I said earlier, well, because of their unbelief. They are not saved over and asking us explicitly is this unbelief of their sin or is it not what he says is not a sin. Why should it keep them from salvation can't be condemned for that which is in sinful we admit that it's a seven question becomes is it a sin for which Christ died or is it gonna be, didn't die for it that he didn't die for all the sins of all man, which is what you're saying and he did die for it. Why should this more than any other sin but unbelieving person from salvation in your back in the Universalist. The only possible answer is the fact that redemption particular redemption follows upon the electing choice of God salvation. Jesus came into the world the direction of God the father to pay the price by atonement sins of those whom God had chosen in advance to get to his heritage site but was in his death, sufficient for the sins of all men, yes, absolutely all in this world of the thousand world beside that's not the point. The question is, for whom did he die and he died for the sins of those were his people.
He made atonement for them and then we come to the third point to remember that we talked about election redemption. I would come the day of the RA application that's the Holy Spirit that come after all, we have gone electing people to salvation in eternity past way back. We can't even imagine what eternity past is somewhere infinitely distant mind of God and then you have Jesus Christ dying for the sins of his people. 2000 years ago on the cross a particular place at a particular time.
How does that actually come to us answer is Holy Spirit Holy Spirit who is active in the world today is Jesus Christ with active in the flesh in the days of his earthly ministry reaches out to bring the faith. Those who God is determined to get any dozen through the preaching of the work that's what is introduced in verse 11 with the word chosen, we read that were chosen at first sight seem to be talking about election all over again. But not were chosen here in verse 11 is different from the word chosen in verse four. For this reason, in verse 11 it comes before the phrase having been predestined so the predestination of God's prior in the sentence and it says having been predestinated where therefore chosen what is that means that the Holy Spirit chooses us by reaching out to call us to Christ is what the theologians call effective calling and is what the Holy Spirit does a great example of that. As I said sermons at different times. Jesus Christ calling Lazarus to life by calling them from the grave. He's a picture in the tomb, what you and I are in our sin hopelessly lost. Unable to do a single thing for ourselves is why second chapter of Ephesians begins by telling us of it trespasses Sunday were going to look at.
That means that trespasses means not to be in a desperate plight are on a very terrible condition. It means utterly unable to do anything.
That's what Lazarus was Jesus Christ came and he stood before the tomb and he called out Lazarus, come forth. And Lazarus heard even in is more of an condition. Call of Jesus Christ and that word of the living God, which the beginning called the entire universe into being out of nothing quickened life and Lazarus and Lazarus came forth the same way where the word is preached today where Christians testify, the grace of God in the gospel explaining the loss.
What is Jesus came to do same Holy Spirit speaks as Christ spoke, and life is created and the one who is lost without it for me believe as a result, Jesus Christ released reactions actions we been looking at starting the electing grace of God. The redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ. Application of that to us by the effective calling of the Holy Spirit, not a person would be say eliminate even one of them by the person you say put them together you have a salvation which is the glory of the universe and for which we are going to praise God forever the way it begins. Verse three way it ends. Verse 14.
Praise of the glory of his grace may God be Christ. Father, we thank you for the great doctrines their doctrines. We don't often hear today because people don't like to hear them. Preachers are afraid to preach them and they don't even understand them where they are in your word, they are presented in such a way that glory is taken from senescence given to you in all confidence taken from us. Instead it's placed in you where alone. There is a solid foundation salvation of the living of the Christian life.
Father we pray that you would take these doctrines and use them in a strong way in our lives we might be found building our understanding of spiritual things, not on week human centered theology upon theology, which finds full expression of your work. Hope might be in you not in man the brace of the glory of Jesus Christ you're listening to Bible study hour with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution.
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