July 16 | Waking with The Word | Ephesians 1:4
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: :5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
This Chapter has been one of the most debated over throughout the church for centuries. Many people see this chapter as doctrines of our salvation. I do not hold to that viewpoint, I believe that in the whole chapter there is only one verse that deals with the moment of salvation, vs.13 “After that ye believed.” Rather, I believe this chapter deals not so much with how we are saved but the benefits we received when we are saved, which is the theme of the whole book. Note as well who Paul is addressing: Saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus. He is addressing believers about the blessings and inheritance we have “In Christ.” In Christ is the theme of the chapter and every blessing we have is in Him.
Now the controversy isn’t about where our blessings come from. People on both sides of the old old debate will agree that our blessings are found in Christ. The controversy is about when we were or are placed “In Christ.”It is to that I hope to speak today. Who was chosen and when?
Who? We have to first talk about who was chosen. When we determine who was chosen it will bring light to what was chosen and the when becomes a bit clearer. Many understand this verse as so: "According as he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world." This is a misinterpretation, the key of the whole chapter is "In Christ." The most important part of the verse is often left out of people's understanding of the verse "Chosen us in him." The choice made before the foundation of the world was Christ, not you and I. Christ is the chosen one, He was and is God's choice. Let me give you some other verses to further prove that Christ was the choice made before the foundations of the world. Peter refers to Jesus as the foreordained one 1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: :20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, In Matthew the prophecy of Isaiah refers to Christ as elect, chosen and beloved Mat 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
Isa_42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. God the Father speaks up at Jesus' baptism telling us who pleases Him. Mar 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. For me the question of who God chose is no debate, His choice was Christ. Scripture refers to Jesus as the only begotten son of God. Begotten means only born or sole one. Jesus, in eternity past, was the sole proprietor of God's inheritance. We were not the proprietor of that inheritance until we were placed "In Christ." Which brings us to our next question, When? When? Before the foundations of the world there was a choice made, I believe Jesus was that choice. The question at hand is when were we placed in Christ? This question is not one that is easily understood and is why this has been a topic of much debate for around 1600 years now. On one side of this debate you have those who say we were in Him before the world ever began. Then on the other side you have those who say we were only in Him after that we believed. Now I hold more closely to the latter statement than the first. There are scripture after scripture that talks about us being far off, aliens, enemies and in all sorts of language used to portray us as separate from God, which is the premise of the Gospel. Then we find verses that seem to place us there before the foundation of the world. So we seem to have a conflict but as we know the scripture isn't the conflict it is our ideas and interpretation that is conflicting. The scripture is without contradiction and to often people change what the scripture says instead of changing their interpretation of the scripture. I believe this has happened on both sides of the debate. While some interpret the verse as "According as he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world." others interpret it as "Before the foundation of the world we(the saved) were chosen to be holy and without blame before him in love." Again I believe the second interpretation is truer to the theme and narrative of Ephesians but this isn't what the verse says either. The verse says exactly what is says and to me to be true to this verse I have to understand that in some way we were "In him before the foundation of the world." I may have lost half of my brethren on the first point and now I risk losing the other on this point. It seems that the majority of believers either believe they were placed in Christ before the foundation of the world or at the point of salvation(I hold to the latter). The understanding I have is that by virtue of God choosing Christ I was saved. Let me give you two illustrations that lead me to this understanding. 1. Hebrews 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. :10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. We see here the way the writer of Hebrews refers to Levi as being in Abraham years before he was ever born. It wasn't that Levi was there when the tithes were paid to Melchisedec but that he was in Abraham, that is, his seed was in Abraham. The potential for his life was in Abraham but his life wasn't vital and he wasn't made alive until that seed had passed through 3 generations to the point when the life giving seed met a receptive egg and a life was produced. Let us apply this idea to our spiritual life. I believe that this is how we were in Christ before the foundations of the earth not as spiritually alive beings but the potential for our new birth was in Him. We weren't made alive until His "seed" passed through generation after generation producing new births and then that child of God sharing the seed of the gospel with another and another down to the point when the seed of the gospel met your receptive heart(faith) and you were born again. We weren't there before the foundation of the earth any more than Levi was there when his grandfather paid tithes to Melcihsedec but the same way Levi's life was contained in Abraham is the same way our life was contained in Christ before the foundation of the world but not being vital until "after that ye believed." Not only was the life of the saved contained in Christ but the life of all men. This life is only available to those who will believe, which is who Paul is writing to in Ephesians. 2. 2 Samuel 9:7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. Lastly we'll consider the story of David's choice to pardon Mephibosheth. I want you to notice why he showed him kindness. "For Jonathan they fathers sake" it was not Mephibosheth that was chosen but his father Jonathan. Back in 1 Samuel chapter 20 King David choose Jonathan, so to speak, He loved him and made a covenant with him that there would be peace between their seed. At the point that this decision was made there was no peace between the house of David and Saul but King David choose to, in the fullness of time when he came to the throne, pardon the descendants of Jonathan. Mephibosheth wasn't even born when this decision and choice was made but he was pardoned because of Davids choice of Jonathan. You and I friend were not the choice at the foundation of the world but our life giving Savior and by virtue of that choice we are pardoned. I for one say thank God that He chose Christ and not me or you or this one or that one. No, it was Christ that pleased Him, it was Christ who could save, it was Christ and is still Christ. That is why the book of Ephesians specifies that all these blessing are " In Christ." All the fullness of the God is in him, redemption, forgiveness, righteousness all things are in Him and in me I find no good thing. God didn't chose sinful man, lost man, wicked man, He chose Christ and by virtue of that Choice all who come unto him can find all the fullness of God "In Christ." I want to close by acknowledging that for me to understand our eternal position in Christ is difficult because of my temporal understanding. Eternity is a concept, I believe, so immense that to think that I have arrived upon certain truth about it would be foolish. Rather all things that we see in part now or " through a glass" will all be made clear one day. My objective is only to share my understanding as of now. According to the Riches of His Grace!!