A Biblical Basis for Calvinism – i: Ephesians 1:1-6

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” – Ephesians 1:1-6

The first 2 verses are Paul’s greeting to the church at Ephesus. Verse 3 then begins:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, – Paul is exhorting us to bless God. Why?

Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, – We are to bless God (with our worship, praise, adoration, and enjoyment) because he has blessed us. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing through Christ. It is because we are “in Christ” that we have “every spiritual blessing.”

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, – In the same way we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, God the Father has chosen us in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” What has He chosen us for?

That we should be holy and blameless before him. – God has chosen us in Christ to be holy and blameless before Him. Next Paul explains what is involved in God choosing us in Christ to be holy and blameless. We may ask, “how has God chosen us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him?” Paul answers this question in the next part of the verse.

In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, – God has lovingly predestined us to be Jesus’ brothers and sisters – to be God’s children (Hebrews 2:10-18; Romans 8:14-17). The word predestined means precisely what you would think it means; Strong’s Exhaustive concordance defines the word like this: “to predetermine, decide beforehand” (see Strong’s note G4309; or this link http://bit.ly/6Jmy7C). God determined to arrange our destiny so that we would be his children. Before we existed, God determined to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ (that is, through Christ’s saving death on the cross). Why did God do this?

According to the purpose of his will – God did it because He wanted to. He did it “according to the purpose of His will.” He did not predestine us to be His children on the basis of something we did, He predestined us to be His children “according to the purpose of his will.” See 2 Timothy 1:8-9.

To the praise of his glorious grace – We’ve been predestined to be God’s children according to His will “to the praise of his glorious grace.” God’s grace is put on display by predestining people to be His children. He has made this display of His grace so that we would praise Him in how He has graciously dealt with us.

With which he has blessed us in the Beloved. – God’s grace is given to us through Jesus.

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