The chosen one…

Ephesians_RegimensWithGrace

Chosen…

Choice is a big word these days.

We choose to give awards. There are the People’s Choice, Critics’ Choice, Teen Choice and Kids’ Choice Awards.

We watch the news to learn of the constituents’ choice for political office and how that politician will vote about the constituents’ right to choose to smoke marijuana, own firearms and have abortions.

In addition to choosing, there’s being chosen. Chosen for a game at recess, for a team sport, a prom date, for college acceptance, for the right job, for a marriage partner…

We spend most of our lives wondering if we are adequate enough to be chosen.

Someone says yes.

“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, 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,”

(Ephesians 1:3-4)

Wait. Don’t just skip through that.

“He chose us…”

Think of the very best thing for which you have ever been picked. Savor that moment for a sec. Boss, best friend, teacher, boyfriend/girlfriend? It was a pretty awesome moment. You felt special. Wanted.

Paul starts this by giving praise and through that he lets us know the enormity of all that he’s about to tell us. He gives praise to the Trinity.

God the Father: “Blessed be the God and Father..”

God the Son: “of our Lord Jesus Christ”; or “the Lord of us, Jesus the Messiah”

God, the Holy Spirit: “who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…” This one doesn’t immediately jump out but it is really cool. That word “spiritual” is pneumatikos, and comes from the word pneuma, which means breath or spirit. When you see the word spirit in the New Testament, Holy Spirit or otherwise, pneuma is used. Pneumatikos relates to the realm of spirit or the invisible sphere in which the Holy Spirit imparts faith, reveals Christ, etc. So, as the Amplified version puts it, every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing…”

PPaul to Ephesiansaul is about to spend a good bit of time reminding the Ephesians who God says they are. So, a little like a person introducing the main speaker, Paul is first emphasizing His magnitude.

“In the heavenly places in Christ” Just in case we aren’t properly awed by the thought of the Trinity, he is telling us to remember: God has given you every spiritual blessing in heaven and it is yours in Christ.

And now that we have proper context,

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…

That is a really big deal.

The Greek for that implies to make a highly deliberate choice, a real “heart-preference” with a definite outcome.

This was not a random, eeny-meeny-miny-mo kind of choice. This definitely wasn’t a choose-and-then-put-on-the-shelf kind of choice. And beyond a doubt, this was no “Well, I have to take her because she’s the last one left” kind of choice.

This is an “I have wanted you since before the beginning began” kind of choice.

As far as romance goes, this love story beats all others.

And no matter who you are, what you think or how many horrible things you’ve done – they do not matter because He chose you before any of that happened. It doesn’t even matter if you believe that He exists because He chose you.

He chose to make you “holy and without blame.”

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes those who accept His offering pure in His eyes. We are His bride, set apart for Him, “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but…holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27)

You are chosen.

He chose you so that “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Redemption means ransom paid. He has paid the necessary cost to set you free.

He chose you.

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…” (Ephesians 1:11)

I love this part! We only see this particular word for inheritance one time in the New Testament and it has a different meaning than you would expect. It means to BeFunky_Roman20dice2.jpg“assign by divine lot-cast.” Now, if you or I were rolling the dice, it would be a game of chance. Pure luck. However, this is a divine lot-cast. Think weighted die. When God rolls the dice, they land exactly the way He plans.

He chose you.

“being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (1:11)

He chose and appointed us, marked us ahead of time, before it all began, for His purpose, and He promises to work it all together for His divine plan and our good. (Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”)

When Robert Downey Jr. was picked for favorite movie actor in the 2015 People’s Choice Awards, he could have rejected the people’s choice and refused the award.

And so it is with God’s choice. Salvation and all He offers with it can be rejected.

That’s our choice.

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation;…”

And when we choose Him, it is a “done deal.”

“…in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

You are chosen,

you trusted,

you believed

and you are sealed.

In the ancient wax-seal_21349252world, a seal served as a legal signature, guaranteeing the contents of what was sealed. The Holy Spirit has set His stamp of ownership on you. He is the guarantee of your inheritance until Jesus comes back to redeem His already ransomed possession.

You belong to Him.

He has already paid the price.

He is coming back to pick up His chosen bride.

That’s you.

The chosen one.


I encourage you to read this passage in Ephesians with today’s devotion. To do so online, you may click here: Ephesians 1:1-14

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Blame-free…

Ephesians_RegimensWithGrace“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, to the praise of the glory of His grace; by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 4:1-6

I was recently reading Acts 13. It was the Sabbath and the Bible says that almost the whole city had gathered to hear the Gospel. The Jews however, were “filled with envy” and “opposed the things spoken by Paul.”

Then in verse 46 it says, “Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold [I like that part!] and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Oh boy! Is that the height of arrogance or what?!

God determines something should be and man decides otherwise.

But that’s what we often do today. We accept His gift of eternal life, resting in His promise that had been preached by Paul the previous Sabbath that “and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39

Then we continue to wallow in shame.

“I am justified.”

“I am such a sinner.”

“Jesus made me whole.”

“I am broken.”

“I am forgiven.”

“I am so ashamed.”

Judging ourselves unworthy.

While we continue to remember the wonderful grace of Jesus, we must also remember that God loved us before He created this incredible universe.

Before He laid the foundations of the earth,

before He buckled Orion’s belt,

before He taught the morning stars to sing,

He chose you.

Before the beginning, the Lord God Almighty decided that He wanted you to be His.

He desired to make us holy and without blame.

He sent His Son to die and be resurrected in order that He might adopt us as sons and daughters, that He might “freely bestow” His grace on us.

I have accepted His amazing grace. I have been adopted into the family of God. He has called me blameless. He has taken away my shame.

I have no right to judge myself unworthy

when He has called me holy.

 Blame-free_RegimensWithGrace

You see, God not only gave us the gift of salvation.

He gave us the gift of blamelessness.

 

 

“Oh most holy God, I don’t get it but you have decided to love me and to make me Yours. You have given me, not only the gift of salvation and eternal life, but have called me blameless. Help me Lord, not to insist on walking in shame, dredging up what You no longer see.”

  • For more on being blameless, shame-free and holy, click here:  He calls me holy…
  • For the first in our series Ephesians: Paul’s letter to me…, click on the tag Ephesians to the left or start with the first devotion here: Faithful in…
  • As a personal study aid, you can print or download Bible study notes here: Eph – Week 1 Chosen

Blessings!

 

green-swirls

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Back to Ephesians…

BeFunky_Ephesians.jpgI have the tremendous privilege of teaching our Sunday night “Living Free” class at church. Not wanting to sound trivial, I had no idea of the challenge behind teaching through a book of the Bible. On a topical subject, one can find lots of Scriptures on “faith,” for instance, and do an in-depth study.

Not easy, but there are parameters.

Working my way through Ephesians, which in all fairness isn’t exactly like trying to teach through Ezekiel, has had me doing spiritual calisthenics, stretching muscles I didn’t know were there.Paul to Ephesians

In class we are finishing up chapter four. I am attempting to break those lessons down into more “blog-sized” bites.

My family just came back from a lengthy camping trip – with no internet! – and it is time for me to play some catch up!

In my next post, we will continue to look at the attributes Paul tells us that we have in Christ. We are
faithful in,
blessed and chosen.(Follow the links to check out those devotionals.)
We are also:BeFunky_chosen-ppt-backgrounds-powerpoint.jpg

    Holy before Him
    Without blame before Him
    Accepted in Him
    Have redemption in Him
    Have an inheritance in Him
    Predestined/Chosen and appointed by Him
    Trusted in Him
    Sealed in Him
    Have a secured inheritance in Him

It just doesn’t get much better!

Stay tuned. We’re going to dive into these! Here are some notes to get you started. Eph – Week 1 Chosen

And, to give you a taste of the glories of God’s creation, I’ll even include a vacation picture!

Isn’t He amazing?IMG_0880

Thanks for being a part of this study!

    “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.” Ephesians 1:3
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Chosen

BeFunky_Ephesians.jpg “Blessed be the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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,” (Ephesians 1:3-4)

Chosen.
What a beautiful word.

Do you remember being on the playground as a child? We would designate captains for whatever game we were playing – tag, hide-n-seek, Red Rover – and the leaders would choose their teams. It was wonderful to be the first one chosen (I never was) and horribly embarrassing to be the last. That meant you were the one no one wanted. The slow one. The geeky one. The little one. For whatever reason, you weren’t chosen. You were tolerated.

God doesn’t just tolerate us.

He doesn’t think, “Well, I sent Jesus to die for everyone and she asked for forgiveness so I have to put up with her.”BeFunky_chosen-ppt-backgrounds-powerpoint.jpg

No one is last on God’s team.

You are chosen.
He wants you.

He picked you.

Strong’s concordance defines this Greek word for chosen as “I pick out for myself, choose, elect, select. HELPS Word tells us that it means “to select out of, by a highly deliberate choice (i.e. real heart-preference) with a definite outcome.

In this particular passage, it is specifically used so that the grounds of the choice are based on Christ and His merits.

It doesn’t matter if I’m the geeky one. My Team Captain is awesome enough for all of us!

And He chose me!

Father, I can’t thank you enough that Jesus is so perfect, so awesome, that You chose me to be Your child. Thank you for sending Him to die for me, for His resurrection, in order that You might choose us in Him. Thank You for being such a loving God that You make this available for everyone.

I encourage you to read this passage in Ephesians with today’s devotion. To do so online, you may click here: Ephesians 1:1-6

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