2004-09-07 - Holy and Blameless
Ephesians 1:4, "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love.
This is the last week we will spend on this verse. I promise, because I am already working on verse 5. This verse gives us not only the fact that God chose us from the foundation of the world, but also why He did so. He chose us so that we would be holy and without blame before Him in love.
We mentioned in an earlier devotional that this phrase at the end, "in love," is problematic. Does the phrase go with our being chosen in Christ (vs. 4), or does it belong to our being predestined (vs. 5)? Linguistically the Greek can go either way, and some translations place it with verse 5, but the majority of translations place it with verse 4. In the end, it becomes a theological decision of emphasis, and the phrase holy and without blame leads many to see this phrase as going with the fourth verse.
We have all run into to people who appear like they are holy and without blame, but who seem to have no love. The "know it all," or person so in love with their pet opinions that they can't allow for anyone to differ with their prized sentiments. Many do this without love, but appear so righteous in doing it. These are such that are not holy and without blame, because they lack love. We could also consider those who are blessed materially, and could pray marvelously for a week. But ask them for help in your time of need, and you are wasting your breath. I don't think those who show such unconcern for the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ are holy and without blame, because they lack evidence of love toward the brethren (1 Thess. 4:9, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 John 3:14).
To be holy and without blame is not a mechanical conformity to God's rules. It is not being moral people. Morality can exist in someone who lacks holiness. Morality is essentially a negative characteristic, in that it connotes not committing sin. Rather, holiness is a positive characteristic. Holiness has with it the idea of loving good. It is a positive view of living. Holiness, or that which is granted us in salvation, must be viewed as living before God in a right relationship. Neither holiness nor salvation are about our happiness or morality, or God's laws. We are to think of being holy and without blame before Him in love, as the result of our reconciliation with God and a restored relationship with Him. This is why we are chosen in Him. It is not about us, in that its end is to make us happy or better people. It is about God, and Him choosing out of the mass of mankind a people unto Himself (1 Peter 2:9,10). Our happiness and obedience should also be the results of our being chosen in Him, but the primary result is reconciliation with a God offended by our sin, and the positive implications of now being holy and without blame before Him in love.
Soli Deo Gloria,