By Mike Ratliff
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)
The unregenerate cannot conceive of a religion unless it is fully entwined with the exercise of free will as an expression of devotion or belief. Genuine Christianity is not a religion if that is how religion is defined. Authentic Christianity consists of God’s work in the hearts of those whom He gave and drew to Christ. The Holy Spirit regenerated them at the will of the Father as they heard the gospel thereby enabling them to believe and repent. From that time forward they serve their Saviour and God as His disciples. Their divine faith, a gift from God, overcomes the world as they obey Him, love Him, and love their brethren. They share their faith with others thereby being obedient disciples whom God uses to bring others into the Kingdom.
3 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, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB)
The Greek word translated as “Blessed” here is εὐλογητός or eulogētos. We get the English word “eulogy” from this word, which means to praise or commend. Why did God create the Universe? It was for His glory. The supreme duty of all of God’s creatures is praise Him and bring Him glory. However, in Genesis 3 we learn that Man fell into sin. This caused our entire race to be born spiritually dead. Because this truth about God and His glory is not apparent to the spiritually dead they do all for self. However, they are without excuse because the glory of creation points all to the creator.
9 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:19-21 (NASB)
Since all unregenerate people live this way, no matter how religious they are, God did a magnificent work to redeem some of them for adoption into His family. Paul tells us that these are “blessed” in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Here in v3 we have the adjective, participle and noun form of what is translated as “Blessed” or “Blessings.” We have looked at the first one, the adjective, where God is glorified. The participle, εὐλογέω or eulogeō, describes how God has blessed “us.” This is an aorist participle in active voice. This means that it could signify action prior to that of the main verb if its relationship to it is temporal. There are no verbs in v3 but vv3-6 is one sentence. We see the noun form where Paul states that all in Christ have every spiritual “blessing in the heavenly places.” This is εὐλογία or eulogia. In this context, Paul is referring to the results of the action of God.
What verb does εὐλογέω point to? We find it in v4 where Paul says, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” The verb is “chose.” This is the Greek word ἐκλέγομαι or eklegomai. This is in aorist middle, which means it describes punctiliar action performed upon one self or concerning self; therefore, it is translated in the KJV as “he hath chosen.” Notice that God chose “us in him” before the foundation of the world. This tells us that those whom God chose He chose to be holy and blameless before him and that is possible because they are “in him.” All in God, in His family, are holy and blameless.
What do we have so far? Christians are the “us” in this passage. The “us” is not all mankind. If that were so then all would “blessed” and “in him,” but we know from Romans 1 that that is most certainly not the case. Therefore, this is speaking of Christians only who are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the domain of God from where all blessings come. These blessings belong only to believers who are God’s children by faith in Christ. These blessings, these εὐλογία, include Christ’s righteousness, resources, privilege, position, and power (Romans 8:16,17).
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NASB)
When were God’s people chosen? It was before the foundation of the world. Why is this important? This means that their redemption is according to God’s sovereignty and before any person even existed. That would mean that His choice would be independent of human influence and not according to any human merit. God did not look down the pathways of time to see who would believe, but chose those whom He would save. These who are saved have become eternally united with Christ (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8).
What is the purpose of His choosing them? It is that they should be holy and blameless before him and He accomplishes this in love predestining them for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. The word “predestined” simply means to “predetermine.” What criteria did God use for this choice? It was according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace. Never forget, the purpose of the redemption of God’s elect is His glory. This is why He did it this way so that “no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him Ephesians 1:7-10 (NASB)
Here we see more of the spiritual blessings that belong to God’s people. Our salvation is the product of God’s redemptive work through Christ on the cross. Through it we have forgiveness of our sins and that according to the riches of His grace. Those in Christ have had God’s grace lavished on them. Notice that the result of this is the gift of knowing the mystery of God’s will through His wisdom and insight. This is all according to God’s purpose. Notice also that Paul tells again that this plan was made before creation and would be complete at the end of time. When Christ returns at the end, all things will be united in Him. In other words, His kingdom will come in complete fulfillment.
In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:10-14 (NASB)
Here we see the believer’s inheritance in Christ. What is it? Christ is the source of our inheritance and that means it is certain. Our inheritance is not based on our abilities or religiosity or the exercise of free will, but on what Christ has done. Those who hope in Christ, hear the Gospel, and believe unto salvation do so according to God’s plan and their inheritance is so sure that Paul speaks of it here as if it has already been received. Notice also that the regenerate believer has been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the guarantee of his or her inheritance until the actual fulfillment of it at the end of time.
My brethren, I pray that you will study this passage and those I referenced in this post. I pray that you will be blessed as you see what a wonderful work God has done on your behalf. Praise Him, Oh Priase Him!
Soli Deo Gloria!