3 “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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love.” (Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV)
Every spiritual blessing believers have received comes from God the Father through the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beginning in Ephesians 1:4, and continuing through Ephesians 1:14, the Apostle Paul details some of those blessings. Specifically, what blessings has God given believers in Christ?
To begin with, God the Father has chosen sinners to be in Christ. Ephesians 1:4 refers back to the preceding verse with the pronouns He and Him. Respectively, the pronouns refer to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when Paul writes “he chose us in him” the apostle is saying that God the Father chose us, sinners, to be in union with our Lord Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to be chosen by God? The word chosen (ἐκλέγομαι; eklegomai) means to select, to choose for oneself, or to prefer one over another choice. It is from this particular Greek word that we derive the English word elect or election. What the many see as an inalienable right as a nation’s citizen to choose their elected, government leaders becomes for the many an inalienable affront that God would dare to choose some for salvation and not others, or not all.
Why would pastors and Bible teachers teach such a controversial doctrine such as election, predestination and reprobation? It is because the Bible unapologetically teaches the doctrines of election, predestination and reprobation.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Paul rejoices that God chooses people for a relationship with Himself (Romans 8:28-29;9:6-26; 11:1-28; 16:1-13; Colossians 3:1-12; I Thessalonians 1:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13; Titus 1:1). Some suggest that ‘in him’ means God foresaw who would have faith in Christ and on that basis elected them. Not only does this suggestion add a thought that is not in the text, but elsewhere Paul teaches that the very state of being ‘in Christ’ is something to which one is elected (Colossians 1:26-31). Paul says explicitly that the sole ground of God’s predestinating love is His own good pleasure (Ephesians 1:5, 10; Deuteronomy 7:1-8 and not anything the elect have done or will do (Romans 9:11-16). ‘In Him’ means that God’s choice always has had in view the fallen people in union with their Redeemer (2 Timothy 1:9); Cf. I Peter 1:18-21; Revelation 13:1-8).”
When did God the Father make the choice as to whom He would elect and save from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin? Today’s text says, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” In other words, before the world was even created, God knew who He would elect unto salvation. This also means that God knew that there would be a fall into sin by the man and the woman prior to creation and prior to the events of Genesis 3.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “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. Cf. 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8.”
Take time today to thank God for choosing to save your soul by grace alone when He was under no obligation to do so.
Soli deo Gloria!