A Short Study of Ephesians 1:4-5
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)
In this heaven-inspired language the apostle implies three characters:
First, The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings as having made the choice of which this record testifies.
Second, Christ Jesus, in His sonship, as the Son of the God and Father, who has made the choice under consideration.
Third, The church or people, so chosen by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, together with the grand end and design of the choice, that we, (the people chosen), should be holy and without blame, before Him in love. And this choice and predestination to the adoption of children, holy and without blame, is according to the good pleasure of the will of the eternal God.
On this interesting subject volumes might be written; eternal ages, so to speak, will not exhaust the heavenly theme; but at this time our remarks must be very brief. Although Christ, in his official character in the work of salvation occupies a distinct character from the Father, as the Mediatorial Head of His church, still in the unity of the Godhead they are one; hence, in setting forth the choice, we are informed that it is in Christ Jesus, and complete before the foundation of the world, and so perfect from the ancients of eternity, that no more alteration can possibly be made to the choice, in Christ, than can be made to the spiritual blessings treasured in Him for us from the same date. As the saints were blessed with all spiritual blessings, according to the choice in Him, it follows, that if one of those chosen in Christ can be diminished from the whole, then so may some of the all spiritual blessings bestowed, also fail to take effect. It is heart-cheering to the saints to know that instead of spiritual blessings being offered conditionally according to the good or bad pleasure or volition of our will, all is secured according to the pleasure of the immutable will of Jehovah. The blessings and the choice are in sweet harmony with each other, and both according to the good pleasure of the will of God, who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. In distinction to this, how precarious would be the prospect were it written, that all spiritual blessings were to be given, according as men may render themselves deserving of such divine favors from the hand of God. The church chosen in Christ and in Him supplied with all spiritual blessings, before the foundation of the world, demonstrates the existence of the Son of God in his Mediatorial relation both to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also to that church which was chosen in Him, which is His body, and the fullness of Him which filleth all in all.
This was and is the plan of God, for making the objects of this choice holy and unblamable in love. Certainly, then, we could not have been so chosen and blessed because we were holy and without blame in ourselves considered; but to make us so in Christ. Arminians and will-worshipers do not think this the best way to secure holiness to the chosen, or to display the wisdom and goodness of God; but all the saints are delighted to know that it is according to the good pleasure of God’s will. And while enemies may charge God with unrighteousness, and may feel more confidence in their own plans and schemes, we know there is no possibility of salvation in any other way.
“Having predestinated us.” Predestination is first, the choice and all spiritual blessings are established firmly as the throne of heaven upon that predestination, and all who are so predestinated must assuredly receive the adoption to which God has destined them, or the decrees of God must fail.
Middletown, N.Y. – March 1, 1861.