“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” (Ephesians 1:3-5).
Not only is God solely responsible for creating the universe, but He is also solely responsible for redeeming fallen sinners. Believers in Christ readily acknowledge this truth, but the question of “when” God chose to redeem sinners becomes controversial for some.
The perspective of many regarding the unfolding drama of redemption is that God chose to redeem sinners immediately following the fall of man into sin (Genesis 3). In effect, God reacted to Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey Him by providing the means necessary for them to be justified, or declared righteous.
However, Ephesians 1:3-5, along with other passages of Scripture, clearly indicate that God planned to redeem sinners prior to even creating the world. In His foreknowledge, He understood that man would sin and prior to this act of rebellion in time and space, chose to save sinners before the foundation of the world.
God was under no obligation to create the universe. Additionally, God was under no obligation to save sinners. That He chose to do so, even before mankind was created, was for His own glory. The Apostle Paul refers to this as “according to the purpose of His will.”
John Calvin writes, “The foundation and first cause, both of our calling and of all the benefits which we receive from God is here declared to be His eternal election. If the reason is asked why God has called us to enjoy the gospel, why He daily bestows upon us so many blessings, why He opens to us the gate of heaven, – the answer will be constantly found in this principle, that He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world. The very time when the election took place proves it to be free; for what could we have deserved, or what merit did we possess, before the world was made?”
Calvin continues by stating, “How childish is the attempt to meet this argument by the following sophism: ‘We were chosen because we were worthy, and because God foresaw that we would be worthy.’ We were all lost in Adam. Therefore, had not God, through His own election, rescued us from perishing, there was nothing to be foreseen.”
Titus 1:1-2 says, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.”
2 Timothy 1:8-9 says, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
Dr. John MacArthur explains, “Through God’s sovereign will before the creation of the world and, therefore, obviously independent of human influence and apart from any human merit, those who are saved have become eternally united with Christ Jesus.”
God’s sovereign work to save, prior to the physical creation and its inhabitants even existing, should result in us praising and glorifying Him. This is what the Apostle Paul does in Romans 16:25-27 when he writes, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
This is the self-existent God who we seek to know. Praise Him today for He knowing you before the foundation of the world.
Soli deo Gloria!