Providence and God’s 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 (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.

Soli Deo Gloria!

3 thoughts on “Providence and God’s Inheritance

  1. I am so thankful for the sovereignty of God. The simple irrefutable fact that He is sovereign relieves me of the massive burden of trying to accomplish my own justification, my own sanctification, etc. All I have to do is obey Him. He tells me everything He requires of me, and He supplies everything I need to accomplish what He requires of me. What could be easier? The only thing that hinders me, is me. And He even gives me the ability to overcome that if i would just listen to Him and obey Him. The sovereignty of God is one of the greatest blessings a Christian has, and it seems only Calvinists accept it. In Calvinism, it’s all about the sovereignty of God, and in Arminianism it’s all about the sovereignty of man. That should tell people something!

    And speaking of free will, when I am “approached” by a proponent of free will, I have found that the best way to handle them and get them to think, is to sort of agree with them. I tell them that yes, we absolutely do have free will, but that our will is limited by our nature. Common sense forces them to agree with this. From there all I have to do is get them to see that their nature is flawed and tainted by sin, thus preventing them from coming to God on their own.

    Thank you Mike, for another great article!

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  2. Reblogged this on Rainbow Trout and commented:
    Mike is one of my favorites. What he writes and how he articulates it gives a clear message. I highly recommend following his blog. The message is so true…this is an Amazing Grace.

    “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.”

    Often wish I could express it that well.

    I do personally prefer the King James Version of these verses though. It is based on the Greek Texts, which contrary to modern thinking are the vast majority of the preserved texts. These are the texts which were used through out the Reformation, having come West when the Greek scholars fled. The Westminster Larger Catechism which I am currently studying has such questions like this one:

    Q. 19. What is God’s providence towards the angels?
    A. God by his providence permitted some of the angels, willfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation, limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory; and established the rest in holiness and happiness; employing them all, at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.

    The discussion of angels is pretty lost doctrine today, but you can see it pretty obviously in the majority Greek texts.

    Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
    Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
    Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. KJV

    OldJohn Gill wrote… “both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him; by things in heaven are not meant the souls of saints in heaven; though it is true that the souls of departed saints are in heaven….

    but rather the angels are meant, whose origin is heaven; where they have their residence, and from whence they never fell; and whose employment is in heaven, and of an heavenly nature: and by things on earth, are not intended every creature on earth, animate and inanimate; nor all men, but all elect men ….”

    Anyway that’s another discussion, but to me something seems to be lost and it’s not due to Mike’s good translation, but in the underlying text being translated….something to think about.

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  3. Nothing to argue here mike, whether we like it or not, scriptures are CLEAR on this issue, bless!

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