How should we respond to the reason God chose us (believers)?
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
The book of Ephesians is packed full of such wonderful truth about believers and our relationship with God that reading it is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. One such truth is found in verse 4 of the 1st chapter: just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. This verse tells us why we were chosen. Not why a certain person was chosen over another, but why He chose us in the first place. Before there was time and before anything tangible existed, the Father determined that He would choose us for a specific purpose.
It’s a shame that we seldom consider such things. We’re so busy living our lives that we fail to stop and think about God’s purpose for us. As believers, we occasionally are forced to consider our purpose, and after a little thought, we usually conclude that we were created for God’s glory. Isaiah 43:7 says just that. But what does that really mean? Glory is one of those terms that is hard to describe or define.
Ephesians 1:4, however takes us in to the practical and understandable realm. It says that the reason we were chosen was and is that we would be holy and blameless. That’s a high bar. In fact, it’s as high as the bar can go. The Greek word for “holy” carries with it “difference” and “separation.” A temple is holy because it is different from other buildings. A priest is holy because he is different from ordinary men. God is supremely holy because He is different from men. The Sabbath is holy because it is different from other days. Therefore, God chose believers in Christ that they should be different from other men.
The writers of the New Testament used common Greek words but provide new meanings. Holy is one such word. In the pagan world of the Romans and Greeks this word had the religious connotation of being set apart or devoted to the gods. Thus, “holy” was used to describe a priest or a temple, but also a prostitute. It is in the writings of the New Testament that we see a new characteristic added—moral purity. Thus, for us today, holy means different, separated, and morally pure.
But there’s another reason for our election. In addition to holy, there’s “blameless.” In the Greek, it is a sacrificial word. Under Jewish law before an animal could be offered as a sacrifice it must be inspected, and if any blemish was found, it must be rejected as unfit for an offering to God.
The Greek word for “blameless” pictures the whole man as an offering to God. It implies taking every part of our life, work, pleasure, sports, home life, and personal relationships, making them all such that they can be offered to God. This word does not mean that the Christian must be respectable; it means that he must be perfect.
AS I SEE IT
Being holy and blameless before God is not optional. It represents the heart of our election. This is what God expects. We’re really good at getting ourselves off the hook by relegating such a state to life in heaven. We explain that we’re a work in progress, so we shouldn’t expect too much from ourselves just yet. Read over the first 14 verses of chapter 1 of Ephesians several times and see if it really lowers the bar for us while we’re here on earth.
The first step is to recognize and admit that yes, God wants us to be holy and blameless right here, right now. How do we measure up? Is there something we can do or stop doing that will take us a step close to the goal. Of course, there is. Think of something right now. If it’s something you must give up, lay it at the feet of Jesus, asking Him to dispose of it once and for all. If it’s something you can do, ask the triune God to empower Christ in you to accomplish it.
The best thing we can do is to seek a closer relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. If we start with increased personal spiritual intimacy, coupled with repentance over the things that got us in trouble in the first place, we can expect God to honor our request and experience the transformation He has longed to perform in us.
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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Why do we sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” when we’re already there?
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