I. "THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME BEFORE HIM IN LOVE."
A. We have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world for what purpose?
1. That we should be holy and without blame before Him.
a. "Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before His presence with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior be glory and honor, dominion and power, both now and forever amen.
b. Further on in chapter 5 in speaking of the church Paul declares,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
c. To the Colossians Paul wrote,
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
d. To the Romans Paul wrote quoting David, "Oh how blessed is the man to whom God imputeth not iniquity."
2. We need to see our position before God in Christ Jesus.
a. God sees us holy and without blame because He sees us in Christ.
b. God has imputed to my account righteous, not because I am so good or righteous, but because His Son is good and righteous, and I am in Him.
c. "God made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him."
3. God sees no fault in me, for I am in His Son. To me one of the most amazing and wonderful scriptures is found in the book of Numbers in the remarkable prophecies of Baalam when he declared concerning God.
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he see perverseness in Israel:
4. This is after all their murmuring and lack of faith and failure to enter into the promised land, and cursed to the 40 year wilderness experience.
5. Talk about a kind, loving heavenly grandfather.
6. What my sons and daughters see as naughtiness in they're children I see as their just expressing themselves in a cute way.
7. As a Father He will discipline them when necessary, but He will not allow others to do them harm.
a. You remember that King Balak was trying to bring a curse upon them and had hired Balaam for that purpose.
b. They had been under severe discipline by God, but He would not allow others to touch them.
B. Someday you and I are going to stand before God the holy creator of the Universe, and when we do, we will be without blame. No charges against you. In the book of Revelation it speaks of the 144,000 standing before God and it declares that they are without fault before the throne of God.
1. This is just how Jesus is going to present you, "Faultless before His presence with exceeding joy."
2. "And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete, Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat."
C. Does this mean that I am going to attain sinless perfection?
1. Not as long as I am in this body.
a. We and all of creation groan together as we wait for the manifestation of the sons of God, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.
b. My spirit is redeemed, but my body is still subject to the desires and lusts that stem from my biological drives.
c. God gives me the victory over these drives so that they no longer control my life. I do not live to fulfill the desires of my flesh.
d. I live to fulfill the desires of God for my life.
e. I choose several times a day whether I will yield to my fleshly desires or to the will of God.
2. Paul speaks of the warfare between our flesh and our spirit. With Peter we find that many times our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak.
a. One day this war will be over, for I will receive a new body. We know when this earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands eternal in the heavens. We who are still in these bodies do often groan, earnestly desiring to be delivered, not that I desire to be an unembodied spirit, but I desire to be clothed upon with that body which is from heaven.
II. "THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME BEFORE HIM IN LOVE."
A. It is my love for God and His love for me, that covers for my flaws and failures.
1. Peter tells us that love covers a multitude of sin.
2. I need to know how completely God loves me.
3. He only sees you through eyes of love.
4. Once you realize that God is love and He loves you, you will no longer have fear for perfect love casts out all fear.
B. When I realize how completely God loves me, my heart will respond to that love.
1. I will begin to love God completely and that love will be manifested in my love for you, and all of the children of our Father.
III. "HAVING PREDESTINATED US UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN BY JESUS CHRIST TO HIMSELF."
A. This word translated adoption is a word that has more to do with position rather than relationship.
1. I have been made a child of God through faith, but God in His love has placed me as an adult son.
a. A child is not able to appropriate his inheritance until he comes of age, though he might be the sole heir of a great fortune.
b. God places us as adult sons so that we can begin to enjoy the great inheritance that we have in Jesus.
B. This word predestination has created a lot of confusion in the minds of people and has created a great division in the body of Christ.
1. Cognates of the word are used four times by Paul, who is the only writer in the Bible to use the word.
a. Two times here in Ephesians and in both cases it is in reference to the will of God. "According to the good pleasure of His will." "Works all things after the counsel of His own will."
b. Twice in his letter to the Romans where it is related to His foreknowledge.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
2. As we pointed out last week in our belief that God is omniscient, that is He knows all things, has always known all things, it precludes His ever learning anything. If it is to ever be known, it has always been known by Him.
a. All His decisions, and choices are made then upon the basis of His foreknowledge.
b. If the word predestination never appeared in the Bible it would have to be assumed by the omniscience of God.
3. When Peter was speaking of the crucifixion of Jesus he told the people that it was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.
a. It was the will of the Father that His Son might reveal the love of the Father to us, by His giving His life for us.
b. That was all a part of His determined counsel.
4. Our difficulty mainly comes from our trying to understand God with the limited capacity of our finite minds.
5. God has done all things according to the counsel of His own will. Does this preclude our exercising our own will? No.
6. God has given us the capacity to will, and will not violate our decisions.
a. Can God's will be thwarted by man? I believe so.
1. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2. Have all men repented? No, then that means that the man that refuses to repent is thwarting the will of God for his life.
3. The children of Israel limited the Holy One of Israel by their unbelief.
b. It would seem that for God to exercise His will for our lives, that there must be an openness on our part for Him to do so.
c. Stephen accused the religious leaders of his day of always resisting the Holy Spirit.
C. Here Paul speaks of our being predestined to be adopted as children according to the good pleasure of His will.
1. What is God's good will for you?
a. That you might enjoy the benefits of being His child. Thus enjoying all the benefits of inheritance of the children of the heavenly Father.
b. Jesus said, "Fear not little flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
c. God's good pleasure for your life is far beyond anything you could ever hope for or dream.
2. The wisest thing any of us could ever do with our will is to surrender it to the Father, and with Jesus declare, not My will, but Thy will be done.