â€œAccording as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.â€ Â Â (Ephesians 1:4)
Although we cannot reallyÂ understandÂ how God could choose us (same Greek word as â€œelectedâ€) before the creation of the world, we can rejoice in the fact and praise Him for â€œhis own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world beganâ€ (2 Timothy 1:9). The preceding verse (Ephesians 1:3) testifies we have received â€œall spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,â€ all â€œaccording to the good pleasure of his willâ€ (v. 5), â€œaccording to the riches of his graceâ€ (v. 7), and â€œaccording to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himselfâ€ (v. 9). It must thus all be â€œto the praise of the glory of his graceâ€ (v. 6).
It is clear from this passage that Godâ€™s choice of us was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely by His own will and grace: â€œYe have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruitâ€ (John 15:16). This in no wise lessens our own responsibility to trust in Christ and to believe â€œthe gospel of your salvationâ€ (Ephesians 1:12-13), even though in our finite minds we cannot understand how to correlate these two concepts. Both are true, because both are taught in His Word, and both are occasions for rejoicing because they reflect both His love and His omnipotence.
God told Jeremiah: â€œYea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn theeâ€ (Jeremiah 31:3). Before the world began, God knew each of us and loved us, and prepared to die to save us from our sins and then to draw us to Himself. â€œSuch knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto itâ€ (Psalm 139:6). We can only thank and praise Him, and then seek earnestly to live fully for Him all our days. HMM