Chosen - Eph. 1:4-6

“…For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will, to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” - Ephesians 1:4-6

Uh oh…. Predestination/Free will. For years, these verses have been used as ammunition in the freewill vs predestination debate, but reading them through our western individualistic eyes, we tend to miss the point here. It’s interesting to note that while this has been a hot topic for Christians for the past 500 years, it wasn’t at all for believers in the millennium and a half before the Reformation. One of the reasons for this, is that early believers were much more comfortable with mystery than we are today. Post-enlightenment people want everything cut and dry and easy to explain in three steps, but Scripture is filled with mystery: Jesus being 100% God and 100% man; God being one and yet existing eternally as three persons. These are truths we can’t fully wrap our minds around and yet we still hold them to be true. In the same way, the Scriptures repeatedly affirm God’s sovereignty while at the same time affirming human agency. Both are true. How? Well, it’s a bit of a mystery.

Ultimately though, our verses today aren’t really about that debate at all. Paul isn’t speaking about the fact that some individuals are chosen and some are not. Rather, he’s speaking about God’s purpose and plan for the church. Notice, the pronouns used throughout Ephesians 1. As you read through, you’ll find repeated use of the words us and we. Paul is not writing a letter to an individual, but to the community of believers in Ephesus, expounding upon the benefits and blessings of being a member of God’s family, blessings and benefits that God planned on giving his people all along. This isn’t a message about whether or not certain individuals are chosen or not, but about the collective of God’s chosen church and what he wants to do with it.

His predetermined plan has been to bring lost children into his family and for the members of his family to be holy and blameless in his sight. When you join the family of God, Jesus’ shed blood on your behalf washes you clean. As an adopted son or daughter, you are given Christ’s righteousness to wear as your own. This is what God wants for his people and it’s what he planned to give us since the beginning of time.

Why? “In accordance with is pleasure and will.” He accomplished this through Christ and offers it to lost people because it pleases him. It gives him joy to make clean what once was stained and scarred by sin and death, to bring the lost sheep back into the fold.

How? How does he do this for us? It’s a gift! One that “he has freely given us” through the incarnation of Jesus, his death, and resurrection. It’s not because we deserve it or have earned it, but because God loves and values us and wants to be in communion with us. This is God’s purpose for you. This is God’s desire for his people. This is what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. This is what it means to be chosen.

Sean's Picks

May you be encouraged by this devotional thought from Dr. Stanley John, the head of my seminary program when I was at Alliance Theological Seminary. Dr. John is a friend and mentor with a passion for world missions and pastoral heart for those whom he teaches and leads.

Missions Spotlight:
The Alliance

Did you know that as part of the Grace Chapel family, you are part of a global missions movement called The Christian and Missionary Alliance? And each time you give to Grace, approximately 10% of your giving supports all of our missions partnerships. The majority of this goes to Alliance Missions including the Alliance Great Commission Fund (GCF) which supports over 700 international workers.

So, what is Alliance Missions all about? Below you'll find a message from two of our denominational leaders on the 2021-2022 missions theme:
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