4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
Ephesians 1:4-14 specifies the believer’s positional spiritual blessings. Paul categorized these blessings under three functions of the Trinity:
The Father’s plan, 4-7
The Son’s sacrifice, 7-12
The Holy Spirit’s seal, 13-14
In these verses there are seven divine operating assets that the believer possesses forever.
4 just as [even as]
The word “as” gives the way God blesses us—through the work of the Trinity. The spiritual blessings of verse three comes to us because of God’s work, not our work. It is the Father’s plan, the Son’s sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s seal upon us.
He chose [elected for Himself] us
Spiritual blessing begins with God’s choice for us. Salvation is God’s work, not ours. It is an act of unadulterated grace. The Father takes the initiative in electing salvation.
Ro 11: 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
2 Ti 1: 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
The Greek word “chose” is elect, to pick or choose out of something. The Greek also indicates that the choice of His salvation system was wholly His (aorist, middle, indicative).
The object of God’s choosing is “us,” the believer—not everyone. Paul addressed Ephesians to “saints” (v. 1). Some people break out in theological hives when they hear the words “elect” or “chose.” We must be careful with this because “election” is a concept of biblical revelation.
The word “in” conveys sphere. The sphere of God choosing us in the circle of Christ (1:3). Paul linked God’s choice of us with that of being “in Christ.” Jesus represents everything we are to God. God chose us because we are “in Him.” From eternity God elected us, but in time He blesses us in Christ. Again, this is our position, status, or standing before God forever.
Jesus represents everything we are before God forever.
God chooses us “in” the sphere of Christ. We are in Christ, not in Adam. God has given us this asset for our using. We cannot appreciate what we do not know. We cannot bless God if we do not know the blessings He gave us. If we do not know what is in our bank account, we cannot spend it. If we do not know what God has done, we cannot make decisions worthy of following Him.
I don’t think, if I were God, I would have chosen me, knowing what I know about myself. However, God does not think like I do. He is grace oriented in His thinking. He put me in a place of spiritual aristocracy because I am “in Christ.”
It is important to understand the concept of election in anthropomorphic and anthropopathic terms. These terms accommodate the thoughts of an omniscient God with man’s thoughts. God did not operate in time but in eternity. There never was a point where He began to think about anything. He always knew everything.
We cannot deemphasize election for free will; neither can we deemphasize free will for election. We need to understand our standing before and our responsibility to the Great Commission. We see both aspects of this idea in Second Timothy 2:10:
2 Ti 2: 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.