28 May 2001

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied"-1Peter 1:2 FOREKNOWLEDGE When the Apostle Peter explained election, he did not begin with the sinner, he began with God. Peter uses the word "foreknowledge" as he explains election. That means that God foreknew His people before they knew Him; before they were born. That was before there were any denominational barriers, rules of decorum, church covenants and articles of faith. This takes us back to the beginning of our election: to God Himself. Surely, the bible has a lot of pieces to fit together. But like the jigsaw puzzle, start with an easy corner piece and all the other pieces will fall into place. Election is our corner piece, a beginning piece. It makes other scriptures fall into place. By this we understand when we were chosen, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…"-Ephesians 1:4. Election involves God's foreknowledge. SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT According to Peter, the Father brings His chosen into a living relationship with Him, not by baptism, ordinances or any thing the sinner may do, but rather through "sanctification of the spirit". Sanctification of the Spirit means that one is set apart and cleansed by the Holy Ghost. For Paul, it was on the Damascus road. For John the Baptist, it was in his mothers womb. This is when Christ takes up His residence in the heart, "Christ in you, the hope of glory"; when God writes His law upon the heart; it is the new birth. Though sin still remains in the body, the desire to sin and the enjoyment of it has been removed. The new creature hungers and thirsts for righteousness: God and His word. The church and God's people are sought out. That is what sanctification does for the elect. OBEDIENCE AND SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST As Peter explains election, he does not exalt the sinner and speak of his partial obedience, he exalts Jesus Christ and speaks of His perfect obedience. We have heard some people say that God looked down through time and saw the sinner accept Christ and elected them on that basis. Peter didn't explain it that way. Until sanctification occurs the sinner rejects Jesus and His word every time. And how can one say they have accepted Christ when they have not accepted His doctrine of election? Did Adam accept Christ; did Moses; did Abraham? Surely, there is more to election than this. According to Peter, the sinner is chosen in spite of what God would see him do. Paul agrees: "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth"-Romans 9:11. God's people were not chosen because of any good works that He foresaw, nor were they rejected for any sinful acts. The were chosen unconditionally because He loved them. The obedience Peter speaks of is completely Christ's: "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross"-Phil. 2:8. His obedience was salvation to the elect. I always questioned how God could love everyone and yet allow some of the people that He loved to suffer eternal torments in hell. Election is a comforting truth which secures all of those that God foreknew in love, even those who never have the opportunity to hear about Christ. Some might say, "Well, how do I know if I am elected? Perhaps someone would want to be elected and is left out." If one wants to be elected that is the greatest evidence that they are elected. We must remember "We love him because he first loved us". Our "hope of glory" means that Christ is "in you" already. We were elected and have been sanctified. Finally, Peter alludes to the Old Testament "sprinkling of the blood" as the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial beast upon the book and the people. The figure has become real for us today. The high priest did not sprinkle blood upon the whole world. Election agrees with Christ's blood specifically shed for those the Father foreknew in love: His elect. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.