According to the Purpose of His Will

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.”

Our Faith in Jesus Christ

Our faith in Jesus Christ has a purpose, and it isn’t just so we can be forgiven of our sins, escape hell, and so we can go to heaven when we die. God had a plan for our lives even before he laid the foundations of the earth that we should be holy, set apart (unlike, different) from the world so that we may be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3-5).

We were predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, and his will for us is that we should die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, not just once, but daily until the day we die physically, or until the day that he returns for us, his bride, and he takes us to be with him forever (Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24).

And we are to be for the praise of his glory (his honor, value, worth). So, this means that we are to walk (in practice, in conduct) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Daily we are to die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. We are to no longer live to please ourselves, but to please God with our lives (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Pet 2:24).

So, when this states here that when we believed in Jesus that we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, it is not teaching that if we merely profess faith in Christ that we have this guarantee, or if we confess him as Lord, but he never becomes our Lord (owner-master), that we have this guarantee (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).

We can’t just read vv 13-14 and assume that all people who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ are now guaranteed eternal life with God no matter how they live their lives from that moment forward. We have to always interpret all Scripture verses within their context. And this book was addressed to the saints of God who are faithful in Christ Jesus.

Chosen to Be Holy

We were chosen to be holy, not just as a status, but that we should be holy in all our conduct, and in our attitudes, in our thinking, and in our speaking, too. We are to no longer live the way in which we lived before we believed in Jesus Christ, but we are now to live for the praise and glory of God in holiness and purity of devotion to our Lord, with him as master of our lives.

We have forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. And his grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For, Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14; Eph 2:10).

His grace to us also delivers us from our slavery to sin so that we would not continue living in slavery to sin and so that we would walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus, our Lord, no longer addicted to sin but now presenting ourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and our members to God as instruments for righteousness. For, sin shall no longer have dominion over us (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

Description of True Believers

For, what should describe our lives as believers in Jesus Christ? Read Ephesians 2:1-3 and 4:17-24. We once lived in (walked in) sin. We once followed the course of this evil world. We once followed Satan who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. We once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and we were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind.

We once lived just like the people of this world who are still in the darkness, in the futility of our minds. We once were darkened in our understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in us due to the hardness of our hearts and/or our sin natures. We once gave ourselves up to sin and perhaps to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

But that is not the way we should have learned Christ. We should not have learned that God saves us from our sins so that we no longer have to feel guilty when we sin, but so that we can go on living in sin guilt free and without punishment for sin but with a guarantee of eternal life with God, regardless of how often or how much we continue in sin.

We should have learned the truth that is in Christ Jesus, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (see Eph 4:17-24).

Study the Word in Context

So, don’t just read a few verses and then decide your theology or your doctrine based on just a few verses. These books were originally letters which must be read in entirety to get the whole big picture. Interpreting Scriptures out of their context is dangerous, and many false doctrines come from such a practice.

For, if we walk in sin, we will die in sin, no matter what we profess or think we believe or what we feel we have been guaranteed. If sin is what we practice, and righteousness is not what we practice, we do not have eternal life with God. And if we walk in disobedience, and not in obedience, then we don’t know God and he doesn’t know us (1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10).

So, just know that all of us are going to stand before God one day and we are all going to be judged by our works, by what we did with Jesus Christ, and by what we did with our lives. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit you will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).

The Narrow Road

But I am not going to sell you “a bill of goods.” The Christian life is not an easy life. It is hard. It is a life of suffering, of daily saying “no” to the flesh and “yes” to God. And if we are walking in purity of devotion to the Lord, and if we are doing what pleases him, and if we are obeying his word by putting it into practice in our lives, we are going to be rejected.

We are going to have people, even other “believers” in Jesus, and even members of our own family who will turn against us, and who will not support us in what we are doing, and who may even be critical of our walks of faith for how we are walking. For, even though we are walking in conduct according to the word of God, the way we are walking is not socially acceptable in today’s culture, even in much of the church.

So, just know that faith in Jesus Christ, if it is God-given faith, and if it is not of ourselves, not only will it submit to the Lord and obey him, but it will face much rejection and even some persecution. But we always have the Lord with us, so no matter what storms we may go through, we are not alone. He is with us every step of the way to guide us and to help us to make it through it all.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

By Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

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