Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chosen to be Holy, Blameless. Interrogating Ephesians 1:4

Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. ["In love" is discussed with Ephesians 1:5]

1 . "Even as he chose us in him." Does this refer to the events happening at the same time? I.e., blessed-in-Christ concurrent to chosen-in-him? ...or is it cause and effect: chosen-in-Christ and therefore blessed-in-Christ? How does our chosenness relate to the blessings in the heaven?
-- I don't know if a temporal relation is clear
-- Surely when we were chosen-in-Christ certain blessings were bestowed. However, we weren't there yet except as Christ was there. 
-- Jesus said he GOES to prepare a place for us; so he was in ~33 AD planning work on something for us in heaven that wasn't at the time of his earthly life prepared already. (And it may have been that his presence in heaven, by sitting down next to the father, was the only thing missing.)
-- Greek word starting verse 4: καθώς "according to..." or "to the degree that...". I get the idea that the choosing is what enabled and governs the blessing of spiritual blessings.
-- It's not clear to me that we were given any temporal ordering information here. Which came first -- choosing or blessing? Did they overlap at all? Yeshua the Messiah is pre-existent God; but do we know when the plan was assembled for US to be chosen?
>> God choosing us is the basis for our spiritual blessings in Christ.

1.2 What are all the stated effects of us being chosen in him?
-- choseUsInHim that we should be => holy, I.e., specially set apart
-- choseUsInHim that we should be => blameless, guiltless before God the Father
-- choseUsInHim (determining the degree that) => blessed us with every spiritual blessing
-- choseUsInHim (determining the degree that) => we are in the heavenly places
-- choseUsInHim (determining the degree that) => we are currently with Christ NOW
...there's more to this than I can put my finger on.

2. Which is it saying? Of these two...
(a) we were chosen personally (named souls chosen from a lineup) or 
(b) was 
   (b1) Christ chosen before foundations of the earth, and 
   (b2) a class of people were predestined for adoption ("positions were created") and 
   (b3) that class was given the right to become the sons of God (John 1:12), and 
   (b4) then we were individually adopted into those positions of sonship through the God-ordained mechanism of belief through hearing?
-- psalm 135:4 Lord Has chosen Jacob as his own. The choosing of Israel was national.
-- Isa 41:8 Jacob I have chosen, Abraham friend of God. Both individual and personal choosing, with the immediate  the context being God choosing a nation.
-- Isa 65:10 the people who seek the Lord will be comforted. Selection of people identified by their behavior.
-- 2th 2:13-14 You were chosen to be saved through belief in the truth
-- 1 Peter 2:9 You are a chosen people and holy nation...you who were once not a people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have
>> Both seem to be true: God knows us individually with names and has created a group.


2.5 who is the "us" here?
-- it is the "us" that should be holy and blameless before him
-- James 2:5: worldly poor were chosen to receive a heavenly inheritance, contrasting with poverty.
>> 1 Peter 1:19 It is the ones who, through Jesus, are believers in God


3. What were we chosen to exactly? Just being in Christ? 
-- the emphasis seems to be on our security: if we are in the Messiah, then we are in someone chosen before the world was formed.
-- 1 Peter 1:20 Jesus was chosen before the foundation of the world
-- Matt 25:34 -- An inheritance that predates the earth for us, as if by name, individually (as opposed to exclusively to the Messiah.)
-- Eph 2:10 -- we are here to do good works prepared for us before world
-- 2 Timothy 2:9 -- to live a holy life because of grace given to-us-in-Jesus before the beginning of time
-- related: John 17:24 The Father was loving Jesus before the foundation of world 
-- related: 2 Timothy 2:19 One sentence that combines a life of repentance with God knowing his own
-- See 1.2


4. What is the foundation of the world?
-- Apparently a time before the earth, or at least the world of mankind.
-- It's related to when the ages began (see #6)

 5. Did the choosing function as a mechanism to make us holy and blameless? I.e., Were we chosen and that causes us to be holy and blameless before him? Or were we chosen to be the group who would be defined as those holy and blameless?
-- see also #9
-- Eph 2:10 we were created to DO good works prepared by God
-- John 15:16 We were chosen to bear fruit that abides, so our Father will answer our prayer
-- By abiding, we bear fruit. The holiness and blamelessness is a result.

6. Why is it important to be chosen before the foundation of the world? Why not chosen before Adam's creation? I.e. What's the connection to the planet earth?
-- Messiah was chosen before creation of the world (1 peter 1:20) because his blood is precious and he is eternal (1 pet 2:23)
-- 2 Tim 1:9 we were given a holy calling before the ages began
-- mat 25:34 the kingdom was prepared for inheritance from the foundation of the world.
-- God the father was loving Jesus before the foundation of the world Jn 17:23
-- Names are written in the book of life from the foundation of the earth rev 17:8
-- A new name will be given to each human who believes, is sanctified, and is saved Rev 2:17
-- God will give an everlasting name to those who worship him. Isa 56:3-6
-- The need for punishment and sacrifice began at the foundation of the world Heb 9:26
-- Heb 1:10 Jesus himself was divine, Messiah and he himself laid the foundation of the earth; thus he was there BEFORE the foundation of the earth.
>> Somehow it is intrinsic to Jesus's choosing, and our link to him that it occurred before our world began.

7. What's the difference between holiness and blamelessness?
-- Holiness is related to the sainthood from Eph 1:1. It's about being chosen and set apart. 
-- Blamelessness is about having no guilt or reason for blame. 
-- This pair echoes the pair just a few verses back in Eph 1:1 -- "saints who are faithful"
-- Gal 2:20 Christ lives in me -- blameless!
-- Gal 5:25 we live by the spirit -- blameless!
-- Rom 8:1 there is no condemnation for those IN Christ Jesus -- blameless!
>> One was done to us; the other we experience by living and the Holy Spirit living through us.


8. "Before him": Is it possible to be holy and blameless but not before God?
-- This is the only holiness and blamelessness that really matters. It's the extreme form of guiltlessness. 
-- 2pe 3:14 we want to be found "by him" [God] to be without spot or wrinkle 
-- Phi 2:15 we are in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, "among whom you shine as lights in the world."
-- Eph 3:10 we are on exhibit to the heavenly powers and authorities
>> It is God who sees and judges, but others see as well

9. Does this appearance before him refer to judgment or evaluation NOW, or judgment at the end times?
-- Our being seated with Christ in heaven ALREADY (Eph 1:20, Eph 2:6) is surely in mind. 
-- but most of the Bible focuses on living a godly life today: 
---- Titus 2:11-12 live...godly lives in the present age
---- 1th 4:6-11 God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness
---- Luke 1:74-78 Zechariah prophecies that we will serve God in holiness, without fear, all our days
---- 2pe 3:14 
-- Phi 2:14-16 both blemish-less and innocent right now and in the "day of Christ" in the future
-- rev 20:11-15 Both deeds and the book of life are in sync. Holy (name in the book, Rev 17:8) and blameless (deeds were examined.)
>> holy and blameless NOW! And at the end.


Compare with eph 3:18 the extremes of dimension in this sentence...
Eph 1:3 Blessings in the heavenly places (very high)
Eph 1:4 Chosen before the foundations of the world (very long ago)
Eph 1:4 Holy and Blameless before God (extreme of guiltlessness)
Eph 1:7-8 Richness of grace lavished on us (very valuable, rich)
Eph 1:10 Fullness of time (the extreme end of time)
Eph 1:10 Unite all things to himself (Very full, comprehensive, enormous)

1 comment:

Rick said...

Take a look at the PFRS article on Ephesians 1:4. I think it will answer most, if not all, your questions.