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Election: Fact, Fulness and Function.

04/01/2023

Text: Ephesians 1:3-5 

We are looking at Ephesians chapter 1. Paul is going to teach the Ephesians some fundamental truths in this letter to make them aware of how their salvation was purchased for them, and then he is going to teach them how to practically apply those truths, doctrine leading to practice. So we start at the beginning of his letter, in 1:1-5 where Paul reminds these Gentile believers that God has chosen them to be His.


1 The Fact of Election. V4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world

Let’s firstly establish the fact that God has a chosen people, those who are his. We call them, His ELECT people.  So, the facts of election… 

  • Who is doing the work? Look carefully at the VERBS in this passage. To whom are they referring? Am I doing something, or is someone else doing something FOR me, or TO me.  The answer is SOMEONE ELSE. Paul is reminding us that in our salvation we are completely passive, it is God, in Christ who does all the work. So it is HE who has chosen US. Jesus taught this to his disciples in John 15:16  
  • When did he do that work? before the foundation of the world We do know that Jesus purchased our salvation on the cross. But that redeeming act was planned, from eternity. From before the world was created, when there was nothing, God had chosen a people for himself. His elect. 
  • Why did he do that work? God has always existed, and God is Love – the love that is demonstrated perfectly in the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and it was in that pre-existent love that God chose you to be his. that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. But why me? Because he loved me. I’m not worthy of his love, yet he loved me anyway. He loved me, so that in demonstrating that love in Christ, he alone would receive the glory and all the praise.

So, election is a FACT. God’s love for his people is rooted in eternity past, and it will last through to eternity future. Some people might say that if we believe that God has already chosen those who are his, and who will be redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, then what’s the point of evangelism? Sinclair B Ferguson in his commentary points us to the obvious fact, that Paul is teaching the doctrine of election to the saints in Ephesus, a city that HE had personally evangelised. 


2 The Fulness of Election. V3  

How blessed are we! How often do we sit back and consider how God has chosen us and redeemed us? I suspect not often enough, for if we did we would be overwhelmed with excitement and praise.  In Ephesians 1:3-12, Paul was similarly excited for right throughout this passage he never takes a breath, he started talking about Jesus, about what the Lord has done for him and us. In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing, and because of that Paul wants to bless the Lord! So he begins, “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ… and he concludes his long sentence in v14 with “To the praise of His glory.”   Look at:-

  • The sphere of these blessings. These blessings are in heavenly places. The people in Ephesus, and we also –  live in two place at one time. We live on this earth, in the world, but we also live in God’s kingdom.  The blessings of this life are temporary, and the gospel makes us no promise of earthly prosperity. But we are blessed with spiritual riches in God’s kingdom – riches that will endure forever.
  • The source of these blessings. They are only found in Christ. We do have a long list of them, and Paul is going to list them for us here. BUT, the greatest of all these blessings is to have Christ himself. To be considered to be IN HIM.

As Paul dictates this great eulogy of praise, speaking well of God the Father, who has chosen us in Christ, he is bowled over with the superabundance of blessings, good things that we have in Christ. He doesn’t know when to stop. 


3 The Function of Election. … V4-5  

We are chosen by God for a purpose. We are to be changed, made new, given a new status and a new destiny, we are to be made holy and blameless before God. Let me explain:

  • We have a change of destiny. holy and without blame We will be made holy and blameless. In heaven. There will be no more sin, we will then be holy and blameless. 
  • We have a change of status. That will affect us in two ways. Remember that these Ephesians lived in two worlds, two kingdoms, so:-
    • Living in God’s kingdom, we are regarded as holy and blameless in Christ. We live ‘before God.’ Paul: before him in love. There is a Latin phrase often used for this: ‘Coram Deo.’ Christians can said to have PUT ON CHRIST.  We are sinners, but we have ‘put on the righteousness of Christ’ – we have been made right with God because Christ has paid our fine for the broken law at the cross, 2 Corinthians 5:21 To be “in Christ” means that God no longer sees our imperfections; He sees the righteousness of His own Son. Ephesians 2:13  
    • Living in this world. That change of status before God must be evident to those around us. We are not only living righteously “Coram Deo”, but “Coram Mundo,” living righteously before men. For to understand this we need simple word study:
      • We are made HOLY (ἅγιος) in Christ. Holiness, ‘coram mundo” – before the world, is to be different from the world, to be in the world but to stand out like a sore thumb! Our speech, our actions, our attitudes, our world-view will reflect that difference. Acts 4:13  Dare to be different!
      • We are made BLAMELESS. ἀμώμους The word draws the mind to an OT sacrifice, a sacrificial animal was without blemish, so that it would be made fit for God. The Christian life is a sacrificial life, but we are the sacrifice. Matthew 16:24  That sacrificial life, will be the root of the difference, that marks a man or woman out as a believer in Christ.
  • We have a change of family. There is one more stated objective of our election. It is to bring us into new relationships. VWe are predestined to be adopted into God’s family. We have no right by merit or title to be in God’s family, nor to inherit a home in heaven, yet God adopts us as His sons and joint heirs with Christ. 1 John 3:1  John 1:12  Romans 8:17

We have a change of destiny, status and family.


So we have begun our look at Ephesians by learning about an essential doctrine of the faith, God’s sovereign choice and election of his people, before this world was ever created, and the wonder and greatness of the blessings that election has bestowed upon us. Then we saw how that election changes us, before God and before man, and so prepares us for our new heavenly destiny in a never-ending relationship in the family of God.

© Bob McEvoy 2023

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