Monday, January 18, 2021

Chosen By God

"For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight? (Ephesians 1:4).

Paul in Ephesians deals with the depth and richness of the doctrine of God, and that means that he deals with predestination. We cannot avoid predestination when we read the Bible because it comes up time and again. Every theologian and every system of theology has some kind of doctrine of predestination and election, and from now until the end of the month of January, we shall try to grasp what the Bible says about it.

In Ephesians 1:4, Paul says God chose us in union with Christ, regarding us as the recipients of the salvation earned by Christ. In part this means that we are the reward God has given to His Son for His work of saving the world. Moreover, Paul writes, we were not chosen by God simply to be “the elect.” We were saved to be holy and blameless, and we are called to manifest that holiness. We are elected for service, not simply for salvation.

Paul goes on to say that because of His love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons in union with Jesus, the only-begotten Son. The doctrine of predestination links the love of God and the salvation we receive in Christ. As sons of God we are united with Christ, and God gives us grace and gifts because He withholds nothing from His Son.

What is the basis of this predestination? Paul says in verse 5 that it is “in accordance with His pleasure and will.” He simply asserts that it was God’s pleasure to save us. He does not say anything else. Since not all people are saved, it seems that God was not pleased to predestinate everyone to salvation. God has chosen to save some and to bypass others, leaving them in their sin. We will learn more about this in the days to come.

For now, notice that this whole discussion of predestination comes at the head of Paul’s list of things for which to praise God (1:3). We don’t often think of election and predestination in this way. 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. Paul, however, deals with this controversial matter right at the outset.

Whenever God’s people have openly and joyously received the truth of predestination, the kingdom of God has gone forth and changed the world. Meditate on God’s sovereignty and make Paul’s praise your own today.