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I first wrote this and blogged it July 13, 2005. And this is the revised version.

Being sifted like wheat

Since October 17th 2008 I have been thinking and reflecting about the difficulties we have in life and that we face as Christians. It seems that there are times we are constantly under spiritual attack and no matter what we do; our courage fails us right at the time it is crucial that it does not. How often does it seem that we hear the voice of God in what ever way it is that he is talking to us, and yet we don’t do as he has told us; instead we do exactly the opposite?

  • Peter the Apostle knew all about this, Luke records the warning, exhortation and encouragement of the exchange between both Jesus and Peter.

Luk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you[1] as wheat.
Luk 22:32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Luk 22:33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
Luk 22:34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Here we read that Satan has asked God permission to sift Peter and that he has been given permission to do so. There is another story in the OT about a man called Job who also was sifted by Satan with Gods permission.

Have you ever watched wheat being sifted? With todays society and the readily availability of instant food, I would say probably not. A normal sieve was round about 30 – 40 cm across with sides about 100 mm – 150mm high, and a fine mesh type bottom, some sieves were bigger made of a mesh type material, about the size of a blanket and took two people to operate.

What happens is that you put the harvested wheat with the stalk etc into it and throw it up and down, shaking it, tossing it, so that the wheat is separated from the rest of the plant, and ready for use, either for storage, sowing or grinding into flour. The sifting process is a much-needed process for the grain to be any use.

So we see here that Jesus is telling Peter and though he is talking specifically to Peter, I believe he is also talking talking to the rest of the disciples; that he and they are going to be sifted, to be thrown about, that they will be going through some tough times, but not to worry, he has prayed for Peter / them that they will not fail. John 21:15-17.

Jesus tells us that he has prayed their faith will not fail them, that they will turn back, and in doing so strengthen many. Peter now argues with Jesus, protesting that it would not be so. Jesus declares, it will be so, and this is how it will pan out! And as the story progresses we know that indeed all the disciples bar John deserted Jesus and after the resurrection Jesus also reinstates them all, especially Peter.

How often have we been in the shoes of Peter and the other disciples, our boldness and confidence fleeing from us? Our faith becomes shaken, we get tossed and turned. Perhaps we don’t quite reach the stage Peter and the others did in denying our Lord. Yet for what ever reason we find we are going through a dark night or season of the soul, where we know our walk with the Lord is perhaps not OK. We find the going tough. We lack the wisdom, boldness and even passion to witness to others. Our prayer life lacks the dynamic it once had and we wonder in the deeper recesses of our inner being if we will ever recover that dynamic again? We intend to pray and instead get easily distracted. Or we go through the motions of being a Christian, not enjoying our reading of the word – that is if we do read it. We go through the motions of praying, while deep within we can’t wait for the prayer time to be over. Legalism creeps in, duty replaces joy and intimacy.

Perhaps you don’t know what it is I’m talking about? Praise God for it. Perhaps the time will come for you to experience it, perhaps not. Perhaps you have gone through that and come out the other side wiser for the experience. Or perhaps you are in the middle of such an experience right at this very moment.

If this is you then we have joined company, and we need to be reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote.

1Co 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Just as Peter was sifted by satan, we to are liable to being sifted by satan in all his subtle and not so subtle ways. Just as Peter was told by Jesus that he would fail, he was also told that his faith would not totally fail him, that he would bounce back and strengthen others.

What ever it is we are facing right now at this very moment, God will not allow us to face more than what we bear and he will also provide a way out, under the shadow of his wings.

Father God, I lift us all up to you, individuals families and friends. Lord I ask that we who are going through the trials of being sifted that you will strengthen us, help us to both know and to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that you are providing a way out. That you will deliver us from the shaking of the evil one.

For those who have come out of such an experience I ask that you will continue to help them to walk with you in joy, in peace, in strength, in the fullness of your spirit, and for those who have not yet been through the sifting process that indeed you will prepare them for such an event if it is to be your will for them to do so. I ask that none of us will ever fall away, to deny you Lord, that we will all grow from strength to strength, faith to faith, in the power of your spirit I ask that you will do this Jesus, shielding us from the power of the evil one.

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Our Father

Today I have been reflecting on fatherhood.Jesus taught us to pray …”Our father”Jesus showed us how God is the perfect Father and also how he is the perfect son.

Today the world is lost, fathers don’t know how to be fathers any more, sons and daughters just don’t know how to be true sons and daughters either. Who and where are our our role models and our mentors?

I was only praying today that none of us can truly walk in the presence of God with out knowing him as father and knowing our role as a child or his son / daughter. We only need to look to Jesus as our role model.

I say today that no matter how good or bad your upbringing was and is, no matter what your own father was or was not like, God is our perfect father, he is for us and not against us, he has good plans for us and wants us to know him as the perfect father.

All of us were and will always be some ones child, and none of us were perfect children, all of us were naughty in some way or rather, some of us were / are cheekier then others as well. The Bible calls it sin, and all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. It doesn’t matter our past, God will allways accept us with open arms , forgiving us through his Son Jesus Christ if only we would repent and turn back to him. In return he will adopt us as his own children.

It is my prayer today that you will truly come to know the only living God as your real heavenly Father and accept what he has to offer you through his son Jesus.

craig

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Abstract

In this essay I have shown what the value of the gift of tongues is to the individual and to the larger church community, both for the edification of the individual and the larger church body. I have shown how the gift brings about edification and encouragement to the body of Christ and brings glory to our risen Lord in proclaiming the gospel. In showing this, I have made the point that the gift of tongues has a three way dimension to it, and so its purpose is not a selfish one, rather a selfless one for the building of Gods kingdom. Finally I have shown how tongues relate to the Pentecostal doctrine of them being the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and why that is so.

Introduction

Wagner says,

The Gift of tongues is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ (A) to speak to God in a language they have never learned and / or (B) to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely -anointed utterance in a language they have never learned.[1]

Tongues are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, who is the Gift from God. The purpose of this paper is to first show what value tongues has, and secondly how it relates to the Pentecostal doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

This gift is transformational in regards that once we have experienced and used it, our view of life, our relationship with our heavenly Father, our deep inner personal knowledge of God as Abba Father, Christ, the Holy Spirit and his other gifts, will be changed for ever[2]. Then any derogative thoughts we may have had on this subject will have been dismissed, likely replaced by many more questions, rising from an experiential perspective.

What is the value of tongues?

The value of tongues is that they have a redemptive purpose interwoven within a circular motioned, inwards, upwards and outwards focus. [3]

By redemptive I mean its, Proclamatory Nature in that it is a gift that is spoken forth via the human tongue and we see this happening where the disciples spoke in unlearned languages in a vivid and most spectacular manner in the power of the Holy Spirit, through its initial outpouring into Gods people fulfilling the prophecy of Joel. (Acts 2:14) Chant describes, “They were declaring in majestic fashion the marvels of God”[4]

This appears to signify the reverse of Babel; whereas initially all spoke one language and because they denied God, instead wanting to laud themselves, God scatters the nations, through confusing their language (Gen 11:1-9) and now in Jerusalem all those nations have gathered and through tongues can hear the praise of God in their own language, causing them in turn to praise God. (Acts 2:9-11)[5]

There is a three fold relational aspect and purpose in the gift of tongues; the first is inward, being a gift given to the individual, and is the only gift that does not require a second person for its valid use when used privately. That it is an individualistic gift needs noting now, and expanded on later when we come to discuss its relationship to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Tongues are a gift given to us from God, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. It brings about personal edification (1Cor14:4)… Finally it is a gift that we should desire for ourselves, as Paul desired all should have it. (1 Cor 14:5) while highlighting his own use of the gift, (1 Cor 14:18) commanding that none should forbid it, (1 Cor 14:39)[6] and I question, “Why”? When I hear others make a sweeping blanket statement in saying, “It is not for them.”[7]

Once received, its focus is upward enabling the user to worship, praise and pray to God in a manner previously unknown.[8] The ability to worship God is mentioned by Paul to the Ephesians and Colossians in the context of singing spiritual songs. (Eph 5:19, Col 3:15) and again speaks of its God ward direction, in involving praise and thanksgiving (1 Cor 14:16) It is a gift that is God focused, a humbling gift that requires childlikeness in prayer,[9] having childlike faith that indeed spiritual mysteries that only God can understand are being spoken. (1 Cor 14:2) Finally it’s intercessory or prayerful nature is shown again in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. (1Cor 14: 14-15)

Thirdly its focus is outward in that it outwardly signifies that the recipient has indeed been baptised with the Spirit of power. It is missionary directed in drawing others into relationship with God through Christ. (Acts 2:11) Its communal building in the building up, knitting together and releasing other gifts within the community of God, through its prophetic ability to speak Gods revelatory word in a way that needs either the speaker or another to use the gift of interpretation to speak forth Gods prophetic word that ultimately causes the hearers to praise God in the understanding of it. (1 Cor 14:5-6) In this communal setting tongues cease to be an individualistic gift, and become part of its corporate unity, its usefulness shown not only through its prophetic nature, its intercessory nature is made to the Romans (Rom 8:26-27) as well as been mentioned in the previous point. It is important to note that the gift like all the other gifts do not distinguish between race, sex or societal position[10], (Acts2:17 -18) Lord.[11] Lightner argues against this, in saying women were commanded to keep quiet in the church, and God would not have given women this gift.[12] Dunn shows he is wrong through Paul’s positive direction regarding women prophesying in church.[13] (1Cor 11:5) This is one of the groundbreaking traits of Azusa Street, and indeed stems back to Pentecost in that people of all races, sexes and class came together as one to worship the Lord.

The person, deity and work of the Holy Spirit

It is worthwhile to look briefly at the person, deity and work of the Holy Spirit, so as we can have a better understanding of how tongues relates to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. .

The Holy Spirit is not an IT,[14] nor an inert power; rather he is the third person of the Godhead, showing personal characteristics such as; speech, hearing, emotions, and preforming functions such as searching, teaching, rebuking, convicting, encouraging, comforting and empowering.[15]

Space does not permit more than to say that scripture clearly shows the Holy Spirit is God, being eternal, all knowing, all powerful, and omnipresent.[16]

His work involves convincing the non believer to come to a place of regeneration, sanctification and empowering for service. Regeneration meaning the event that takes place where one becomes a new believer in Christ. Sanctification means the new Christians beginning and subsequent continual walk of holiness displaying the fruits of the spirit. [17] (Gal 5:22-23) And thirdly He is Gods power in us, which enables us to testify of Christ. (Acts 1:8)

The 3 actions of the Holy Spirit in the work of the believer is interwoven in the Inwards, Upwards and Outwards value of tongues in that Regeneration is the inward work of God, Sanctification is related to the upwards focus towards God and the Testifying of Christ is shown in the Outwards focus in building Gods kingdom and the pattern starts again in bringing others into a Redemptive relationship.

What is the relationship of Tongues to the Pentecostal Doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

The Pentecostal doctrine regarding the Initial evidence of the Holy Spirit can be summarised as a second experiential blessing or empowerment of the believer subsequent to becoming a Christian, accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues.[18]

It is interesting that studies have shown that in the American Assemblies of God movement, between 35 – 40 % of its congregations do not speak in tongues [19] while it is the Assemblies of God movement who mainly hold to this doctrine of Initial Evidence. Other Pentecostals who don’t, and yet are favourable towards the gift of tongues, consider the doctrine an embarrassment at best and in serious theological error at worst. [20]

All Pentecostals however believe that the purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is power for service and that that power comes only from on high, and is distinct work of the spirit apart from conversion.[21]

Macchia notes that there is little theological reflection regarding the doctrine of initial evidence hence the purpose of his paper.[22] While there may not be much theological reflection regarding the doctrine of Initial Evidence, what is available is enough to seriously reflect on and make a solid case for its Biblical, Traditional, Experiential and Denominational validity.

That it is Biblical can be pointed out of the five specific cases in Acts that show that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, three were accompanied by tongues, and that in the other 2 cases scripture is silent regarding what actually physically happened, only that something indeed did happen. Norling[23] points out that the 12 disciples who received the Holy Spirit had a mixture of manifestations of tongues and prophecy (Acts 19:6) and if any thing perhaps the doctrine is too narrow in regards to Tongues only, as Tongues is a speaking language and perhaps inspired prophecy could be a form of Tongues spoken in the speakers native language, though Peter the Apostle alludes to the initial Pentecost tongues as prophecy, (Acts 2:16-17) and Davids says that the prophesying of Saul was a glossarial language,[24]

1Sa 10:6 The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed

into a different person.

Note the similarities between 1Sam 10:6 and Acts 1:8, for the enabling power of the Spirit. There is ample precedent that inspired prophecy in known languages is more effective in edifying the church over unknown tongues.[25] (1 Cor 14:3) Certainly Cruz, in responding to Menzies shows this is a possibility.[26]

One can not cut its self of from its traditional roots, and we draw on the tradition of the movement, dating back to Azusa Street in that Gods people expected to be Baptised in the Holy Spirit, they expected to be endued with power from on high and the result of this endowment of Power included the gift of Tongues, showing indeed that they were Baptised in the Spirit.

The Experiential value of tongues can not be ignored and without having to re-state the inwards, upward, and outwards aspects of them, it is worthwhile noting that the gift enables the individual to both participate in and partake of the presence of God through the gift of the Spirit (Tongues) by the Gift of God, who is the Spirit of God. Pentecostalism is not a tongues movement, it is a Spirit movement, wanting all Christians to be experientially baptised in the Holy Spirit, and both traditionally and Biblically it is shown that tongues shows outward evidence of receiving the dumanias power of the Holy Spirit.

And finally by Denominational while it could be argued this is more of a pragmatic polity rather for doctrinal reasons, the doctrine can help stem the risk of nominalism. Veli- Matto Karkkainen when asked about the dangers of nominalism within Pentecostalism replied,

“There was indeed a danger, especially in the USA where church attendance is seen as something one does for social status and something we need to watch out for.” [27]

The doctrine of initial evidence can help the movement to expect its members to be Spirit Filled, and indeed should be seen as an encouragement to tarry and expect God to endow one with Power from on high, and in doing so guard against nominalism.

Conclusion

That the gift of tongues is invaluable to the individual for personal edification has been shown in this paper, and in return this same individual is part of the greater body of Christ, and how much more built up and edified the body would be, if all individuals who made up this body were baptised in the Holy Spirit. It is for the reasons shown and discussed that the doctrine of initial evidence is valid for today, and is needed to be more widely taught within the congregational church structure as to why it is so. May we tarry for the continual blessing and infilling of the Holy Spirit for ourselves and those who are yet to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and may Gods people look to God expectantly to fill them afresh and show this through the evidence of tongues.

Bibliography

Chant, Barry. Spiritual Gifts: A Reappraisal: A Biblical and Practical Handbook. (Sydney Australia: Tabor Publications, 1993)

De la Cruz, Roli G. “Salvation in Christ and Baptism in Spirit: A Response to Robert Menzies, “Evidential Tongues: An Essay on Theological Method,”” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 1:2 (August 1998)

Davids, Peter H. “Tongues” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. ed. Ralph P. Martin and Peter H . Davids. (Downers Grove, Ill..:InterVarsity Press, 1997)

Dunn, James D.G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. (Grand Rapids, Mich. Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998)

Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. New International Commentary on the New Testament. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1987)

Horton, Stanley M. Systematic Theology. rev. ed. (Springfield Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1995)

Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2002)

Lightner, Robert P. Speaking in Tongues and Divine Healing. 2nd. ed. (Dallas Regular Baptist Press, 1978)

Macchia, Frank D. “Groans Too Deep for Words: Towards a Theology of Tongues as Initial Evidence,” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 1:2 (August 1998)

Norling, Allan. Jesus the Baptiser with the Holy Spirit. (Sydney: Alken Press, 1994)

Pinnock, Clark H. Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996)

Robeck, Cecil M., Jr. “Tongues” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. ed. G. F. Hawthorn, R. P. Martin and D. Reid. (Downers Grove, Ill.:InterVarsity Press, 1993)

Sproul, R. C. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. (Wheaton, Illinois Tyndale House 1992)

Tan, Ling May. “A Response to Frank Macchia’s “Groans Too Deep for Words: Towards a Theology of Tongues as Initial Evidence,”” 1:2 (August 1998)

Wagner, C. Peter. Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow. (USA, Regal Books, 1985)


[1] C. Peter Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, (USA, Regal Books. 1979)p. 233[2] Barry Chant, Spiritual Gifts, A Reappraisal A Biblical and practical hand book, (Sydney Tabor Publications, 1993) p. 134[3] I first heard this comment “Upwards, Inwards, Outwards, spoken by Dudley Ford, retired Sydney Anglican Bishop, spoken at an in house local church training weekend – though his talk did not have any thing to do with tongues, it was on worship and relating to God.

[4] Barry Chant, Spiritual Gifts, p. 134

[5], Peter H Davids. “Tongues” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. ed. Ralph P. Martin and Peter H . Davids. (Downers Grove, Ill..:InterVarsity Press, 1997)

[6] Robeck, Cecil M., Jr. “Tongues” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. ed. G. F. Hawthorn, R. P. Martin and D. Reid. (Downers Grove, Ill.:InterVarsity Press, 1993)

[7] Are they saying that they don’t want it, and therefore grieving the Holy Spirit by not desiring his gifts, or is it because they have asked God for it and have not received it, and so they say it is not for them.

[8] Barry Chant, Spiritual Gifts, pg. 134

[9] Clark H. Pinnock, Flame of Love, A theology of the Holy Spirit (1996Downers Grove, Ill Intervarsity Press) p. 173.

[10] Note that Mary the mother of Jesus and other women were among the 120 who received the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost, as described in Acts 1:14 & 2:1.

[11] Frank D. Macchia Groans too Deep for Words: Towards a Theology of Tongues as Initial Evidence, Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 1: 2 (August 1998)

[12] Robert P.Lightner,., Speaking in Tongues and Divine Healing (Dallas Regular Baptist Press 1978). p.24

[13] James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, © 1998 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. USA. p. 588

[14] I need to note that in my calling the Holy Spirit an He, I am not meaning to be gender specific, rather to note the personhood of the Spirit.

[15] R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, (Wheaton, Illinois Tyndale House 1992). p.111

[16] Ibid., p. 110

[17] Ibid., p. 117

[18] Stanley M. Horton, Systematic Theology, revised edition, (Gospel Publishing House 1995) p. 425

[19] Matti Karkkainen Pneumatology, the Holy Spirit in ecumenical, international, and contextual perspective, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2002). p. 96-97

[20] Frank D. Macchia Groans too Deep for Words: p. 2

[21] Stanley M. Horton, Systematic Theology, p. 451

[22] Frank D. Macchia Groans to deep for words. p. 2

[23]Allan Norling, , Jesus the Baptiser with the Holy Spirit, (Sydney, Alken Press 1994) p. 32

[24] Davids, “Tongues” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament…”

[25] Gordon Fee, The New International commentary on the New Testament, The First Epistle To The Corinthians 1987, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1987) p. 656

[26] Roli G. dela Cruz Salvation in Christ and Baptism in Spirit: A Response to Robert Menzies, “Evidential Tongues: An Essay on Theological Method” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies 1:2 (August 1998)

[27] I asked him the question regarding the danger of nominalism throughout Pentecostalism, during a series of lectures by him, held at Southern Cross Bible College, Chester Hill Sydney Australia, in 2006.

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Predestination and the Elect – What the New Testament says.

Over the years I have had many discussions with Christians over the doctrine of Predestination. It can be a heated topic, one that can get Christians hot under the collar, and seeking the Lord regarding the truth of the matter. So the purpose of this essay is to look at what the New Testament says about Predestination.

There are four verses in the NT that translates the Greek into Predestined,
1. Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
2. Rom 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
3. Eph 1:5 he[3] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
4. Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen,[5] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

There are two other verses that translate it as determined and destined,
1. Act 4:28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
2. 1Co 2:7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

As Christ centred theologians, it is important that we look at the context surrounding these scriptures to find what it is they are really saying. Starting with Acts; the background is that Peter and John were jailed for preaching Christ Act 4:1 after they healed a man from his lameness. In the course of his sermon, Peter clearly speaks of the death and resurrection of Christ. Then speaks of what it was that God predestined, and that was that Christ would die through the hands of mankind, and would raise to life again.

Turning to Romans

Rom 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Rom 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


The key verse to understanding God having predestined us is in the word Foreknew . Paul says that it is those he foreknew who he predestined, and who was it that he foreknew? So a faithful translation of the text would be,

Those he glorified, he had justified, those he justified he had called, those he called he had called he had predestined; those he predestined were those he knew would accept his Son Jesus Christ and what he done for them.

Is important to have the understanding of Gods foreknowledge in mind when we think about the elect. Who are the elect?

Another important word in determining what Scripture is truly saying is the word Foreknowledge. It is used twice in the NT.

1. Act 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[4] put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

2. 1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

In Acts Peter speaks of Christ being handed over, that God knew it would happen. Indeed Jesus often spoke of his impending death, explaining the Scriptures to his disciples. In the 1 Peter passage, Peter is telling the Christians that they are Gods elect according to His foreknowledge, and from the Romans passage we have the explanation as to what elect means. Peter is encouraging those who suffered through the dispersion, knowing that their suffering has been a result of their obedience to Christ. Then he tells them that the Spirit has sanctified them, Christs shed blood, reminding them of Christs own sacrifice.

Moving onto the Ephesians passage we need to look at the whole passage and what it is that Paul is truly saying.

Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Eph 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph 1:4 For he chose us
in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
Eph1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in
accordance with his pleasure and will–Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace,
which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption
through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s
grace Eph 1:8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.Eph 1:9 And
he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he
purposed in Christ, Eph 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached
their fulfilment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head,
even Christ. Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

In verse 5, he is saying that God had predetermined that there would be an adoption through Christ before the creation of the world, and indeed we read a reference to this in Genesis when God tells Eve that her seed would crush the serpents head. God had determined that there would be salvation of mankind and it is in this context that Paul is speaking of Predestination – or that God had already determined that Christ would come, Christ would die, and Christ would live again.
In verse 11 the context is in that Paul is speaking of the Jews being the first born to receive the hope of Christ. God had determined that it was the Jews whom Christ would come. God determined before the creation of the world that indeed Christ would come. God determined that Christ would come through Abraham and that through him a great nation would grow.

Finally we need to look at 1Co 2:7 No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

The word destined is the same word translated Predestined, and here it speaks of Christ being Gods wisdom for the sinfulness of mankind. Again Paul is consistent in saying that God had determined Christ would be our savior before time began.

Therefore we can confidently say that the NT does not speak of predestination in that God chooses some to be saved and not others, rather it says that God knows who will be saved and accept his message and that it was Christ who he predestined, 1Ti 2:6 to give himself as a ransom for all.

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