And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10
When I want to right the ship doctrinally, I come to Ephesians. It has always been able to sort out for me the great mysteries of the faith. If you been around long enough, you’ll note that there’s a constant pull to line up in one theological corner or the other, but Paul’s teachings keep us from going too far, one way or another.
In one particular area, regarding his truths on election and predestination, I am perplexed that some shun the idea of being chosen by God. I can understand the reticence to contemplate the flip side, that those not chosen were not chosen by a loving God, but what I hear many times is a refusal to believe that he could do this, not an argument based on scriptures. I hear this, “I just can’t believe he would do such a thing.” This mindset warps one’s spiritual life like a limp affects the rest of the body in time.
Ephesians explains the process. Simply, we were dead, and he made us alive by grace, as a gift. It was received through our faith, yes, after we heard a message about him, but even this faith was empowered by God, because he wanted to eliminate any opportunity for us to boast. And do we really think we could refuse him?
Ephesians tells us he made us alive (v.5), he raised us up (v.6), and he seated us in Him in the heavenly places. In Chapter 1, Paul tells us he blessed us with every spiritual blessing, he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, he predestined us to adoption as sons, and he made known to us the mystery of his will. And while on this globe, we work out the salvation he grants by implementing the good works he prepared for us beforehand (2:10).
If you can’t swallow all this, and think it’s unfair, or if you’re polishing your nails that you had the good sense to believe, you might want to read all this again and again. You’ll end up with this conclusion. Why me?
It would be good to adopt the attitude of the blind man Jesus healed, who exclaimed to the skeptics and goaders, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25
Finally, ponder this:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30