This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: Ephesians 1:4 ‘Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the wo

This Week’s Focus Passage: Ephesians 1:4

‘Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.’


    After the salutation of verses one and two, the apostle sets before the reader a litany of ‘items,’ if you will, ‘items’ that are so solemn, gracious, and remarkable, that it is extremely difficult to know what terms to make use of in describing them unto our minds and hearts. ‘Items’ is surely profoundly, even infinitely, short of the mark which should be employed here, in this sentence from Paul that is remarkable enough simply for the fact of its being, in the original, the longest sentence recorded. One individual evidently given the task of ascribing something of a ‘heading’ for the top of the page of this epistle, in some of our copies of the Scriptures, has provided the following, “The Blessings of Redemption.” We do not wish to be unkind to this individual, but the task given him was indeed beyond the scope of any member of the human race. This task should not ever have been given [we don’t say to him, but not to any one, at all], for ‘any one’ among mankind, apart from the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, will never attain the powers requisite to writing the Words of God. There should not be found between the covers of our Bibles any additions from time past in the history of the world. It is an abomination to include the writings of a C. I. Scofield between the covers of our Bibles, not because he was a leading figure among Dispensationalists, but because he was ‘just a man.’ We would have to offer the same challenge to someone advocating the inclusion of the notes and comments of John Calvin, or any of that cadre of Reformers. We thank God for them, but still do not wish to have their documents included in our copies of God’s Word. 

    That which the apostle Paul was inspired to write unto us from God, in this very first chapter of his epistle to the church at Ephesus, is beyond remarkable. That which he has spoken of is, at it were, directly from the heart of God, to the heart of His people. This people that He placed in Christ ‘from before the foundation of the world.’ This people, and this people alone, that He could, and would, declare through the prophet Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 31:3:

Jehovah appeared of old to me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.


This is the sum and substance of God’s everlasting will toward us in mercy. We may inquire, ‘Why did He draw me, even me, to Himself with lovingkindness?’ The answer has just been provided, when He informed us, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.’ If the question follows, ‘But why has He loved me with an everlasting love, we can only respond; because it pleased Him from the foundation of the world, to set His love upon us; to choose us, before the foundation of the world, and, as Paul continues his letter to the church at Ephesus (and to us), having blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Simply because it pleased Him to place us in Christ, to be the eventual recipients of the regenerating activity of God the Holy Spirit, causing us to be born from above, at the precisely determined time, according to His perfect will. 

The underlined, and emboldened, words, above, [simple, yet so profound], ‘in Christ, being the primary activity; that Jehovah’s people are His people that He has placed in His Son. Yea, from before the foundation of the world. What do we know of ‘before the foundation of the world’? The copies of the Word of God that we have, by His grace, in our hands, begin with, ‘in the beginning,’ do they not? indeed, they do! In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Subsequently, we are informed that He then made man, and placed him in the garden. But His people were, before the foundation of the world, placed in Christ. Genesis begins with, ‘in the beginning.’ Yet, it was even before that beginning that the elect of God, were placed in Christ. Yea, again, we are told, it was before the foundation.

    As Paul continues the wonder that is before his mind, as well as his heart; he goes on to speak of more blessings for those that were so placed in Christ. After having reminded the reader that the chosen were chosen in Christ, he continues to recount, and enumerate, these wonderful privileges, and blessings, that are given the chosen in Christ. In the sixth verse he enlarges, as it were, upon this theme of, in Christ. He sets before his readers, in somewhat different words, yet the same truth:

To the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us, in the Beloved. 

This ‘Beloved,’ of course, is the Christ, the Son of God, only granting to the ‘in him,’ a more personal name, perhaps, that is, in the Beloved. The Beloved is the ‘in Him.’ It is because the chosen are ‘in Him,’ namely, ‘in the Beloved’ here in our verse six, that they may be the ‘us,’ which have had His grace ‘freely bestowed upon them.’ Everything that the chosen have ever received, do receive, and will forever receive, is solely because they are ‘in Him,’ ‘in the Beloved,’ as they ever shall be. 

    The Apostle to the Gentiles continues expostulating these many, glorious, super-intended blessings; moving into the seventh verse, where we find regarding ‘the Beloved,’ that He is the ‘in whom we have redemption through His blood, ’and this involves the blessed following: in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he made to abound toward us. It is not only that these wonderful blessings are ours, but moreover, He ‘has made them to abound toward us.’ The next verse, 9, grants the further understanding of these treasures; making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to the good pleasure which he purposed in him. These blessings were, each and every one, purpose ‘in Him,’ our Lord Jesus Christ ‘to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say, in whom also we were made a heritage. All this, because we are in Him. And we are in Him only because the Father placed us in Him from before the foundation of the world. Why did He do that; we don’t know and, perhaps, never will.   

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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