Q: I am studying Ephesians and it says in verse 4, chapter 1, that “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.” Okay, so how do we know we were chosen? Someone else told me that if we give our lives to God, then that makes us chosen. Is this correct? I’m just confused.
A: Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. (Ephesians 1:4 (NLT))
Ephesians 1:4 has been a part of debates between believers for years. Some biblical scholars read this verse and state that it points to something called the doctrine of predestination.
Predestination, simply put, means that because God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He must have ordained everything that happens. Essentially, predestination assumes that there can’t be such a thing as free will because God already knows what’s going to happen and that He planned things to happen exactly the way they do.
Does God know everything that’s going to happen? Yes. Did God choose to extend grace to humanity through the death and resurrection of Christ? Yes. Does God’s knowledge of future decisions and events in my life make difficult decisions easier?
That hasn’t been my experience so far, so I’ll say no.
Before He made the world, God saw the failure of Adam and Eve. He saw the wickedness that would fill the earth and lead to the flood. God saw that nothing but His own sacrifice could restore humanity’s relationship with Him. God saw what kind of day I was going to have today.
He saw all of that before He ever laid the foundation for the universe. He loved us so much even before our creation that He chose to create us knowing the eventual sacrifice we would cost Him.
God doesn’t sit up in heaven picking and choosing who will be saved. That’s not what this verse means. It means that before He made the world, God had already chosen to extend His offer of salvation by grace to us through His son Jesus Christ. God considers those who choose to accept His offer of salvation as His chosen people, adopted into the same family as the original chosen people, Israel.
The doctrines of free will and predestination, while interesting for study, can also cause unnecessary stress in our relationship with God. My personal opinion is that I don’t think God wants us to worry too much about these things. God simply wants us to trust Him, love Him, love each other and obey His word.
I hope this clears up the confusion a bit!
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. (Ephesians 1:5)
Girls, do you have any other thoughts on this verse?
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