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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I Peter 1:1-2

I spent part of my weekend listening to some tapes on this passage. One set is from Tom Nelson of Denton Bible Church in Denton, TX. You can listen to that sermon here. The other set is from Dr. John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Sunland, CA. The first sermon can be downloaded for $3 here and the second one is here. (Dunno why GCC charges for computer downloads . . . ).

Anyway - this section is so rich and beautiful! Tom and Dr. Mac are perfect compliments for each other in their teaching styles. Both exegetical, both committed to truth - period, but Dr. Mac is more technical while Tom is more personable.

My goal here is not to try to convince anyone of the doctrine of election - which is the main thrust of these particular sermons - I'm just going to share the things that stood out most to me & blessed my heart. If you have never considered the doctrine of election or have concerns about it - I encourage you to listen to these sermons.

The first novel thing that I learned was that the word "chosen" in the English translation of the text, is actually in the wrong spot! In the Greek, the text reads, "Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ to [the] elect sojourners of [the] dispersion of Pontus . . . ." the "according to the foreknowledge" part comes after the listing of where the sojourners are dispersed to! This voids the arguement that we are "elect" because we were "foreknown". And, when you think about it - that arguement is flawed anyway - what good does it do to be "chosen" because we "chose"??? It voids God's choosing if His choosing us is based on our choice of Him. And if our being chosen were based on our choosing Him - couldn't we then later not choose Him and thereby loose our salvation? That's just got bad theology written all over it!

Moreover, we were not chosen at the time of our salvation. Dr. Mac goes to great lengths to point out the many passages that clearly state we were chosen before there was even time - much less a world, much less the very first human . . . . So, God, who is timeless, looked down through the time He had yet to create, and saw me. And seeing me, He chose me. Some might think that such belief would lead to arrogance - but I tell you, it's the most humbling thing I can imagine. Dead in my sin, self-declared enemy of His throne - if He had not chosen me, I would have willfully defied Him in every way - fully deserving of righteous judgement - - and He chose mercy instead. Only God knows the "why" of it. Not by works of righteousness that I had done - for I had done none and was utterly unwilling to do any - but according to His mercy, He saved me.

More than that - He saved me knowing who I would be before I knew Him and He saved me knowing who I would be after I had come to Him by faith. He knew before time of my rebellion and pride and my love of the world that would hinder my growth in our relationship. Yet He chose me. He knew every sin I would commit after He had opened my eyes to His sacrifice for my sake. Yet He chose me. He saw every instance in which I would betray Him and bring shame upon the name "Christian". Yet He chose me.

To those He did not chose, He is no less righteous in His judgement of them. He is under no obligation to show them mercy - just as He was under no obligation to show me mercy. I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene - and wonder how He could love me - a sinner, condemned, unclean. How marvelous! How Wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me!

Back to the "according to the foreknowledge" phrase. I haven't gottent hat far in the tapes yet, but I suspect it was meant to comfort the scattered believers in their persecution. They are "sojourners of [the] dispersion of Pontus . . . . according to the foreknowledge of God [the] Father . . ." I think Peter was telling these believers that the persecution and resulting dispersion were known by God - He knew it was going to happen - indeed, we who beleive in a Sovereign God know He orchestrated it. They were chosen by Him and they were dispersed by Him. I think it must have been a great comfort for those early believers to be reminded that God was involved and knew exactly what was going on in the upheaval of their lives.

Well, that's it for tonight. Hope this encouraged someone :-)

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