This passage refers to predestination. Is Paul saying that each of us, as individuals, are predestined beforehand to be lost or saved? Keep in mind that Paul is talking to the church as a community, not to each disciple individually.
Paul is not saying that we are predetermined to be lost or saved as individuals. Rather, he is making the point that, before the creation of the world, God predestined a saved community to live as his holy people! It is the church that is predestined, not individual disciples. We have the freedom of choice to believe and respond to the gospel or not. Our choice will determine whether or not we live as part of this predestined community.
God’s Plan Has Always Been THE CHURCH! From the beginning of time, God has always had the church in mind. The church has always been the object of his desire and the vision he has orchestrated all of history to fulfill! Israel played a special and sacred role, but a physical nation was never the goal; it was always about a spiritual nation. Read the following passages:
GALATIANS 3:6-9, 29
PHILIPPIANS 3:3 ROMANS 4:18-25
MATTHEW 21:43 ROMANS 9:6-8
EPHESIANS 5:25 EXODUS 19:6
1 PETER 2:9
When we consider the fact that the church has always been God’s desire and plan for establishing his kingdom on earth and redeeming mankind, how greatly should we value our community of faith? How deeply should we value our relationships with other disciples of Jesus?
How does your excitement and appreciation for the church compare to God’s? Do you, like Jesus, care so much about its well-being and existence that you are laying your life down for it?
Read EPHESIANS 3:10-11, 21
What do these scriptures teach us about the PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH? What does it mean to say that the church is to be a revelation of God’s wisdom? In what ways should God’s glory be displayed in the church? Are you living to insure that others see God’s wisdom and glory in how we live together as a community of believers?
Upholding God’s vision will require:
CONVICTION. We must fulfill our calling! The church is bigger than me!
GRACE & FORGIVENESS. We must recognize that our calling is too big to remain offended or divided by sin and resentment.
HUMILITY. When we become disciples, our lives are no longer “our own business.” Why? Because how one lives affects the whole and what we, as a church, are supposed to be for God. (Romans 12:4-5)
Are you prepared to live as part of God’s predestined, holy community?