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You Are Chosen (Ephesians 1:1-4)

Series: Ephesians (Your Identity in Christ)

Who are you? We are constantly plagued with the pressure of discovering ourselves. We want to be special, important, and to belong. When we seek a unique identity and place to belong in our physical roles, possessions, and relationships, we ultimately find ourselves empty and directionless. But we saw two weeks ago that we can find permanent identity in God’s call for us is to receive every spiritual blessing to the praise of his glory. In fact, notice this theme in Ephesians 1:1-3.

Paul begins in verse 3 by blessing and praising God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. These words introduce Ephesians 1-3 perfectly because Paul does not mention a single physical blessing in these chapters. If we are honest, our personal praise is often based on physical blessings because we struggle to grasp the significance of passages like this describing our spiritual blessings. Spiritual blessings can feel very intangible. This is a problem for both God and us. We desire lasting value and a place to belong and God desires his glory to be praised through giving this to us. Neither are accomplished when we do not appreciate all our eternal blessings in Christ.

For God-glorifying, earth-and-heaven-changing praise to come from our lips, we need adopt the story of what God has done for us into the core of our being. We need to understand it and feel it. Specific spiritual blessings need to be real and tangible. Though few see God as good, God’s goodness can be displayed through us when we discover how valuable we are to God as seen Ephesians 1-3. So, let’s zoom into Ephesians 1:3-4 to see our first spiritual blessing in Christ.

Verses 3-14 are one, monstrous sentence in the Greek. Paul begins this sentence by praising God because he chose us. But what does it mean that God chose us? What is Paul conveying to us? This is a concept that has escaped me for a long time. Others share my confusion as well. But this concept actually becomes very simple and comforting when we see that the Bible says a lot about what it means to be chosen by God - in both the Old and New Testaments. Christians are spoken of as elect and chosen, but Israel is spoken of in the same way. Paul is adopting Old Testament language. In order to understand and appreciate the significance of being chosen, we will spend the rest of our time considering in parallel how and why Israel was chosen and how and why we are chosen today.

  • He chose us in Christ... 
    • Before the foundation of the world - just as he chose Israel beforehand (cf. Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 9:4-6). Therefore, we were not chosen due to our merits.
      • Take comfort - God sought you out.
      • Be humble - we did not earn God's choice.
    • To be holy and blameless - just as he chose Israel to live holy lives (cf. Deuteronomy 10:14-17; Genesis 18:19).
      • Israel was chosen, yet refused to live holy lives.
      • Israel's example shows that being chosen has no direct bearing on one's personal salvation. 
      • We should make every effort to confirm our calling and election (cf. 2 Peter 1:10-11)
  • Concluding Applications (cf. 1 Peter 2:9-10)
    • We were not chosen because we were holy – take comfort knowing God does not regret this. 
    • We were chosen to be holy and blameless – let’s live like we really are distinct as God’s chosen nation.
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