‘Chosen’ and ‘Predestined’ Before the Foundation of the World- Ephesians 1:4-5

Blogged Bible Study

These two verses present an awesome picture of God’s sovereignty in the salvation of His people. Here are seven translations/versions including a couple of paraphrases (one good and one not so good):

“…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 through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, …” – ESV

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—…” – NIV

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,…” – NKJV

“For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will –…” – NET

“… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,…” – NASB

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.  Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)” – MSG

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.   God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” – NLT

Questions for the week:

  • What does it mean that God ‘chose’ us? For what were we chosen?
  • What does it mean that God ‘predestined’ us? For what were we predestined?
  • Who are ‘us’ in the above passages?
  • Why did God choose and predestinate ‘us’?
  • Would God choose and predetermine anything that He would not, in his divine sovereignty, bring to pass?

NOTE: That men are responsible to believe is not in question. ‘How’ we come to believe is also linked to God’s sovereignty, and is another worthy discussion.

Developing a Warrior’s Heart – The Reading of the Word

Excerpted from “The Christian Soldier” by Thomas Watson

What an infinite mercy it is that God has blessed us with the Scriptures. Our Savior bids us “search the Scriptures”, (John 5:39). We must not read these holy lines carelessly, but peruse them with reverence and seriousness. The noble Bereans “searched the Scriptures daily,” (Acts 17:10-11). The Scripture is the treasury of divine knowledge; it is the rule and touchstone of truth; out of this well we draw the water of life.

Read the Word as a book made by God Himself. It is given “by divine inspiration” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is the library of the Holy Spirit. The Word is of divine origin, and reveals the deep things of God to us. Other books may be written by holy men—but this book is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Read the Word as a perfect rule of faith; it contains all things essential to salvation. ” The Word teaches us how to please God; how to order our lives in the world. It instructs us in all things that belong either to prudence or piety. How we should read the Word with care and reverence, when it contains a perfect model of piety and is “able to make us wise unto salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15)!

When you read the Word, look on it as a soul-enriching treasury. Search it as for hidden treasure! This blessed book will enrich you; it fills your head with divine knowledge, and your heart with divine grace; it stores you with promises: a man may be rich in bonds. In this field the pearl of price is hidden! What are all the world’s riches compared to these?

Read the Word as a book of evidences. Would you know whether God is your God? Search the records of Scripture, (1 John 3:24). Would you know whether you are heirs of the promise? You must find it in these sacred writings (2 Thess 2:13). Those who are vessels of grace—shall be vessels of glory!

Look upon the Word as a spiritual armory, out of which you fetch all your weapons to fight against sin and Satan:

  • Here are weapons to fight against SIN. The Word of God is a holy sword, which cuts asunder the lusts of the heart! When pride begins to lift up itself, the sword of the Spirit destroys this sin! 1 Peter 5:5 “God resists the proud.” When passion vents itself, the Word of God, like Hercules’s club, beats down this angry fury! (Eccles. 7: 9). When lust boils, the Word of God cools that intemperate passion! (Ephes. 5: 5).
  • Here are weapons to fight against SATAN. The Word fences off temptation. When the devil tempted Christ, He wounded the old serpent three times with the sword of the Spirit—”It is written!” (Matt. 4:7). Satan never sooner foils a Christian than when he is unarmed, and without Scripture weapons.

Look upon the Word as a spiritual looking-glass to dress yourselves by! It is a mirror for the blind, “The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes!” (Psalm 19:8). In other mirrors you may see your faces; in this mirror you may see your hearts! (Psalm 119:104). “Through Your precepts I get understanding. This mirror of the Word clearly represents Christ; it sets him forth in his person, nature, offices, as most precious and eligible,

Look upon the Word as a book of spiritual remedies and antidotes. If you find yourselves dead in duty, read Psalm 119:50. “Your Word has quickened me.” If you find your hearts hard, the Word does liquify and melt them; therefore it is compared to fire for its mollifying power, (Jer 23: 29). If you are poisoned with sin, here is an herb to expel it.

Look upon the Word as a sovereign elixir to comfort you in distress. It comforts you against all your sins, temptations, and afflictions. What are the promises—but divine cordials to revive fainting souls. A gracious heart goes feeding on a promise as Samson on the honeycomb, (Judges 14:9). The Word comforts against sickness and death, (1 Cor 15:55). “O death, where is your sting?”

Read the Word as the last Will and Testament of Christ. Here are many legacies given to those who love him; pardon of sin, adoption, consolation. This will is in force, being sealed in Christ’s blood.

Read the Word as a book by which you must be judged: (John 12:48). “The Word that I have spoken shall judge him at the last day.” Those who live according to the rules of this book, shall be acquitted; those who live contrary to them, shall be condemned. There are two books God will go by, the book of Conscience, and the book of Scripture: the one shall be the witness, and the other the judge. How should every Christian then provoke himself to read this book of God with care and devotion! This is that book which God will judge by at the last. Those who fly from the Word as a guide, shall be forced to submit to it as a judge.

Galatians 5 – The Obvious Question?

For the Blogging Bible Study, and anyone else who wants to jump in.

In Galatians Chapter 5 we have Paul’s solution to problem of returning to the law, as well as a description of the conflict in the life of the one who has been saved by grace, but also has to contend with his/her fleshly tendencies. 

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” – vv. 16-17

Paul describes both the “works” of the flesh and the “fruit” of the Spirit. The terms “works” and “fruit” for the the manifestation/outworking of the flesh and Spirit points to the external/internal aspects of works/fruit. Fascinating and “spot on” use of terms.

Then he summarizes with this:

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” v. 25

What Paul does not tell us is “how” we put into practice living and “walking” by the Spirit. He tells us “what” we should do, but not “How” to do it.

So the obvious question here is: How do we live and walk by the Spirit, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit living within us, so we no longer follow the impulse of the flesh? Verse 16, “. . .walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, seems to say that it’s somehow natural that when we walk by the Spirit we won’t succumb to the desires of the flesh. The “supernatural” working of the Spirit of God in the heart of a believer produces a “natural” result.

So HOW do we walk by the Spirit? What’s the key?

Good Question from Galatians 4

Charmaine at the Blogged Bible Study asked this question in here post for today:

“How do we know that Christ is formed in us? ”

The question arose from a passage of the weekly reading in Galatians 4:

“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth, until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!”  vv 19-20

I’m sure there are some good answers around that also go to the question, “How do we know we are saved?”, but the first thing that came to mind was this passage of scripture:

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” – Rom 8:29

Somewhere back in time, God predetermined that He would have a people that would be conformed to His Son’s image and brought then He brought it about. that “conforming to the image of the Son” is Christ being formed in us.

For those who have received Christ as Savior and Lord, it is happening already, and for those who are being drawn to the Cross it is a promise that it will happen when they do receive their Savior.

So that’s an objective look at the question.

If you are reading this, what say you?