Good evening and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study. We have been studying the Book of 1st Samuel for several months now, and at this time, we are going to take a little side trip over into another Book of the Bible, into the Book of 2nd John.
The reason for this is that we have come to the point in the Book of 1st Samuel, where I just think that, I need to do more study before continuing, and so rather than just suspend our Bible study, it is better if we go over to another area of the Bible and concentrate on that area for a short period of time, and then we will return, LORD willing, once again at some time in the future, to our study, in the Book of 1st Samuel.
So, for now, and maybe for the next few weeks, we are going to be taking a look at 2nd John, and perhaps, 3rd John.
Now, in the Bible, there are only, of the Bible 66 Books. There are five Books that are one chapter long. 2nd John is one of those Books and 3rd John is one of those Books. By the way, four of these Books that are only one chapter long are in the New Testament: Philemon, 2nd John, 3rd John and Jude. The fifth Book is in the Old Testament, that also has one chapter, and that Book is Obadiah. So, five out of the 66 Books of the Bible are only one chapter in length.
We are going to begin our study in 2nd John, and this will be study number 1. So, let us begin reading 2 John 1:1-2:
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
I will stop reading there. We see that this Book is a letter. It is the elder writing unto the elect lady and her children. The elder is not named. In all probability, it is the apostle John, but God does not tell us that, and it is not really important for us to know. If it were important, God would give us that information, but what we do know is, that the elder is writing to the elect lady.
In order for us to properly understand the spiritual context of this short Book, we must come to a proper understanding of who the elder is representing; and so there are a couple of verses that I would like for us to turn to, that will help define who the elder is, or who the elder is representing, in this verse.
The first verse is found in 1 Timothy 5:1. There it says:
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father;…
And that is letting us know, that an elder has a role (of course, this would apply to the elders in the churches) and they were to be looked upon and considered as a father. They were to be respected and honored and so forth, as a father is in his home. And yet, God is also letting us know that the elder typifies, or is like, a father. And so, right away, that is helpful information, as we can apply that to the elder, that the elder would be representing the father, in some way. And, of course, since God Himself has the name of Father, we want to keep that in mind. Perhaps this elder is typifying God the Father.
A second verse, or couple of verses, that will help us in pinpointing the spiritual meaning of the word, “elder” in this verse, is found in the Book of Revelation, in chapter 7, and it says in Revelation 7:13-14:
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
We know, that in this chapter, God is giving us that wonderful information concerning His plan to save a great multitude, during the time of the great tribulation, which He has already done. He has completed that plan, and we have come out of the great tribulation.
But, the point of these verses is, that we find that, “one of the elders.” The Book of Revelation, in a few places mentions twenty four elders, “round about the throne” of God, and these twenty four elders represent twelve for the twelve tribes of Israel and twelve for the twelve apostles of the Lamb or of Christ.
In essence, they are typifying all of the Elect (Old Testament and New Testament), all of those that God will save. Often, as they are in view, we have them representing the body of believers, but here, “one of the elders answered.” Now, it does not say, “one of these twenty four,” but I think we could gather, that that is what it is referring to.
And yet, it could be that God is just using one of those elders to again, typify Himself or the Lord Jesus, and I say this because, in Revelation 7:13, one of the elders spoke, and then in Revelation 7:14, the apostle John (who God was giving this revelation to), says at the beginning of the verse:
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. …
The English word, “Sir” is a translation of the Greek word, “kurie” which is a form of the Greek word “kurios,” or the word for, that is normally translated “Lord.” And so, this could read, “And I said unto him,…” referring to the elder, “Lord, thou knowest. …” And so, that helps us because when an elder, like this, is singled out and it is only one of the elders, it seems to be pointing to God Himself.
And of course, it makes complete Biblical sense to understand that God would be typified by “The elder,” because He is Eternal God. He is, as the Bible calls Him, “the Ancient of Days,” and the “elder” is a word that points to someone who is old, someone who has experience.
The context of the verse would also indicate, spiritually, that the elder is pointing to God Himself. He is the one writing to the elect lady. And of course, on another level, as God is the author of the Bible, as He moved all of the earthly writers to pen the words that we find in the Scriptures, all scripture is given by the inspiration of Him, then He is writing to the elect lady on that level also.
But, the “elder” typifies God the Father, and it says in 2 John 1:1:
The elder unto the elect lady and her children,…
The word “elect” is from the Greek “eklektos.” It is very similar to our English word “elect” and it is one of the typical words for “elect” or “chosen.” “Elect” and “chosen” are the English translations of this word. We find this word in Romans 8:33, where it says:
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
Here God is informing us that no one, no man, no one at all, can lay a charge of guilt, of being guilty of any sin, upon any one of God’s elect, in the sense that they can say, “You have done wrong and you are worthy to die because of the wrong you have done.” Of course, in an earthly sense, if we were to take someone’s life and the State would come and try us and take our life, yes, they can do that. But no one can charge us with a sin in which we are guilty before God and deserving to die for that sin, as every sin brings the penalty of death. No one can lay that kind of charge on God’s elect.
Why not? Because “It is God that justifieth.” That is, it is God who has already taken all of the sins of this elect person (all the millions of them, in thought, word and deed), and has laid it on the person of Christ. All the sins, before that individual was even born and before they were even committed, were laid upon Christ before the foundation of the world, and Christ died for them all. He died for all of the sins of that elect person, and of all the elect people that God had obligated Himself to save.
And so, Jesus died for the child of God’s sins, for the elect person that Christ came to save. Now this means, for an elect person today, who is currently alive upon the earth, that all and every single one of our sins in the past, that we have ever done have been paid for, and that all of our sins today, that we have committed already, or will commit, have been paid for, and that all of our sins tomorrow, and the next day, and next week and next month and however long we live in this world, every single one of them, has already been paid for by Christ.
And so, this frees us from the penalty of sin, from the wages of sin, from the guilt and shame of sin. All of our sins have been laid upon Christ and we are now completely justified in God’s sight and nothing we have ever done, or are presently doing, or could possibly do, would ever separate us from this love of God. It is an impossibility for a truly elect person to lose the salvation that Christ has purchased on their behalf and has granted them. There is no sin they could possibly ever commit that Jesus has not already paid for.
Of course, this does not lead, as some would argue, to living a licentious life, a life of just going after whatever sin we desire. No, the child of God does not go after sin, because he thinks that all sin is forgiven, but actually God has placed within him a desire to do the will of God, and has given the believer a love for God. As a result of all these sins that he has done being forgiven, and this leads him to want to do things God’s way more and more.
Let us also turn to 1 Peter 1:2, which says:
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.
Here, the elect, are “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” that is, God, in advance (and the Bible tells us how far in advance), before the foundation of the world, chose to save certain individuals out of the whole of the human race and these He calls His elect (the eklektos). They are those that are chosen, and as the Bible says several times, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The Gospel call went out into all the world and those elect, who were called by God and chosen, responded to salvation. Whereas, many others (multitudes) respond, but never did become saved.
Let us turn also to Ephesians 1, and it says in Ephesians 1:4-5:
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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Here, the word “chosen” is a related word. It also is at times translated as “elect.” God has chosen us. He is referring to this number of individuals, in all likelihood, numbering probably 200,000,000, out of the whole of mankind. Of course, 200,000,000 is an enormous number, but when placed side by side with billions that have lived and died in the world, it is just a few. It is like a remnant of the whole, and God chose us in Him, that is, in the Lord Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the world.
So, these matters of God’s salvation plan were all worked out. All the details were worked out and finished even before this world began, before God created it, before man even fell into sin, and before history unfolded. God already knew everything that would transpire. He knew everything that would take place over the course of time, because He is God.
He has an eternal, infinite perspective on things. He knows the end from the beginning. And so, having all this knowledge, He was able to look out and know every single human being that would ever be born. He predetermined, predestinated, according to this verse, which is another way of saying that He elected. He predetermined that this one individual he would save and that individual over there, and so on.
Why did He do it? What made one stand out over another? Why did he save one in a family and not others in the same family? Is it because that they were good, that there was some inherent moral goodness about these people? No. “…there is none good…” the Bible says. There is no one better than anyone else. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is nothing in any individual person that would cause God to choose them over any other person.
Then, why did He do it? The only answer the Bible gives is found in the verse we just read, in Ephesians 1:5, “…according to the good pleasure of his will,” that is, He just simply chose and He did so indiscriminately. He did so without looking at who would sin, more or less, or who would do good, more or less, in their lives. He did not even look to any of that, He just chose one and not the other.
The LORD gives us an example of His election program, and of how He worked it out, in the Book of Romans, when He summarizes the choosing of one person over another. It says in Romans 9:10-11:
And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (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;)
Let me stop here for a second. God is talking about the birth of Jacob and Esau, twin sons born to their mother Rebecca, and He is telling us that before they were born, and therefore, before they had done any good or evil, that His purpose of election might apply, or as it says, “…might stand, not of works,…” that is, God does not elect to salvation any person due to good works, “…but of him that calleth;” God elects to salvation, because of His own good pleasure.
Then it goes on to say, in Romans 9:12-13:
It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
And there we have it. Before they were born, God made a choice and He said, “I will love Jacob. I will save him. I will have his sins paid for. He will live forever. He will enter into eternity future, and all the other blessings that accompany salvation. I will bestow them upon Jacob, but I will not do the same for Esau. I will not lay his sins upon Christ. He will not become one of my children. Therefore, he will not live forever. He will not enter into eternity future, but he will die after his life is over, and that will be it.” This is what God calls “love,” when He saves a person, and when God does not apply his salvation to a person, He calls it “hate.” That is why He says, “…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Some hear about this plan of salvation and immediately, they think that it is not fair. They think that it is unfair and unjust. They think that it is wrong of God to save one person and not save another, and it is wrong that He determines who will be saved and passes by others, when we are all guilty. We are all deserving of death. They think that it is just not fair.
God, of course, knows man intimately. He knows everything about us since He created us. He knows our tendency to complain and be critical and to stand in judgment of Him Himself. And so, He responds to this in the next couple of verses. In Romans 9:14, we read:
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
God asks that question right at that point, because He knows that He has just laid out His election program and men will find fault with it. Then He goes on to say, in Romans 9:15-16:
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
God is telling us directly. He is not hiding His salvation plan. He is not apologizing for it. He is telling us the facts, that He is God, and that if we want justice and if we want fairness, then he could cast all of mankind into destruction, and they would cease to exist forever more. All are deserving, and it is not as though any individual deserves His mercy, but since He is merciful, and since He is compassionate, kind, gracious and good, then He has decreed, and He has decided, that He will save some, and He will choose those whom He will save.
It is similar to all the individuals that are on death row. We may have 100 or more on death row and all of them write letters to the Governor and they all plead with the Governor for pardon, that they might be spared and delivered from death. And, the Governor determines, it is his prerogative and it is within his authority. He can look at all the letters and he can look at all the cases and all the individuals and he can say, “I will pardon one, and now, let me see, not based on anything that any of them have done. They are all dirty, rotten murderers, but I will grant this one a pardon.”
And that is how God determines His salvation plan for any one individual. We have no say in the matter and it is entirely His decision.