Ephesians 1 (Predestination)
The concept of predestination (Gr. proorizo) is addressed for the 5th and 6th time in the first verses of Ephesians and I have a few practical thoughts to share. There are 6 times that this word is used in the Greek concordance of the NASB Bible which is the basis of the Strong's number. I want us to review the previous 4 so that we can understand the last 2 uses. The Greek word means to predetermine, decide beforehand, to ordain or appoint beforehand. I particularly like the other definition because it sets the foundation upon which we must view the use of this word - "of God decreeing from eternity". I believe that many misunderstand Paul's usage because we try to understand the infinity of eternity from within the finite nature of temporal time! This is natural since all we humans remember in our current state is our presence in time (temporal construct). God exists outside of time. So God knows and is therefore present in any and all temporal time periods or constructs. Acts 4:28 They did what His power had determined beforehand. Rom 8:29-30 God predestined that Christ would create the justification of those in time to Himself. This passage is about the preparation of the Gospel before time rather than those particular ones who would "choose" Jesus. The choice is not stated explicitly but is implicit in the theology of God. Free agency is an eternal principle and must be upheld at all times. 1 Cor 2:7 God predestined the Gospel for us before time, not those who would choose. God foreknew who would choose, but did not choose beforehand. The Gospel IS the mystery. In today's Ephesians 1: 5 and 11, therefore Paul is talking about the plan of Salvation-the Gospel- being planned beforehand to redeem humanity (those that choose the faith option) to Himself to create sons and daughters of God (those who are joint heirs). An adequate systematic theology would preclude God choosing beforehand who would and who would not be allowed to accept the Gospel because this would invalidate free agency within Time. God knows who will and who will not accept election because of His own divine quality of omniscience. He CANNOT act against His own nature. Therefore God cannot "choose" who will accept and who will not and then destined those to Hell who He did not choose. This would invalidate Justice, another eternal principle. One cannot condemn another for a choice that they never made in the first place. In other words Ephesians 1 is telling us that God prepared ahead of Time, how the plan of salvation would reconcile ALL of fallen humanity FOR THOSE WHO WOULD "CHOOSE" JESUS! Verses 7 and 8 describe how the plan creates justification. "The mystery of His will proposed in Christ" IS the Gospel! Verse 10 tells us the final result. Heaven and earth will come under the dominion of Christ and that is why we cannot reach heaven except through faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 12 commends those that were first to choose Jesus which means that others are coming by choice. Verse 13 provides more proof of this position - "when you believed you were marked". We are marked after we choose, not before. So the rest of the chapter falls within this understanding of predestination. Satan wants to confuse us so that we can sin with "impunity" (without punishment) because it is not my fault - God made me this way! This is heresy clearly from the pit of Hell. We are predisposed to sin. The Word says that, but we have a choice in our actions. Stop blaming God for our sin. Know that we are sinners saved by grace and CHOOSE to repent and be obedient to God no matter what we need to "forego" against our nature to be be obedient! Praise Him. Amen.