Tuesday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

Ephesians 1:4-5

Chosen in Him before the Foundation of the World

I said yesterday that of all Paul’s letters, Ephesians is his most profound.  We see this here in these three verses as he lays out the doctrine of election.  He discusses this same doctrine in Romans 9-11 in greater detail, but I truly feel that this passage, as brief as it is, elucidates that doctrine in a deeper and more beautiful way as the emphasis is placed on this all being done “in the Beloved,” that is, Christ.

“He [the Father] chose us in him [the Son] before the foundation of the world.”  It is difficult to see two sides to this passage.  It is forthright.  It is clear.  It is the Father who chose us, not vise-versa, and verses five and six are just as clear that this choosing had nothing to do with our works (Romans 9:10-18), but the Father’s purpose and will.  I confess that there is something deeply troubling about this when looked upon with the eyes of flesh (our sinful nature); indeed, almost horrifying.  But the believer does not look with the eyes of flesh but of the Spirit, and he trusts that the Judge of all the earth will do what is right (Genesis 18:25). 

“That we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  God’s choosing of us has its purpose within ourselves and that is that we be holy (morally pure) and blameless (free of guilt).  Now, it is true that the blood of His Son makes us holy and blameless, but I believe that this verse is saying that we have been chosen so that we will live in such a manner.  God has chosen a people that they may behave like His people, His Spirit empowering them to do so.

“He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.”  Here we have explained to us that to which we are predestined and it is a marvelous thing—adoption as sons (and daughters).  Adoption is one of the most beautiful doctrines of our redemption.  We must remember that we are by nature “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).  If we will be in God’s family, we must be adopted—there is no other way for us.  And if we will be adopted, then someone will have to adopt us; that is, someone will have to take the initiative to adopt needy, dirty, and undeserving children whom no one else wants—not even the devil.  And that’s what God did: He chose us, adopted us, and made us clean through His (natural) Son.

Yes, election is a dreadful doctrine when seen through the eyes of flesh, but when seen through the eyes of faith, it is both beautiful and necessary.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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