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)
What was the purpose of God the Father’s electing and loving choice of saving some sinners? Today’s text says, “that we should be holy and blameless before him.” What does it mean to be holy and blameless? Furthermore, what was God’s motivation in such a sovereign and electing choice of sinners unto salvation?
To be holy (ἅγιος; hagios) means to be dedicated, pure and set apart from sin; not only in our position before the Lord, but also practically in our relationships with other people (I Peter 1:16-18). To be blameless (ἄμωμος; amomos) means to be without fault or defect.
Paul wrote that being holy and blameless is what God intended believers in Christ to be when He chose them unto salvation. This is to be a holiness and blameless which is a present, active and infinite state of being.
God’s intended purpose in electing sinners unto salvation was to bring them from spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1-10), to the forgiveness of sins in Christ (Ephesians 1:7), and finally to the eventual removal of all sin at glorification (Romans 8:28-29). Therefore, it is erroneous to say that the doctrine of election leads to immoral living by the Christian (cf. 2:10; 4:1-3, 17-24; 5:25-27).
What was God’s eternal motivation for choosing some unto salvation? He did so “in love.” This love (ἀγάπη; agape) is a self-sacrificial love of the will. It is expressed when Jesus Christ died on the cross in the sinner’s place (Romans 5:6-9; I John 4:7-12). Paul will elaborate on the love of God in Ephesians 1:5.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “This (to be holy and blameless) describes both a purpose and a result of God’s choosing those who are to be saved. Unrighteous persons are declared righteous, unworthy sinners are declared worthy of salvation, all because they are chosen “in him” (Christ). This refers to Christ’s imputed righteousness granted to us (2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), a perfect righteousness which places believers in a holy and blameless position before God (Eph. 5:27; Col. 2:10), though daily living inevitably falls far short of his holy standard.”
Let us take the time today to see where we fall short, in our daily living, of the holiness and blamelessness we possess before God by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Let each of us resolve to be in practice what we are in position: holy and blameless (Philippians 2:12-13).
Soli deo Gloria!