Friday, July 10, 2020

Praise for Predestination

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.… For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight" (Ephesians 1:3–4)

Paul begins the body of his letter to the Ephesians with a long sentence of praise (1:3–14), a sentence that is usually broken up into a series of shorter sentences in our English versions. He praises the Father, who is particularly the Father of Jesus Christ, our Savior. The Father has blessed us with all kinds of blessings “in the heavenly realms.” This refers to the fact that the blessings of the kingdom of God come from heaven and are benefits of the fact that Jesus Christ has ascended to heaven to be seated at God’s right hand, and we are united to Him.

As Paul begins to list the great blessings of God, the first thing he praises God for is predestination. He says that God chose us before the foundation of the world. We don’t often think of election and predestination as things for which to praise God. Most Christians who believe in the doctrine of election tend to keep quiet about it, because they don’t want to offend those who don’t believe in it. It is a matter of historical fact, however, that whenever God’s people have openly and joyously received the truth of predestination, the kingdom of God has gone forth and changed the world. The periods in history of the church’s weakness have always been those periods when election was played down.

We need to take our cue from God’s servant Paul. This prayer was recorded for our instruction, and we must learn from it to praise God for our election into His kingdom. The Bible makes the point again a few phrases later, when it tells us that God predestined us to be adopted as sons “to the praise of His glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6). The purpose of our salvation is that we praise God for electing us, choosing us when we were in total rebellion against Him and would never have chosen Him.

While we contribute nothing to our salvation, once we are saved by grace alone we are to live a life of good works. We are predestined, according to verse 4, “to be holy and blameless in His sight.” This means that God will not finish His sovereign work in us until He has completed it, but it also implies that we must live as holy and blameless as possible in this life, to the praise of His electing grace.

Spend some time in prayer today thanking God and praising Him for electing you to salvation. You are already raised to the heavenlies and seated with Christ. Use Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:3–8 as the foundation for your meditations and as a guide to your own praise.