Friday, May 27, 2016

Chosen that we might be - Ephesians 1:4

"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him." (Ephesians 1:4)
This verse is the conclusion of the previous verse where we are told that we have been blessed by God with every spiritual blessing available in the heavens. In this case, the first verse follows from the second. In other words, we have been blessed in as much as we have been chosen, Our blessing is not according to our merits or our achievements in righteousness, rather it is in accordance with His selection. Throughout history, God, at times, does things for no other reason than to demonstrate to us His ability to choose. Consider the case of Esau and Jacob. Paul writes, "for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, The older will serve the younger.' Just as it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'" (Romans 9:11-13) One son was chosen, not for any merits he had over the other, but simply that God's choice in choosing might stand. However, in our case, our choosing was not for one man against another but the choosing of one creation over another. Of all of God's wonderful creation, He has chosen mankind for his marvelous blessings, incomparable gifts, and inexpressible love. This should encourage us even through the difficult times in knowing that the blessings of God we enjoy and depend upon are not based on our own worthiness or the degree to which we deserve them, but upon God's willingness and generosity through His own choosing.

In this choosing we find the grand and eternal plan of God for mankind. Paul does not say that we were chosen to obey God or to serve Him through religion, although we most certainly do so, but we were chosen that we might be with Him; that we might stand in His very presence; enjoying Him as He enjoys us. From the very beginning of time, God chose to create mankind, out of all of creation, to be those who would eternally stand before Him in His presence in both holiness and perfection. This was His plan from the beginning and, although sin has entered to mar His creation, this is but temporary for, in the end, He will not be denied and will have what He purposes. This is the purpose for mankind: holiness and perfection before God.

In saying we shall be without blame, Paul is not referring to those scandalous acts we have performed in the past that we shall feel sorry and guilty for when standing in His presence. Rather, the Greek word for "blameless" could probably more accurately be translated "unblemished" or "without disfigurement." Paul is not talking about transactional blame, blame for something we have done or not done, rather he is speaking of a defect that is more fundamental, structural, and personal. Paul is saying that on that day we will know no shame or guilt for who we are in ourselves and in our person, for we will be perfect and whole in every way. Certainly, such confidence is not know by anyone presently who still lives on in the flesh of this life, but the plan of God is that one day, in the resurrection, we shall be resurrected to new life, a life without blemish or defect, and to stand before Him perfect in every way. This was His plan even before sin entered the world and it is still His plan even knowing all that had gone on in the interleaving millennia. Paul writes, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'" (1 Corinthians 15:52-54) This is both our hope and our joy. This is the joy set before us that we too might endure our cross; that we too might find new life through the resurrection power as demonstrated by Jesus. What hope and comfort this should offer to all believers regardless of present circumstances or station of life. What a grand plan for all of us!

David Robison

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