Chosen to Be Holy and BlamelessDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Before we move on from Ephesians 1:4, I want to consider the purpose of God's choosing us as revealed in this verse. Often, the debate over this verse assumes that God's election is primarily about our salvation. Yet, the actual language of Ephesians 1:4 does not say God chose us for salvation. Rather, God chose us in Christ so that we might be "holy and blameless in his sight."
In this verse, we hear multiple echoes of the Old Testament. In Exodus 19, for example, God chose Israel to be his "treasured possession" and "a holy nation" (Exod. 19:5-6). The language of "blamelessness" is used for sacrifices offered to the Lord, which are to be "without defect" (Num. 6:14; the Greek translation of the Old Testament uses the same word here that Paul uses in Ephesians 1:4). Thus, we who are "in Christ" have been chosen by God much in the way he chose Israel, so that we might belong to him and fulfill his purposes on earth.
The thought that we are chosen to be blameless before God might be a scary one. After all, we know our shortcomings and sins. We are neither spotless nor perfect. So why has God chosen us, of all people? The answer lies in two simple but essential words in Ephesians 1:4. God chose us "in him," that is, in Christ. We are not chosen because of our own perfection or ability to be perfected. Rather, we are chosen in and through Christ, who did offer himself as the blameless sacrifice. Thus, our blamelessness is not earned, but conferred in Christ by God's grace.
Yet, this does not mean that our behavior is irrelevant. Indeed, through God's Spirit, we are to live out who we are in Christ. As Paul explains to the Romans, we are to present our bodies "as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God" (Rom. 12:1). We do this by offering ourselves to God each day, seeking to live in a way that honors him and advances his kingdom in the world. When we fail–and we always do this side of the age to come–we rest in the assurance that we belong to God "in Christ" and not by our own merits. With this confidence, and with the help of the Spirit, we press on to be the holy, blameless people God has chosen us to be, for his glory.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you hear that God has chosen you to be holy and blameless before him, how do you respond? What helps you to offer yourself to God each day as a living sacrifice?
PRAYER: Gracious God, as I read that you have chosen me to be holy and blameless before you, I am humbled. I am stunned. For a moment, I am ashamed. I realize just how much I am not blameless, no spotless sacrifice here. Yet then I remember that I stand before you, not in my own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. I have been chosen, not "in me," but "in Christ." And, through Christ, you are working your will–in my life. Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Thank you for the power of your indwelling Spirit.
Help me, O God, to be who I am in you. Help me, even this day, to live as one who has been chosen to be holy and blameless. May I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice in all I do today, in my thoughts and deeds, in my conversations and feelings, in my work and my rest. To you be all the glory. Amen.