Election’s Head

Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:
~ Psalm 89:19-20

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
~ John 6:27

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
~ 1 Peter 2:4

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
~ 1 Peter 2:6

The Head of Election, by Arthur W. Pink. The following contains an excerpt from his work, “From Studies in the Scriptures, March 1938, “The Doctrine of Election: Its Grand Original.”

The decrees of God, His eternal purpose, the (incomprehensible) counsels of His will, are indeed a great deep. Yet this we know: from first to last, they have a definite relation to Christ, for He is the Alpha and the Omega in all covenant transactions. Beautifully did Spurgeon express it: “Search for the celestial fountain from which divine streams of grace have flowed to us, and you find Jesus Christ as the well-spring of covenant love. If your eyes shall ever see the covenant roll, if you shall ever be permitted in a future state to see the whole plan of redemption as it was mapped out in the chambers of eternity, you shall see the blood-red line of atoning sacrifice running along the margin of every page, and you shall see that from beginning to end one object was always aimed at—the glory of the Son of God.” It therefore seems strange that many who see that election is the foundation of salvation yet overlook the glorious Head of election, in Whom the elect were chosen and from Whom they receive all blessings.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:3-4). Since we were chosen in Christ, it is evident that we were chosen out of ourselves; and since we were chosen in Christ, it necessarily follows that He was chosen before we were. This is clearly implied in the preceding verse, wherein the Father is expressly designated “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, according to the analogy of Scripture (i.e., when He is said to be “the God” of anyone), God was “the God” of Christ first because He chose Him to that grace and union. Christ as man was predestinated as truly as we were, and so has God to be His God by predestination and free grace. Second, because the Father made a covenant with Him (Isa 42:6). In view of the covenant made with them, He became known as “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob” (Exo 3:16); so, in view of the covenant He made with Christ, He became His God. Third, because God is the author of all Christ’s blessedness (Psa 45:2, 7).

“According as he (God) hath chosen us in him” means, then, that in election, Christ was made the Head of the elect. “In the womb of election, He, the Head, came out first (adumbrated26 in every normal birth, A. W. P.), and then we, the members.” In all things, Christ must have the “preeminence,” and therefore is He “the firstborn” in election (Rom 8:29). In the order of nature, Christ was chosen first; but in the order of time, we were elected with Him. We were not chosen for ourselves apart, but in Christ, which denotes three things. First, we were chosen in Christ as the members of His body. Second, we were chosen in Him as the pattern that we should be conformed unto. Third, we were chosen in Him as the final end, i.e., it was for Christ’s glory, to be His “fulness” (Eph 1:23).

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isa 42:1). That this passage refers to none other than the Lord Jesus Christ is unmistakably plain from the Spirit’s citation of it in Matthew 12:15-21. Here, then, is the grand original of election: in its first and highest instance, election is spoken of and applied to the Lord Jesus! It was the will of the eternal Three to elect and predestinate the Second Person into creature-being and existence, so that as God-man, “the firstborn of every creature” (Col 1:15), He was the subject of the divine decrees and the immediate and principal object of the love of the co-essential Three. And as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son—considered as God-man—to have life in Himself (Joh 5:26), to be a fountain of life of grace and glory unto His beloved spouse, who received her being and wellbeing from Jehovah’s free grace and everlasting love.

When God determined to create among all the myriad creatures, both angelic and human that rose in the divine mind to be brought into being by Him, the man Christ Jesus was singled out of them and appointed to union with the Second Person in the blessed Trinity and was accordingly sanctified and set up. This original and highest act of election was one of pure sovereignty and amazing grace. The celestial hosts were passed by, and the seed of the woman was determined upon…What shall those say who so much dislike the truth that the heirs of heaven are elected, when they learn that Jesus Christ Himself is the subject of eternal election!

Nowhere does the sovereignty of God shine forth so conspicuously as in His acts of election and reprobation, which took place in eternity past, and which nothing in the creature was the cause of. God’s act of choosing His people in Christ was before the foundation of the world…(It) was wholly of grace and all to the praise and glory of it. In nothing else is Jehovah’s sovereignty so manifest: indeed, the highest instance of it was in predestinating the Second Person in the Trinity to be the God-man. That this came under the decree of God is clear, again, from the words of the apostle: “Who verily (says he in speaking of Christ) was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1Pe 1:20), and Who is said to be laid “in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious” (1Pe 2:6). This grand original of election, so little known today, is of such transcendent importance that we dwell upon it a little longer, to point out some of the reasons why God was pleased to predestinate the man Christ Jesus unto personal union with His Son.

Christ was predestinated for higher ends than the saving of His people from the effects of their Fall in Adam. First, He was chosen for God Himself to delight in, far more so and infinitely above all other creatures. Being united to the Second Person, the man Christ Jesus was exalted to a closer union and communion with God. The Lord of hosts speaks of Him as “the man that is my fellow” (Zec 13:7), “mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isa 42:1). Second, Christ was chosen that God might behold the image of Himself and all His perfections in a creature, so that His excellences are seen in Christ as in no other: “Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3), which is spoken of the person of Christ as God-man. Third, by the union of the man Christ Jesus with the everlasting Son of God, the whole fulness of the Godhead was to dwell personally in Him, He being “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15, 19).

The man Christ Jesus, then, was chosen unto the highest union and communion with God Himself. In Him, the love and grace of Jehovah shine forth in their (unsurpassed) glory. The Son of God gave subsistence and personality to His human nature, so that the Son of God and His human nature are not merely one flesh as man and wife (which is the closest union with us), nor one spirit only (as is the case between Christ and the church: 1Co 6:17), but one person, and hence this creature nature is advanced to a fellowship in the society of the blessed Trinity, and therefore to Him God communicates Himself without measure (Joh 3:34)…If God will love, He must have an object for His love; and the object must have an existence before Him to exercise His love upon, for He cannot love a nonentity. It must therefore be that the God-man and the elect in Him existed in the divine mind as objects of God’s everlasting love before all time. In Christ, the church was chosen from everlasting: the one the Head, the other His body; the one being the Bridegroom, the other His bride; the one being chosen and appointed for the other. They were chosen together, yet Christ first in the order of the divine decrees. As, then, Christ and the church had existed in the will, thoughts, and purpose of the Father from the beginning, He could love them and rejoice in them…God, out of His eternal and infinite goodness of love and purposing Christ to become a creature and communicate with His creatures, ordained in His eternal counsel that person in the Godhead should be united to our nature and to one particular of His creatures, so that in the person of the Mediator the true ladder of salvation might be fixed, whereby God might descend to His creatures and His creatures ascend unto Him.

“Christ was first elected as Head and Mediator, and as the cornerstone to bear up the whole building; for the act of the Father’s election in Christ supposeth Him first chosen to this mediatory work, and to be the head of the elect part of the world. After this election of Christ, others were predestinated to be conformed to this image of His: ‘Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren’ (Rom 8:29); i.e., to Christ as Mediator and taking human nature; not to Christ barely considered as God, for, as God, Christ is nowhere said to be the firstborn among many brethren. This conformity being specially intended in election, Christ was in the intention of the Father the first exemplar and copy of it. One foot of the compass of grace stood in Christ as the center, while the other walked about the circumference, pointing out one here and another there, to draw a line, as it were, between every one of those points and Christ. The Father, then, being the prime cause of the election of some out of the mass of mankind, was the prime cause of the election of Christ to bring them to the enjoyment of that to which they were elected. Is it likely that God, in founding an everlasting kingdom, should consult about the members before He did about the head? Christ was registered at the top of the book of election, and His members after Him. It is called, therefore, ‘the book of the Lamb.’”

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