Summary: 3rd in the series dealing with election.
Paul wrote to a special group of people striving to live for the Lord in a hostile and pagan environment. He gave them the truth tools to succeed in a walk worthy of their high calling.
He masterfully summarized three years of daily training in what we know as the six chapters of his letter to the Ephesians.
The identity, privilege and responsibility of the Church.
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
After his brief introduction and greeting, Paul broke out into a three stanza doxology celebrating the significance of what it means to be "in Christ" and the wonder of the blessings freely conferred on those in Christ by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He introduced his theme with a grand doxology providing an overview of his subject.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ!
1. Specially Chosen 1:4
Many of us can remember a time in school where the jocks were appointed as team captains and told to each alternately chose up teams. Of course the popular and athletic students got chosen first down to the agonizing last one to be chosen. If they had their way we would not have been chosen at all. Some remember times when you were passed over all together for something. Rejection is a gruesome debilitating experience. Many psychological maladies can be linked to childhood rejection. To be accepted and chosen is divine. To be rejected and passed over is devastating. The first blessing Paul chose to highlight from the warehouse of blessing granted EVERY genuine believer is one of the most difficult truths of the Bible to.
One way you can identify a difficult truth is how many songs get composed about it.
There are few songs that highlight this truth which is unfortunate because this can be a most powerful truth for us to grasp. We will start with this verse and then we will add some other to broaden our understanding.
He chose us
before the foundation of the world,
that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
Always look for the primary subject and verb in the sentence or clause. This verse answers some basic questions as did the previous verse. Who? What? When? Why? How?
a. God chose (Who?)
The one carrying out the action is none other than God Himself. The sovereign God. Only God enjoys absolute sovereignty. Only God can choose to do whatever He wills. Only He has true free will. Everything else is limited by ability or insight. This all powerful, all knowing, ever present, eternal God chose something. The term is not a complicated one. It is a common action. It indicates the section of a specific thing or things out of a larger group. Most of the controversy surrounding this teaching comes not from the fact of people being chosen but the criteria by which they are chosen. We are familiar with the concept of elections and making choices. This teaching is also known as election. It is often confused with the Biblical concept of predestination. They are not the same and we will take up “predestination” in a couple weeks.
God elects Israel, individuals, particular people for a specific purpose (apostles). This passage is God’s choice or election related to salvation. This is a point-in-time action reflexive verb. That means it was an action carried out in the past with personal implications.
b. God chose us for Himself. (Why?)
God is the primary focus. He didn’t choose us to enhance our life or His. He chose us for reasons found only in Himself. Whatever the reason, it was for “His praise and glory” (vs 5).
c. God chose us (Who?)
Who did God chose? Some try to reconcile the difficulties attached to this teaching by limiting God’s choice to the group. God elected the church as a group. He chose the church and all who would believe become members of that elect group. It is clear from this and other passages that God chose individuals.
d. God chose us in Christ (How?)
We are placed in the body of Christ by God’s choice. Our “in Him” relationship is due to His sovereign action. Jesus spoke of the fact that the Father would gift certain individuals to Him.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. "But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. JOH 6:35