For Whom was the Temple Curtain Torn?

October 10, 2013

by Ron Hale

Ron Hale has served as pastor, church planter, strategist (NAMB), director of missions, and associate executive director of evangelism and church planting for a state convention, and now in the fourth quarter of ministry as minister of missions.

The Jewish temple in Jerusalem was not an inviting spiritual structure. It was imposing and intimidating. I don’t imagine that smiley faces with happy handshakes greeted you at multicolored welcome centers as you entered.

God-fearing Gentiles had a segregated space for their worship and were strictly forbidden from entering the Jewish areas. A sign written in Greek read: any non-Jew who entered “is answerable himself for his ensuring death.”[1] Jewish women had a small court set aside for their use at the temple. In later years, a post for Roman soldiers was installed to maintain order and surveillance.

Inside the temple, there were two main rooms, the Holy Place (Hekhal) and the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies (Kodesh Hakodashim) and wise priests knew their restrictions concerning these rooms as they very carefully followed procedures and protocol.

Priests could minister in the Holy Place, but only at certain times and in prescribed ways. The priest entered this sacred place to do God’s business and then he reverently departed. Yet, there was a place even more sacred called the Holy of Holies. It was here that only the High Priest could enter.

Wearing special garments, the High Priest only entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. He brought with him the blood that would be sprinkled. The High Priest carefully walked past the temple veil (parochet) into this holy and historic place to sprinkle the blood on the golden Mercy Seat that was the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, which held a copy of the Ten Commandments. The massive 60-foot tall curtain was a constant reminder that sin separated them from the presence of a holy God.

In Leviticus 17:11, God says why he instituted temple sacrifices, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement.”[2] J.I. Packer says, “When Paul tells us that God set forth Jesus to be a propitiation “by his blood,” his point is that what quenched God’s wrath and so redeemed us from death was not Jesus’ life or teaching, not his moral perfection nor his fidelity to the Father, as such, but the shedding of his blood in death.”[3]

The Scriptures preach to us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Two thousand years ago, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us.” Jesus died for all — reconciling the world to himself. Jesus, as our substitute, stood in our place! As our shield and savior, Jesus shielded us from the retributive justice of a holy God by becoming our representative substitute, in obedience to his Father’s will, and receiving the wages of our sin in our place.[4]

The writer of Hebrews declares, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, this is, through his flesh”(Heb 10:19-20 ESV).

The book of Hebrews teaches us that Jesus entered the inner sanctuary behind the curtain on our behalf and He has become our high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:19-20). As our high priest, John shows us “for whom” Christ shed his blood, “And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our only, but also for the whole world” (I John 2:2).[5]

Everything about the ancient Jewish temple shouted, “Stop! Don’t come any closer! Stay back! You are not authorized for access!” But, everything about Jesus, our Great High Priest joyfully says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened” (Matt 11:28).

The massive temple curtain was torn from top to bottom by the strong hand of God at the very moment of the death of our Savior. For that reason, asking a question concerning the intent of the atonement as it relates to the tearing of the curtain is not far-fetched. For you see, God’s plan in the atonement was to provide a punishment and a satisfaction for sin as a basis for salvation for all humanity and to secure the salvation for all who believe in Christ.[6]

Some Christians contend for a “limited atonement” and that God unfolded his great plan of salvation (over many centuries) so that it would climax at the cross of his Son bearing the punishment due for the sins of the elect alone. To say it another way, the sins of the elect only were substituted for, atoned for, or imputed to Christ on the cross.[7]

This limited view of the atonement does not stand the test of time because Gottschalk of Orbais (AD 804-869) was the first person in church history who explicitly held belief in limited atonement.[8]

While the Jewish temple shouted “access denied” at so many points of entry, the rending of the temple curtain signifies access to the Lord God of Israel by means of the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus the Christ (Romans 6:10).

Last, the torn curtain declares to the world that God Himself is no longer the exclusive possession of Israel, for he is no longer hidden away and veiled. The presence of God will no longer be housed in a tabernacle or temple but will be poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:17) and “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

The result is obvious to those who have studied the work of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts as the Gospel crashes through social and ethnic barriers and breaks down veiled spiritual biases. Access once denied to so many is opened to Gentiles, Samaritans, women, Romans, yes, ALL SINNERS — as they put their trust in the One who shed his blood for all, for he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Jesus, because he always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7:25).

© Ron F. Hale, October 7, 2013


[2] Packer, 186

[3] Ibid. 186

[4] Ibid. 189

[5] William W. Stevens, Doctrines of the Christian Religion, (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1967), 186.

[6] David L. Allen, The Atonement: Limited or Universal?, in, Whosoever Will: A Biblical- Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, ed. David L. Allen and Steve W. Lemke (Nashville, B&H Academic, 2010), 64.

[7] Ibid. 63

[8] Ibid. 68

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Robert

Hello Ron,

I enjoyed your article and you make a very valid point. If we look at the Old Testament scriptures, limited atonement is never taught. Instead, it is always a sacrifice of some sort for all (including those who were not believers and never would become believers, e.g. The Day of atonement was for all of Israel and yet we know that all of Israel was never saved when these sacrifices were made for all of them).

I read your words and saw an immediate parallel with the false teaching of limited atonement, as you wrote:

“Last, the torn curtain declares to the world that God Himself is no longer the exclusive possession of Israel, for he is no longer hidden away and veiled. The presence of God will no longer be housed in a tabernacle or temple but will be poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:17) and “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).”

And analogy can be made with limited atonement type thinking:

“Last, the torn curtain declares to the world (not just some preselected elect) that God Himself is no longer the exclusive possession of Israel or Calvinists or any other group that claims exclusivity of the grace of God for themselves, for he is no longer hidden away and veiled in their Calvinistic theology. The presence of God will no longer be housed in a tabernacle or temple or man-made system of theology such as Calvinism, but will be poured out on all flesh (Acts 2:17) and “whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).”

My point is that Calvinists by the nature of their limited atonement theology are *grace restrictors* (they limit the grace of God only to themselves, only to those who think like they do and have the same theology as they do: Many of the Israelites felt the same way about election and the grace of God which is why Paul had to correct them on this in Romans 9-11). When in fact God is *always* the *grace extender*, extending His grace via the atonement of Christ to the whole world (cf. 1 Jn. 2:2) even to those who are not unbelievers and may never end up being believers.

So sadly within the church we have this sometimes contentious debate between the Calvinists and their *grace restricting* theology of limited atonement versus the non-Calvinists and their *grace extending* theology of unlimited atonement which tells everyone they can be saved through Christ because God desires the salvation of all and provides Jesus as an atonement for all.

Ron your article is again a reminder that the right way to go is to be a *grace extender* just as the Lord is Himself. Thanks for this important reminder!

Robert

    Rick Patrick

    Robert,

    Very nicely put. The irony, of course, is that the so-called “Doctrines of Grace” actually restrict access to grace, as you so clearly pointed out.

volfan007

Ron,

Really, really good stuff, Brother. Thanks for sharing this. It truly blessed me. AND, I thank God that the blood of Jesus was shed for a low down, terrible sinner like me!

David

Rick Patrick

Ron,

Thanks for another superb article. Why would anyone wish to limit the all-encompassing nature of the atonement? Since the veil was split, everyone now has access to the Holy of Holies. The door is open wide and “whosoever will” may enter.

Ron F. Hale

Gentlemen — you to David :)

God is so good and His salvation is so great — so full and free! His grace still amazes me after being a Believer for 37 years now. Robert … yes, I like your analogy! Great points!

Hariette

May the Holy Spirit of God continue to pour forth His convicting spirit upon those who have yet to know Christ in all His fulness and may they find peace in Him and joy with all who eagerly await the returning King, our Savior and Lord.
May those who stand as sentries to prohibit the hope we each have through Christ’s atonement and His willing sacrifice for us all, find their way here to your post, Ron, and be encouraged to discover the veil has been torn and theirs can be lifted.
Jesus paid it all… we need only humbly submit to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of our sin and turn from our wicked ways and thank the Savior for giving us life eternal. Praise His Holy name!

    Norm Miller

    Whew, Sister, you said it well: “… and be encouraged to discover the veil has been torn and theirs can be lifted.”
    Nicely and accurately put!

    Ron F. Hale

    Hariette,
    Your kind words humble me. I join you in praise to God for His salvation that He has lavished on us through the sacrifice of His Son! Amen!

Clark Dunlap

“God’s plan in the atonement was to provide a punishment and a satisfaction for sin as a basis for salvation for all humanity and to secure the salvation for all who believe in Christ.[6]”
OH! So, there is a restriction, you have to believe.

“Some Christians contend for a “limited atonement” …To say it another way, the sins of the elect only were substituted for, atoned for, or imputed to Christ on the cross.[7]
True, and many others view it as a Definite Redemption where Christ “Secured” our salvation on the cross, dying sufficiently for the sin of all humanity, but only effectively for those He foreknew. Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,… 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    Norm Miller

    Oh, dear Clark, you have hit the nail on the head when you cited foreknowledge. Election is according to the foreknowledge of God — n o one here will disagree with that.

    Pray tell, what was it God foreknew? Or, more specifically, what was it God foreknew about the elect?

      Clark Dunlap

      It wasn’t something he knew About them, why would you think that? He Foreknew them. As in knowing someone intimately. Not just knowing about them. Some may think that, “Well, God knows about everyone intimately.” But there is a reason he calls the church His bride.

        Norm Miller

        How do you know it wasn’t something he knew about them? Have you scriptural support for that assumption?

          Courtney Hill

          Of course there is Scriptural evidence for this view- For *those whom* He foreknew He did also predestinate. It doesn’t say, “for those whose faith He foreknew.” It says that He foreknew a people.

          By the way, I do not disagree with the idea that the renting of the veil in the temple signifies that salvation is available to all who will believe. Specifically, I believe it signifies that this Gospel is to be preached to all nations and that there will be people from every nation, tribe, and tongue standing around the throne of God, worshiping Him, on that great day.

            Norm Miller

            With all due respect, Courtney, I do not think it is as simple as you put it. Your view necessitates that there are some humans God did not foreknow. My point in asking Clark that question is that we cannot know what it was God foreknew about people. Any argument is one from silence. Therefore, based on my view of soteriology, I have as much right to say that God foreknew who would choose Him as you have in saying it is not that way. Calvinistic theology of necessity must reject my view, but on what grounds, an argument from silence?
            Access to grace and the atonement is limited by humans’ decisions to reject that grace, and not by any intent of God.

            Courtney Hill

            With respect Brother Norm, I must disagree. I don’t believe it is an argument from silence at all. It says “those whom He foreknew.” If you take into account that entire passage from Romans 8, it is clear that Paul is encouraging believers in regard to God’s “causing” all things to work together for the good of believers and even prior as evidence that the Spirit intercedes for the Saints “according to the will of God.” What is his evidence? His evidence has to do with the way in which God has worked for these very people, from even before the world began. And what is his conclusion? If God is for us, who can be against us. Do you not see that if you take away the idea of God foreknowing a people that Paul’s argument loses all its force? If I interpret it as you are saying, that God foresaw our choices or our faith, then Paul’s argument loses its force. But, when I understand Paul to be saying… Listen brothers- you don’t know what to pray but God’s Spirit in you *does* because He asks according to God’s will. In fact, in the same way, God *causes* all things to work for the good of believers. In fact, God has been accomplishing His will in your lives from before you were ever born…. The entire basis for strengthening my faith here is that God is the One who has brought these things to pass, not me; and that God is the One Who is in control, causing all things to work for my ultimate good, including that I be conformed to the image of His Son.

              Norm Miller

              Respectfully, Courtney, your understanding of Rom. 8 does not satisfy as an answer to my question. We differ.

            Courtney Hill

            Sorry to reply again so soon, but when you look at Ephesians 1 it may be even clearer, because here Paul gives the reason for God’s choice…

            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,

            His basis for choosing and predestination is the good pleasure of his will. And he continues…

            Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

            He works all things after the counsel of his own will, not after the counsel of man’s will or choice.

            wingedfooted1

            Romans 11:1-2……
            “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”

            No gentiles in this group.

Clark Dunlap

Robert said: “My point is that Calvinists by the nature of their limited atonement theology are *grace restrictors* (they limit the grace of God only to themselves, only to those who think like they do and have the same theology as they do…”
WOW, Robert, what a low blow. And also incredibly incorrect, wrong-headed and rude. As a Reformed Baptist I don’t believe those things you wrote nor do any of the other Reformed Baptist, Founders, or calvinists I know.
So I must insist you write with more grace and accuracy, not setting up straw men and giving them the name “Calvinists.”
There are millions of people who are born again who barely have any concept of how or why it happened, other than they were convicted of sin, repented and trusted in Christ and His atoning work. I’ve read about folks who were saved for sometime before discovering Christ is God! They just didn’t know. All they knew was Christ and Him crucified. Surely we want believers to understand who Christ was, and the power of resurrection etc. But we know that there can be a very minimal understanding of doctrine or truths and still be a regeneration. As Jesus pointed out, the Spirit moves where it will.
Unless you believe in universalism, and I have no reason to suspect you do, there are many who will not be saved whether you are a Calvinist, reformed Baptist, Arminian or somewhere in between. As Spurgeon pointed out, God has not revealed the elect to us so we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. And as Paul pointed out, even to pleading with them.

    Norm Miller

    Clark: As moderator, please let me be the judge of what is “incredibly incorrect, wrong-headed and rude.” Conversely, I am very pleased with your last two sentences and believe that you practice the faith in such a way. However, such is not the case with some Calvinists I know, and who also have commented here. Robert’s “grace restrictors” characterization may be offensive, but it is also descriptive of some Calvinists as cited in my previous sentence.

    wingedfooted1

    “As Spurgeon pointed out, God has not revealed the elect to us so we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. And as Paul pointed out, even to pleading with them.”

    Isaiah 42:1….
    “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”

    Isaiah 45:4….
    “For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.”

    Isaiah 65:9….
    “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there.”

    Perhaps God has revealed to us who the Elect are, but rather we are blinded by our theologies, traditions, and arrogance from seeing it.

    Robert

    Clark apparently you don’t hold Calvinistic beliefs. Don’t Calvinists such as yourself believe that God *preplans all of history*, *every detail* before it takes place? If so then God plans whom he will save and damn before they exist. If so then God desires to only save those who are preselected for salvation: he only extends salvific grace to them and not the rest. With those he chooses for damnation, he may give them a nice car or some money or what have you, what you folks like to call “common grace” (to distinguish the salvific grace that he gives only to the elect). But ultimately he plans to send them to hell and has no intention of saving them whatsoever and never ever truly desired for them to be saved during their time on earth (because if he did want to save them then he would save them, isn’t that another Calvinist belief?). So before anyone exists, according to you and your false theology, God decides everyone’s fate and decides whether or not he wants to save them and will save them. In such a scenario, the salvific grace of God is extended *only* to a preselected few, it is *not extended to all*. It is intentionally withheld from the vast majority. So it is perfectly appropriate to characterize such a scenario as involving God restricting his salvific grace only to some.

    And in such a scenario God becomes not a grace extender but a grace restrictor.

    It is like if a guy had a cure for all forms of cancer and while he could give it to all he only gives it to a lucky few while he intentionally withholds it from all of the rest. He could cure them all but cures only some and intentionally ignores and neglects the rest. Would we describe this person as extending or restricting grace to these people??? His intentionally withholding the cure from certain people is that gracious, is it loving?

    In contrast the non-Calvinist believes (as scripture explicitly and clearly teaches) that God desires the salvation of all, and the Spirit works on the world convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. In the non-Calvinist view God desires for all to save and extends grace to all so that they might be saved, but they reject the grace of God and so reject salvation and end up damned. So here the guy with the cancer cure genuinely desires for all to experience the cure, provides it for all of them, but some choose to reject the cure for their ailment. Those who reject the cure cannot claim that the man with the cure was not gracious towards them.

    And by the way, sin is a worse problem than cancer. Cancer is a minor problem compared to sin.

    In one scenario everything is planned out before hand, in the other it is not all preplanned. In one scenario it is both fair and accurate to say that God extends salvific grace to all, though only some end up as saved persons: so God is a grace extender. In the other it is both fair and accurate to say that God extends salvific grace only to the preselected elect, and only the elect can be saved: so God is a grace restrictor.

    Robert

      Robert

      Clark you wrote:

      “WOW, Robert, what a low blow. And also incredibly incorrect, wrong-headed and rude.”

      It is not a low blow to openly expose Calvinism for what it is: a grace restricting theology.

      A theology in which God only gives salvific grace to a few and intentionally damns the majority/the rest.

      If *that* is not a grace restricting theology then what is?

      This is one of the reasons why so many non-Calvinists have responded with alarm to this theology and seen it to be gruesome, horrific and completely contradicting the character of God as revealed in scripture.

      Calvinism when openly exposed *is* a horrific theology, the worst possible nightmare/outcome for the majority of the human race.

      “So I must insist you write with more grace and accuracy, not setting up straw men and giving them the name “Calvinists.”

      It is not “straw man” to openly discuss Calvinism’s view of irresistible grace, unconditional election, etc. etc.

      You need to ask yourself why have *so many* *Christians* rejected Calvinism?

      Why have so many *Christians* seen its view of reprobates as barbaric?

      Why did Wesley say that the Calvinist doctrine of election makes the blood run cold?

      All of your attempts to whitewash and minimize the horrendous consequences of your beliefs does not change them one iota. You still have a God who preplanned every detail and really desired to damn most human persons without ever giving them any opportunity whatsoever to be saved.

      “Unless you believe in universalism, and I have no reason to suspect you do, there are many who will not be saved whether you are a Calvinist, reformed Baptist, Arminian or somewhere in between.”

      But that is just it.

      According to Calvinism, those “many who will not be saved” are people God had absolutely no intention of ever saving.

      He did not want to save them, in fact he wanted to damn them, all along.

      Because again according to Calvinism whoever God desires to save, will be saved (isn’t that what you folks believe?). So if someone is not saved, then God never wanted them to be saved. Because if he desired to save them he would save them. It seems obvious to me that if God never ever wanted to save a particular individual (and again this is the “many” to whom you refer in your words here Clark) then we cannot say that God was extending his grace towards those persons.

      This points out a major difference between Calvinists and non-Calvinists regarding the grace of God. The Calvinists believes it is irresistible, if God wants to save a person and makes any effort to save that person they will be saved, they cannot resist the grace of God. On the other hand the non-Calvinist believes that God may want to save a person and may make an effort to save that person and yet they can choose to resist and not be saved, they can resist the grace of God.

      “As Spurgeon pointed out, God has not revealed the elect to us so we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. And as Paul pointed out, even to pleading with them.”

      You folks try to cover up your harsh and false theology by appealing to the fact that we humans do not know who will end up saved so we ought to evangelize everyone. But that is not the point under consideration. The point is that according to your theology God only wants to save a preselected group: so he gives grace only to them to be saved. He only attempts to save them. Appealing to the fact that we don’t know who will end up saved is a smokescreen to lead us away from this point. As for the rest, the unlucky ones God has no desire to save, they have no chance to be saved. Their fate was decided before they were born.

      In Calvinism your fate (whether saved or damned) is sealed before you were ever born. In non-Calvinism your fate is sealed only at the end of your life, because until you die, if God reveals Himself to you, you can repent and believe, you can become a believer even up to the moment before your death. So what happens on this earth is not already decided beforehand but is in the process of being decided. What happens here is not some game that God is playing with Himself, like a child playing with his army men. Rather there is a real and continual struggle here concerning the souls of men and their eternal destinies.

      Robert

        Christian

        Robert, that was very well worded! Thanks!

Ron F. Hale

Courtney,

Thanks for bringing up Ephesians 1 — the following is … part of a piece that I wrote a number of months ago:

The phrase “in Christ” was one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite expressions. In Ephesians 1:3-14 the phrase “in Christ” or “in Him” is utilized in some form at least ten times in these verses to depict our union with Christ, and over thirty times in the book of Ephesians.

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding …”
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”

In teaching this passage, Dr. Herschel Hobbs saw that God sovereignly chose or elected a specific plan of salvation. God “marked out beforehand” that salvation would be “in Christ” which reflects the basic meaning of the Greek word proorisas (predestine, v.4). Dr. Hobbs teaches that proorisas or “pro-horizo” comes from two Greek words, “pro” and “horizo” and basically pictures the marking out a boundary. Hobbs says, “The verb translated “having predestinated” is a participle meaning “to horizon beforehand.” This verb is used six times in the NT (Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29-30; I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, 11).

In other words, God as the great architect of the universe “marked out beforehand” that all who are “in Christ” (the Church, His Bride) will be saved – the elect of the ages. The question then becomes: How are we to be found “in Christ”? The Scriptures are constantly and consistently clear that whosoever hears the Gospel (which is the power of God unto salvation, Rom. 1:16) and repents by trusting (believing on/in) Jesus will be saved! God’s dealings with individuals can only be understood in the context of his greater plan!

In eternity God sovereignly “marked out beforehand” this “in Christ” plan of salvation – that all who believe “in Him” become the elect of the ages or the new chosen people! Individuals who hear the Gospel and as the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin and the convincing of truth, the believer is saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) – and receives the “new birth” (JN 3:3).

The “in Christ” view of predestination (and election) is a God-centered view of salvation. It begins with God in eternity. It is grounded in the OT revelation of God choosing a particular people to bless all peoples on earth (Gen. 12:4). Jesus is the “Chosen One” before the foundation of the world. In the “fullness of time” Jesus comes into our sinful world (through God’s elect people). His atoning death on the cross makes it possible for lost sinners to be saved. This was done as Christ was handed over by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23).

The Holy Spirit works to lift up the name of Jesus (to draw, convict, call — Rev. 22:17) and to apply the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the very moment the sinner exercises faith in Christ. Instantaneously, the believer is baptized into the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13). The born again believer is now “in Christ” and Christ is in the believer (Col. 1:27; Romans 8:10).

Hobbs says, “So if you are ‘in Christ’ you are saved. If you are not ‘in Christ,’ you are not saved. God in his sovereignty decreed ‘in Christ,’ but each person in his free will decides wheter or not he will be ‘in Christ.’ Thus God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are harmonized.”

We can say that in eternity, God “marked out beforehand” His church and “in time” the sinner believed and was saved. The new believer is spiritually baptized into that one body (the church) and becomes “in Christ.” Ephesians 1:13 explains it:

1) “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” 2) “When you believed” 3) “you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”

Courtney, the bottom-line is that you believe in an individual election, that in eternity God predestined certain ones (the elect) to salvation and passed over the rest or reprobated them. And, in time the elect received an “effectual call” to salvation and were regenerated prior to believing in Jesus. And the others did not receive the effectual call (but a general call) therefore, they are lost to a devil’s hell for all eternity.

I, and many others, believe in a “corporate election” as described above.

Blessings!

    Robert

    Hello Ron,

    Thanks for a marvelous explanation of the corporate election understanding of Ephesians 1.

    It is sad that so many are unfamiliar with the corporate election view. It appears to hit all the bases and is simple and fits well with the way first century folks would have thought about things (particularly Jewish people like the apostle Paul in the first century). Of course Calvinists will feel obligated to engage in immediate and cavalier dismissal of it as it completely contradicts their view of election.

    Ron have you read William Klein’s THE NEW CHOSEN PEOPLE: A CORPORATE VIEW OF ELECTION (in my opinion the best presentation of corporate election: though Brian Abasciano is also currently producing some very good material on corporate election as well particularly in Romans 9)?

    Bill is also a Baptist perhaps you may even know him personally?

    Anyway, thanks for your post.

    Robert

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