I don’t know about you, but I can hardly believe that I am saved. Our church bible plan has us starting Judges and Ephesians today. What a contrast between the two! Frankly, if I didn’t have such a radical change in my demeanor and if the Word of God was not so plain, I could draw no other conclusion than I was not saved.
Judges sobers me. The Israelites finally enter the promised land but it doesn’t take long before they are lax in a primary commandment – to displace the wicked inhabitants before them. These peoples were judged by God, and Israel was sent to be their executioner. Over and over, God warned them to obey his command and to make sure they did not spare them. Why? If they didn’t, the Israelites would soon begin to worship their gods. Judges is a book in which they did just that.
Ephesians, on the other hand, speaks of great deliverance! Whereas the Promised Land in Judges was conditional, Ephesians speaks of predestination and redemption and inheritance. The Israelites could lose the Promised Land. In fact, the Lord told Moses that they would forsake Him and that He would turn his face from them (Deuteronomy 31:14-18). Mind you, God also promised that he will never forget his Chosen People (Israel), and he won’t. He’ll always keep a remnant even when he destroys the nation. Ephesians, on the other hand, is unconditional.
Why The Difference?
Who can read the story of the Israelites without shaking their head in amazement? How many times did they see great works of the Lord, yet how many times do they turn their back on him? The longer I study this stuff, the more I relate to them. Honestly, I heard and understood the gospel yet I blasphemed. I was aware of all the miracles – and even believed Jesus healed – yet I refused to believe and obey. Looking back, I recognize myself for what I was – in complete rebellion against my creator! I was no different than them.
Yet something changed. Something really, really big happened in my life, a fulfillment of prophesy. I was born again into what theologians call “The New Covenant.”
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27
The bottom line is that people are wicked, wicked and refuse to obey God. The Israelites were, and so am I. We all are.
Ephesians – Predestination?
It’s no secret that the Doctrine of Predestination is not universally accepted. Yet we can’t ignore the plain language of Ephesians 1 or all the other hard sayings of the bible without opening our minds to the idea. Frankly, the bible doesn’t make sense without it.
The bottom line, in my opinion, is this. Apart from the unmerited mercy of God, we would all be doomed to the lake of fire. Yes, I believe that salvation is against our will. Our will would never bow to Jesus. See Romans 3.
Father, I am once again overwhelmed by your mercy. Thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers