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. Our first business is, to show WHAT ELECTION IS. It is that decree of God whereby some men are chosen out from among the rest of mankind, and appointed to obtain eternal life by Jesus Christ, flowing from the mere good pleasure of God; as appears from the text. So the elect are they whom God has chosen to everlasting life (Acts 13:48).
II. I proceed to show WHO ARE ELECTED. Who they are in particular, God only knows; but in general we say, that it is not all men, but some only. For where all are taken, there is no choice made.
III. The next head is to shew WHAT THEY ARE CHOSEN TO.
1. They are chosen to be partakers of everlasting life. Hence the scripture speaks of some being "ordained to eternal life" (Acts 13:48), and of "appointing them to obtain salvation" (1 Thessalonians 5:9), God appoints some to be rich, great, and honourable, some to be low and mean in the world: but electing love appoints those on whom it falls to be saved from sin, and all the ruins of the fall; its great view is to eternal glory in heaven.
2. They are chosen also to grace as the mean, as well as to glory as the end. God's predestinating them to eternal blessedness includes both, as in the text; and it further appears from 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Hence faith is held out as a certain consequent of election (Acts 13:48). "As many as were ordained unto eternal life, believed." The man who intends to dwell in a house yet unbuilt, intends also the means by which it may be made a fit habitation. And therefore there is no ground from the decree of election to slight the means of salvation.
IV. Let us consider THE PROPERTIES OF ELECTION.
1. It is altogether free, without any moving cause, but God's mere good pleasure. No reason can be found for this but only in the bosom of God.
2. Election is eternal. They are elected from all eternity (Ephesians 1:4), "chosen before the foundation of the world;" (2 Timothy 1:9). All God's decrees are eternal (Ephesians 1:11). Because God is eternal, His purposes must be of equal duration with His existence.
3. It is particular and definite.
4. It is secret, and cannot be known till God is pleased to discover it.
V. The next thing is to show, THAT ALL THE ELECT, AND THEY ONLY, ARE IN TIME BROUGHT OUT OF A STATE OF SIN AND MISERY INTO A STATE OF SALVATION.
1. All the elect are redeemed by Christ (John 10:15). None other but the elect are brought into a state of salvation; none but they are redeemed, sanctified, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:9).
VI. I come to show BY WHOM THE ELECT ARE SAVED. It is by Christ the Redeemer. Hence the apostle says (Titus 3:4, 5, 6).
1. Before the elect could be delivered from that state of sin and misery into which they had brought themselves, a valuable satisfaction behoved to be given to the justice of God for the injury done by sin. It is evident from Scripture that God stood upon full satisfaction, and would not remit one sin without it. Several things plead strongly for this: As,
(1) The infinite purity and holiness of God.
(2) The justice of God.
(3) The wisdom of God.
(4) The truth and veracity of God. He must be true to His threatenings as well as to His promises.
2. As satisfaction to justice was necessary, and that which God insisted upon, so the elect could not give it themselves, neither was there any creature in heaven or earth that could do it for them (Isaiah 63:5). This is the desperate and forlorn condition of the elect by nature as well as others. God pitched upon Christ in His infinite grace and wisdom as the fittest person for managing this grand design.
4. Christ accepted the office of a Redeemer, and engaged to make His soul an offering for sin. He cheerfully undertook this work in that eternal transaction that was between the Father and Him.
5. Christ satisfied offended justice in the room of the elect, and purchased eternal redemption for them. "He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). Thus the elect are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.I shall conclude all with a few inferences.
1. Behold here the freedom and glory of sovereign grace, which is the sole cause why God did not leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin and misery, as He did the fallen angels.
2. This doctrine should stop men's murmurings, and silence all their pleadings with or against God.
3. This is ground of humility and admiration to the elect of God, and shows them to what they owe the difference that is between them and others, even to free grace.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
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: