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Friday, July 8, 2016

Biblical Meditation and the Doctrine of Predestination

Meditation means to think on things; since God knows that our minds cannot be turned off and we are constantly meditating on something or the other (problems, relationships, needs, desires etc.), meditating on things that usually cause stress and depression. Therefore He instructs us to rather meditate on His Word which alone brings us Peace (and Joy and all the other fruits of the Spirit.) The following study is an example of how Biblical meditation (as opposed to Eastern meditation) can gain us a wealth of knowledge and understanding from just a few verses of Scripture.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4. 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:
5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Just from these three verses of Scripture, we can learn so much that edifies us and builds us in our most Holy Faith in Christ Jesus as we meditate (think on, study, analyze) these verses of Scripture.

1.     We are blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. These blessings come from above, so we cannot be focused on things on the Earth (below) to partake of these blessings. We cannot be Earthy minded (carnally minded) but rather we must be Heavenly minded (have the Mind of Christ) in order to experience ALL these blessings that have been freely bestowed upon us. As instructed in Phil 4:8 we need to spend much more time of the day thinking of God (by thinking of His Word) than thinking of the cares of this life.

2.     According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world… God has CHOSEN us in Jesus before the foundation of the world. This leads us to the very important doctrine of PREDESTINATION, which is generally avoided, by the so-called church. Basically we have not chosen God, God has chosen us. Just as Jesus Christ the Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8), we too were chosen before even the process of creating and forming the world had begun. This teaches us that God planned everything before He made anything. Since all of God’s planning has been flawless until now, everything has gone according to His plans (including the fall and redemption of man), we can rest assured that everything in the future will also serve His purposes and plans, that none of his plans as already prophesied will fail.
3.     We should be holy and without blame before him in love… The purpose for which we were chosen is to make us Holy and without blame, make us exactly like Himself; transform us into His very Image. God’s children, His begotten sons (as differentiated from created flesh and blood sons like Adam), are clones of Jesus Christ, which is the real meaning of being created in God’s Image (Rom 8:29, 1 Cor. 15:49, 2 Cor. 3:18, Col. 3:10). The idea of cloning does not originate with man or Satan (although evil cloning has gone on in the past and is happening in the present); it originates with God, and is the very purpose for which God has created all things; to make a race of creatures that are the clones of the Creator. We become Holy and without blame as the Love of God is perfected in our hearts. It is this Love that transforms us, shapes us into His Image (which means Character) in our Inner man. This is why the apostle Paul wrote that we become Holy and without Blame in Love; without experiencing God’s Love in our hearts, we cannot love Him or love one another as He loves us. The more we experience His Love, the more we are able to love, both God and man. And it is Love that transforms us from corrupt mankind into a God kind of creature, Holy and without blame before Him in Love. 
4.     Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…. PREDESTINATION is very much a Biblical doctrine. Simply put God has chosen beforehand both those who will be His children, and those who have been appointed to wrath, as Pharaoh was appointed. Predestination is a tough doctrine but just because a doctrine of God is tough does not mean that we should reject it. Here are some scriptures that teach the doctrine of Predestination: Rom. 8:29-30, Eph. 1:4, 5,11, 2 Thes. 2:13, 2 Tim. 2:4, 1 Peter 2:4 & 9, Rev. 17:14. The doctrine of Predestination and Choice, of being pre-selected for Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is central to the Bible, right from the selection of Jacob (Israel) over Esau to the saints who have been called and chosen to suffer for Christ until the very Day He returns.
5.     However PREDESTINATION does not mean ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED…. There are many passages of scripture like Heb. 6:4-8 clearly teach that there are many that were once actually Saved but who will Fall Away into perdition because they will choose to FALL AWAY (choose to abandon their faith in Jesus), and will therefore not be saved in the end. Just because Predestination is a fact does not mean that we can take our salvation for granted. This is why we have been warned to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, to die daily, to take up our cross daily, to face evil every day and to overcome it. In the end we do not know if we will finish our course or not, only God knows; and some who may now seem to be the children of wrath may well be chosen ones like the apostle Paul, so we cannot be judgmental and condemn others like the Pharisee did when he was praying next to the publican. We have been given commands and instructions as to what we need to do to confirm and strengthen our calling so that we do not fall away; for example in 2 Peter 1:3-8 we have been given the exact instructions of what we must do to ensure that we never fall away. Many are CALLED but FEW are CHOSEN (Mat. 22:14); the tragic truth is that although many are called to salvation (and do get saved), they do not the things that they are required to be done after salvation to confirm their faith on a daily basis. Although we are not saved by works, works are definitely required after salvation or our Faith is dead as the apostle James wrote. God is merciful and although we all do things that are worthy of judgment, yet His mercy towards us rejoices against His judgment. However we have all been appointed a limited amount of time, and our days in this life will come to an end one day, and when they do, will we have done what was required of us to do or will we be the ones without the wedding garment, who will be thrust into the fire and out of the wedding feast?
6.     When we are born again our journey has just begun; it is through our works after Salvation that we BECOME the sons of God. Becoming a son of God does not happen right when we are born again just as a new born baby is not a full grown man who is worthy of being his father’s heir. No, first we are born again and then begins our journey of daily growth by which we BECOME the sons of God as we are transformed into The Image of Jesus, into His Character of Love, and when we will have reached full maturity then we will have run our race, our course will have been finished and we will have BECOME Holy and Blameless in Love, worthy of being the heirs to God’s Kingdom, worthy of being kings and priests in God’s Eternal Kingdom. John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Becoming heirs of God is a very important doctrine that is based solely on our works (on what we do) after we are saved. At the new birth we merely receive the power to BECOME sons of God but if we do not exercise that power, we will wither away and die. Three out of four groups of people who actually believed and were saved in the parable of the Sower in Mark 4 end up dying, end up falling away; so the message here is to not take your salvation for granted. Be Sober, be Vigilant and fight the good fight of faith on a daily basis.
7.     According to the good pleasure of his will…. Phil. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. These verses of scripture as many others addresses the other tough doctrine in the Bible which is the doctrine of FREE WILL. Do we have Free Will? The simple answer is NO; we do not have Free Will. The doctrine of Predestination actually negates the doctrine of Free Will. This does not mean that we do not have a Will, we do, but we do not have Absolute Free Will, only God does! The topics of Predestination and Free Will are complex topics that require an in-depth study, and God willing I will undertake such a study in the near future.

In conclusion Biblical Mediation is to exercise our minds, to use our minds, to think upon that which we read, to dwell upon verses and passages of Scripture, to roll them over and over in our minds. This is how we search for the deep things of God; we mine for treasures hidden in God’s Word by digging deep in it using the tool of our minds. As you can see, as I have meditated in a few verses from Ephesians 1 and so much knowledge and understanding is to be found in just a few verses. This is why God commanded us to Meditate in His Word day and night; during the day we waste a lot of time thinking about mundane (worldly) things; this time can be better utilized to meditate in God’s Word. We can take a few verses from the Bible and start to examine them word by word in our mind. As we do so, these verses will bring to mind other scriptures and eventually enlarge our understanding of not just the one passage we might have been considering but other portions of Scripture as well. Similarly at night until we fall asleep we can mull on the Word of God rather than any present or future problems. Meditation will edify us, build us up; the word edify comes from Edifice which means building. We are all God’s building and it is the study of the Word of God with meditation and prayer that builds us up and transforms us into the Image of Christ who is the Image of God.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

1 Tim. 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.