2004-08-17 - Blessed by God
Ephesians 1:3, 4,5,6 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love
The first few verses of Ephesians Chapter One are interesting. Some people think that verses One and Two form a unit, while Three and Four form another unit. Others take the first three together and start fresh with Verse Four. Today we will look at Verses Three and Four together. First Paul blesses God, and then speaks about how God has blessed us, and expresses that blessing in specifics as God has blessed us in choosing us before the foundation of the world. He says that there is also a purpose to all this, namely, that we should be blameless and holy.
Notice how the text does not read, "Blessed be the God and Father of THE Lord Jesus Christ," but rather, "blessed be the God and Father of OUR Lord Jesus Christ." The capitalization is mine and not contained in the text, but we miss something if we fail to see that the pronoun here is personal and possessive. For us, Christ is not simply the Lord, but rather, He is our Lord. It is not difficult to see how God blesses us, but how do we bless Him? One way we bless God, no matter what our circumstances, is to think well of Him, and to wish others would do the same. We bless God by doing good as He has done good to us. In doing good to others, especially when we do it in His name, we honor Him, and thus bless Him. We know that salvation is of the Lord, and when we do what we can in response to His love toward us, we bless Him. Some of us can do a lot, others not so much, but God knows our hearts. He sees motive. He knows if, when we serve Him, we are seeking to give Him glory or looking for our own glory.
When we come to Verse Four, we have the phrase, "He chose." Some people do not like this doctrine, but God has a purpose and a will in salvation. He chose, and whether we like it or not, it is what Scripture teaches. In fact, it is here linked to His blessings. Not only does the verse say that "He chose," but, "he chose us." If we are honest, we know that we are unworthy to be chosen by God, but that is not the issue. God's choice is not conditional. He chose us, and our response is to love Him and to let our lives reflect that love toward Him in all that we do.
We also see that we have been chosen "in Him." None of us are chosen apart from Christ. Rather, the Father choses us in Christ. For the Father to reject us, He would have to reject Christ also, because we are chosen in Christ.
Lastly, we see that we are chosen in Him "before the foundation of the world." Before the world was created, God chose us in Christ. This is a great mystery, but it is what Scripture teaches us, and we take this verse, as we do others, by faith. The end of verse four does not leave us hanging. We are told why we are chosen. The reason why is "that we should be holy and blameless before Him." This is the reason we are chosen in Christ: holiness. When we grow in grace, faith, hope, and love, we are growing in holiness. As the verse ends, we see again here what we find in 1 Corinthians 13:13. We see the greatness of love. Being chosen in Christ is sure to result in love, love toward God and love toward others. Growth in love is part of our process of sanctification, and as we love we live more and more in a manner that is pleasing to God. God has blessed us in choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world, and we respond in love toward God and others.
Soli Deo Gloria,