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God’s Choice vs Our Choice

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
Ephesians 1:4

We have looked at the blessings the Lord has given His children in Christ, even to the point of the promise of “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), which are now ours because of Him.  And one of the greatest blessings is being chosen by God to be adopted as His son.  Nothing can compete with this.  Nothing.

Just think, when we were not looking for God or even had Him on our mind, He chose to bring us into His family as His child for no other reason than “the good pleasure of His will” or simply “because He wanted to” (Eph. 1:5,9).  And if God wants to do something, who is going to tell Him, no?  Not me.

So, in Ephesians 1:3, we are introduced to the wonder that we have, past tense, already been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”  And every means just that, every— or all, each, the entire, in totality, and without exception.  In other words, there are no blessings that you have not already been blessed with.  You have them all, every one of them, and on steroids.  But that doesn’t mean you are currently experiencing those blessings.  That is another subject altogether, and we’ll dig into that when we talk about the life of sanctification at a later time.  So hang on.


The Sum of Our Blessings

Let’s look at just a few of the blessings the Lord reveals to us in the first few verses of this chapter.

•   Election:  Where God chose us before the foundation of the world to become just like Him, holy and without blame in love (1:4).
•   Predestination:  God pre-determined that we would become His son through adoption by Jesus Christ to Himself.  And He did this, not because we were worthy or somehow merited sonship.  No, He chose us to become part of His family because He wanted to, and for no other reason (1:5).
•   Acceptance:  God, for some reason I’ll never understand, chose to accept us into fellowship with Himself regardless of our past or how bleak our present may seem.  And He did this because of His Son (1:6).
•   Redemption:  God chose to pay the price for our freedom from the consequences of our sins by the sacrifice of His only Son.  He redeemed us and forgave all our sins— past, present, and future, because of the riches of His grace (1:7).
•   Mystery:  And if that wasn’t enough, He has made known to us the mystery of His will because, again, He wanted to and it brought Him pleasure (1:9).

This we could call, “Our Blessings, Part One.”  But it gets even better.


The Sum of Our Blessings… Uh, and Even More

The book of Ephesians tells us even more about how blessed we are in Him.  For example, the sphere of our spiritual blessings is in the heavenlies (our translators added the word places in 1:3).  This is where God dwells and where we will spend eternity.  So our blessings are not temporal or have an expiration date, like everything else in this life.  No, they exist, like God, forever.

We are given a glimpse into Christ’s present enthronement, which is also in the heavenly places, seated at the right hand of the Father (1:20).  And we are then told, since we are “in Christ,” that our present enthronement is also with Him in the heavenly places (2:6).  And it is in the heavenly places (or heavenlies) that the angels witness God’s wisdom on display in His church as a rebuke to them (3:10).  And finally, the battleground of our present conflict with the forces of evil spirits are also found in the heavenly places (6:12), where God is seated with His Son and we with Him.  Can you think of a safer or more secure place to be?  It gives you another sense of what Jesus meant when He said,

“And I (Jesus) give them (His sheep, you and me) eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” – John 10:28-29.

And how is all this possible?  Keep reading.

“I and My Father are one” – John 10:30.

Case closed.  Mic drop.  It doesn’t get any better than that.


“I’ll Take Him”

And it all begins with His choice of us to call unto Himself.  Amazing.  Even as the shy, fat kid with thick glasses, God wanted us on His team.  Therefore, He chose us and called us by name before we even knew who God was.  This is what it means to be chosen by Him.

The fact that God has chosen us for salvation is a staggering thought and should elicit praise from those He chose for all eternity.  And maybe it will once we fully understand what it means.  The Scriptures say that before we were even born, before we had done anything good or bad, when God had no reason to choose or not choose us, He had already set His love upon us and predetermined to save us and make us like His Son (see Romans 9).  And this choice was not based on our merit or worthiness, but solely on His grace and loving-kindness toward us (if it seems I am belaboring this point, well, I am.  All of life changes when you fully grasp what you have been given in Christ).  As Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is (note) the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

But God’s choice goes beyond just salvation; He has also chosen us to have a personal relationship with Him.  Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we have been reconciled to God and adopted as His children (Eph. 1:5).  That means we are no longer strangers or enemies, but beloved sons and daughters who can approach God with confidence and call Him “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).  In fact, we are also deemed heirs and joint-heirs with His Son.  Read it for yourself in Romans 8:14-17.  This intimate relationship is the foundation for all other blessings we receive in Christ.  It is the foundation from which all our blessings flow.


Chosen to Be Holy and Blameless

God also reveals in Ephesians 1:4, the purpose for which God has chosen us: to be “holy and without blame before Him.”  This means that our salvation is not just about escaping hell or enjoying eternal life or having our “Best Life Now”— as some believe.  No, it’s about being transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and living a life that is pleasing to Him.  As 1 Peter 1:15-16 exhorts us, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all (pas) your conduct, (why) because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'”

Being chosen to be holy and blameless is both a privilege and a responsibility.  It means that we are set apart for God’s purposes and called to reflect His character in all that we do.  It involves putting off the old self with its sinful desires and putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).  This is not something we can accomplish in our own strength, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to renew our minds to be more like Christ (Rom. 12:1-2).

And in Jude 1:24, God is praised for being able to “keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”  So God not only makes us holy and blameless but will make sure we remain that way because it brings Him exceeding joy (and it will bring us joy as well).  This is all part of the blessings we have in Him.


The Antidote for Pride

One last thing before we pray: Do you realize that God chooses almost everything regarding our salvation and how He wants to be worshiped?  Research it yourself.  He chose His disciples, not the other way around (John 15:16).  He chose the people of Israel to be His special people (Deut. 7:6).  He chose Moses to lead His people out of Egypt (Moses certainly didn’t volunteer for the job).  He chose the tribe of Levi to serve as priests unto Himself (Num. 3:12).  He chose the exact blueprint for the Tabernacle and the Temple and how it was to be built.  God chose specifically how He wanted to be worshiped in Leviticus.  He didn’t leave that up to the passing whims of His people.  And He even chose that the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were to be engraved on two onyx stones and placed on the shoulders of the ephod (Ex.28:5-10).  Let’s face it, God chose almost everything and did not leave any of this up to you or me.

Except one thing.

After salvation, after we are changed by regeneration and the Holy Spirit lives within us (Eph. 1:13-14), God allows us to choose (and expects us to choose correctly) how we will worship and serve and obey Him with the lives He has redeemed and given back to us (John 14:15).  Again, this is called sanctification, and we will spend quite a bit of time unpacking what that means at a later date.

So, once you understand God’s sovereign choice in just about everything, where is the place for our pride?  Exactly, there is none.  Think about that before you pray.


So Let’s Pray

As we pray today, being guided by His choice of us in Him before the world was created, be filled with gratitude and a deep desire to serve and honor Him with the life He has blessed and given back to you.  Nothing, I believe, would please Him more.

Dear Father,
I come before You with a heart overflowing with gratitude for the incredible blessing of being chosen by You.  It amazes me that even before the foundation of the world, You set Your love upon me and predestined me to be holy and blameless in Your sight (Eph. 1:4).  I still don’t understand why, but I can never thank You enough.

I recognize that this choice was not based on any merit or worthiness of my own, but solely on Your grace and loving-kindness toward me (Eph. 2:8-9).  I am humbled by the realization that You wanted me to be part of Your family, not because of anything I have done, but simply because it was Your good pleasure (Eph. 1:5).  And again, I don’t understand why, but thank You so much for this blessing.

Thank You for adopting me as Your child through Jesus Christ, according to the kind intention of Your will.  I am overwhelmed by the privilege of being able to call You “Abba, Father” and to have a personal, intimate relationship with You (Rom. 8:15).

I understand that being chosen by You comes with the responsibility to live a life that is pleasing to You, reflecting Your holiness in all my conduct (1 Pet. 1:15-16).  And I know I haven’t always been at the top of my game in that regard.  Forgive me and help me, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to put off my old self with its sinful desires and to put on the new self, created to be like You in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).

I praise You for Your ability to keep me from stumbling and to present me faultless before Your glorious presence with great joy (Jude 1:24).  And I trust in Your faithfulness to complete the good work You have begun in me (Phil. 1:6).

May my life be a testament to the riches of Your grace and the depth of Your love (Eph. 1:7).  Use me as an instrument of Your will, and may I always find my greatest joy in serving, honoring, and obeying You (John 14:15).

In the precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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