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Ephesians II: Chosen for Blessing - Ephesians 1:3-6

What a joy it is that you have been chosen by God for blessing. You weren’t passed by or overlooked; you’ve been called by God! And God didn’t choose you in order to judge you or correct you; God chose you for your good! This is the central message of our text today; this is what you need to believe and take to heart: God chose you so that He could bless you.

Eph. 1:3-14 contains a prayer of benediction, praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In v. 3: you are blessed by God the Father, in Christ the Son, and through the Spirit (the phrase “every spiritual blessing” is probably better expressed as “every blessing of the Spirit”). The passage unfolds as v. 3-6 explain the Father’s role in blessing, vv. 7-10 focus on the Son, and vv. 11-14 lead into the work of the Holy Spirit. There is also a threefold repetition of the phrase “to the praise of His glory” attached to each member of the Trinity.

What we tend to see as difficult doctrine, the Bible presents as a prompt for praise, and Paul moves straight from God the Trinity to the doctrine of predestination! The reason why we bless the Triune God is because of His predestinating choice of us in Christ. The simplest statement of predestination is that God chose us in Christ, and so Christians worship God because of His gracious choice.

And God didn’t choose us in ourselves. God chose us in Christ, which makes all the difference in the world. He didn’t select you in and of yourself, but in and through Jesus. Not only that, but God made His choice long before you ever even existed, before the foundation of the world! And His goal in choosing us was that we should be holy, which is why we must be chosen in Christ and not in ourselves. In ourselves, we aren’t holy! But God’s choice isn’t a response to who we are. He chooses us in order to make us who He wants us to be. God’s choice results in our being set free from sin, and because we are chosen in Christ, we share Christ’s holiness.

Verses 4-5 beautifully link two words that we must never allow to be separated: love and predestination. God predestined us in love! There is nothing cold and calculating about God’s choice; it is a very personal act of true affection. The desire of that love was that we should become His children, as Paul draws a direct line between election and adoption. Predestination means God wants you to be His child.

Looking at the question of predestination from another angle, whose will is it that drives our salvation, our being blessed in the Spirit? We were chosen by God not according to our desire or effort or will, but according to the purpose of His will. The reason that any of us is willing to believe in God is because He first purposed by His loving will to make our adoption His eternal plan.

And what is the end result of God’s purpose and plan in predestination? When God’s choice is realized and God’s blessings fully bestowed, what’s going to happen? We will be forever praising His glorious grace. God’s choice is a gracious choice. Considering who it is that God chose; a bunch of sinners like you and me, we aren’t going to be saying that God made a logical choice, or a wise choice, or an appropriate choice. And so we don’t approve or congratulate God – “Good choice!” No, we tremble with awe that we were chosen at all, and we praise the amazing grace of God as the source of this choice.

When we consider God’s choice, we won’t understand it by looking at who He chose. We need to look to the One who did the choosing. That’s what makes this choice gracious: God didn’t choose us for who we are; He chose us because of who He is.

And so as we begin the book of Ephesians, I hope you are already overwhelmed by the grace of God, in awe of His perfect plan, delighted in the overflow of the love of the Holy Trinity, and that the doctrine of predestination is more precious to you. The good news from this text is that God chose you in order to bless you, not because of who you are or what you did, but rather in spite of who you are and what you did. God’s choice isn’t about you; it’s about Jesus. And because you are chosen in Christ, God loves you like He loves His own eternal Son, and that means blessing upon blessing for you. So let us praise His glorious grace.

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by CJ Bowen