Summary: God has lavished upon His children wonderful gifts of grace, simply because He wanted to.
Because He Wanted To
Based on a fictional story about the former pro golfer Arnold Palmer, Palmer once played a series of exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia. The king was so impressed that he proposed to give Palmer a gift. Palmer demurred; "It really isn't necessary, Your Highness. I'm honored to have been invited."
"I would be deeply upset," replied the king, "if you would not allow me to give you a gift."
Palmer thought for a moment and said, "All right. How about a golf club? That would be a beautiful momento of my visit to your country."
The next day, delivered to Palmer's hotel, was the title to a golf club. Thousands of acres, trees, lakes, clubhouse, and so forth.
Intro: Verse 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…”
How do we bless God? Make Him Happy? Receiving His gifts of blessings.
We praise Him because He has blessed us. God has blessed us with Gifts. He is happy because He has purchased a way to save you and bless you with all spiritual blessings.
“has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”
Notice it says, “in heavenly places.” The key to that is “in Christ”. If you are saved, you are “in Christ.”
There are two ways to treat these blessings.
News story: Chicago Tribune, 1938, “The flophouses and Chicago’s Skid Row were searched today for one Stanley William McKenna Walker, age 50, an Oxford graduate and heir to an 8 million dollar English Estate. The missing person detail hoped that somewhere among the down-and-outers who lined the curbs and sleep off wine binges in cheap hotels, they would find Walker, son of the wealthy British shipbuilder, W.H. Walker, who had just died.”
By the way, they found him dead in a doorway on a cold night a few days later. He could have lay hold of the blessing, cleaned up, went home to a mansion. But he died not knowing.
Don’t be confused by the passage. Words like chosen and predestined shouldn’t confuse. As a previous pastor stated, there is a sign above Heaven’s Gate that says, “Whosoever will.” When you pass through the gate and look back, it says, “You were chosen.”
For many years, since my college days, I find myself in a conversation as to whether we should accept Predestination as the ultimate truth, or the free will of man. I say I believe in both. I am often told, you can’t believe in Predestination and Free will of man as equal truth. I respond, “I can, I just believe in a bigger God. He can do it.”
I am not saying that I understand it all. But I ask, “Do you want a God you can understand or one who can save you? You can’t have both.”
Let’s look at what Christ has done for us in this passage.
I. Relegated us to be Pure, Verse 4. “chose us… that we should be holy and without blame”
He chose us, we didn’t choose Him. Look at when. “before the foundation of the world.”
How could God choose us and we have free will?
We have to understand the rules of time and the nature of God. God created time.
Time has three observable rules. 1) You cannot “undo” anything written in the past. You cannot go back and unspeak a word. For us, the past is as written in stone. There is no time machine to change history. Whatever we do, it is done.
2) You cannot see what will happen in the future. You can anticipate probabilities for what may happen based upon markers currently observable, but there is always the unseen, and unknown, aspect of the future that you can never see coming.
3) You are only given this moment to experience. We experience one moment at a time, like a phonograph needle passes through the grooves of an old record.
The nature of God, however, is eternal. He lives outside of time. He created time. It is just another of His creations and does not restrict Him with those scary rules. He sees the end as He looks at the beginning, like you would look at a map.
Here is an example in our text. We are holy and blameless (verse 4). That is, if we are in Christ. I don’t feel holy and blameless. I don’t have any evidence in my life that I am holy and blameless. All I have is the promise of God’s declaration. How does that work.
It works because God sees the final product and I can only see the process that is happening now. But so sure is the promise of God, God begins calling me by the final product description while I am still in the process. Truly, “the God who began this good work will complete it at the day of Christ (Phil. 1:6).”