Article 9

Home Directions

Contact Info

What we Believe







"Chosen to Know and Believe, and Understand"

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isa. 43:10).

In this passage we have Isaiah’s glorious utterance by the Spirit of inspiration as to the free grace of our great God and Saviour. There are people in this world whom God has as witnesses to His divine majesty. They are clearly declared to be the "servant" of the LORD. The change from "witnesses" [plural] to "servant" [singular] must be of some significance. What is the reason for this? As we ponder the context of this passage we see that as "witnesses" the nation of Israel as a whole are His witnesses. The nation had divided into the Northern and Southern kingdoms, and the fall of Samaria [the Northern kingdom] may well have taken place. The Southern kingdom [the Northern being called Israel and the Southern Judah] was soon to fall to Nebuchadnezzar. However, although "Israel" is mentioned (vs. 1) yet the divided nation is not the major consideration for "Jacob" is also mentioned (vs. 1). This unites the nation as one under God though two under men and their failure, for God had called the nation [witnesses] as one united whole through Jacob [servant] (cf. Gen. 32:24-32).

But how can this be? How could a nation divided and in such spiritual disarray be referred to as witnesses and a servant? Isaiah gives the answer, "...whom I have chosen" (vs. 10). Thus the election of grace reveals the answer. God sovereignly chose Jacob or the supplanter and God changed his name to Israel or a prince with God. When we read Paul the Apostle’s interpretation of the election we see that it was not in light of any good, foreseen or otherwise, which caused God to chose Jacob (Rom. 9:10-13). Moreover, the historical context behind Isaiah’s words, a divided nation in spiritual turmoil yet called witnesses and a servant, points clearly to God’s election as the reason why God would declare such a blessed thing about them in spite of men’s failure.

Even so no individual was ever chosen by God because they would be a witness or servant, but they are declared to be these by the election of grace! The national election of Israel was not "an election of a nation" but the very sovereign purpose of God in choosing that they "would be a nation" and His nation at that. Also, not every person born as an Israelite naturally was a true Israelite (Rom. 2:28-29; 9:6). Even O.T. scripture bears this out (Isa. 1:9 cf. Rom. 9:29 for Isaiah’s time, and Isa. 10:20-23 w/Rom. 9:27-28 for the present). And underlying all this there is more proof. No one can be a witness or servant as defined by Isaiah in chapter forty-three (vv. 11-12) who does not know and believe God. Clearly God says that knowing and believing are the result of the election; election is not the result of knowing and believing, "...that ye may know and believe me..." (Isa. 43:10). This is also the testimony of the New Testament scriptures as well (Jn. 17:1-3; Acts 13:48; II Thess 2:13).

So then, we must conclude that the reason for the election was found in God Himself (Eph. 1:3-5,9,11; Deut. 7:7-8). It was not a foreseen or preconceived plan He would initiate and an election based upon who would then receive the plan. The reception is based upon the election and not vica-versa. Moreover, it is not a "receiving of the plan" that God purposed in the election but knowing and believing God Himself. Thousands have received the so-called "plan" but only the elect receive Him (Jn. 1:12-13). Many have "made a decision for Jesus" but few know Him, thus few believe Him, and they certainly do not receive Him. Since understanding follows knowing and believing (Isa. 43:10) it is no wonder that so many do not understand that God is who He is in electing grace. A person need not understand this at the very first for understanding follows knowing and believing, but follow these it does! The reason some CANNOT understand is because they do not know and believe Him. But if they know and believe the understanding will come as a result even as the knowing and believing comes as a result of the election. Nothing defines one’s witness and servitude to the God of election more than one’s knowing and believing the God of election, and thus then understanding that He is the God of election. To reject this is to reject Him and not a mere doctrine! Many think their witness and service is defined by their witness and service in religious deeds, but the elect are defined in their witness and service by the God they give witness to and the God whom they serve!

Now let us take more particular note of the connection between "knowing and believing," and thus the connection of these two things to "understanding." One cannot believe something they have no knowledge about. This is a fact of the human creature. But what does this mean in connection with the text at hand? Does it mean that one cannot accept as a fact that which he has never been told, or, one cannot trust another with whom he has never had an intimate, experiential relationship? The latter is clearly the truth of Isaiah forty-three for the elect "believe God," they do not merely believe "in" God. In this passage believing refers to trusting in a person and not just accepting a person as an actual fact. Many have accepted the history of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection but few trust Him through His having brought them into an intimate, experiential relationship with Himself. The fallacy of much of today’s professing Christianity is that a person must first believe before they can be brought into an intimate experiential relationship with Christ. This is the error of modern day soul-winning efforts -- just tell them about Jesus and they may be convinced to believe and then they can "know" Christ. Certainly one cannot believe in Christ until they have heard of Him (Rom. 10:14). But is it not true that many were brought into an intimate, experiential relationship with Him before they believed in Him as the Christ? Yes it is (Jn. 4:10 -- note that our Lord brought her to "know" His power, 4:13-18, but she did not yet believe on Him but thought Him to be only a prophet and sought to engage Him in a theological argument which He corrected, 4:19-24, then only did she respond according to the truth of scripture, 4:25, and our Lord told her plainly and she believed, 4:26-29). Although this woman knew about God and His Messiah she at first did not know that the Messiah Himself was speaking to her, but after He had brought her into an intimate, experiential relationship with Himself did she believe (cf. and note especially the highlighted verses of Jn. 9:1-24,25-33,34,35-38). Thus we see how a person must first "know" (have an intimate, experiential relationship with) and then "believe" (trust), and after this they begin to "understand" (begin to recognize the truth more and more).

There is something else to note here as well. Jacob (the supplanter -- not just Israel, a prince with God) is the subject of the electing God. This we have looked at. But it is also important to note that this word of Jacob’s election to know, believe, and understand (thus he is declared to be Israel) is mentioned after THE ELECTED ONE is revealed (Isa. 42:1-8). Isaiah forty-two is clearly a prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 12:17-21). Christ is THE ELECT ONE in whom God the Father chose, predestinated unto adoption, and in whom He has accepted His people (Eph. 1:3-6). God delighted in Christ in Christ’s own merits; but God delights in us, not in our own merits but in the glorious merits of Christ’s. Even when we have done all that we are commanded to do we must say: "We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do" (Lk. 1:10). But this could never be said of Christ Himself. There is but one mediator between God and men, and that is the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 1:5). Christ is THE way, THE truth, and THE life; no man cometh unto the Father but "BY" (not just through) Him (Jn. 14:6). There is salvation in no other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). It is, therefore, quite clear that the election of a people was in Christ Himself and not in some mere "plan" (as some are fond of saying) of salvation. We were chosen in the chosen One. Thus it is HIM we are to "behold" and not ourselves (Isa. 42:1).

Many behold themselves as concerning the election, as though God chose them based upon something He foreseen them to do. But God COMMANDS us to behold HIM, and HIM alone, in whom we have been chosen. All who behold themselves (they term it free will or the freedom of choice) rather than Christ as the bases of their election have not been brought by grace to know, believe, and understand that beside God Himself there is no other Saviour (Isa. 43:11). Supposed free will is no saviour. God is the Saviour from first to last. From eternity to eternity He is God, and free will is but the wolf clothed in sheep’s clothing which would seek to take to itself the glory which God WILL NOT give to another (Isa. 42:8). Free will is nothing more than self will disguised in the rhetoric of self interpreted scripture which twists truth into the exaltation of man. But if a person is among the chosen then God in free grace will be pleased to give eyes to see and ears to hear and an heart to perceive. Then they will know, believe, and understand that there is no Saviour but God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ! Then they will serve and give witness to this God as the Saviour and no other, rather than free will, a graven image, or the false imagination of men.

  Back To Top