Monday, April 1, 2024

God’s Sovereign Choice (Ephesians 1)

"… He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world …" (Eph. 1:4).

Continuing our study on what it means to be born again, we now come to what could be considered the heart and soul of the doctrine of regeneration. Because regeneration is solely an act of God, we can see right away the connection between regeneration and God’s sovereignty in redemption.

Jesus told the people of His day that “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). The key word here is that no one “can” come. This means no one is able to come unless God draws him. The word “draw” does not mean entice, but to pull irresistibly. Our coming to Christ, our being “born again,” occurs solely by God’s initiative. That initiative flows out of His eternal redemptive plan, His sovereign decree concerning those whom He would draw out of the world to change, to be made holy: “… He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4–6).

Some people become confused about God’s sovereignty in their salvation because they think they chose Him, because they consider their new life to have begun when they confessed faith in Christ. This is understandable because our conversion, our coming to faith and repentance, is the fruit of an inner change that we did not detect. But the key to understanding redemption is that we cannot come to faith unless a change is made, unless we are born again. That spiritual rebirth is God’s work, not ours. It is not, as theologians would call it, synergistic, which means a cooperative effort of God and man. Because it is a work of God alone, it is based on His will and His desire. He does not change us only after we come to faith. This cannot be. We come to faith because He has first changed us. He chooses to change us, not because we have chosen Him, for that obviously has not occurred. His decision to change us is based on the good pleasure of His will and nothing that we do now or in the future.

Read Romans 8:31–39; 11:29. What comfort do you have concerning your salvation? Why is your salvation secured? Could your salvation be secure it you initiated your conversion? What freedom is there in knowing that God chose you, changed you, and promises to bring you to glory? Praise God for His sovereign grace.