Ephesians; 1:4 – Election of church age believer, part 4. Don't get bogged down with "Why?"

Class Outline:

Tuesday November 13, 2018


Doctrine of Election: 1) definition for church:


Election definition for church age believer: God the Father chooses or elects believers to the life of Christ.


We have noted that the verb “elected” is in the middle voice, which means that the proper translation into English is that He elected us for Himself.


We must leave aside the seeming paradox of our free-will, meaning that we freely chose Him in faith at gospel hearing, and the Sovereign will of God, meaning that He chose us for Himself before the foundation of the world, and we must enjoy the tenderness and blessing given to us through God the Father choosing us for Himself.


Moses reminded the people of the whole Law, the covenant made between God and His nation at Sinai, before they crossed the Jordan and entered the land. In this chapter, Moses gives them a much abridged reminder of their history, their rebellion, and then foretells of their future rebellion and how aghast the foreigner will be when he sees the land desolate.


DEU 29:22 "Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it, will say,


DEU 29:23 'All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.'


DEU 29:24 "And all the nations shall say, 'Why has the Lord done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?'


DEU 29:25 "Then men shall say, 'Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.


DEU 29:26 'And they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them.


DEU 29:27 'Therefore, the anger of the Lord burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book;


DEU 29:28 and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.'


People have asked this question since then. Why Israel? Why are they there, why are they strong and blessed one generation and oppressed in another? Why did God even bring them there if they were just going to be scattered all over the world eventually?


The questions concerning Israel, her past, present, and destiny only leads to more questions concerning the entire human race, the nature of God, and the decree of God.


“Is there in the span of our lives on single instance that is able to stop the steam of questions arising in us? With these ever recurring considerations we find ourselves in the midst of the questions that surround the doctrine of election.” [G.C. Berkouwer]


DEU 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”


We never find tension in the scripture concerning the salvation of man. It is wrought in the work of Christ and received by faith.


We don’t read of any tension between faith, foreknowledge, election, and predestination in the scripture. They all sit side by side, happily conjoined, and all singing to the glory of God in one voice.


The hidden God doesn’t cast a shadow on the revealed God, but on the contrary, they are sung of in hymns of praise and gratitude for the foundation of salvation. We always read of the joy of God’s election and of election as the profound, unassailable and strong foundation for man’s salvation. We never read of it connected to any fear or hidden danger. The unbeliever is never said to be predestined.


The elect are to rejoice. The gospel is the good news given to all because Christ died for all.


We will explore the questions surrounding the doctrine, but before that, we must go past them and look to what we are elected to.


This choosing of us is an election to the life of Christ, which must be seen by the believer as a blessing and a happy privilege rather than a burden. The life of Christ is only seen as a burden by the flesh. The Holy Spirit and the divine nature within us see Christ’s life only as a blessing and a joy and a wonderful challenge.


2) Election is the call to sanctification or living the life of Christ.



 Eph.1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:    


EPH 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.    


EPH 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,    


EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love    


EPH 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,  


EPH 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


We must not miss what we are getting at in this study of election. Election is for you. It is not for improving what others think about you, though that will likely happen. It is not for getting you to do more good things. Election is for you to understand what God the Father has made you as a new creature in Christ. There is no use bothering about how it happened, whether your faith came first or His choosing you came first, or if they both happened simultaneously, or if one caused the other, or etc., etc. It would be like a man who refused to start living his life because he didn’t understand the science of conception. What we know for sure is that God elected some before the foundation of the world and they believed upon Christ as their Savior from their own free-will. We know that they were not forced.  


God created humans to have a free-will, without which there is no love or goodness possible. That means creatures which can either go right or wrong. God’s permissive will made this possible.


“If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free-will is what made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free-will? Because free-will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata - of creatures that worked like machines - would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous human love is mere milk and water.” [C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity]


2a. Election is for you to experience the life that is Christ; full of love, joy, and peace, and to understand that living as that creature is now your only option. In faith, get cracking!


God’s help to us, now that we are new creatures in Christ, imputed with the very righteousness of Christ, is only in the direction of perfection. When Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, He wasn’t kidding. We know that we will never approach constant perfection in this life, but when we are doing His will, since it is a perfect will, we are behaving and thinking perfectly. This is the only thing that He is helping us with and filling us to do. If we have any watered down version of the life of Christ that includes provision for our flesh, He will not help us with that, and we will only find that we cannot serve two masters, just as He told us. 


EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.


I’ll repeat the Greek words that begin this clause.


“Just as” - kathos= explaining “blessed us” in vs. 3.
“He chose us” -
eklego(aorist middle indicative) = to select, elect, or choose. Middle - He chose for Himself. 


Never forget the use of the middle voice here, it is very unfortunate that the NASB doesn’t translate it fully; only the expanded translations do so.


He chose you for Himself. Don’t water this down by only focusing on the fact that you chose Him, which you did by faith. But you didn’t pick Him out of a lineup of possible Messiahs, or blindly chose Him and get lucky. God the Holy Spirit presented Jesus Christ to you as the One who chose to die for you.


We cannot resolve this with any human language. It must remain a mystery. The Sovereignty of God chose you and your free-will chose Him through the gospel. God doesn’t make mistakes. If He chose you, you are to be holy and blameless, but He isn’t going to force you to be. You must chose to be, knowing that God has graced you out to be.


2b. God chose you for Himself. Don’t get bogged down on “why.” Just rejoice in the intimate, special tenderness of it.


EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.


The conjunction hina (that) is not in the original. “World” is followed by “we should be holy and blameless before Him.”


2c. The present infinitive of the verb “to be” (should be) means that we are to always be holy (hagios = set apart unto God in thought, conduct, and life) and blameless (amomos = without blemish).


1PE 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen


1PE 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.


We’re going to see more of this later, but it is a part of election that bears repeating, much more than the arguments over why God elects.


1PE 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,


Worthy of praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, just like EPH 1:3, because of His mercy which caused us to be born again to a living hope and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.