Scripture Reference: Eph 1:13-14
Introduction: Throughout Ephesians runs a theme of the church. Certain themes recur constantly. One of these is the purpose of God in establishing the church. This lesson will focus on Eph 1:4.
I. The Election: “He Chose Us In Him”
A. The spiritual blessings provided by God are bestowed by his design upon those who are chosen in Him (1:3, 4).
- The expression “He choose us” means that God picked us or selected us for himself. The emphasis is on what God has done in the matter of salvation.
- The word “chose” does not tell us whether God chose us conditionally or unconditionally. Can we become part of God’s chosen by our actions, or is it totally in God’s hands that we have no will in the matter?
- This verse does not tell us so we have to look elsewhere in the bible. God’s grace would be manifested in either conditional or unconditional election because salvation is totally beyond man’s reach.
B. All the great spiritual blessings in this text are “In Him”, that is “In Christ”.
- All spiritual blessings are in Him (1:3). In Him we are chosen (1:4). Grace is freely bestowed in Him (1:6). Redemption is in Him (1:2). The mystery of God’s will is purposed in Him (1:9).
- All things are summed up in Him (1:10). We are made a heritage in Him (1:11). We hope in Him (1:12).
C. Let us see that coming into Christ is conditional.
- There are things we must choose to do (Gal 3:26, 27). Peter speaks of Christ as being elect or chosen (I Peter 2:4). Christ was chosen first and with Him all who are in Him.
- If God has chosen those in Him, and being in Him is conditional, then God’s choosing involves the same conditions as coming into Christ involves.
- God chooses those who are in Christ. We get into Christ by obedience (Mk 16:16, Rom 6:3).
II. Time of Election: “Before the Foundation of the World”.
A. The word “foundation” comes from an expression which means “to throw down”.
- Here God is seen throwing down the world into its proper place.
- Before any of the creation was brought into existence, God chose to save those who would come into Christ and remain in Him according to the gospel.
B. God’s choice of Christ and those in Him was not an afterthought.
- His plan was carefully thought out before the world was brought into existence (II Tim 1:9).
- God says, “You are sinners, but I have chosen you because you have accepted Christ as Lord”.
III. Object Of The Election: “That We Should Be Holy and Without Blemish Before Him In Love”.
A. God elected a body of people in which all who are holy and without blemish will be presented to Christ (Eph 5:27; Col 1:21, 22).
- God chose Christ and the Church. The church is composed of people who come into Christ by obeying the gospel. God did not chose individuals unconditionally.
- God chose to save all who will comply with his will. He chose all the faithful in Christ. The Christian entered the body by his own choice and God adopted him (I Cor 12:13).
B. To be “holy” is to be separated or to be sanctified.
- The original word comes from the same root word from which we get “saint”. The sanctified are saints. The chosen are a group who are identified by their holiness, their separation from the world.
- They are also described as without blemish. Just as being chosen is conditional, being holy and without blemish is also conditional. (Col 1:22, 23).
C. The election of God is also “in love”.
- Election and adoption by God imply God’s love. The phrase “in love” may then modify God’s part in our election and adoption. Yet, could he mean we are holy in love?
- We must respond in love to what God has done for us in love. God has chosen us in love and we choose Him. Faith in Christ is the highest expression of love.
- Doesn’t this explanation of election by God make even more glorious the relationship of the Christian to the Lord than the cold Calvinistic position that God chooses arbitrarily apart from a person’s own will.
- Calvinism and other many other doctrines ignore the great truth announced by Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:34, 35). This statement is meaningless if God decides unconditionally leaving us with no choice.
Conclusion: You can be among God’s chosen people if you will accept Christ’s teaching and be baptized into Him and live a faithful life unto death (Mark 16:16, Acts, 22:16, Rom 6:3, Rev 2:10).