Tag Archives: spiritual

He Has Chosen Us

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“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)

Although we cannot really understand how God could choose us (same Greek word as “elected”) before the creation of the world, we can rejoice in the fact and praise Him for “his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). The preceding verse (Ephesians 1:3) testifies we have received “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” all “according to the good pleasure of his will” (v. 5), “according to the riches of his grace” (v. 7), and “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (v. 9). It must thus all be “to the praise of the glory of his grace” (v. 6).

It is clear from this passage that God’s choice of us was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely by His own will and grace: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). This in no wise lessens our own responsibility to trust in Christ and to believe “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:12-13), even though in our finite minds we cannot understand how to correlate these two concepts. Both are true, because both are taught in His Word, and both are occasions for rejoicing because they reflect both His love and His omnipotence.

God told Jeremiah: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Before the world began, God knew each of us and loved us, and prepared to die to save us from our sins and then to draw us to Himself. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalm 139:6). We can only thank and praise Him, and then seek earnestly to live fully for Him all our days. HMM

The Power of a Sound Mind

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“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

The gift spoken of in the previous verse is based on a transfer of authority from God, and we are exhorted to “stir up” that gift (2 Timothy 1:6) because God did not give us a “spirit of fear.” The word fear (deilia) stresses timidity or cowardice, not terror. The gift does not function well if we are too timid to use it.

The gift referred to is not power. That spiritual gift comes with dunamis—the innate ability to do the gift. Whatever the Holy Spirit has gifted us with upon our entrance into the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:11), that gift comes with the power necessary to implement and use that gift.

The gift also comes with love. Again, love is not the gift. It is only part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes with the gift. Were it not for the reflection in us of the unilateral and sacrificial love of our Redeemer, these supernatural gifts could well be misused, distorted, and abused for personal glory. Diotrephes misused his gift, failing to use the spirit of love (3 John 1:9).

Sophronismos (sound mind) is a unique Greek word that is a combination of the verbs “to save” and “to control.” Its basic meaning would be “safe control” or “wholesome control”— perhaps even “control that saves”—the perfect combination of abilities that empower the gift, the love that keeps the gift focused on others, and the “safety controls” to keep it from doing damage unwittingly.

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). HMM III

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