Salvation Appointed; Bless God for Election! (Ephesians 1:4–6)

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Doug Van Meter - 27 September 2015

Salvation Appointed; Bless God for Election (Ephesians 1:4–6)

Ephesians Exposition

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies has done so initially and fundamentally by choosing us, in Christ, before the foundation of the world. And it is from this electing love that each and every blessing of salvation cascades upon us. The Father’s electing love (vv. 4–6) is the reason for our Saviour’s redeeming love (vv. 7–12) and for the Spirit’s sealing love (vv. 13–14). In this study, we will consider the first of these loves under (at least!) four headings.

From Series: "Ephesians Exposition"

This series comprises the sermons preached at BBC during an exposition of the book of Ephesians.

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God’s new thing, His community of faith, is something we should never take for granted. Membership is a privilege granted completely by the grace of God. Paul could not contain His praise to God for such a privilege. This is the theme of this first section of his letter to the Ephesians.

Verses 3–14 form, in the original Greek, one long sentence of praise. It is a doxology. Paul usually builds to a crescendo of praise in his writings, but here he begins with praise. This is a good way to live our lives: always praising God for the gospel; always praising Him for making us a part of His community of faith.

Verse 3 is a doxological beginning, which then cascades into three distinct sections acknowledging the theological basis for the doxology. It is trinitarian.

Some see a trinitarian emphasis on what God has done in the past (vv. 3–6); what He is doing in the present (vv. 7–12) and what He will do in the future (vv. 12–13). There is some merit in that. But the Trinitarian emphasis, as I see it, is found in the delineation of the three members of the Trinity in the work of so great salvation: the Father electing (vv. 4–6); the Son redeeming (vv. 7–12); and the Holy Spirit sealing (vv. 13–14).

Regardless of how you divide it up, it is clear that Paul was so captivated by the gospel of the grace of God and its amazing fruit that he can hardly contain himself. This is a pantheon of praise to the one true and triune God, who saves us from our sins.

This opening section has been called, “a magnificent gateway” to this epistle; a “golden chain of many links”; “a kaleidoscope of dazzling lights and shifting colours”; and “a snowball tumbling down a hill, picking up volume as it descends”; and has been likened to “the preliminary flight of the eagle, rising and wheeling round, as though for a while uncertain what direction in his boundless freedom he shall take.”1 These are all apt descriptions of this praise to God.

We will have opportunity, God willing, to consider the wondrous lights of this “kaleidoscope” of salvation, but the dazzling lights of the gospel must have a starting point. And it is this starting point to which we will devote our attention in this study, with particular reference to the doctrine of election. We find this wonderful doctrine revealed in v. 4. From this foundational doctrine, the doxology builds through several other revelations of truth. But in our study of these great truths we must never lose sight that behind these is the wonderful, undeniable gracious act of our loving and sovereign God; the one whom we call “Father.” We will have cause to pause later to dwell on this amazing privilege of the Christian; the privilege to be sons of Father God.

As Paul breaks out in praise to the Lord he blesses the Lord for three aspects of our salvation: salvation appointed (vv. 4–6), salvation accomplished (vv. 7–12), and salvation applied (vv. 13–14).

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, has done so initially and fundamentally by choosing us, in Christ, before the foundation of the world. And it is from this electing love that each and every blessing of salvation cascades upon us. The Father’s electing love is the reason for our Saviour’s redeeming love and for the Spirit’s sealing love. In this study, we will consider the first and will do so under four headings.

The Revelation of Election

As we have noted, Paul blesses the Lord in a long doxological sentence, beginning in v. 3 and running through v. 14. His praise arises from his consideration of the theme of salvation and what God has done to bring this to pass, both individually and corporately.

Paul realises something of the immense blessing of God creating a new community in what one day will be completed in the all-glorious new heaven and new earth.

Paul begins by praising the Lord for His appointment of salvation, for apart from God’s sovereign determination to do so there would be no salvation to celebrate. In other words, Paul blesses the Lord for His act of election “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” There are several observations pertinent to this subject.

This is revelation from God, not mere speculation of man. So, believe it.

What Is It?

The words “He chose us” are inspired. They are from the mouth of God, recorded by the pen of Paul as he was moved by the Holy Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:20–21). So we should be careful how we respond to God’s revelation.

The word “chose” is used elsewhere in the New Testament, and in each use it means precisely this: to select, to pick out. It involves a decision to include and therefore the corollary decision to exclude (Matthew 13:20; Luke 6:13; 10:42; 14:7; John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16, 19; Acts 1:2, 24; 6:5; 13:17; 15:7; 15:22; 1 Corinthians 1:27, 28; James 2:5).

A related term is translated “elect” some sixteen times in the New Testament, and with a single exception, where it refers to angels (1 Timothy 5:21), it always refers to God’s people, those whom He has chosen, called and saved.

In the Old Testament, the word occurs four times, and only in Isaiah (42:1; 45:4; 65:9, 22). In each of those cases Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one referred to. This is important, for we are “chosen in Him,” that is, we are chosen in the chosen one. Our being chosen is certain!

We can conclude that, when the Bible tells us that it is God who chooses who will be saved, we are to have one response to this revelation: believe it and bless God for this truth. After all, if God did not choose us first, we would never have chosen Him. As Hughes helpfully puts it, “The doctrine of election presents us with a God who defies finite analysis. It is a doctrine that lets God be God.”2 It is for this reason that Paul blesses the Lord for this truth.

Election is a fact being declared, not a theory to be debated. In fact, this is a truth to be celebrated rather than a speculation to be debated. It is glorious, not grievous.

What Election is Not

We need to be very clear here: The biblical revelation of election is completely monergistic. That is, election is one-sided. God alone, without any reference to man’s supposed “contribution,” has chosen whom He will save.

There are those who argue that election is simply God having chosen to save those whom He knew would one day choose Him. And so, with this “foreknowledge” (“prescience”), God chose to save those who exercised their free will to be saved. That is impossible, for at least two reasons.

First, that would mean that God actually chose no one but that people rather chose God. If that were the case, election is a man-centred doctrine and Paul would be silly to be blessing God for what man had done. Why give God credit for what is ultimately to be credited to man?

Second, the emphasis here upon “before the foundation of the world” makes such an interpretation impossible. Clearly, Paul is emphasising the timing of the choice to dispel any notion that there is any reason in man that would cause God to choose to save anyone. For, as Calvin rightly notes, “God could not foresee what was not in us before he himself put it into us.”3 Or perhaps more plainly, “The very time of election shows it to be free; for what could we have deserved, or in what did our merit consist, before the world was made?”4

The point is simply that these words (“before the foundation of the world”) are not with reference to the longevity of God’s plan but rather to drive home that salvation is all of grace (v. 6). The emphasis is upon God’s sovereignty.

Other references to “before the world” make this clear (see John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 17:8).

Why Do People Oppose It?

Though there are those who argue against the doctrine of election on interpretive grounds (e.g. the supposed mere prescience of 1 Peter 1:2), in fact there are at least two major reasons why most oppose this revelation. The first reason is anthropological: the second is theological.

First, many fail to properly grasp the biblical revelation of the depravity of man.

When we speak of “depravity” we refer to the effects of Adam’s fall into sin and how this has affected every part of man’s being ever since. Disease, decay, death and defilement of every kind have entered the world and every person. Our natures, including our minds, will and emotions, are dead set against God. In other words, because of the pervasive effects of sin, there is no one who has ever lived—except Jesus—who has ever chosen, or will ever choose, God on their own. As we will see when we get to chapter 2, man is dead in sin, and dead men do not choose life. Dead men need a resurrection in order to believe. And election guarantees that resurrection to life and faith—to a life of faith.

So if we truly grasp the Bible’s teaching concerning our sinfulness, we will confess that the only reason that we love God is because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and He did this “in Christ” (see John 17:24).

Second, many fail to submit to the biblical revelation of the sovereignty of God.

To put it plainly, all too often we have a problem with simply letting God be God. And this, of course, merely highlights the first point: our sinful depravity. Like Adam and Eve, we want to be in control.

The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is spelled out in many passages of Scripture but perhaps one of the clearest is Psalm 115:3: “Our God is in Heaven, He does whatever He pleases.” That pretty much says it all. And so, when we are confronted with this doctrine, like Job, we should worshipfully respond, “Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

Warren Wiersbe once said with reference to the doctrine of election that, if we try to explain it away, we explain away salvation itself. That is a wise insight. Apart from God’s sovereign grace, we would never choose to love and to serve the Lord.

Against the Will?

I will delve into this matter further in future studies, but let me here simply say that God never saves a person against their will. Never. Knowing the sinfulness of our nature, and how it will always choose against Him, the Lord chose to give a new nature to those whom He chose to save so that they would choose Him. Again, this highlights God’s sovereign grace.

Conclusion

May God deliver us from making this glorious doctrine controversial. And may God deliver us from turning this humbling doctrine into a prideful one. May we submit ourselves to God’s final Word and praise God for election. After all, He does all things well.

The Reason for Election

The doctrine of election—in fact, any doctrine related to salvation—is a mystery (1 Timothy 3:16). And we will spend eternity learning about it. But perhaps the matter of election is the most mysterious. The questions abound, such as, Why did God choose to save some and not others? Why did He choose to save any?

Though we have touched on this to a certain degree, let’s spend a few minutes considering the question, why is election necessary?

First, as we have seen, the primary reason is due to man’s depravity.

Apart from God choosing to save a people out of the clutches of the world and its satanic system, humans would never choose God. As James Boice said, “We are too hopelessly lost in sin ever to partake of God’s great spiritual blessings on our own.”5

We do not seek after God, but rather we are born seeking a way of escape from God (Romans 3:10–18). We are like sheep who have gone astray and, if God does not choose to bring us home, we will die in the wilderness. Our appetites are not for God. We may be religious, we may do all kinds of religious deeds, but apart from God’s gracious choice we are merely self-centred in our religion. To prove that, look at the atrocities in this world in the name of religion. No, we are too sinful to seek salvation. Praise God for election!

A second reason, and one that is clearly revealed in our text, is because of God’s sovereign intentions. That is, God chooses to save some and not others “according to the good pleasure of His will” (v. 5b).

Because of what we know about God, we know that everything He does is purposeful. God’s election is not arbitrary, but neither is it an act of necessity.

That is, God did not choose to save someone because He was duty-bound to do so. We have already discussed this to some degree. No one is deserving of being chosen to salvation. Do not view biblical election as you might a political one. No sinner is worthy of God’s vote of confidence.

Yet, at the same time, God has chosen to save people as individuals and to make each one a trophy of His grace in accordance “to the good pleasure of His will.” In other words, for some reason(s), God is pleased to save sinners. For some reason, God is pleased to save some and not others. Has God saved you? Then praise God!

A third reason is because of the Father’s love for His Son.

These verses are filled with Jesus. Everything about salvation is centred on the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we saw previously, and as it appears again in this passage, those whom God saves are saved in Christ.

Verse 4 repeats this when as it reveals that we are “chosen in Him”; that is, in Christ. The Father loves His Son and has given a people to His Son who will glorify Him throughout eternity (Romans 8:28–30). For some mysterious reason, the Lord chose to save me as a gift to His Son. This is a mystery that I will never be able to fathom, yet it is a mystery that I will gladly live with. May it never be explained away!

The Results of Election

The results of God’s sovereign, gracious and loving election are many. Four of them are indicated in this passage.

Sanctification

The first result is that the elect are made to be “holy and without blame before Him in love” (v. 4).

There is no greater gift, and therefore no greater pursuit, than holiness (1 Peter 1:15–16).

The mess of our lives and of our world is the consequence of a lack of holiness. Our lack of conformity to the character of God, as revealed in His laws, makes us a mess in every way possible (relationally, morally, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually). Yet, by God’s grace, He has chosen us to be holy and therefore to be whole. “Wholly holy” is a good way to put it. This happens ultimately because of God’s choice, which then enables us to make holy choices. Stott succinctly comments, “Holiness is the very purpose of our election. So ultimately the only evidence of election is a holy life.”6

There are two aspects to this sanctification.

First, positively, we were chosen “that we should be holy.” We were chosen to be different; to be very different from those who have not been chosen and different from those who have been chosen but as of yet do not know it.

It is vital that we never separate election from ethics. As we have seen, election is not due to our behaviour (ethics) but it always result in godly ethics. In other words, where there is no holiness there is no election. God blesses those He chooses with a life that is fit for heaven. As the writer of Hebrews said, without holiness “no one will see the Lord” (12:14).

Second, there is a “negative” aspect to this sanctification: We are chosen to be (literally) blemishless: “without blame before Him.”

This term was used of acceptable sacrificial animals (Hebrews 9:14), and Paul later used it to highlight the eventual beauty of the Bride of Christ (5:27). The word was used to speak of the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:19). It translated by the word “faultless in Jude 24. The point is that God elected a people whom He would accept as blameless, faultless and sinless “before Him,” “who is the witness of all that anyone does, and thinks, and says.”7 That is an amazingly grace-filled statement. As Bryan Chapell puts it, God “no longer blames us for what shames us.”8 Yes, those chosen in Christ will be “before” the Lord and accepted just as Jesus is accepted. Of course, this means that our election is unto something, namely it is unto justification. And when this takes place then we are indeed saints before the one who defines saintliness.

In Love

All of this was done, says Paul, “in love.” Commentators—and Bible translators—are not in agreement whether this phrase is connected to election or adoption. The NKJV, for example, places “in love” as the concluding clause of v. 4 (“that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love”), while the ESV uses it almost as the opening clause of v. 5 (“In love he predestined us”).

I would suggest that it is both. Both election and adoption are rooted in God’s love. The entire matter of God’s appointment of salvation is encased in love: God’s love for His chosen, and the chosen one’s love for God and everyone else chosen by Him. We know that “faith works by love” (Galatians 5:6). We can put it this way: Election, holiness and love are inseparable. Shame on us if our adherence to the doctrine of election is anything but loving; and shame on us when our treatment of those chosen by God is anything but loving. Holy love is evidence of election, not the quotation of Calvin’s Institutes. As one commentator says, “Any interpretation of this mysterious doctrine that detracts from the love of God is rightly suspect.”9

Sonship

God chose us, “having predestined us to adoption as sons.” This is a wonderful result of God’s election of sinners to salvation, for as Austen notes, “this new people will not relate to God out of duty but as his children.”10

The word “predestined” further amplifies the meaning of “chosen” or “elect.” Clearly, our election is “determined beforehand,” and so God is the one who determined salvation.

As God viewed the horizon as to how He intends history to be, He determined that it would eventually be characterised by those who are like His Son. And for this reason He determined to save a people and to make them His own; He determined to be their Father and that they would be His children. The chosen means to this end was to adopt them. This is one of the richest, and yet perhaps also one of the most neglected, doctrines in the church today.

The word “Father” is dominant in this opening section of verses. This is significant.

God is called “Father” only fourteen times in the entire Old Testament. In each case it is used in the context of the corporate or nationalistic sense of the fatherhood of God. In the New Testament, we find the reference to God as our Father repeatedly. Jesus referred to God as His Father some sixty times in the Gospels. Though the corporate sense is certainly present in many of these, it is also true that God as our Father as individual Christians is a dominant theme in the New Testament. It is certainly front and centre in these opening verses and should be front and centre in the life of the Christian. We have been chosen to be children of God. And so, as J. I. Packer has said somewhere, “‘Father’ is the Christian name for God.”11

References to the doctrine of adoption appear in Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5 and, of course, here in v. 5. The word refers, says Thayer, to “the legal establishment of sonship with full rights as a son.”

Adoption was a well-known concept in the ancient world, but not in the gospel sense that we know it today. In the ancient world, a child might be adopted for the purpose of ensuring that one’s inheritance would be passed on for one’s namesake. There is a hint of that here. After all, as those adopted into God’s family, we indeed share in the inheritance that is Christ’s (vv. 11, 14, 18; 5:5).

John tells us that Jesus “came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11–13). This is a precious and powerful promise of sonship for all who believe on Christ.

Amazing Love, How Can It Be?

Before the foundation of the world God chose, through the means of the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, to adopt us as His own. He saw undeserving sinners and chose to graciously make them His own.

In most parts of the world, including South Africa, those who are adopted have more rights than even natural born children. Think of the security that this provides. The same security applies to biblical adoption. I will highlight this again later, but for now we need to see a couple of practical applications from this doctrine.

First, God chose (determined), before He ever created, to love us as our Father. Though we did not belong to Him, He chose to make us belong to Him. That is a love that we can be sure will not let us go. It is a privilege that is all of grace.

In the light of this, we can now see more clearly perhaps why Packer says that the Christian’s name for God is “Father.”

A valid test of whether or not we are “chosen” is our view of the Fatherhood of God. Do we approach Him as our Father? Do we truly see ourselves as His child? Do we see His chastening as that of a Father? Do we trust His care and believe Him for provision?

Second, this doctrine has practical implications for the church and adoption. We live in exciting days. It would seem that the church is not only getting together for the gospel, but that it is increasingly coming together for adoption.

Throughout history, the church has cared for the most vulnerable in society, including widows, political aliens and orphans. In recent decades, the church has been increasingly active in creating a culture of adoption. This is notably the case within our own church.

I believe that a greater and growing appreciation for the gospel has contributed massively to this. In other words, as we learn to appreciate more and more the grace of the gospel, we have been humbled to look at others as God views us. We have been able to put aside our evil ethnic prejudices as we have put on the compassion of Christ. As we have been informed about the glories of election, we have been more and more open to choose to love those whom we may otherwise have ignored. As we have grown in our knowledge of the grace of God, we have been moved to show grace to those to whom we humanly owe nothing. And as we have developed a surer confidence in the Father’s love, we have been empowered to show such love to those who need fathers. In other words, as we are growing in our awareness of God’s gracious adoption of us, likewise we are growing in our openness to our own adopting of others.

This is the gospel in action; in fact, in many ways, adopting a child may be the most illustrative demonstration of the gospel of the grace of God of all. Yet there is, of course, much room to learn and to grow.

In less than a month from the time of writing, I will become a grandfather for the third time. For the second time I will celebrate a grandson. My first grandson, Logan, will one day be the recipient of my father’s (his grandfather’s) pocketknife. Being adopted, Logan looks different than the rest of the family, but he is every bit a part of our family as any other member. I am grateful that, over a year ago, I was not only given my first grandson but that, even more amazingly, he was chosen to be my grandson.

I recently read a wonderful story in which a couple, both fair-haired, gave birth to a dark-haired son. The mother commented to her mother that she was surprised that her son had dark hair since neither her nor her husband had. Her mother replied, “Yes, but remember: Your father has dark her.” When the young woman reminded her mother that she was adopted, her mother replied, “Oh, yes, I always forget.” She understands that her daughter is her daughter, not her adopted daughter. This is how God views us: as those who are as loved as His Son (John 17:24).

The Ramifications of Election

The doctrine of election is not for ivory tower theologians, as I trust we have seen. Rather, it is filled with practical implications for the Christian life. Before leaving this passage, I want to highlight three practical ramifications of this precious truth.

Security

First, election provides God’s elect with great security. We are chosen “before Him in love” and “accepted in the beloved.” These two phrases drive home the reality of the security of our salvation, rooted in the doctrine of election. If God chose us before we ever “achieved” anything (which we did not!), and if He chose us long before we ever failed (which we have, and which God knew we would), then our salvation is eternally secure. Truly, nothing can separate us from the love God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39; see also John 10:27–30). As Calvin says, “If … our faith were not grounded in God’s eternal election, it is certain that Satan might pluck it from us every minute.”12

When the angel came to Mary and announced that she would be the mother of Jesus, Gabriel said, “Rejoice, highly favoured one” (Luke 1:28). The Greek words spoken to Mary are founded only one other time in the New Testament: They are translated here as “made us accepted.” Just as Mary was “begraced” by the Lord to carry Christ, so is the believer. “Christ in you” is “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). But, more importantly, He carries us. We are accepted in the Beloved.

John 17:24, and the doctrine of our union with Jesus, is so important in this regard. Because we have been chosen in Christ, our standing is as secure as Jesus’. I cannot fathom this, but I believe it: God loves me as He loves His Son. “Christ dwells for ever in the infinite love of God, and as we are in Christ, the love of God for Christ is in a wonderful manner ours.”13

Therefore, I am secure that He will see me through all of my days, and He will see me beyond to glory forever and ever. I would say that this is pretty secure! The words of Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer Than” apply quite literally to God’s love for the believer:

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean,
Higher than any bird ever flew,
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens,
I’ve been in love with you.

Those words, sung at our wedding, were my poetic attempt to describe my love for my bride. Of course, my love for Jill had a beginning point, and my marriage will end with death. But these words express more than hyperbole when it comes to my standing with God. They are exactly true. I can’t put it any better than this: “The message of God’s love preceding our accomplishments and outlasting our failures was meant to give us a profound sense of confidence and security in God’s love so that we will not despair in situations of great difficulty, pain, and shame.”14

Submission

The doctrine of election redounds “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” There is perhaps nothing more of an anomaly, if not a contradiction, than a proud Christian. When we truly appreciate the doctrine of election, the affect is to humble us, not to exalt us. These words make this abundantly clear.

God chose us to the adoption of sonship “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” You see, there is absolutely nothing of human accomplishment when it comes to our salvation. Therefore, all praise rightfully belongs to God.

As we contemplate God’s sovereignty, as we contemplate our true deserts and God’s determination to save us anyway, we humbly bow before Him. God chose to save us in spite of what He already knew about us. He chose to save us in spite of the choice that He knew we would make left to ourselves. His condescending love results in our abounding love, a love proven by submissive obedience to Him.

Those who reject the biblical doctrine of election will ultimately have a submission problem; one that may show up quite evidently when the roof caves in on their life. Those who reject the biblical doctrine of election will probably struggle with submission to a local church. Those who reject the biblical doctrine of election will most likely struggle with pride issues in a greater way. And many who accept the biblical doctrine of election only theoretically will display all of the above as well. Be careful!

Steadfastness

One of the most popular (and wrongheaded) arguments against the doctrine of election pertains to the matter of evangelism. It is often asserted that, if one embraces this doctrine, there will little or no motive for evangelism. After all, it is argued, if you believe that all who are chosen will be saved, then why bother to evangelise? God is sovereign and will save His people. Still others say that if a person cannot believe apart from God, then why bother? After all, we do not know who is elect and who is not. Both of these are irrelevant arguments.

Simply, God uses means towards the fulfilment of His purposed ends. And preaching the Word is one of the major means for both identifying and gathering in the elect. I can’t say it better than Boice: “We do not know who God’s elect are. The only way we can find them out is by their response to the gospel and by their subsequent growth in holiness.”15 And this, by the way, highlights the need for ongoing discipleship. Those who have been chosen, rather than being “frozen,” will be faithful following.

The doctrine of election, in fact, empowers us to be steadfast, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for we know that God will save His people “to the praise of the glory of His grace”; we know that God will save His chosen because He has revealed that this is “according to the good pleasure of His will.” As I realise that this requires God to do the ultimate work, I can witness and leave the assured results with God.

Perhaps no one has demonstrated this confidence better than Martin Luther. When asked about his part in the great reformation of the church of the sixteenth century, he replied, with a humility grounded in God’s sovereignty,

I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my [colleagues], the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.16

So, as we conclude our study, I trust that we will be able to join with the apostle Paul and bless the Lord for what He has planned, and for what He has brought to pass. Yes, praise God for election.

Show 16 footnotes

  1. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Ephesians: The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1979), ??.
  2. R. Kent Hughes, Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 1990), 24.
  3. James Montgomery Boice, Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 16.
  4. Hughes, Ephesians, 23.
  5. Boice, Ephesians, 17.
  6. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, 38.
  7. Francis Foulkes, Ephesians: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1989), 56.
  8. Bryan Chapell, Ephesians: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2009), 23.
  9. A. Skevington Wood, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 11:24.
  10. Simon Austen, Teaching Ephesians: From Text to Message (Ross-shire: Christian Focus 2012), 47.
  11. Hughes, Ephesians, 27.
  12. Boice, Ephesians, 18.
  13. Foulkes, Ephesians, 57.
  14. Chapell, Ephesians, 27.
  15. Boice, Ephesians, 19.
  16. Michael S. Horton, The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2012), 19.