From Plainer Words

Focus on Ephesians - Part 7

Posted in: 2013
By Tom M. Ballinger
May 10, 2013 - 7:56:39 PM

Plainer Words since 1968
May 10, 2013
God ceased dealing with Israel two years before Acts 28:31. As recorded in Acts 28:28, the inspired pronouncement of their dismissal was made by the Apostle Paul:
“Be it known therefore unto you [Jews in Rome], that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28).
With this declaration, God reckoned the Israelites as being absorbed among the nations. If anyone with a Jewish ancestry believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, they had to believe as would a Gentile. The Jews’ previous advantage no longer existed. The great Secret was made known that Christ was, now, among the Gentiles (to wit, the nations) and was their “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
After the Dispensation of the Mystery (i.e., the Grace of God) was ushered in, God’s call was to all men, no matter their race, or creed, or color. For over two-thousand years, a Jew is reckoned as a Gentile as far as God’s purposes are concerned. For these two-thousand plus years, men, women, boys, and girls have been called to salvation. Many have believed on Jesus Christ with a fertile heart-attitude and by God’s grace, they have also received “assurance of their salvation.” Theirs is not a “hope-so-salvation” but a “know-so-salvation.” It is from out of this group that the Lord has made, and is making known, whom He has chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). These who have been chosen make up the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head.
Two words stand out in this matter; “called” and “chosen.” The word, “called,” is KLETOS which means “invited.” Whereas, “chosen” is “EKLETES” which means to select by implication, meaning favorite, or as Vines NT Dictionary has it; “to pick out for oneself. “Kletos” implies an invitation to salvation.” In plainer words, the person who is called (kletos) responds in one of three ways. He ignores the invitation, he rejects the invitation, or he accepts the invitation. The acceptance assures the person of salvation. Those who “flat-out” reject the “call” will be in that number of those who perish. Those who ignore the invitation may, at a later time, accept the invitation IF IT IS NOT TOO LATE.
“He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”
 (John 3:18).
“… he that believeth not” rejects the “call to salvation,” and will suffer the consequences—of being utterly destroyed [Apollumi]. Synonyms for “destruction” are extinction, extermination, and eradication. Those are very powerful words. Their meaning is clear.
The Gospel of Salvation is an invitation of “whosoever will let him come” (John 7:37). Of those who “come” [that is, believe the Gospel], not all of them are chosen or will be chosen for special service of a higher calling.
There seems to be a truth that runs throughout Scripture that is simply stated as, “many are called but few are chosen.”
“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be Called, but few Chosen” (Matthew 20:16).
“For many are Called, but few are Chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and, and they that are with Him are Called, and Chosen, and Faithful” (Revelation 17:14).
In Luke’s Gospel, we see the difference in being Called and being Chosen.
“And it came to pass in those days, that He [Christ] went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles;” (Luke 6:12-13).
Christ devoted the whole night, alone, in prayer to His Father, seeking advice as to whom, out of the multitude, He should CHOOSE to be His Apostles.
Christ came down from the mountain with the Chosen Apostles and the “great company of disciples” (the Called), and a great multitude of people out of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, and He healed everyone who had a disease. He, also, cast out unclean spirits of all who were vexed by them (Luke 6:17-18).
Of course, one of those who He chose betrayed Him—Judas. I don’t consider His choice of Judas a mistake, but rather, it was for our learning. It was to remind us that we can betray one another. Our standing in Christ is never to be treated lightly, or flippantly. We are, “to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).  
The members of the Church, which is His Body (Ephesians 1:22-23) were first Called and, later, were and are being Chosen. We were part of the vast pool of those who accepted the Call or Invitation to Salvation. Many in this incalculable pool probably received their Call through the Salvation Call of John 3:16.
Sometime after we were saved, a light shined in our hearts and minds, and we began to see a panorama Truth. Upon being Chosen, we were divinely enlightened to Truths that pertained exclusively to us, as found in Paul’s Prison Epistles. This illumination was a Spiritual Operation for us, and will be for others who will experience having been Chosen. This Operation by the Spirit is described in the following verses:
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:17-18).
The opening of “the eyes of [our] understanding” was a Spiritual Operation. An Operation performed by God. It is one that results in us spiritually “seeing” the unique Calling of the Church over which Christ Jesus is The Head. We see the distinction between the Church of God (the Acts Period Church) and the Church, which is His Body—the Calling of the Dispensation of the Grace of God.
If the two Callings are not rightly divided, confusion exists. Confusion leads to error, and error leads to a false Hope. The resulting error is to believe, and teach, that the TWO CALLINGS ARE REALLY ONE. Those who believe this error will not be a participant in the “EXANASTASIS” of Philippians 3:11 (the out-resurrection; Strong’s # 1815). Those who have been Chosen to be members of the Church (Ecclesia) over which Christ Jesus is the Head know who they are. Our Hope is not “a-hope-so-hope;” but rather, a “Know-so-Hope.”
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
(Ephesians 2:10)
We learn the ones who were CHOSEN in Christ “before the foundation of the world” are “His workmanship.” As His workmanship, we are His creation. The Church, which is His Body (Eph. 1:22-23) is the creation of God. Its members are part of the whole. This is to say, we “are knit together in love” (Col. 2:2). The members are so united with the Body over which Christ is the Head, it is hard to distinguish between the two, implying that the two are One.
A Divinely given illustration is given in the Fifth Chapter of Ephesians:
“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: For we are members of his Body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a GREAT MYSTERY: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:29-32).
Christ and His Chosen Ones are spiritually knit together and held together as if by joints and bands [ligaments]. This creation is magnificent; it is difficult to explain and put in plainer words. Paul endeavored to explain the uniqueness of this Ecclesia—how the Person of Christ and the Church are ONE. Paul likens it to how a man leaves his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife and the two shall be “one flesh.”  This, Paul stated, is a GREAT MYSTERY: BUT I SPEAK CONCERNING CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.
Together, they make up “the FULNESS OF CHRIST” (Eph. 3:19).
The Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head is a creation of God. Please note the following references to three creations of God.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:21).
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).
Just as surely as God created heaven and earth, great whales and every living creature that moves; just as surely as He created man in His own image, so, He created the Church of the One Body. Being members of this creation makes us His workmanship.
We belong to two creations. We have our part in the old, and we have our part in the new. Our part in the old creation came to us by way of our birth. We really had no say-so in it. Likewise, as part of the new creation, in the final analysis, we had very little say-so about our part in the new creation—which is the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head.
At first, we thought our faith in Present Truth secured for us a place in Christ’s New Creation—today’s Ecclesia. After having thought we had become settled, rooted, and built-up in Christ, we discovered that we had matriculated for advanced work in His Word. Where we learned a fundamental Truth: before we believed we had already been Chosen. This is a mysterious working of God’s foreknowledge. In plainer words, He Chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4) knowing, beforehand, that when presented with the Truth, WE WOULD BELIEVE!
The ECCLESIA is the Greek word, “Ekkelsia,” which has been anglicized, which is to say, “ECCLESIA” is an English word and is found in our dictionaries [ * ]. The body of legislators of the Greek-City-States was the “EKKLESIA.” The “Ekklesia” was the government of the Greek-City-States. The Spirit of Truth chose this word to mean the “Government of Jesus Christ.”
            [ * ] Ecclesia. 1. a political assembly of the citizens of ancient Athens.: “They met on the famous hill of the Pnyx, where the Ecclesia, the first of the great legislatures of a sovereign people, generally sat when the city was at the height of its glory” (London Times). 2. an assembly. 3. a congregation. 4. a church.
             Ecclesiast.  A member of the ancient Athenian ecclesia.(“The World Book Dictionary 1967 Edition”).
The Chosen ones in Christ can correctly say that they are the “Ecclesiasts” [Members] of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. As such, we are the Government of Christ in waiting. He has not, yet, convened His Ecclesiasts—to wit, we are not in session. His Pre-Millennial Ecclesia will begin functioning when the Day of Christ is made manifest.
We are the Ministers of State in the Government of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until the Lord Calls us into session (by means of resurrection or change) we are His Government in Exile. In today’s world of government affairs—we are ministers without a Portfolio. We have no office, no authority, no power, or no kingdom—YET!  But, until the Appearing of His Kingdom, I believe we are in God’s School as He prepares us for that DAY. Our Text Book is His Book—the Bible—and It is to be Rightly Divided. Maybe, many will “flunk-out” because their true colors will be revealed by their failure to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.” As workmen, they will be UNAPPROVED ECCLESIASTS. But, we, on the other hand, will be:
“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
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