Summary: Looking at how God’s love has predestined us - Part three of our study in Ephesians.
Predestined by Love
Text: Ephesians 1:5-6
By: Ken McKinley
There was once an older couple that had spent an exciting day with family celebrating their 50th anniversary. That night they settled into bed and wife looked over at her husband and said, “When we were young, you used to hold my hand every night.” The old man slowly reached over and grabbed his wife’s hand. She then looked at him and said, “When we were young, you used to snuggle up with me.” The old man creaked as he rolled over closer to his wife. She then looked at him and whispered in his ear, “And when we were young, you used to nibble on my ear.” The old man jumped up out of bed and made his way towards the bathroom. “Where are you going?” She asked, “I’m going to get my teeth.” He replied. (Sermoncentral.com Illustrations)
When two people are in love there should be some kind of evidence of it. It’s no different with God’s love for us. In the first 13 verses of Ephesians we can read about God securing our eternal destiny with Him – the work of God the Father in electing us, guaranteeing our holiness, and adopting us into His family. Lord willing; next week we’ll see how the Son secured our relationship with the Father through redemption, and making forgiveness of our sins a reality. Then we’ll examine how the Holy Spirit seals this union, securing our relationship for all eternity.
But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s look at our text again (Read). Single-mindedness is one sign of being in love. We call it devotion. If you were to look in my wallet you would find pictures of my wife and my two daughters. You won’t find pictures of other women in my wallet. Ladies, if your husband or boyfriend has pictures of other women in his wallet then it had better be pictures of his mother, his sister, or his kids. A man (or a woman for that matter) whose love is not specific is not single minded. They are not devoted. And it shouldn’t surprise us that God’s love for His bride is specific. In verse 5 Paul describes God’s specific love (read).
In the original Greek text there is no punctuation and so today there is a debate as to where we should punctuate this passage. The last phrase in verse 4 is “in love,” and the NKJV places the comma after that phrase. The NIV does away with the word “Him” and replaces it with “In His sight,” and places a period after that, thus they begin the next sentence with “In love He predestined us…” Now I’m not a big fan of the NIV but that actually flows more in tune with the Greek text and the meaning of the passage. God’s love is the reason for God’s blessings. God’s love is the reason He predestined us.
Now I know that word “predestined” can be a sticking point for a lot of people. Some people don’t like the thought of God being completely in control of things, but lets remember that this predestination Paul is writing about is done in the love of God. In a sense, we are predestined by love, God’s love.
Last time we looked at that word in verse 4 “chose” and talked a little bit about election, so today we are going to look at its cousin “predestination.” Believe it or not, they are not quite the same in meaning. Paul is not repeating himself here; he’s actually saying something new. Being chosen refers to God making us His own, He has elected us to a position of righteousness, and to salvation. The word predestination comes from the Greek word pro-oridzo, which means to determine beforehand.
And the way Paul is using it here is almost as a term of affection. He says, “In love He predestined us.” In-other-words, God set His affection on us in eternity past. God’s love is specific, directed and pre-determined. God’s love is focused specifically on His people. He chose us before the foundation of the world, and in love predestined us to the adoption as His own children.
So what was the basis for this? I’ve heard people say that God; in His foreknowledge, looked down through the passage of time and saw which of us would respond to the Gospel in faith, and that’s how He chooses, that He looks through time and sees who will respond, so that He can respond to them. But that’s not what the Bible says. Turn with me to Romans 8:28-30 (Read). You see; what we often do is confuse foreknowledge with foresight. Foreknowledge is not just seeing the future, it’s knowing the future. That’s not to say that God cannot look into the future, He most certainly can, but had He just looked and done nothing else, He would see that all of us were continually being born into sin, that none of us sought after Him, that all of mankind was spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. He would see that there were none righteous, no not one. And so God; in His foreknowledge, knew good and well that salvation “does not depend on him who wills, nor on him who runs, but on God who has mercy.”(Romans 9:16).