God’s providence and inheritance

by Mike Ratliff

11 Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ 12 εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ. (Ephesians 1:11-12 NA28)

11 In whom also we were made an inheritance, having been predestined according to the plan of the one working all things according to the counsel of His will. 12 For us to be to the praise of His glory, having previously hoped in Christ. (Ephesians 1:11-12 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Most modern Bible translations undoubtedly render v11 a bit differently than I did above. The words “we were made an inheritance” translates one verb, ἐκληρώθημεν, which is the Aorist tense, Indicative mood, Passive voice of κληρόω or klēroō, “obtain an inheritance. The passive voice is the key. Paul is saying that Christians are made an inheritance by God for God. One of the great misconceptions of our salvation, which is made by so many, is that it is the result of something we do, but how anyone could believe that after reading Ephesians 1 and 2 is beyond me. 

It is by His grace that God makes us, Christians, into His inheritance. What an incredible truth! This results from Him πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ – working all things according to the counsel of His will. This is one of the clearest statements in Scripture on God’s meticulous providence, that is, the Creator plans and steers all events down to the smallest detail. All things great and small, good and evil are included in our God’s sovereign ordination of history. I do wonder at professing Christians who demand a theology in which their God is passive and it is all up the their actions. No my brethren; truth that we find in passages like the one above comforts us greatly. Why? These truths guarantee that God will use everything that happens in our lives to make us finally fit to be regarded as His inheritance (Romans 8:28) and, thankfully, it is not up to us and our inconsistent, fallible, nature to accomplish this.

To those of you desiring a debate on “Free Will” versus Calvinism or Reformed Theology, I have been doing that since this blog has been online and my convictions have only grown deeper and more committed so I see no reason to go back over that stuff. There are plenty of other outlets on the Internet that would love to host your arguments. Here, I think we shall simply bask in the truth of the Sovereignty of our gracious and merciful God and wonder that He would choose anyone at all from the Human race let alone those of us who are to be His Inheritance.

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Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “God’s providence and inheritance

  1. Interestingly enough, looking at the same two verses from a Hebrew view point casts a slightly different meaning. From the Complete Jewish Bible, those two verses read as follows.

    Eph 1:11 Also in union with him we were given an inheritance, we who were picked in advance according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of his will,
    Eph 1:12 so that we who earlier had put our hope in the Messiah would bring him praise commensurate with his glory.

    On the one hand, God (Christ?) has the inheritance but from the Hebrew trans, WE have the inheritance. The ‘WE’, however, seems to include Yeshua along with us.

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