Chosen By God

Chosen By God

by Jon Wood, Groups Pastor

There are times in life when we feel that we don’t belong. We feel out of place, misguided, confused or lost. If you haven’t ever been there, at some point in your life you will. Maybe you’ve experienced the embarrassment and anxiety of being the only person to show up wearing jeans and t-shirt when everyone else is in coats and ties. Maybe you’ve sat in a classroom where it seemed that everyone understood what the professor was talking about except for you. But maybe you’ve felt out of place as you’ve considered weightier matters.

Perhaps you’ve questioned whether or not, in the grand scheme of things if, your life even counts. Does God really love you? Does He care at all? When God takes stock of what He values, do you make the cut? Do you fit in? These are much heavier considerations than how we dress for a dinner party.  

In Ephesians 1:1-14, Paul gets right to the heart of our wonderings. He tells us who we really are, why we belong and not just that we matter but that we matter to God. Allow that to wash over you for a moment. You. Matter. To. God.

Let’s unpack this in three ways.

First, we need to notice to whom Paul is writing. In verse 1 he writes, “To the saints who are in Ephesus…” Therefore, we know Paul is writing to Christians. In verses 3-6, he then tells Christians who they are in Christ. So, if you’re a believer and have confessed Jesus as Lord, look at the things the Bible says about you. You’re blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. You’ve been chosen (that is set apart) to be holy and blameless before God. You’ve been adopted as a son or daughter of God through the work of Jesus. And in/through Jesus you’re blessed. So then, believer, Paul is explicit that you fit in. You have a place. You belong. You matter. The incredible thing is that God determined this plan, His choice about your life, from before the foundation of the world. In His great love for His people, He has predestined us for adoption as His sons and daughters.

Let’s not get bogged down debating predestination. That’s easy to do and there’s certainly room to debate different sides of this glorious doctrine. However, don’t miss the main point in this text. Paul isn’t giving a defense of predestination in Ephesians 1. He does that in Romans 9-11. Rather, here, he’s reminding us Christians of who we are in Christ, what we’ve inherited and how this has all been accomplished. Christian, God has chosen you and given you significance. You’re chosen and you matter to God!

Second, look at verses 7-10 and see how God has done this. Verse 7 is key because it describes our redemption and forgiveness through the blood of Christ. There’s a centuries old Christian tradition of churches painting their exterior doors red to symbolize entering into the presence of God through the blood of Jesus. It’s a beautiful picture of how we come to God and how we inherit all that He has for us as Christians. Cover to cover, the Bible is replete in showing that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Someone must pay for the sin that separates us from God. 

You may wonder, if I’m already chosen and predestined to these promises from God, why do my sins need to be atoned for? The answer from Scripture is clear. Remember, Paul is writing to Christians. He has already told them that we are predestined but then says that we still must receive redemption from our trespasses through the blood of Jesus. Predestined does not mean guiltless. Our sins must be paid for in blood and Jesus has done that for those of us who are predestined to receive it.[1]

In Chapter 2 of Ephesians, we’ll see what we’re like before Christ…dead in our trespasses and enemies of God. Only through the blood of Christ do we receive life, do we become blameless, do we become holy. The Father has accomplished all of this through the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Look at verse 8. God has lavished His love on us according to the riches of His grace. It will never run out. It will never dry up. You will never not be held in this great love of God. You belong. You are His!

Third and finally, let’s notice why our acceptance and our standing before God will last in verses 11-14.  It’s difficult to imagine this getting any better but it does. Look at the words Paul uses to assure us that we’ll forever be God’s. In Jesus, we’ve obtained an inheritance according to God’s purpose. Do you know what that means? It means that as a Christian you don’t have to wonder if God cares for you or loves you. You can be certain He does because He’s given you an inheritance.

Romans 8:17 says that we are “fellow heirs with Christ.” As such, our standing before the Father is as secure as Jesus Himself. Let that sink in. You are as accepted before the Father as Jesus is. To further reinforce this truth, Paul says at the moment of salvation, you have been “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance.”

God has chosen you in Christ to be, loved, redeemed, forgiven, made holy and blameless, and He guarantees that to be true by sealing you with His own Spirit. This will last and you’re safe!

So then, you matter to God. He values you. He dignifies you. He gives your life meaning and purpose. While we may debate the nuances of predestination, don’t miss the point of Ephesians 1:1-14. You are chosen in Christ to belong and your belonging is certain.

Responding to a friend who struggled when he was reminded of his sins and wondered if he really mattered to God, Reformer Martin Luther wrote the following: 

“When the Devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”

Christian, you’ve been chosen. Jesus is a professional savior and He’s good at it. You can trust Him. You belong to God and He will never let you go.

[1] For a more in-depth study of this idea, Pierced For Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey and Andrew Sach is an excellent and readable resource.
You can order it here.