Due to labor shortages, we are currently experiencing significant shipping delays. Find out more

Blessings That Won’t Be Restricted: Being Chosen in Christ

 
James Burstow | January 25th 2021

In the past few months we’ve been reminded that so many of the blessings we take for granted are not guaranteed. They are blessings that can be given, and can be taken away. 

But, as Christians, we receive some blessings that are untouchable. Ephesians 1 v 3 calls these “spiritual blessings.” They can’t be restricted, regulated or removed. Join me each week for an encouraging reflection on these everlasting spiritual blessings. 

Blessing 1: Being Chosen in Christ

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” (Ephesians 1 v 4-5, emphasis mine)

After praising God in Ephesians 1 v 3 as the one “who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ,” Paul starts his list of spiritual blessings with predestination! 

Predestination. One of the biggest hot potatoes of them all. Definitely not one of the blessings that springs to my mind very quickly. In fact, I am far more likely to think of all the reasons why this is a difficult doctrine for me to even accept, let alone rejoice in.

And yet, in the Bible, it is always a positive thing. In John's Gospel, Jesus gives thanks for those the Father has given him. And Paul here kicks off his list of spiritual blessings in Christ with election. So, put aside your questions for a minute and dwell with me on why this is quite so fabulous.

If we are chosen by God, and not the other way around, then our future doesn't depend on us but on him.

God Chose You Specifically

Listen: if you are a Christian, God chose you, before the creation of the world, to be one of his people. Just think about that. Before the creation of the world, God thought of you. He chose you. Specifically. Not because he thought you would be better than anyone else—far from it. It was simply “according to his pleasure and will”. In other words, because he loves you.

It’s a mind-blowing thought. Perhaps that is why we don't talk about it more: it’s just too amazing to get our heads around. But it is true. And there are so many implications that flow from it: here are just three.

1. You are incredibly special. The Almighty God was thinking about you before the creation of the world. So when you feel insignificant, or unloved, or overlooked, or under-appreciated, or taken for granted, or badly treated, remember that you were predestined to be a child of God. Whatever anyone else thinks of you, the creator of the world has chosen you because he loves you.

2. You are part of an eternal story. Maybe, like me, you are struggling with lockdown and changing restrictions. You wonder how you're going to cope without your church meeting properly in person for much longer. You wonder how long it is going to be until you can go to a concert, a football match, or a birthday celebration with your extended family. But this truth lifts our eyes from the present and helps us to start seeing time as God sees it.

We were thought about before the creation of the world. We will be praising God into eternity. This is how Paul can describe his troubles as “light and momentary” in 2 Corinthians 4:17. And it’s how our North Korean brothers and sisters can keep singing songs of praise in labour camps where every possible physical blessing has been removed from them. We are part of an eternal story. That changes the way we see the present.

3. Your future is absolutely secure. If we are chosen by God, and not the other way around, then our future doesn't depend on us but on him. If you feel weak or fragile; if you are lacking faith, wrestling with doubt, succumbing to sin, or failing to love God with all your heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself, remember that this spiritual blessing is ours in Christ. We receive it through faith in Christ.

That is, it's not about you, it's about him. And he has done what is required, so it is certain. Romans 8 v 30 says:


“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”


Not he “will glorify”, but “he glorified”. Past tense, even though it is yet to happen. It is a done deal.

We are Chosen and Secure in Christ 

As some of our physical blessings are stripped away, let's encourage each other with the reality of this incredible spiritual blessing in the days that lie ahead of us, whatever they may hold.  We are who we are in Christ because before the dawn of time, God chose us and set his affection on us. Which means we are incredibly special; we are part of an eternal story; and our future is absolutely secure.

Let me finish by quoting a verse of Salvation Song by Stuart Townend, which encapsulates what I've been saying so well:

Loved before the dawn of time,

Chosen by my Maker,

Hidden in my Saviour,

I am His and He is mine,

Cherished for eternity.

 

Amen.

James Burstow

James' role as Commercial Director encompasses marketing, sales and customer service. Before joining TGBC he spent time in Chile and Japan teaching English before becoming a fundraiser for Great Ormond Street Hospital. He is the senior elder at Grace Church Worcester Park.