The elect were made God’s inheritance through His providence

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)

The enemy of our souls is also a liar and hates all truth. He cannot stop people whom God has elected from being saved, but he can attack them and lie to them with all out assaults on God’s truth to keep them from knowing the wonderful width, depth and breadth of God’s love for them and that all of the truths about these things are contained in His good doctrines which are given to us in the Word of God. I have been dealing with several sniping attacks over the last several weeks from brothers and sisters in Christ who should really know better. They have been challenging the veracity of Reformation Theology and calling it “Calvinism” derisively and some have even gone so far as to call it a damnable heresy. When these things happen it is best to not react emotionally. We must not respond in the same tone as those throwing the sticks and stones and acting like little children who say they have the truth, they are right and we are wrong and then refuse to allow any discussion on the matter, which is what I have been encountering. No we cannot do that. What I attempt to do in all my posts is show from the Word of God alone what God says is the truth. That is what this post is all about. 

Here is Ephesians 1:11-12 from the NASB:

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. Ephesians 1:11-12 (NASB) 

Most modern Bible translations undoubtedly render v11 a bit differently than I did above as you can see in the NASB’s rendering. 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 or even unknowing like the Open Theists, 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 (2006) 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.

Soli Deo Gloria!

6 thoughts on “The elect were made God’s inheritance through His providence

  1. Good word Bro. Mike!
    The doctrines of sovereignty and providence are my favorite to study!


  2. Dear Mike,

    Grace and peace in Christ.

    The longer I live the more I see my sin in thought and word and deed. I praise God that He understands my fallen condition and arranged for His Son to die to cover my sin in the blood of Christ’s righteousness. God is perfectly Just and Perfectly Holy. No one could ever be in His Holy presence without God providing a mediator. Not one of us is worthy… But God, because of His mercy and compassion poured out His judgment on His own sinless Son to be the perfect lamb – substitution for our iniquity. I am so thankful that I had nothing to do with His undeserved grace towards me because my track record is not so good… Just sayin” 😉

    Blessings to you and your ministry, Charisse Graves


  3. The Lord has used you mightily, Mike. Like you, there are many of us whose convictions have grown deeper and more committed through the years. The Lord has undoubtedly used the truth you preach as a catalyst for that. Thank you very much, brother!

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  4. My brother, you ask how some can possibly think our salvation is the result of something we do, especially after reading Ephesians 1 and 2? I think the answer to that is that they change the meaning of Scripture to fit what they already believe, rather than changing what they believe to fit the truth of God’s word. I believe this a malady that afflicts many Arminians. Thank you so much for this blog, and for being obedient to our Lord in faithfully maintaining it. I know it is extremely helpful to me, and to so many of our brethren. He is blessing you, and and blessing us through you.

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