Chosesn of God
Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Next comes the apostle’s greeting to the saints. Every word is loaded with spiritual significance— unlike many of the empty greetings we use today.
Grace means divine assistance for daily living. Paul’s readers had already been saved by the grace of God, His undeserved favor to the lost. But now they needed strength from God to face the problems, trials, and sorrows of life. That is what the apostle wishes for them here.
Peace means a spirit at rest in all the changing circumstances of life. The saints had already experienced peace with God when they were converted. But day by day they needed the peace of God, that is, the calm, settled repose that is independent of circumstances and that results from taking everything to God in prayer (Phil. 4:6, 7).
It is worth noticing that grace comes first, then peace. This is always the order. Only after grace has dealt with the sin question can peace be known. And only through the undeserved strength which God gives from day to day can the believer experience peace, perfect peace, in all the changing moods of life.
Grace (charis) was a characteristically Greek word. The Jews use the word peace (Hebrew: shalom) as a greeting. Put them together and we have, in miniature, the gospel for the whole world. When we unite them we also have the truth of the NT church which Paul expounds so fully in Ephesians—Jew and Gentile formed into one Body in Christ.
Grace … and peace come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul did not hesitate to put the Lord Jesus on the same level as God the Father: he honored the Son just as he honored the Father. So should we (John 5:23).
Let us not overlook the marvelous conjunction of the words God our Father. The word, God, taken by itself might convey the impression of One who is infinitely high and unapproachable. The name, Father, on the other hand, speaks of One who is intimately near and accessible. Join the two by the pronoun, our, and we have the staggering truth that the high and lofty God, who inhabits eternity, is the loving Father of everyone who has been born again through faith in the Lord Jesus.
The full title of our Savior is Lord Jesus Christ. As Lord He is our absolute Master, with full rights to all we are and have. As Jesus He is our Savior from sin. As Christ He is our divinely anointed Prophet, Priest, and King. How much His name unfolds to every listening ear!
Ephesians 1:3 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,
Blessed. This doxology is composed of three stanzas, each of which closes with a similar refrain (vss. 6, 12, 14). This word blessed is always used of God in the New Testament, and it means praised or eulogized.
Who hath blessed us. God is the great giver, and the blessings are already ours. With all spiritual blessings. With every kind of spiritual blessing.
They are spiritual in nature as opposed to temporal and material, and they are the products of the Holy Spirit.
In heavenly places. In the realm and sphere of heavenly things as contrasted with earthly things. The adjective expresses quality rather than place. This expression is found several times in this epistle and refers to that exalted sphere of activities to which the believer has been lifted in Christ.
In Christ. In vital union with Him. Note how often these words are found in this epistle. In Christ is the key to this wonderful passage. Since the saints are in Him, nothing is too good or too great for God to bestow upon them.
Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
The first is what is commonly known as election. Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
Notice first the positive fact of election in the words, He chose us. Then there is the positional aspect of the truth, in Him: it is in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus that all God’s purposes for His people are brought to pass. The time of God’s election is indicated by the expression, before the foundation of the world. And the purpose is that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. This purpose will not be completely realized until we are with Him in heaven (1 John 3:2), but the process should be going on continually in our lives down here.
This word (Gr eklegomai) means to pick out, to choose. This is a definite statement of God’s elective grace concerning believers in Christ. In him. In union with Christ. Apart from Christ, there would have been no election and no salvation.
God always deals with man in Christ, who is the one and only Mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5). Paul traces man’s salvation back to the plan of God’s will. Before the foundation of the world. Before the projection of the world order. God’s choice was eternal; His plan is timeless.
The fall of man was no surprise to God, and redemption was no afterthought. God provided for our salvation before one star glittered in infinite expanse. We must be careful not to draw false conclusions from this sublime truth. God is not stating a fatalistic doctrine in which He arbitrarily elects some to heaven and consigns all others to hell. There is no scriptural doctrine of election to damnation. God’s election provides for the means as well as the ends.
God’s infallible Word plainly states, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13). Man either receives or disbelieves God’s provisions in Christ. “So far as the human race is concerned, every man may not only accept Christ as Savior but is urged and invited to do so.
The ground of this invitation is the work of the incarnate Son … Divine foreordination and human freedom are humanly irreconcilable, but like two parallel lines that meet in infinity, they have their solution in God” (Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook, pp. 672–674).
“To explain an apparent difficulty by denying one or the other of these tenets is to explain away the truth” (W. Curtis Vaughn, The Letter to the Ephesians, p. 13). That we should be holy and without blame before him in love. This is the purpose of God’s election.
The real purpose of God’s elective grace is not “pie in the sky by and by,” but has to do with a separated life here and now (cf. Rom 8:29).
Holiness is the positive side of a Christlike life (Heb 12:14), separated from all evil courses and connections.
Blamelessness in character is the negative side of the Christlike life: not sinless, but stainless, without blemish and without defect. God’s expectation is for His saints to live on a high spiritual plane.
Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
The second spiritual blessing from the treasury of God’s grace is predestination, or foreordination. Though somewhat related to election, it is not the same. Election pictures God’s choice of people to salvation. But predestination is an advance on this: it means that God determined ahead of time that all who would be saved would also be adopted into His family as sons. He could have saved us without making us His sons, but He chose to do both.
Many translations link the last two words of verse 4 with verse 5 as follows: in love having predestined us. This reminds us of the unique affection that prompted God to deal with us so graciously.
McDonald, Knoll, Farstad; Hinson and Knoll