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  • Chad Werkhoven

Ephesians 1:3-6 - Predestined Praise

You were predestined to read this post.


Ephesians 1:3-6 (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 16: The Doctrine of Election

We believe that—

all Adam’s descendants having thus fallen

into perdition and ruin

by the sin of the first man—

God showed himself to be as he is:

merciful and just.

He is merciful

in withdrawing and saving from this perdition those whom he,

in his eternal and unchangeable counsel,

has elected and chosen in Jesus Christ our Lord

by his pure goodness,

without any consideration of their works.

He is just

in leaving the others in their ruin and fall

into which they plunged themselves.



The concept of predestination - the idea that God determined, as v4 says, "before the creation of the world" who would receive His grace - is amongst the most difficult doctrines of the Bible for most people. Yet that's not the category Paul frames it in here at all! Rather, this is the first thing Paul writes to the Ephesians; not as a matter of profound mystery, but as the primary basis for doxology (words of praise).

"Praise be to God," Paul begins, "for he chose us in Him before the creation of the world..." There is absolutely nothing you can be told or discover about yourself that will give you more of a sense of self worth than this: to know that before God called light itself into being, He knew who you were and had chosen you to be His own! No wonder Paul places this difficult to digest doctrine as the primary foundation of our praise for God!

One of the reasons we have trouble understanding this is because we know ourselves all to well. Other people easily see the myriads of sin and faults in our daily lives, and you yourself know that the stench goes way deeper than what others can see. Why would God want someone so broken? The short answer is that He doesn't. He does for sure want you, but He wants you "to be holy and blameless in His sight."

This is why Jesus came to be Immanuel - God With Us - and why our Father, in His eternal love, "predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ." That is, He set us apart so that the holiness and blamelessness of Christ would belong to us and we would be made eternally acceptable to our Father.

Dig Deeper

Because this doctrine of predestination is so hard to wrap your head around, there have been all sorts of cooked up explanations to help make it conform to our idea of fairness and logic. One of the most famous erroneas explanations is this:

Predestination means that before God created the world, He looked down the corridors of time and chose those whom He saw would be faithful and obedient to Him.

This seems to make the whole idea easier to swallow, since it seems way more fair and not so arbitrary. But if this were the case, why would it form the basis for our doxology, as Paul presents it here at the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians? All God really did is look into the future to see how awesome we were; He simply recognized we were better than everyone else in the world, and so really His choosing us is how God praises and honors us! See how quickly false doctrine turns into idolatry?

The Bible tells us here that God did something much more impressive than just looking down the corridors of time. He doesn't just look down them, rather God formed and directed the corridors of time before time began so that all of the experiences you've had ultimately direct you to Christ! As we've read in Romans 8:28, "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Understanding the doctrine of predestination will never be easy, nor even completely possible. There will always be a mysterious aspect to it. But ultimately remember that this doctrine isn't meant to confuse or frustrate you, rather it's to move you "to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that as you wrestle with difficult doctrines, you will respond in praise and glory to the One who chose you to belong to Him;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Romans 1


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