Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
What does it say?
- Paul identifies himself as the author
- Paul was an apostle of Christ Jesus
- Paul was an apostle by the will of God.
- The letter was written to the saints in Ephesus
- The letter is written to the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus
- Paul opens with a request for grace and peace to the Ephesians from the Father and from Christ
- After the opening of the letter shall Paul gives praise is God for Christ
- The Father has blessed us in Christ
- The Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
- The Father chose us in Christ
- The Father chose us before the foundation of the world
- The Father chose us so that we should be holy and blameless before him
- Because of the Father’s love He predestined us
- The Father predestined us for adoption
- We are adopted as sons through Jesus Christ
- We are predestined for adoption because of the purpose of the Father’s will
- We are predestined for adoption to praise His glorious grace
- Through the Father’s glorious grace He has blessed us in the Beloved
- In Christ we have redemption through Christ’s blood
- Through Christ blood we have the forgiveness of our trespasses
- Through Christ we have received forgiveness according to His grace
- Through Christ we have received redemption according to His grace
- Christ has lavished His grace upon us
- Christ lavished His grace of upon us in His wisdom and HHH`His insight
- The Father has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His purpose in Christ
- The Father has made known to us the mystery of His will he set forth in Christ
- Christ came to unite all things to Him
- All things include things in heaven and things on earth
- In Christ we have an inheritance
- We have been predestined according to the purpose of God
- God works all things according to the counsel of His will
- We’ve obtained an inheritance so that we may praise God’s Glory
- In Christ we hear the word of truth
- The word of truth is the gospel of your salvation
- When we hear the word of truth and believed we are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our salvation
What does it mean?
This is a section of scripture many pastors refuse to preach upon. And yet claim they will preach the full council of God. There are two reasons they may refuse to expound on this section of scripture. The first is they do not believe it. The second is that they know it may divide their congregation. And they believe unity is more important than the truth of God’s word.
If we are to take the bible seriously we need to understand what it says. If I have one view and you have a view that is contradictory to it, that least one of us is wrong. It is possible that both of us are wrong. It is not possible for both of us to be correct. Since Paul through the Holy Spirit speak plainly about predestination. It is not an unimportant issue. If we are to understand the scripture we need to wrestle with areas we may find difficult. We have an obligation and duty to our Lord and Savior to understand the words he has left us. Therefore, let us approach the scripture trying to understand what it says is not what we think it should say.
This section of scripture, speaks openly about predestination. This is a topic that many struggle to understand. I will try to expound only on what the scripture says. I will not claim to understand all the nuances and difficulty that some find with the topic of predestination. However, if the scripture claims it to be true, then I will also proclaim it.
The author of the book of Ephesians identifies himself as Paul the Apostle. It was written to believers. Paul praises the church at Ephesus for their faith and their love of the saints. In the Greek the passage from verse 3 through 14 is one sentence.
Paul starts off by blessing praising God for already giving us every spiritual blessing. This is not a future event this is something that has and is happening. We receive these blessing through Jesus Christ. The theme here is that we have not done anything to be entitled to these blessing. They are a gift. God chose us to receive these gifts. We did not earn them. We even ask for them. God chose us to be the recipient even before earth was formed. We were not even around to ask for them. Why would God chose us, to glorify Himself. This will come up again in chapter two.
The teaching of being chosen is not unique to this book or even to Paul. Hear the words of our Lord.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…” John 15:16a.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” John6:44
“I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen….” John 13:18
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19
Paul also writes in Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
It is clear we are chosen. It is clear we are predestined to be conformed to Christ. This passage of scripture does not address the issue of free will. It simply states that we have been chosen and we are predestined as a simple fact. Paul defends it in Romans 1-12. But here he is writing to saints. They were already aware of this and Paul did not need to defend it. His point is that we have nothing to boast. We did not do anything do merit God’s grace. We did nothing to receive it. We did not even ask or beg for it. We were chosen before the world was created. As a result, all praise and all glory goes to the God. None of it goes to us. The wonder and awesomeness is not that we chose God but that He chose us.
But God chose us for something. What is it? First God chose us to be holy and blameless before Him. Our holiness is meaningless. In fact it is less than meaningless, it is actually evil. When we are at our best we are still evil. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6 The holiness we are chosen for is not our holiness but the holiness of Christ. Christ’s holiness is given us.
Second we are chosen for adaption as sons. In the Roman culture when an adoption was made it was final and complete. The former family had no rights or claims to the person, In the eyes of the law he was a new person. So that even any debts and obligation he had prior to the adoption were abolished as if they never existed. That is what Paul says God has done for us.
Third, God has redeemed us. Redemption is to buy or pay off. We have been purchased. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Cor 6:19-20. “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.” 1 Cor 17:23a God is a just God and to simply forgive us would be a violation of His justice. So Christ paid the price or penalty for us.
Fourth, we are forgiven for our treason against God. Once Christ paid the price of Justice God forgave us.
The good news is the price was paid so we could be forgiven. We have been adopted and our debt paid has been abolished. All this occurred because of God choosing us. We had nothing to do with it. Bath in the realization of that! God be praised!
How does it work?
Why all the concern about rather or not I chose Christ by my asking him into my heart or Christ chose me? What difference does it make? First, if you are claiming you have anything to do with your salvation, regardless of how small, you are stealing the glory that belongs to God. Second, realizing what God has done for you, forces you to praise Him. God has chosen you, not because of who you are or what you have or what you can do. But He has chosen you so that He may be glorified. What a privilege!