Here is my commentary on Ephesians 1:4. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site.
“… even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
This runs on from the previous sentence: God has blessed us with very spiritual blessing in heavenly places even as he chose us …”
Again there is this verbal linking of the blessings of heaven with the world. It is vital that we do not put too much emphasis in our thinking on the separation of earth from heaven. Both are a part of God’s good creation.
There is a tendency in some religious circles to follow the error of the Gnostics, a religious cult that goes back to the time of Jesus. The Gnostics were a broad group of people who basically believed that there is a huge gap between heaven and earth and people are kept in bondage on the earth until they have the knowledge (Greek, gnosis) to allow their spirits to conquer the flesh. In their thinking everything that belonged to the spiritual was good while everything related to physical things was evil.
God made the world and declared that it was good. God made people and declared them to be “very good.” It is sin that separate us from God and disfigures the creation.
So God chose us before the foundation of the world to be a part of the redeemed, liberated kingdom.
“God chose us.”
There is a paradox at work and we must tread carefully lest we fall into error.
What does this mean? In what way did God choose us before the foundation of the world? Why did He choose some but not others? What part does my choice play in this?
So many questions in three words!
Some people from the Reformed, Presbyterian or Calvinist churches say that God’s choice is absolute. They stress the sovereignty of God. They would say God chose us and He did not choose others. They argue that Jesus only died for those He had chosen to save. Some go as far as to say that he predestined some to salvation and others he predestined to hell – this is an extreme Calvinist view.
This does not do justice to our freedom to act as choosing people. God created us with a capacity for love and that must give us the ability to choose not to love.
Our salvation requires two choices- God’s choosing of me and my choosing to respond to His love.
John 3:16 reminds us that God so loved the world- all people. His choice, His desire is that all people should be saved. Not everyone chooses to accept salvation; they reject His choice of them.
God chose us, but not in an exclusive way that says He didn’t choose others.
God knew before He created the world- before the foundation of the world, before the first day of creation- He knew us already and He chose us for His own.
Everything that has happened in my life worked to bring me to the place where I said “Yes” to Him.
God chose us “in Him.” The “him” is Christ (otherwise it would be “in himself”). The NLT helpfully adds this.
We are chosen in Christ. It was the will of the Father and the Son that we are chosen to eternal life. There is a determination of purpose and identity in that phrase. I am “in Christ”. My destiny is assured from the beginning “in Christ.” My assurance is that God chose me in Christ.
Before He created the world, God chose us. His plan was always to have a kingdom of people who would freely choose to love and serve Him. The devil has tried to thwart this kingdom, but God’s purposes prevail. Even temptation and testing provide opportunities for God’s grace to bring us closer to Him and for His choice of us to be vindicated.
We were chosen, a part of God’s master plan, His redeeming work. People may ask “Why did God let this thing happen?”, but His answer is always “I chose you for my own. Even this thing is a part of my eternal purpose for you.”
Before the so-called “Big Bang”, God was at work in my past. Geologists think they are clever to think in millions of years, but with God it is eternity to eternity- eternity before time and eternity beyond time.
We are chosen to be holy and blameless before Him.
Holy- I am set apart for God’s purpose. Before the world began Jesus chose me to be holy. This purpose of being called to serve God is more than a life-long journey. It started in eternity past and will be completed in eternity future. I am called to be a saint. A servant of God and that calling is an eternal calling.
Blameless- (in Greek amomos). We were chosen in order to be blameless- without charge or stain. We don’t force ourselves to be holy and blameless in order to be chosen. God has chosen us in order to make us that way.
It is not that God has in Christ chosen just to forgive us. He is making us blameless. There is an investigation going on. Satan is a prosecutor digging up our past, trying to trap us into sinning more. A case will be presented but God has already determined that we will be blameless. The evidence against us will be destroyed or ruled as inadmissible and the charges will be withdrawn. No case to answer.
Why? We are “in Christ” and therefore all accusations and judgements against us are nullified by His blood.
We shall be (and already are) holy and blameless before Him.
We dwell in the presence of God the Father. We stand before Him already. Having received life in Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and we are “before the Father.”
The judgement is already made in eternity that we are blameless. So we stand before God forgiven and restored. We are in the same existential state as Adam and Eve before they sinned.
Yes we will continue to sin, but we have been declared blameless. Yes we will fall short of the glory intended for us, but we continue to dwell in the presence of God Almighty.
So our life consists of becoming what God says we already are.- holy and blameless. We have been chosen to become the holy and blameless people He has called into existence.
Key points from this verse:
- God chose me before time began
- God chose me, but I also chose Him.
- I have a destiny and a purpose- to become holy and blameless in the presence of God.