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. ITS SPIRITUAL CHARACTER (vers. 3, 4).
1. Bestowing spiritual gifts.
2. Contemplating a moral change in its objects. It is not because they are already better than other men that believers are chosen, but in order that they may become so.
II. ITS PREDETERMINING INFLUENCE. (vers, 4, 5, 9-11).
1. It works from afar. Through eternity and time — "from before the foundation of the world."
2. Bestowing provisional advantage. It does not appear that by the "adoption" here spoken of, final salvation is implied, but rather that the Gentiles being "brought nigh" through the blood of Christ, are put in the way of being saved. It is well for us to consider the limits as well as the vastness of spiritual privilege.
3. Ordaining the means of salvation. "In Christ."
III. ITS CYCLIC COMPLETENESS (vers. 4-14).
1. Engaging successively the several Persons of the Blessed Trinity. In the progress of revelation and the history of the Church there seem to be discernible an age of the Father, an age of the Son, and an age of the Holy Ghost.
2. Perfecting human salvation. There are indicated three stages of the process of salvation, viz., election, justification through the blood of Christ, and, finally, sanctification by the Spirit. The cycle of redemption, as evolved in this passage, recalls that of Romans 8:28-30.
3. Consummating the order of the universe. In Christ all things are "summed up," i.e., He is the Head and Representative of time, creation, humanity, etc. They gather about Him as their true Centre and Lord.
IV. ITS RESULTANT GLORY (vers. 6, 12, 14).
(A. F. Muir, M. A.)
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