Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1,209 MP3 Audio File Video File

To Those Who Are Elect

1 Peter 1:1 Pt 3

Delivered 03/10/24

Good morning, Bereans, we are continuing our study of 1 Peter this morning we haven't yet made it out of verse 1. This letter was written by the Apostle Peter around 65 AD. He is writing to the elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

I think that Peter uses "exiles" as the writer of Hebrews did, believers are exiles on the earth because our home is heaven. I believe he uses the term parepidēmos in a spiritual sense to people to whom Heaven is their real country and they sojourn on earth. They are not exiles because of language or skin color, but because of their Christian faith. Peter says that the exiles are in fact God's "chosen" ones; rejected by society but chosen by God.

Peter, an apostle of Yeshua the Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  1 Peter 1:1 ESV

For our study we are going to focus on the word "elect." Strongs: eklektos select; by implication favorite: - chosen, elect. Thayer Definition off eklektos:1) picked out, chosen. 1a) chosen by God. 1a1) to obtain salvation through Christ. 1a1a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God.

In the Greek text, the word "chosen" comes right after "Peter, an apostle of Yeshua the Christ." It is put at the start for emphasis. Peter wants us to know from the outset that our relationship with God does not depend on our weak grasp on Him, but rather on God's sure grip on us.

Election is about Soteriology which comes from two Greek terms: soter, meaning; "savior," and "logos", meaning; "word, reason, or principle." Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation. Soteriology discusses how Christ's death secures the salvation of those who believe. It helps us to understand the doctrines of redemption, justification, sanctification, propitiation, and the substitutionary atonement.

There are two basic schools of thought that exist concerning the matter of how we are saved. There are many views within these schools, but almost all views could be grouped within one school of thought or the other.

First, there is a school of thought that is known as Arminianism. This view of salvation receives its name from a man named Jacobus Arminius. People who hold to this viewpoint typically believe that man cooperates with God in his salvation; and salvation is through faith in Christ, but we choose to believe when we are ready. Most people who hold to this point of view also believe that we can stop believing at any time, and, thus, we become lost again; and, basically, they believe that salvation is based upon the will of man.

Then, there is a school of thought that is known as Calvinism. This viewpoint receives its name from a sixteenth century preacher by the name of John Calvin. Calvinism says that God selected some people for salvation and others for damnation, and that those selected have no say in the matter whatsoever. In Calvinism, the will of man is forfeited to the sovereignty of God.

A.W. Pink once began a message on election this way, "I am going to speak tonight on one of the most hated doctrines in the Bible, namely that of God's sovereign election."

"God's sovereign election is the truth most loathed and reviled by the majority of those claiming to be believers. Let it be plainly announced that salvation originated, not in the will of man, but in the will of God, that were it not so none would or could be saved. For as a result of the fall, man has lost all desire and will unto that which is good, and that even the elect themselves have to be made willing, and loud will be the cries of indignation against such teaching. Most mongers will not allow the supremacy of the divine will and the impedance of the human will. Consequently, they who are the most bitter in denouncing election by the sovereign pleasure of God are the warmest in crying up the free will of fallen man."

For the first thirteen years of my Christian life, I was an Arminian. I hated Calvinism, I thought it was a doctrine of demons. I knew that man's will was free, and if he came to Christ it was because he decided to. I guess you could call this "decisional regeneration". What changed my mind was the text. My downfall was that I taught verse-by-verse and at the time I was going through James.

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:18 ESV

The Greek word "will" is boulomai, it means to wish, to want, to desire. "Brought" is apokueō; from G575 and κυέω kueō, an older form of κύω kuō (to be pregnant); to give birth to: — brings forth (1), brought…forth (1).

My first question here was, "What about my will?" And as I studied this out, I found myself believing in election by the sovereign grace of God.

Many in churchianity, and even many believers, do not like the Biblical truth that God sovereignly chooses who will be saved. To them the decision of salvation is totally up to man and his free will. So, in their view God's hands are tied to actually save anyone, because He can't override man's free will. This is a humanistic doctrine that elevates man over God.

Let's pause here for a minute and talk about free will. This is a subject that everyone agrees on, right? No, not really. Let's begin by talking about the human will apart from what the Bible tell us. If someone asked you if man has free will, how would you answer them? The will of man is his power to choose between alternatives, it is human decision or volition. No one denies that man has a will—that is, a faculty of choosing what he wishes to say, do, and think.

So, you are free to make choices, but are your choices free? Your power to decide between alternatives is not free from all influence. You make choices based on your understanding, your feelings, your likes and dislikes, and your appetites. In other words, your will is not free from yourself! Your choices are determined by your own basic character.

The will is the faculty of choice, it is the immediate cause of all action. You think about something and then you do it. But in every act of the will there is a preference, the desire of one thing rather than another. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between two or more alternatives. But there is something which influences the choice. The will is not causative because something causes it to choose, therefore, that something must be the causative agent.

What is it that determines the will? If the will is not causative, then what is it that causes you to make a choice? Let's say that your boss comes to you and says, "You're going to Texas to meet with a client." He's not asking you, he's telling you. Do you have a choice? Sure, you can go to Texas or quit your job. Is that decision uninfluenced, is it free? No, you like to eat, so you have to work, so you choose to go to Texas. Your boss asks you, "Would you like to drive or fly?" He is giving you a choice. What determines which option you choose? What determines your choice is the strongest motive power, which is brought to bear upon it. With one, it may be the logic of reason—if I drive, it will take me two days and if I fly, it will only take me a couple of hours. I choose to fly; with another the impulse of emotion—I really don't like flying, so I'll drive. What you think, causes you to will. Whichever of these presents the strongest motive power and exerts the greatest influence upon us, is that which impels the will to act.

In other words, the action of the will is determined by the mind. The will is not free but is in bondage to the heart, how you think. Our choices are determined by our desires. When we have conflicting desires, whichever desire is greater at the time of decision is the desire I will choose. Let's say that I want to lose a few pounds, my desire is to lose some weight, so I will to go on a diet. But let's say that I'm out with friends and someone brings out a cherry pie, or real NY cheesecake which are my favorite desserts. Do I eat the pie or stick to my diet? Is my will free to choose? As I just said when we have conflicting desires, which ever desire is greater at the time of decision is the desire I will choose. I want to lose weight and have decided to diet, but my desire for the pie is now stronger than my desire to diet. So, going against my desire to lose weight, I eat the pie. Though we have the ability to make a decision, I'm going to diet, we don't always have the power to carry out our purpose. Will may devise a course of action, to lose weight, but will has no power to execute its intention. This scenario will change if your reason for a diet is not to lose weight but to remain alive. Rob

What causes a teenager to take drugs? Their thinking will determine their choice. The Bible tells us that Daniel "purposed" in his heart not to defile himself with the Kings meat. If you desire to honor and obey God and your parents and if you believe that drugs are wrong, and that they may kill you, you will say, "No" to drugs. If you're really undecided if drugs are wrong and you want to please your friends, you want to fit in, you'll say, "Yes." The condition of our hearts will determine our choices. J. Edwards defined the will as, "The mind choosing."

By saying that your will is free, you certainly do not mean that it determines the course of your life. How many of your decisions, your acts of the will are frustrated? You may choose to be a millionaire, but your ability is likely to prevent it. You may decide to be a scholar, but bad health, an unstable home, or lack of finances may frustrate your will. You choose to go on a vacation, but an automobile accident may send you to the hospital instead.

So, I hope you can see that man does not have a free will. A free will would be one that was uninfluenced in its choices. We have a will and we make choices, but they are NOT free. Something is always influencing our choices. Could I choose to have sex with a man? No, why? Because I detest that, it is a sick perversion to me. I can't choose what I hate.

When we talk about "free will" it is usually in the context of man's freedom to make choices apart from God's influence. Does the lost person have a free will to choose God or reject Him? By and far the majority of the church today believes that the lost person has a free will. The church ,during the days of the reformation, held that man had no free will. In the eighteenth century, Campbell, a Scottish preacher was excommunicated from the church for teaching that man had a free will. The church today is man-centered, so they want man to be able to determine his own destiny. People today view "free will" as a sacred right that God dare not violate. It is almost a universal belief today that man has a "free will" that God will not, yeah cannot violate. But is this what the Bible teaches? Most of churcheanity thinks it is. But if you actually read the Bible you will see that God is sovereign over all things, even the will of man.

This issue of "free will" was the main issue in the Reformation. Martin Luther said that only Erasmus knew what the real issue in the Reformation was, and it was the issue of the bondage of the will. Erasmus was Europe's most famous philosopher, and he and Luther debated the question of whether or not the human creature has the freedom to accept or refuse divine grace.

This debate was not new, in the fifth century Augustine and Pelagius debated the same issue and Pelagius' view was condemned at the Counsel of Ephesus in 431. Luther taught that man, because of the fall, was so bound by sin; that he could not of himself do anything to avail himself to get out of the situation, but that God must do it. Salvation was of the Lord.

No wonder Martin Luther wrote a 285 page book entitled, The Bondage of the Will, which he considered one of his most important treatises. Luther taught, The will is in bondage of an evil human nature. Those who extol the free will as a great force are clinging to a root of pride. Man, as fallen in sin, is utterly helpless and hopeless. The will of man offers no hope. It was the will choosing the forbidden fruit that brought us into misery. The powerful grace of God alone offers deliverance.

Let's look at a few texts that demonstrate God's sovereignty of the will of man.

Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. Exodus 34:23 ESV

Three times during the year, all Jewish males were required by Yahweh to appear before Him in Jerusalem at the Temple (Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles). These were known as Pilgrim Feasts, because of the required pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Their traveling away from their homes was not like us leaving our homes for a couple of weeks. When all the males went up to Jerusalem to worship as Yahweh had commanded them their homes and family would be left exposed to their ungodly neighbors that they had just driven out of the land.

For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year. Exodus 34:24 ESV

"For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders"—Yahweh promises them that after the expulsion of the Canaanites, He would enlarge the borders of Israel. Then He says this: "No one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year"—how can Yahweh promise this? How does He know that no one will covet their land? He can promise this because He is sovereign over all things including the will and desire of man.

The word "covet" here is from the Hebrew word chamad, which means: "to delight in, to desire." This word is only used 23 times in the Tanakh. This is the same word used in the ten commandments, "You shall not covet." It is also used of Eve in:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV

I said earlier, "Our choices are determined by our desires." Eve desired the tree that she was commanded not to eat, so she chose to eat it. Yahweh told the Israelites that no one would desire their land while they were away worshiping Him. Micah uses the word chamad when talking about wicked men:

Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Micah 2:1-2 ESV

John Gill commenting on, "No one shall covet your land," writes, "Though it is a desirable land; and their neighbors, and especially the old inhabitants of it, envied the happiness of the Israelites, and could not but wish it was in their possession; yet God, who has the hearts of all men in His hands, and can direct their thoughts, and turn the inclinations of their minds, and influence their affections, and engage them with other objects, promises that they should not think of an invasion of them, or have their minds, and the desires and affections of their hearts, in the least turned that way at these seasons, whatever they might have at other times."

Not only will their neighbors not invade their land while they are away, they won't even think of invading it. Because Yahweh will supernaturally control their thinking. Yahweh is often said to control man's thinking:

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Proverbs 21:1 ESV

The heart to the Hebrew was the thought process, his thinking. So here we see that Yahweh controls the thoughts of the King. The truth of God's sovereignty over the hearts of all people is taught by the strongest illustration, His control over most absolute of all wills, the "king's heart."

In Solomon's time, the king was an absolute monarch. There was no legislature to pass laws he did not like; no Supreme Court to restrain his actions. The king's word was the last word. His authority over his realm was unconditional and unrestrained. Yet, this verse teaches that Yahweh controls the heart of the most powerful monarch on earth as easily as the farmer directs the flow of water in his irrigation canals.

So, if God controls the king's heart, surely, he controls everyone else's. Some may object that this makes man a puppet. Do you feel like a puppet, has anyone yanked your strings lately? Did you come here today because God dragged you here by your strings or did you come here today because you wanted to? I'm here because I wanted to be here today. How does God sovereignly control us if we do what we want to do? I don't know, but the Bible says He controls all things, man's actions included, and I believe it.

When a man's ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7 ESV

How does Yahweh make your enemies to be at peace with you? By controlling their heart/thinking.

And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. Genesis 35:5 ESV

So, did the cities around them have the free will to pursue Israel? No, because God put a terror in their hearts.

And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 17:10 ESV

Yahweh protects His people by controlling men's hearts. Yahweh comforts Paul with these words:

for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people." Acts 18:10 ESV

How did Yahweh know that no one would attack Paul? He knew because He controls all men.

While Abraham sojourned in Gerar he told people that Sarah, his 90 year old hot wife, was his sister. So, Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. Notice what Yahweh says to King Abimelech:

Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Genesis 20:6 ESV

Did Abimelech have the free will to have sex with Sarah? No, he did not. He obviously wanted her because he took her. But Yahweh controlled his will and he did not touch her. To say that man has "free will" is to not understand Scripture.

Which of these views Arminianism or Calvinism does the Bible teach? Which of these theological positions is a Biblical Soteriology? We, as believers, need to hold a theological position, we need a framework or grid to filter things through. And this grid or framework must be formed from a diligent study of the Bible. All theology must come from exegesis out of the text of the Bible. When we take our theology and force it on a text, that is called eisegesis. We must allow the Bible to speak and then shape our theology from the Scripture. If you find that the Scriptures go against your theology, change your theology.

Let's examine these views in light of Scripture. To whom do we give the glory for our salvation? God or ourselves? And this, my friend, is a very important question:

And because of him you are in Christ Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ESV

Notice carefully what this verse says, "And because of him you are in Christ Yeshua." Therefore, any boast we have is not in ourselves, but in the Lord. The Bible contains a unified system of truth. When an error is made in one area of our theological understanding of the Word of God, that error does not remain in isolation for long. The error cascades throughout our theology and, if not halted at some point, produces greater and greater falsehood. Theological error is not just an intellectual issue; theological error can result in condemnation. At the very least, it quickly spills over into the way we live our Christian lives. B. B. Warfield said that a mutilated Gospel produces mutilated lives. Bad theology is a cruel taskmaster. This principle is especially important in understanding the doctrine of salvation.

You are a Christian, because God has chosen you. You might think that you are a Christian because you believed the gospel, but the only reason you believed the gospel is because God chose you and gave you a new birth.

God chooses, he appoints. Notice carefully who is said to believe the gospel:

And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:46-48 ESV

Who is it that believed? The inspired text says, "As many as were appointed to eternal life believed"—he could have just said, "And many believed" as he has so many times in this book, but he is careful to tell us that "those appointed to eternal life believed." Luke uses predestination terminology to point out here, as elsewhere, that this faith is, above all, God's work. Salvation is of the Lord.

Those who argue against the plain meaning of this text say that the Greek verb used here, tasso, does not imply predestination. This word should be somewhat familiar to us, does it ring a bell? We're all familiar with the word hupotasso, which means to line up under. Hupotasso comes from two Greek words: the word hupo, which means: "under," and tasso, which means: "to set in place." In other words, the word means to set something in place up under something else.

Tasso is used eight times in the New Testament. The etymology of the word tasso is: "to place; to place in a certain rank or order." Its meaning is derived from arranging or disposing a body of soldiers in regular order; to arrange in military order. The word is used to denote the following things: To command, or to designate (Matthew 28:16; Acts 22:10; 28:23); to institute, constitute, or appoint (Romans 13:1); to determine, to take counsel, to resolve (Acts 15:2); to subject to the authority of another (Luke 7:8); to addict to, to devote to (1 Corinthians 16:15).

From these eight texts we learn that the word is never used to denote an internal disposition or inclination arising from one's own self. It does not mean that they disposed themselves to embrace eternal life. It has the idea of an ordering, disposing, or arrangement from without, i.e., from some other source than the individual himself; as of a soldier, who is arranged or classified according to the will of the officer.

Tasso does not actually refer to an eternal decree, or directly to the doctrine of election; but that may be inferred from it; it refers to their being disposed to embrace eternal life. This implies the doctrine of election. It was because of God's disposing that they embraced eternal life.

This idea of predestination is seen in many manuscripts. The Vulgate has, "As many as were foreordained to eternal life believed." And there is papyrus evidence to indicate that the verb "tasso" means: "to inscribe or enroll," and that it is used to make out a list, and what it's saying is that as many as were put on the list for eternal life believed.

Notice why it is that Lydia believes the gospel:

And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. Acts 16:13-14 ESV

This is the only place in the New Testament that uses the phrase "opened her heart," and the Bible gives the whole credit for this "opening" to God's power and not to man's will. Arminianism insists that man's free will must furnish the willingness or power, and the Bible says that the Holy Spirit of God furnishes that power or ability in the new birth.

Notice exactly what God did. We see here demonstrated what God must do before Lydia can be saved. (l) He provided a salvation of "by grace through faith" that could be preached. Obviously, "the things spoken" by Paul were the gospel facts concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Yeshua the Christ. (2) God also brought the message of His provision to Lydia. He sent a preacher to tell her about this great plan of salvation. God went to a lot of trouble to provide such a gospel—He gave His only begotten Son up to death. He went to great ends to provide such a preacher as Paul.

It is at this point that Arminianism departs from the Bible and proceeds to apply human logic to the above truths. They tragically fail to look at the rest of the Biblical text and see that God must do something else. (3) God must open Lydia's heart (or give her faith), so she will be able to believe. Her natural mind is blind, her natural heart is averse to God, and her will is in bondage to sin and spiritual death. Only the power of God can free her from this spiritual depravity. The giving of this life and power is solely the work of God. Notice that the Bible explicitly gives God alone the credit for Lydia's heart being opened. It is impossible not to see that in this text, unless you simply refuse to accept what God clearly says.

Look at the words carefully: "whose heart the LORD OPENED." If you try to deny that the one single reason that Lydia understood and believed the gospel was because God deliberately opened her heart and enabled her to believe, you are fighting God's Word. If you try to get man's "free will" as the one determining factor into this text, you are consciously corrupting the Word of God.

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8 ESV

Paul wants the believers in Rome to understand that being in Adam/Moses (in the flesh) is to be incapable of pleasing God. Paul had come to understand that his sincerity in keeping the highest ideals and practices of Judaism had not changed his state of "being in Adam/Moses."

Does faith please God?:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 ESV

So, faith pleases God. Now let me ask you this, Can an unregenerate man, a man who is in the flesh, exercise faith? If he could, then he could please God. But the Scriptures clearly teach that "those who are in the flesh cannot please God." So, if while dead in Adam man can do nothing to please God, then he must not be able to believe, because faith pleases God. So how does a person in Adam become a Christian? God has to give him life; once alive he will believe.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV

The doctrine of election is hard for man to accept. It's hard for man to acknowledge that his salvation is an act of God. In his fallen state, he wants to assume some responsibility, even if it's a small responsibility, for having believed. He wants some credit for having made the right choice. The doctrine of election is repulsive to us, because, by our standards, it seems unfair that God should, out of all the human beings, choose some at his own discretion to be saved and not the rest. Man, in his fallenness, wants a part, because he wants to exercise his pride! Pink states, "The doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of God is a great battering-ram against human pride."

Why teach this? Why teach that man has no "free will"? Since this view is so despised by man, why teach it? Let me give you John Calvin's answer to the question. "The Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit in which, as nothing is omitted that is both necessary and useful to know, so nothing is taught but what is expedient to know. Therefore we must guard against depriving believers of anything disclosed about predestination in Scripture, lest we seem either wickedly to defraud them of the blessing of their God or to accuse and scoff at the Holy Spirit for having published what it is in any way profitable to suppress."

Calvin goes on to say, "But for those who are so cautious or fearful that they desire to bury predestination in order not to disturb weak souls—with what color will they cloak their arrogance when they accuse God indirectly of stupid thoughtlessness, as if He had not foreseen the peril that they feel they have wisely met? Whoever, then, heaps odium upon the doctrine of predestination openly reproaches God, as if He had unadvisedly let slip something hurtful to the church."

Spurgeon said, "If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, "He is one who says, Salvation is of the Lord." I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible." It is my opinion that Calvinism is the correct soteriology.

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