Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Chosen by God
I remember the first time that I understood what this is saying about God choosing those of us who are his, by faith in him, before the foundation of the world. This means that he chose us before creation. He chose us to be who he wants us to be, and to do what he has called us to do, before he even created the world and all that is in it. That just blows me away!
This means, for example, that before the Lord even made the world and all that is in it, he chose me to be who I am and to be writing this very writing at this very moment in time. So, not only did he form me in my mother’s womb, but all the days ordained for me were written in his book before one of them came into being. So, everything I experienced in this life was part of his design for my life so that I, today, would be writing this devotion.
Now, he did not lead me into sin, and it was not his will that I would sin, but he used even the sins I committed in my life to train me for his calling on my life. What I mean is that I learned a lot from those failures, not that we should fail just so we can learn, but that he teaches us stuff through the good times and the bad times. And, he can turn even what was bad into something good, not in the sense of calling what is bad something good, but that when we repent of our sins, he can turn our lives around for good.
Holy and Blameless
So, what were we chosen for? That we should be holy and blameless before him. And, to be holy means to separate from (different, unlike) the world because God is conforming us to his likeness. This means that we don’t watch TV shows, movies, videos, etc. containing foul language, sensuality, sexual immorality, or which glorifies adultery, perversion, hatred, theft, cheating, lying, gossip, or making fun of people, etc. We don’t entertain ourselves with what is of our sin nature and then laugh at it and applaud it.
We don’t participate in activities which are opposing to godliness, holiness, righteousness, purity, and integrity, either. For, it is not just a cliché to say, “What would Jesus do?” He is our example. He is our standard for how we should live our lives. If he wouldn’t watch it, we shouldn’t either. If he wouldn’t laugh at it, we shouldn’t either. And, if he would not applaud it, we shouldn’t either. We should follow him in his footsteps and do what he would do, say what he would say, and have the same attitude as him, too.
And, as far as the word “blameless” goes, yes, by faith in Jesus Christ we are forgiven our sins so that our sins are not held against us. But, we have to be blameless (not perfect) in what we do, too. The psalmist said this:
“Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression” (Ps. 19:13 ESV).
Again, it comes down to lifestyle, which the New Testament speaks of all the time. We are not just righteous positionally, but we have to walk in righteousness. We are not just holy positionally, but we must be holy in all our conduct. We must walk by the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. And, we must forsake our former lives of sin and turn to God to walk in obedience to him and to his ways.
According to His Will
Also, we were not just predestined to be adopted as God’s children positionally, but according to the purpose of God’s will, and to the praise of his glorious grace.
And, the purpose of his will is that we might be holy and blameless before him, and that we might walk (in lifestyle) in holiness and in purity of devotion to him, free from our bondage to sin. For, this is why he died, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
And, this would be for the praise of his grace, too, for the purpose of his grace is to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, and to instruct us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
When Jesus Christ died on a cross, and shed his blood for our sins, he became sin for us so that he put our sins to death with him on that cross. He exchanged his life for our freedom from slavery to sin. And, he purchased us with his blood in buying us back for God so that we are now God’s possession, and he is our Lord and master. Therefore, we are to honor him with our lives in all that we do because our lives now belong to Him.
He, in essence, reclaimed us for God. For, Adam and Eve sinned against God in that garden, and because of their sin man was separated from God, and all humans were born with sin natures. Not one of us could be acceptable to God in our own flesh. The only way we can be acceptable to God is through Jesus’ blood sacrifice for our sins, and via our God-given faith in him, which means dying with him to sin and living with him to righteousness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
The plan for the fullness of time is the plan of our salvation. And, the plan is not to merely forgive us our sins, but it is to deliver us out of our addictions to sin. Praise God! It is to turn us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Ephesians 1:11-14 ESV
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
By faith in Jesus Christ, which is God-given faith, and thus it submits to God – to Jesus Christ – we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Because we died to sin, and we were born again of the Spirit of God, so that we can live to God and walk in his holiness, all in his power and strength, we have an inheritance with God guaranteed to those who are believing in him, who are walking, by faith, according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
For, if we walk (in lifestyle) by the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. For, we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8).
For, we are predestined according to his purpose for our lives, according to his will, that we might be to the praise of his glory. And, God’s will for us is that we forsake our lives of sin to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. For, this is for his praise, his glory, that his followers might live holy and godly lives, and that we might no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world (Rom. 12:1-2).
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.
Thursday, April 4, 2019