God Assigned Us as Christ’s Inheritance

Paul wrote, “In him we have obtained an inheritance” (v. 11). There are no verse divisions in the Greek. Verse divisions were only added in the English version. Verses 10-11 are actually connected in the Greek. It should read in vv. 10-11 literally, “To unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth in him, in whom also we were appointed as his inheritance.”

In the Greek, it is more emphatic. The Greek reads, εν αυτω εν ω και εκληρωθημεν, “in him in whom also we were appointed as an inheritance.” There are the words “in him in whom also.” In repeating the words, “in him in whom also,” Paul is stressing Christ. Paul is emphasizing Christ as the center of the unity of all creation.

In Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (v. 3). In Christ, God chose, predestined, and adopted us (vv. 4-6). In Christ, God redeemed and forgave us (v. 7). In Christ, God will unite heavenly and earthly things. In Christ also, God has assigned us as Christ’s inheritance. This is the emphasis of Paul up to this point. Apostolic doctrine is eminently Christo-centric.

The teaching of the apostles is always and only Christ-centered. One day the rulers, elders, and priests of the Temple in Jerusalem arrested the apostles. They were annoyed that the apostles were teaching the people about salvation in Jesus. They demanded, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”

Peter replied, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The apostles do not point to anyone else—not to Mary, not to the saints, not to the popes, but only to Christ alone.

There are some who are Pneuma-centered. They point people to the Holy Spirit. However, the apostles point people to Christ. Therefore, we should elevate Christ and not the Holy Spirit.

There are some who are Charis-centered or charismatic. They point people to the “charisma,” the gifts of the Spirit. But the apostles point people to Christ. We are therefore Christ-centered; we are not charismatic. Yes, we do teach believers to discover and use their gifts of the Spirit. But we do not elevate the gifts; we are not Charis-centered. Rather, we are Christ-centered.

This is how you will know if a church is a true church—it will announce salvation in Christ alone and no one else. It will preach and praise and point people to Christ only.

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The Dispensation of Christ’s Exaltation

8qjYUKclsZWM7e2TLyIS56pwVBxvtiNkPaRmg170-thumb-detailFifth, we see the management of God’s plan. Paul wrote, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10). The word “plan” (oikonomia) denotes an “arrangement, order, plan” (BAGD); or “dispensation” (KJV, NKJV). This “administration,” “dispensation,” or “arrangement” is “a plan which involves a set of arrangements (referring in the NT to God’s plan for bringing salvation to mankind within the course of history).” (Louw-Nida) God has arranged a dispensational plan, an administration over time. In Ephesians, that plan is two-fold: (1) to bring together all things in heaven and on earth under the headship of Christ; and, (2) to join other non-Jewish and Jewish believers into the one Body of Christ.

(CNN) –A couple who separated after 40 years of marriage split their house in two — literally. The husband cut the house in two.

The husband and wife had been living together in the house in a village in the Prey Veng province of southern Cambodia, roughly 50 miles (80 km) from the capital.

The couple would not talk to the newspaper, but the village chief told May Titthara that the husband was angry because his wife wouldn’t tend to him when he was ill.

Last week, the husband and his friends moved his belongings to one side of the house — and sawed and chiseled it off, said the reporter, who interviewed the village chief and neighbors.[1]

God purposed “to unite all things” in Christ. God purposed to join all Jew and Gentle believers in Christ. God has set up an arrangement that in the fullness of time, all things in heaven and on earth shall be united in Christ. This is the dispensational plan of God in v. 10.

The verb phrase “to unite” (anakephalaioo) simply means, “to bring everything together in Christ Eph 1:10.” (BAGD) Colossians 1 portrays Christ as the head over all things. Yet Ephesians 1 pictures Christ as the unifying point of all things. Marvin Vincent summarized, “God made known the mystery of His will, the plan of redemption, according to His own good pleasure, in order to bring to pass an economy [dispensation]…which should be characterized by the regathering of all things round one point, Christ.” (M. Vincent) God chose, predestined, redeemed, and sealed all believers in Christ.  Likewise, He brings together all created things in Christ. Christ, then, is the focal point of God’s eternal purpose in unifying all creation in heaven and on earth. He is the hub of the redemptive unification of all creation.

When will this happen? It is eschatological—happening in the end time. I believe that this dispensation of unifying all things in Christ will happen in the kingdom of Christ. I believe in only three dispensations in the Bible—past, present, and future—(1) the dispensation of the Law in the Old Testament, (2) the dispensation of the Church in the present age, (3) and the dispensation of the Kingdom in the age to come. These three dispensations are self-evident in the pages of Scripture. In the Millennial Kingdom of Christ after His second coming, God will bring together all things in Christ. The exaltation of Christ will be manifested in the kingdom of Christ.

The phrase “all things in heaven and things on earth” is universal. It shall include not just people, but all things—all created things—animate and inanimate, visible and invisible—in both the natural and spiritual worlds (Col. 1:15-20). “God’s purpose,” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote, “is to sum up the whole creation in Christ, the Head of angels, with whom He is linked by His invisible nature, and of men with whom He is linked by His humanity; of Jews and Gentiles; of the living and the dead (Eph 3:15); of animate and inanimate creation.” (JFB)

You might ask, “Why unite all things in Christ in the fullness of time? The answer is because sin has broken the unity of God and creation. Because of sin, there is brokenness between God and creation, God and man, man and man, and between man and creation. There is brokenness between God and angelic beings. See how the principalities and rulers of the air continue to rebel against God.

Since the Fall, there is brokenness between humans and animals. See how humans fear and kill animals.

There is brokenness between animal and animal. See how animals fight and eat each other.

There is brokenness between human and fellow humans themselves. See how people fight and kill each other.

There is also brokenness between humans and the environment. See how people destroy the trees, the mountains, and the oceans.

Yet there will be a time when all creation will be united in Christ. In the fullness of time, God will unite all creation in Christ.

At this point in v. 10, Paul reaches the summit of his doxology. Paul’s words in v. 3 signify the foothills of his declaration. Yet his words in v. 10 signify the mountaintop of his praise of God. The pinnacle of Paul’s praise is not the spiritual blessings of God upon believers, but the exaltation of Christ in the fullness of time. The culmination of salvation ends with the exaltation of Christ. All creation will be brought together in Christ. Christ will be exalted far above all things in heaven and on earth. Thus, Paul prays in vv. 15-23 that believers will fathom this truth.

Aren’t you grateful for the riches of God’s grace to you in Christ? If you are grateful, tell others about the generous grace of God at the cross of Christ. As you freely receive God’s grace, freely give to others.

[1] “A house divided: Estranged couple’s home cut in half.” Online: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/09/house. divided/index.html.

The Infinite Wisdom of God

Second, we see the means of God’s grace. Paul wrote that God lavished His grace in all wisdom and insight. The phrase “in all wisdom” is in the instrumental sense (Eph. 1:8). God lavished His grace through His wisdom and insight.  God showered His grace by means of all wisdom and insight. God did not extend His grace for no reason at all, as if He was caught up in emotion or the spur of the moment. He did it through His infinite wisdom and immeasurable insight.

Third, we see the mystery of God’s will. Through God’s wisdom and insight, God made known to us the mystery of His will. Paul wrote, “Making known to us the mystery of his will” (v. 9). A mystery is a hidden plan of God that is revealed in the fullness of divine timing only to its intended recipients. (BAGD)

Have you noticed not a few Muslim women now living in the city? If we do not tell the Gospel to Muslims in Mindanao, we should tell them here in Cebu City. If we do not go to them, God will bring them here to us.

I asked my Muslim friend one day on how Muslim men can tell if the Muslim woman is beautiful or not. Muslim women are covered from head to toe, except for their faces. The other day, I was in SM mall and I saw a Muslim woman dressed from head to toe, with her whole face and head covered except for her eyes.

My Muslim friend replied that they would know through a middle man or an intermediary. The intermediary is a Muslim woman who would befriend the other Muslim woman. She would find ways to see how she looks in their private moments. Then she would report it to the Muslim man.

To most Muslim men, Muslim women are a “mystery.”

But the mysteries of God are not mysterious knowledge for only a select few or the few privileged recipients. It is knowledge for all believers that is received by grace. It was previously undisclosed in the Old Testament, but now revealed in the New Testament through the apostle.

God hid His plan and chose to reveal it in His own time. In the context of Ephesians, the mystery now revealed is in two parts: (1) the unifying of all things in heaven and on earth in Christ (Eph. 1:10), and, (2) the joining of all believing Gentiles with believing Jews into one Body of Christ, the Church, through the gospel (Eph. 3:1-6).

Fourth, we see the motivation of God’s will. This mystery is according to God’s purpose in Christ. Paul added, “Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ” (v. 9). This is the second time Paul refers to God’s purpose. In v. 5, God predestined us according to His purpose. Now in v. 9, God revealed the mystery according to His purpose. The words “his purpose” signify the purpose arising from God alone. It did not depend on the action of man or some external event. His plan of salvation in Christ was due entirely on Himself alone.

Paul writes that God “set forth” this purpose in Christ. God had a purpose. The verb “set forth” is in the middle voice (proetheto). The middle voice means that the subject is acting for and by himself. Thus, God set forth a plan in Himself and by Himself. He set forth this plan in Christ. Christ is to be the center of God’s plan of salvation and union of all creation. This is the sovereignty of God.

God Lavished His Grace Upon Us in Christ

Paul wrote, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). The word “riches” indicates “boundless abundance.” (BAGD) Paul is saying that we have the redemption and forgiveness according to the over-abundance of God’s grace in Christ.

I’d like us to note six things in these three verses. First, we see the measure of God’s grace. We cannot begin to measure the riches of God’s grace. Yet Paul says that the riches of God’s grace are found only in Christ. We can thus appreciate the riches of God’s grace in Christ. God’s grace is so rich that it cost Him more than the cost of creating the universe. That cost is the sacrifice of His Son. It is a costly grace, not cheap grace.

Redemption, then, is gracious because it is costly. Forgiveness is gracious because it is costly. It cost God His Son. Therefore, the riches of His grace are manifested in the cost of sending His only begotten Son to save us from our sins.

When Jomart, John Mark, and Kiki were little boys, I wanted to give me some money on Christmas week. I also wanted to teach them the value of saving money. One day in November, I offered to give them Php 30.00 each. If they will save the Php 30.00 until the next week, I will double the money. I promised to double their savings weekly until Christmas.

The next week, each of them eagerly lined up before me and showed me their savings. Jomart showed me his Php 30.00 and I gave him another Php 30.00. John Mark and Kiki showed me their Php 30.00 and I gave each of them Php 30.00. The next week, they showed me their Php 60.00 so I doubled it to Php 120.00 each. I kept on doing that until Christmas time. By the time of Christmas, I gave away so much money it hurt. I was relieved that finally, it was Christmas time—the deadline of giving away my money.

That is the lavishness of the grace of God. Paul says in v. 8 that God “lavished” His grace upon us (v. 8). God did not reserve His grace; He gives it generously. When did God do that? The aorist tense of “lavished” signifies a one-time action in summary fashion. When God chose us, He lavished His grace upon us. When God predestined us, He lavished His grace upon us. When God adopted us, He lavished His grace upon us. When God redeemed us, He lavished His grace upon us.

God Forgave Us

The fifth spiritual blessing is the blessing of forgiveness. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph. 1:7). This is the present state of forgiveness. Redemption and forgiveness are present possessions of believers. We have redemption and forgiveness always.

In his short story “The Capitol of the World,” Ernest Hemingway tells the story of a Spanish father and his teenage son. The relationship between this father and son became strained and eventually shattered. When the rebellious son—whose name was Paco, a common Spanish name—ran away from home, his father began a long and arduous search to find him. As a last resort, the exhausted father placed an ad in a Madrid newspaper, hoping that his son would see the ad and respond to it. The ad read,

Dear Paco,

Please meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven.

Love, Father

The next day at noon, in front of the newspaper office, there were 800 Pacos, all seeking forgiveness from their fathers.[1]

The word “forgiveness” (aphiemi) means “pardon, cancellation of an obligation, a punishment, or guilt.” (BAGD) This is the product of forgiveness—the cancellation of the punishment and guilt of sin. In Christ, God has pardoned the punishment of sin. In Christ, God has cancelled the guilt of our sin. There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1).

The problem of sin is that it makes us feel guilty. We are accountable to God for our sin. We must pay for our sin (John 8:4-11). The only way to pay for it, the Bible says, is the shedding of blood. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb. 9:22). God forgives sin only on the basis of a sacrifice for sin.

The Good News is that Christ has paid the penalty of our sin through His sacrifice at the cross.  At the cross, He set us free from both the penalty and guilt of sin. Redemption then is release from the penalty of sin. Forgiveness is release from the guilt of sin.

Yet, we still sin every day. The book of Hebrews says that Christ’s sacrifice was once for all. There is no longer the need to sacrifice Christ all over again (Heb. 10:1-18). That is why we do not offer the mass, which is another sacrifice for sin. Christ said, “It is finished.” What is finished is finished and no longer to be repeated. Christ’s sacrifice has paid the penalty of sin once for all.

Nonetheless, we still need to confess our sins to God Himself. If we confess our sins to God, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins. There is still power in the blood of Christ today! If we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

[1] “All is Forgiven.” Cited June 10, 2018. Online: https://www.facebook.com/FirstBaptistChurchOrangefield/ posts/1278678635501310:0.

God Redeemed Us

The fourth blessing is the blessing of redemption. “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Eph. 1:7). Again, Paul stresses that only in Christ do we have redemption. Conversely, outside of Christ, there is no redemption of sin. There is no redemption in Mary, the saints, the church, or in a life of good works. Salvation from sin is located in Christ and in Christ alone.

There is the constant state of redemption. The verb “have” is a present indicative. We “have” the redemption continually and constantly. Since we have redemption constantly, we will not lose it occasionally. The word “redemption” (apolutrosis) means “‘making free’ by payment of a ransom . . . release from a captive condition, release, redemption, deliverance.” (BDAG) The word referred to the buying of and release of a slave by payment of a ransom.

The truth is that we are slaves to sin. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34; cf. Rom. 7:13-20). Sin does not only live in us; we live in sin. We wallow in sin. We enjoy sin. We are captives to sin. Sin is our master; and we, its slaves. We need to be released from sin. We need to be set free from sin. We need freedom from sin. We need redemption. Redemption, then, is the release, freedom, and deliverance from sin by payment of a ransom price. In the salvation plan of God, the ransom price was the blood of Jesus.

Thus Paul wrote, “We have redemption through his blood.” This is the cost of redemption—the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus refers to the  death of Christ. Jesus offered His blood for sin (Heb. 9:11-12). His death on the cross was sacrificial (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6). He offered Himself as the lamb of God. Jesus’ death was substitutionary. He became our substitute, giving His life as a ransom for many. Jesus’ death was satisfactory.  He fully satisfied the strict requirements of God’s justice against sin. God’s justice required the life of a sinless offering as payment for sin. Jesus is that sinless offering! He appeased God’s anger against sin once for all (1 John 2:2).

 

God Adopted Us

The third spiritual blessing is the blessing of adoption. “He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5). As we noted earlier, adoption is the intention of predestination. You are predestined to be adopted as a child of God. The word “adoption” (huiothesia) literally means “the placing [of] one in the position of a son.” (Vincent) It means two things: (1) sonship, i. e., “a total break with the old family and a new family relation;” and, (2) “all its rights, privileges, and responsibilities.” (Rogers and Rogers) Adoption means “to formally and legally declare that someone who is not one’s own child is henceforth to be treated and cared for as one’s own child, including complete rights of inheritance.” (Louw-Nida)

Do you know who you are? If Jesus is your Savior today, then you are a child of God. “For as many as received him, to them he gave the authority to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). Paul says you are predestined for adoption. You are a son of God. You are a daughter of God.

Fred Craddock tells the day that he met a man named Ben Hooper.

The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper.  I was born not far from here across the mountains.  My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time.  When I started to school, my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name.  I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunchtime because the taunts of my classmates cut so deeply.

“What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through me. They were all wondering just who my real father was.

“When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church.  I would always go in late and slip out early.  But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd.  I could feel every eye in church on me.  Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder.  I looked up and the preacher was looking at me.

“‘Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’ the preacher asked.

“I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big, black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down.

“But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition.

“Wait a minute,’ he said, ‘I know who you are.  I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.’

“With that he slapped me across the rump and said, `Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.’”[1]

Let me see your face closely. I think I know who you are. I can see that you look like your Father in heaven. You are a son of God. You are a daughter of God. You are a brother of Jesus. You are taught by the Holy Spirit. Do not forget who you are! If you forget who you are, you might forget your values. You might lose your sense of purpose. You might lose your joy.

Remember—You are a child of God. Say to yourself now, “I am a child of God.” You are a son of God. You are a daughter of God. Do not forget your godly values. Do not lose your God-ordained purpose. Do not lose your joy. Remember that you are a child of God!

Then Paul added, “According to the purpose of his will” (v. 5). This is the reason of predestination. In the Greek, it literally reads, “according to the good pleasure of his will.” The word “purpose” (eudokian) means “favor, good pleasure.” (BAGD) God chose and predestined us according to His good pleasure. God did not choose and predestine us because of us. God chose and predestines us because of God. God was not obligated to choose us as if we deserve it; we don’t. Rather, God chose us despite of us and that is called grace! There is no other reason for predestination except God Himself. God’s predestination is “grounded totally in Himself; nothing apart from Him gave His will its direction.” (Rogers and Rogers)

Then Paul wrote, “To the praise of his glorious grace” (v. 6). This is the ultimate motivation of predestination. God predestined us for adoption so that we will praise His grace. We are sinners who are unworthy and undeserving of God’s grace. Yet God saved undeserving sinners like us by His undeserved grace. God predestined us for adoption so that we undeserving sinners saved by His undeserved grace will praise Him for His glorious grace.

God gave His grace freely to us in Christ. Paul added, “With which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (v. 6). The “Beloved” is Christ. Christ is the beloved of God. God gave His grace freely to us in Christ the Beloved. Again, Paul stresses the location of God’s grace—Jesus Christ. God’s grace is in Christ the Beloved. In Christ, God favors us freely. In Christ, God adopts us to become children of God. In Christ, God accepts us as children of God.

[1] “Father,” SermonIllustrations.com. Cited June 10, 2018. Online: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/f/father.htm.

God Predestined Us

The second blessing is the blessing of predestination. Paul wrote, “He predestined us” (v. 5). The verb “predestined” (proorizo) means “to mark out beforehand, to determine before, foreordain” (see Acts 4:28; 1 Cor. 2:7; Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:5, 11). (Vine) In the context of Eph. 1, predestination is the predetermined counsel of God for the adoption of the elect. Predestination is God’s decision beforehand to adopt those whom He has chosen.

A small town had three churches, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Baptist.

All three had a serious problem with monkeys in the church. Each church in its own fashion had a meeting to deal with the problem.

The Presbyterians decided that it was predestined that the monkeys be in the church and that they would just have to live with them.

The Methodists decided they should deal with the monkeys lovingly, in the style of Charles Wesley. They humanely trapped them and released them in a park at the edge of town. Within three days, the squirrels were all back at the church.

The Baptists had the best solution. They voted the monkeys in as members, now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.[1]

When did God predestine us? Paul wrote, “He chose us . . . having predestined us.” This is the synchronization of predestination. The aorist participle “predestined” occurs simultaneously with the aorist main verb “chose.” Thus, when God chose us, God predestined us. The time of predestination is the same time of election.

Paul added, “He predestined us for adoption” (v. 5). This is the intention of predestination—adoption. Election is for holiness, while predestination is for adoption. Paul says for adoption, not for damnation. For Paul, predestination is always positive and never negative (Gal. 4:15; Rom. 8:15, 29). John Calvin says that some are predestined for damnation. But Paul says that predestination is for adoption.

Let me disabuse you from the false belief of predestination to damnation. Predestination is never for damnation, but for adoption. God does not predestine people to go to hell. If you believe that God predestines people to hell, then I’m afraid that your God is not the God of Paul, the God of the Bible.

[1] Adopted from “Squirrels.” Cited June 10, 2018. Online: http://www.makeitclearnow.org/relhumor.html.

The People, Place, Period, and Purpose of Election

Paul wrote that God chose “us” (v. 4). This is the people of election. The “us” refers to “the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). They are those who “heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed” in Christ (v. 13). Note that Paul refers to the believers in Christ in the corporate sense. In Ephesians, Paul applies divine election, not individually, but corporately; in the plural, not in the singular. Election then is corporate, including all believers in Christ.

Paul stressed that God chose us “in him”—in Christ (v. 4). This is the place of election—in Christ. It is only in the sphere of Christ that God chose us and saved us. We could say then that election happens only in Christ. God chose those who are in Christ, not those who are not in Christ. Only those in Christ are chosen by God. The election of believers is located in Christ alone. Albert Barnes wrote, “The whole choice and purpose of salvation had reference to him, and out of him no one was chosen to life, and no one out of him will be saved.”

Then Paul said that God chose us “before the foundation of the world.” This is the period of election. God chose us before the beginning of the world. The beginning of the world is the beginning of time. Before the world began, there was no time for God is outside of time. Thus, God chose us before the beginning of time.

Paul added, “That we would be holy and without blemish before him in love” (v. 4). This is the purpose of election. The purpose of election is sanctification. Sanctification is holiness of life—living holy lives for the Lord. God chose us to be holy, not because we are holy, but in order that we might be holy. (Jerome in Harold Hoehner, Ephesians) Although not all holy people are chosen, chosen people are holy.

We are to be holy and blameless before God in love. In the Greek, the words “in love” are found in the same clause of the words “to be holy and blameless before him.” Hence, it should read, “To be holy and blameless before him in love.” It is in the realm of love that we become holy and blameless (Eph. 5:2; 1 Thess. 3:12-13). As we love one another, we will become holy and blameless.

Blessed Be God – 1

In the Greek text, Eph. 1:3-14 is one long sentence in 202 words. That’s quite a long sentence. But we find in this one long sentence one of the most profound praises to God by Paul.

The main point of Paul is found in v. 3—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” “Blessed” (eulogetos) is from eulogeo which means “to praise.” (Louw-Nida) Paul is blessing God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing. It is called “spiritual” blessing because it pertains to spiritual things. It is a “blessing” (eulogia) because it is “a benefit bestowed by God.” (BAGD) Thus, a spiritual blessing is not a reward but a spiritual benefit given by God.

Paul proceeds to count in one sentence the spiritual blessings of God. It is a Trinitarian blessing—the blessings of God the Father (vv. 3-6, 8-12), through the Son (vv. 7, 11), and with the Holy Spirit (vv. 13-14).

First, God Chose Us (v. 4)

 The first spiritual blessing is the blessing of election. “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (v. 4). This is the pronouncement of election. God chose us from the whole world of people. The verb “chose” is in the middle voice. This means that God chose us for Himself or by Himself. God’s choice is entirely according to His goodness, not our goodness. It is totally according to His purpose in Christ, and not our purpose.

Freddy Fritz tells this story.

“During my basic training in the South African Air Force, we were out on a field trip for about a week. It was bitterly cold and raining during the entire period. Shortly after we arrived in the field, the corporal in charge had our unit line up outside.

“You, you, and you,” he shouted as he randomly picked several of us, “You go and dig latrines in the field. The rest of you, get inside your tents.” So off we went to go and dig latrines in the cold and rain, while the rest of the unit went into their tents to get warm.

Now, many people think of God as someone a little like my old corporal. . . . He says, as it were, “You, you and you, you go to hell! The rest of you go to heaven!”  (Freddy Fritz, God’s Judgment. Cited May 9, 2018. Online: https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/god-s-judgment-freddy-fritz-sermon-on-judgment-131242)

Paul tells us that God chose some to go to heaven. But he does not say that God chose some to go to hell.

More, we did not choose God, but God chose us. Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16, NKJV). God’s choice of us does not depend on our choice of God. Rather, God’s choice depends on Himself. Election is the sovereign choice of God alone.