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Every Spiritual Blessing


Every Spiritual Blessing
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Every spiritual blessing, Part 2

God chose us

22nd January 2016

Last week we read:

Ephesians 1v3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

It's a remarkable statement that "God... has blessed us [past tense]... with every spiritual blessing". I suspect most Christians don't believe it. Some Christians don't feel very blessed. But the statement is true nonetheless.

Paul begins to explain it with these words:

Ephesians 1v4a
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

So the first of these spiritual blessings we've already received is: we have been chosen by God.

God chose you and me, and every individual Christian. We think we've chosen to follow Jesus. We think we've chosen to believe in His redeeming blood sacrifice. We think we've chosen to be born again as children of God. And in a sense we have. But a far deeper truth is that God chose us. John writes in 1 John 4:19, "we love because he first loved us". And we can also say that we chose Him because He first chose us. He chose us before the creation of the world. The Greek word translated "world" here is "Kosmos". God didn't just choose us before we were born - He chose us before the universe was born.

And here's the second spiritual blessing: God chose to make us holy and blameless.

Because God chose us before the creation of the universe, we know He didn't choose us because we'd earned it. And He didn't choose us because we were holy and blameless; He chose us despite the fact that He knew before we were born that we'd be no such thing. He chose us, with all our faults, in order to make us holy and blameless. Let's just emphasise that:

God did not choose us because we were good.

God is making us good because he chose us.

And Paul continues:

Ephesians 4bv5
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

The third spiritual blessing is: God predestined us to be His sons.

God predestined us to be Christians before the creation of the universe. Why us and not someone else? We don't know. We're just grateful. We do know it's not because we're holy or blameless. If we're self-aware at all, we know we're really not. God chose us to be His children, and He predestined that we would be.

Now is not the time for an in-depth discussion of predestination and free will. I just want to say that I believe in predestination. I believe in predestination because, here and elsewhere, the Bible teaches that God predestined us to be saved - to be children of God - to be Christians. And I also want to say that there is no contradiction between predestination and free will. I believe in both, but you do have to think quite hard before you can see that there's no contradiction.

And Paul says that God predestined us in accordance with his pleasure and will. He predestined us because He chose to predestine us. And He chose to predestine us because it pleased Him to do so. Taking broken-down sinful people like you and me, cleaning us up, and gradually making us holy and blameless is something God likes to do.

Praise be to God!