Ephesians Study: Chosen in Christ …

August 25, 2011 at 1:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Ephesians 1:3-6
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Amazing words indeed, amazing grace indeed. Father God has elected a people to give to Jesus “before the foundation of the world”.  All those He gives to Jesus will come to Him (believe in Him) (John 6:37). These are the verses that God Holy Spirit strongly led me to study my salvation. How did it happen before the foundation of the world? How does this happen after I am physically born? Why do I believe in Christ as my Savior, my Redeemer? Why is He the Love of my life? At the time, these verses were illuminated to me, I was convalescing with a broken neck and in a very hard collar as I had a free-floating break in my neck with a very high risk of immediate death or total paralysis. I tell you this because I literally could not do anything, even holding my Bible to read was difficult.  But God (my favorite words in the Bible) provided me the strength to sit at His feet and the hunger to study this as I learned what this meant. This grace never fails to amaze me.  Not only were “His people” chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world but Father’s grace was given from all eternity to the people He gives to Jesus as Paul tells us in:

2 Timothy 1:9:

(God) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity

Let’s break these verses down:

verse 3: who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ
The moment He saves us, calls us with a “holy calling” (the effectual call of God to come to Jesus), we have “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ”. We need not wait for a ‘second blessing’ – we have them all at the moment of justification.  There are not two types of Christians, one at a higher level of spirituality and one spiritually lower.

verse 4: He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world … I’d say this is pretty clear yet how many professing Christians just skate over these precious words and don’t let them sink in?  We are chosen “in Christ” not outside of Christ. Grace comes through Christ (Romans 5:15). Please notice that these precious words show a monergistic supernatural work of God the Father – He chose us – it does not say that we chose together – He chose His people in His Son Jesus Christ. Redemptive Grace comes through Jesus, not through a condemned man who is born spiritually dead in sin. These blessing cannot be possesed by force (as satan tried to do) nor can they be earned. If we could earn them, with what could we earn then? As James M. Boice says : “Heaven’s blessings are bought by heaven’s coin. We posses no spiritual currency.”  Father God has determined to give His people these blessings before the creation of the foundation of the world.

For what end are we chosen in Christ?

verse 4:  that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  This is His will for His chosen ones: to be holy and blameless before Him. This is the work of our sanctification. This is our being transformed into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29, Philippians 2:13).

verse 5: He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself  “predestined” προορίζω Proorizo (Strong’s 4309 ) meaning:

  1. to predetermine, decide beforehand
  2. in the NT of God decreeing from eternity
  3. to foreordain, appoint beforehand

Father God predetermined, decide beforehand from eternity who the people were going to be that He was going to give to Jesus. Father has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) but no one can come (believe in) to Jesus unless the Father draws (helko, impels with inward power), unless it is given (didomi, given, supply) him (John 6:44,65). No one seeks God, there is no one righteous, no not one, we’ve all turned away, we’ve all fallen (Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53: 3, Romans 3:11). Psalm 53:3 “Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” Herein is our Total depravity, or as R. C. Sproul would rather call it: our radical depravity.  All parts of our beings have fallen, have been corrupted in the fall and that includes our wills.

Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapter III – of God’s Eternal Decree:

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto: and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

Who’s will is active in this election before the foundation of the world?
verse 5: according to the kind intention of HIS will – Father God works monergistically in this action – His Will is monergistic:  mon=one + érg  work, deed.  It’s not a synergistic work, that is, it is not God and me working together for salvation. It is God alone … because I am spiritually dead, nekros in my transgression and sins (Eph 2:1).

verse 6: to the praise of the glory of His grace  – Why is He saving His people? To the praise and glory of His grace. We are to praise this amazing grace, this amazing, supernatural monergistic work. When we come to the realization that we are spiritually dead and we can do nothing to save ourselves from this death and condemnation that we are physically born into in Adam, we praise this awesome grace that He is not required to give (if required, it would no longer be grace). He so easily could have left us all dead and condemned … but God in His amazing grace chooses to save some for the Son. We give Him ALL the glory, not 99.999% of it – but ALL.

Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever [2].

[1] http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html#fn1.

[2] http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html#fn2

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8 Comments

  1. petermon said,

    Hey Marianna, have you worked out your position on Supralapsarianism verses Infralapsarianism?

  2. Marianna said,

    no, not ready to be pinned down on that one yet … and … that would have to be a whole other thread for discussion…

  3. Marianna said,

    From A. W. Pink’s (1886-1952) “The Doctrine of Election”:

    “We cannot do better than here amplify our definition of election by quoting from a sermon by the late C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) on
    “Things That Accompany Salvation”:
    “Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting1 of Salvation.
    Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. ‘He must needs go through Samaria’ (Joh 4:4) said Election; and Salvation must go there. Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house. Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation; it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the sovereign God, the footsteps of mercy were every one of them ordained.”

    Why God selected these particular individuals rather than others, we do not know. His choice is a sovereign one, wholly gratuitous, and dependent upon nothing outside of Himself. It certainly was not because these particular individuals were, in themselves, any better than the others which He passed by. Scripture is very emphatic upon this point: they, too, “were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:3). They, too, had no inherent righteousness. Neither did God choose the ones He did because of anything that He foresaw would be in them, for the simple but sufficient reason that He foresaw no good thing in them, save that which He Himself wrought in them. All that we can say is that God chose out certain ones to be saved solely because He chose to choose them, because such was the good pleasure of His sovereign will (Eph 1:5). “

  4. Marianna said,

    from “Grace Reigning in Election” by Horatius Bonar
    “None have deserved saIvation. No man is more fit for it than another. God was not bound to save any. God might have saved all. Yet He has only saved some. Is He, then, unjust in only saving some when He could have saved all? Objectors say, Oh, those who are lost, are lost because they rejected Christ. But did not all equally reject Him at first? What made the unbelief of some give way? Was it because they willed it, or because God put forth His power in them? Surely the latter. Might He not, then, have put forth His power in all, and prevented any from rejecting the Saviour? Yet He did not. Why? Because so it seemed good in His sight.

    Is it unjust of God to save only a few when all are equally doomed to die? If not, is there any injustice in His determining aforehand to save these few, and leave the rest unsaved? They could not save themselves, and was it unjust in Him to resolve, in His infinite wisdom, to save them? Or, was it unjust in Him not to resolve to save all? Had all perished there would have been no injustice with Him. How is it possible that there can be injustice in His resolving to save some?

    There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will, and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end. “

  5. petermon said,

    Amen. Thanks!

  6. Marianna said,

    Peter, see how Sovereignty is at the bottom, or rather at the top of everything? As H. Bonar said
    “There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will, and you deny that salvation is of grace.”

  7. Marianna said,

    Listen to John MacArthur on election, predestination:
    http://www.gty.org/radio/
    “The Sovereignty of God in Election”

  8. petermon said,

    M,

    OK, finally got an opportunity to listen to John MacArthur: http://web.gty.org/MediaPlayer/Sermons/80-46

    Excellent teaching on God’s sovereignty in election. Such an important truth to keep us humble. Jesus saves. He does it; we can only say, “Thank you!” Understanding this will give true believers a desire to serve Him from a heart of gratitude. Saved by grace alone! What a Savior!

    Thanks for the link to such encouraging and clear teaching. Keep up the good work… Ephesians 2:10
    “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

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