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Archive for July 19th, 2008

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” (Ephesians 1:11, ESV).

Steve Lawson teaches,

Paul used four key words here—predestined, purpose, counsel, and will—that plunge the reader deeper into the eternal plan of God. Each of these words is theologically profound. First, in eternity past, there was a counsel (boule), a deliberation by the persons of the Godhead among themselves, considering every scenario and possibility. Second, God set His eternal will (thelma). A divine decision was made, a sovereign choice regarding what God’s perfect plan would be. This included His choice of His elect (1:4) and of Christ to be their Savior (1:7). Third, there was God’s purpose (prothesis), a divine determination, a firm resolve, to execute His will. Fourth, God predestined (proorizo) that His plan would come to pass. This eternal decree is so encompassing that it embraces “all thing”, or whatsoever comes to pass. Included in this plan is the salvation of the elect, as well as all the necessary means to that end, including the preaching of the gospel, prayer, holy living, an the human responsibility to believe

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“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31, ESV).

Commenting on this passage, Charles Hodge writes,

“Of this union with Christ, the apostle teaches us here, first, its origin…As to its origin, it is of God—because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus. It is of Him; He was the efficient cause. It is to be referred to Him alone that you are in Christ. Your conversion or saying union with Christ is no due to yourselves; it is not because you are wiser or better or more diligent than others that you are thus distinguished. That which is is the turning point in theology and therefore in religion is here most explicitly asserted. And it is not only asserted, but it is declared to be God’s purpose to make it apparent and to force everyone to acknowledge it. He so dispenses His grace as to make people see with regard to others and to acknowledge it. He so dispenses His grace as to make people see with regard to others and to acknowledge with regard to themselves that the fact that they are in Christ—true Christians—is due to Him and not to themselves.”

Dr. Bruce Ware Ware adds,

“Notice that the point is not that God deserves such honor because He provided Christ as the way of salvation, or because He commissioned the proclamation of the gospel to all the world, or because He extends the offer of salvation generally to any who will believe. These are all good and right bases for giving honor to God, but they are not, either individually or collectively, the basis for honoring God stated in our text. Rather, God alone is to be honored because He chose the foolish, the weak, and the lowly (1:26-28), and it is because of Him that we are in Christ (1:30). In other words, the basis for boasting in the Lord is not that He made our salvation possible but that He saved us by His calling (1:24,26) and His choosing (1:27-28, 30). Therefore any and all human basis for boasting is eliminated (1:29), and all honor and glory is owing solely to Him (1:31)!”

Adapted from Foundations of Grace, by Steve Lawson

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