According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:…
I. Let us consider THE CAUSE, FOUNTAIN, ORIGIN OF THE BLESSINGS OF SALVATION — "according as He hath chosen as." The blessings which we enjoy, the apostle affirms, are in consequence of God's having chosen us, that we might become partakers of them in all their extent and fulness. To this source alone are they to be traced. How comes it that the Church of God's "saints and faithful" thus stands distinguished from the ungodly world, in the blessings it enjoys, the favours reserved for it, and the eternal glory it shall inherit?
1. It is a matter of fact concerning which this question is raised. Whatever may be the solution of the question, or difficulties connected with it, there is no denying or concealing the fact itself, that there has been, is, and will be, a distinction among men — a difference — a separation — as respects their state and character before God, and their ultimate destiny.
2. This fact cannot be accounted for by any reference to individual or personal distinctions of character or worthiness.
3. We reach the only reasonable account of the matter when we adopt the Scriptural explanation, and ascribe "all spiritual blessing in the heavenlies" as enjoyed by God's people to His free electing love, "according as He hath chosen us." If you wished to explore the true source of some majestic river, which in its course beautifies and blesses the earth, as it flows through thousands of miles to the great ocean, you would not pause at some expanding lake which it fills and empties, nor ascend the route of some acceding tributary which helps to swell its volume; but, keeping by the main channel, and leaving behind you the verdant plain and the smiling hamlet and the sleeping lake, you ascend high up the mountain steep, and there hidden in the cleft of the rock you discover the little bubbling spring that marks the origin and fountain and true rising place of that noble stream. So, taught and guided by God's Word, when you would trace to its true fountain the stream of spiritual blessing which blesses you "in the heavenlies," you pause not at any works or deeds of yours, you point not to any superiority natural or acquired over others, you fix not even on "faith" and "repentance" (as if these all did not need to be accounted for!), but, in all humility, yet with all thankfulness, you rest in the elective love of God, as the original and actual cause of all. You hear Paul saying, and you must echo the acknowledgment, "according as He hath chosen us," whilst with John you gaze on that "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."
II. We come now to consider the second thing in our text, viz.: HOW THIS ELECTING LOVE OF GOD — the cause or fountain of salvation — COMES INTO BEING AND OPERATION — "hath chosen us in Him," i.e., in Christ. A virtual or representative union was formed by God, between sinners of mankind and Christ, when He purposed their salvation. A covenant was entered into between God, of the one part, and Christ constituted the head of the Church and its representative, of the other part. In terms of this covenant Christ was to do the will of God; i.e., fulfil the requirements of law, suffer its penalty and perform its duties, in room and stead of His people; and God, on His part, was to confer on them His Spirit, work holiness in their natures, and at last receive them into eternal mansions.
III. In the third place we are here taught WHEN THE ELECTION TOOK PLACE, viz., "before the foundation of the world." This surely must be allowed to carry us far back, beyond the operation of human merit or agency.
1. There is no room, then, for chance, uncertainty, or hazard. God's plans are complete, and His purposes definite. Doubtless He has chosen, on the whole, the greatest good of the universe as His object; and, in "the election unto grace," only displays a part of His glorious and all-comprehending plan.
2. Again, we are taught in this not only God's wisdom, but also His sovereignty. This, at least, is a precious truth — that the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. What comfort, otherwise, would there be in contemplating a scene where sin abounds and agents of darkness are abroad on the earth?
IV. This suggests to us the fourth topic in our text, viz., WHY, OR FOR WHAT END GOD HATH CHOSEN US IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD — "that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." It is an old saying: "God does not find, but makes men holy." It is evident, indeed, that none are chosen because they are holy or blameless, but some are chosen in order that they may become so.
(W. Alves, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: According 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: