Chosen in Love

by Mike Ratliff

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)

Just as I prepared to come down to my basement office to put together a post for my blog, I got a phone call from work. A server had a problem and they needed my help. Here it is nearly three hours later and I am just now getting to ready to post. I don’t have much time and am very tired. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post my brethren. In love, God predestined believers for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. Our Creator’s great love for us moved Him to call us out of the passion we had for Satan and the kingdom of darkness. 

Never forget my brethren, all in Christ were predestined for adoption as sons with great affection by God Himself. He took us, who had no legal claim to being a part of God’s family, as His very children, with all the privileges that status entails.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 ESV)

Remember my brethren, God is too holy to even look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13) yet He set His loving gaze upon us in the misery of our impurity and willful profaning of all that is good and right in order to make us new creations in Christ. He adopted us unto holiness even though we were unholy. This very fact proves beyond all doubt my brethren that not one of us was any different from the rest of the fallen human race (Ephesians 1:4). We were just as unholy and fallen as the rest of the fallen human race until God intervened.

What motivated Him to love only some in this way and not every man, woman, and child who will ever live? Now we enter into the genuine bounds of the great mystery. However, we know that it is certainly not because we are inherently better than those who have not been chosen in love for holiness and adoption. Sacred Scripture says only that His choice to love His people is according to the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:5).

John Calvin comments that in adoption “God does not inquire what we are, and is not reconciled to us by any personal worth. His single motive is the eternal good pleasure, by which he predestinated us.”

The wonder of divine election is not that God loves us because we are lovely but that He loves us even though there is nothing lovely in us. But in choosing us, He loves us in order to make us holy in His sight. Those whom He chooses will certainly become lovelier over the course of their walk with Christ, and will be completely pure in glory. My brethren, may we humbly remember that there is nothing in us to make God love us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

14 thoughts on “Chosen in Love

  1. Mike,
    I just read Grace Gems this morning and then what you wrote.
    To love, and be loved–is real happiness. Our highest honor, and our sweetest happiness below–is to be beloved of God. For if God loves us–He will withhold no truly good thing from us.

    “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely–for My anger has turned away from them!” Hosea 14:4

    What will God do for His people? He will love them freely!

    He will prefer you to all others–setting His eye and His heart upon you.

    He will take you into fellowship–the nearest, dearest, sweetest fellowship with Himself.

    He will make you happy with the persuasion of the facts . . .
    that He has loved you with an everlasting love,
    that He delights in His love to you, and
    that He will forever love you freely!

    O blessed state–that the great, the infinite, the holy Lord God, will love a worm like me . . .
    preferring me even to the angels;
    indulging me with the freest, sweetest fellowship with Himself;
    and sweetly persuading my soul of His eternal love to me!

    WHY does He love me? Just because He will. The cause, the reason–is to be found in His loving heart, and sovereign will alone. Not because I am good, or amiable, or can repay His love–for He loves freely, and fixes His love on the most unlikely and unworthy objects!

    How precious the Lord’s people are to Him!
    Notwithstanding all their unworthiness and sinfulness.
    Notwithstanding all their departures from Him, and unkindness to Him.
    There is nothing on earth, or in heaven, except His only begotten Son–that is as precious to the heart of God, as His people are!

    God’s love is always free and unchangeable. Everything outside of God will change–but His love is immutable!

    “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you!” Jeremiah 31:3

    Lord, help me to believe the love which You have for me–and to love You in return! O shed abroad Your sweet love in my heart, and fill that heart with glowing love to You!

    What a way to start my day out reminding me just how much my Father loves me!

    thank you Mike, I hope you have a really good day, my dear brother!
    Cristina

  2. Spurgeon said:
    “To me, it is one of the sweetest and most blessed truths in the whole of Revelation; and those who are afraid of it are so because they do not understand it. If they could but know that the Lord had chosen them, it would make their hearts to dance for joy.”

    I rejoice that my name is written on the palm of His hand.

  3. What a beautiful way to start my day… May we rest in the finished work of Christ today!

  4. 2 experiences in my life come to the forefront when I read this wonderful post… When I was nine years old the Lord, during a service, the Lord ‘came and introduced Himself to me’! Not in words but in the most wonderful ‘smiling, loving presence… in that moment my heart leapt in joyful ‘Recognition’!! I KNEW it was Him, and my young soul just burst with happiness!… The other experience that I think of when I read this was when I was praying for a certain man I knew, that God would save him… the Lord said to me in a very sad voice, “But he doesn’t love me”… I have always remembered that and often pondered it in my heart..The fact of ‘election’ and predestination has always been such a mystery… we just don’t know all the facts behind Gods ways…. I just know that He is just and I trust Him…

  5. Can you really know then who God has predestined? if not anyone, what about yourself? 2 Corinthians exhorts us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. I believe it applies to both salvation and sanctification. I have been really struggling with the concept lately. The Lord seems to be opening my eyes to the reality of these things – completely relearning what I the teach that I grew up with. Even now, I talk to my grandma and she talks about your free will. But in my new understanding, the fears that I am fooling myself get overwhelming at times. Eternity is too long!!

  6. Bethany, God had predestined those who love Him and believe the Gospel. That is why they love Him and believe. If He had not done so then they wouldn’t. If it was up to Free Will then our salvation would be a work and that would be against what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9 so forget that.

  7. If it was up to ‘Free Will’ then man ( you and I ) would have authority over God. Hitler (classic example anyone can understand) could live his life unto himself then command God to save him. I could live in willful disobedience to God, commiting acts of sin and then ‘praying the sinner’s prayer’ and make God save me.
    This is nothing but heresy and many ‘self righteous’ (works salvation) ‘christians’ teach and believe this.
    God saves men by His authority alone… it is a ‘gift’ of God…lest any man should boast.

  8. When is someone in danger of doctrinal error? When they isolate a few scriptures, build a fortress around them and set up camp there. Anyone who doesn’t agree with the doctrine is shut out. Indeed, the Spirit himself cannot penetrate those walls. Their rational thinking is now bowing to this sacred doctrinal idol and anyone who dares to inject some Scripture that doesn’t line up with the fortified dogma is silenced with scornful rebukes and indignant chastisement.

    People that actually reason in the Scriptures are turned away and left wondering, “what just happened here?”

    Contrast that with God’s design for our growth.
    1 Peter 2:5
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

    As we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us from his Word, our faith is instructed and built by Him and upon him.

    Normally, I stay away from debating people. I tread softly. Last week, however, the incongruence of “Christian speak” with sinful lifestyle overcame my hesitation. I based my argument on Scripture. It didn’t matter. The evidence was ignored, a Scripture about law and grace was repeated and a conclusion was drawn that fitted his man-centered stand of “once saved always saved” doctrine. Any mutual edification that might have resulted from dialogue was quenched. The drawbridge was raised, the doors were shut and the sentries took their places.

    The feeling I was left with was an unsettling feeling of “what just happened here?

    Now having read a bit more on the internet from scholarly types, I realize that whole books have been written about such things, debates rage on and there are many who continue to build fortresses around certain doctrinal entries into the Christian life, such as John 3:16. They will not go past that saying that anything else is our own works and that’s that.

    Those who take the whole counsel of God while still remaining anchored to the Scripture and let go of their own control will grow in grace and the knowledge of Him. He will steer your course and you will see that Paul has planted, Apollos (name the teacher) watered but God gave the increase. He will never let us fall from our secure position in Christ. Ours is a narrow pathway in Christ with a spacious place of freedom for growth in knowledge and understanding of God.

  9. True Carolyn, but it is also true that in doing that you can’t ignore those Biblical truths you don’t like and try to argue around them with unbiblical man-centered, logic. No, I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about the person that you and I were discussing offline yesterday that continues to send comments to posts like this one that I never allow to see the light of day because HE NEVER REFERENCES SCRIPTURE. No, it is all emotional, man-centered philosophical mumbo jumbo.

    Yes, we take the whole counsel of God and keep everything in context. That is why I try to go to the Greek in the New Testament and Hebrew in the Old Testament instead of using the Modern translations. When we keep everything in context and humbly submit to what the Word says instead of what our favorite preacher says or what our pride says then we are well on our way to being the humble, usable, teachable slave that God wants us to be.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  10. Amen, Mike. And thanks for helping me sort through some of my thoughts and see what WAS happening.

    That is what we get on this site…good Scripturally based teaching, not emotionally based teaching that clouds the ability to think rationally. And a few faithful friends to support us and encourage us in the Way. Isn’t that what New Testament living is supposed to be about? They met from house to house, broke bread together and devoted themselves to the Word and prayer. Today we break bread from computer to computer…but it’s still great, isn’t it?

    Love you all! Carolyn

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