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. THAT GOD, BEFORE HE MADE THE WORLD, CHOSE SOME PERSONS OF HIS OWN FREE GRACE TO BECOME HIS CHILDREN, OR TO BE MADE HOLY AND HAPPY.
1. There is a manifest difference between the children of men in this world.
2. This difference between men, or this distinction of the righteous from the wicked, is not ascribed in Scripture, originally and supremely, to the will and power of man, as the cause of it, but to the will and power of God, and to His Spirit working in them.
3. The distinction that is made by this work of God in the heart of men, is attributed in Scripture, not to any merit in man, which God foresaw, but to the free grace of God toward His people, and His special choice or election of them, to be partakers of these blessings.
4. This choice of persons to sanctification and salvation by the grace on God is represented in Scripture, as before the foundation of the world, or from eternity.
II. THAT GOD FROM THE BEGINNING APPOINTED HIS SON JESUS CHRIST TO BE THE MEDIUM OF EXERCISING ALL THIS GRACE, AND GAVE HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE TO THE CARE OF HIS SON, TO MAKE THEM PARTAKERS OF THESE BLESSINGS.
1. Let us consider what it was that Christ undertook, as the chosen Saviour of His people (John 1:18 and John 17:5; John 16:28; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; Romans 8:3; Ephesians 5:30).
2. Let us take a brief survey of the articles of this covenant on God the Father's side. Whatsoever powers, or honours, or employments He bestowed on His Son, we have reason to suppose it was in pursuance of this original covenant of grace and salvation. First then, we may justly conclude, that God engaged to employ Him in the work of creation, as a foundation of His future kingdom among men; by Him God made angels, and they shall be His ministering Spirits, for the men who shall be heirs of his salvation; by Him God created mankind, and He shall be Lord of them all; by Him the Blessed God made His own people, and He shall save them. Again, We may suppose it was agreed by the Father, that He should be the King of Israel, which was the visible Church of God, as a type of His kingdom, and the government of His invisible Church; that He should fix His dwelling in a cloud of glory, in His holy hill of Sion (Psalm 2:6, 7), and should govern the Jewish nation by judges, or priests, or kings, as His deputies, till He Himself should appear in the flesh. God the Father undertook also to furnish Him with everything necessary for His appearance and His ministry here upon earth, to prepare a body for Him (Hebrews 10:5), to give Him the Spirit without measure (John 3:34; Esa. 11:2), to bear Him up through all His sufferings, to accept His sacrifice and atonement for sin, to raise Him up from the dead, to exalt Him not only to the former glory which He had with Him before the world was, which He asks for as a matter of agreement (John 17:4, 5), but to honour Him at His right hand with superior powers.
1. Since we are chosen to be holy, as well as happy, we may search and find out our election by our sanctification, and make it sure and evident.
2. Let those who by a sincere search have found the blessed marks and evidences of their election in Christ Jesus take the comfort of it, rejoice in it, and walk worthy of so Divine a privilege. See that you keep your evidences of grace ever clear and bright by holy watchfulness, that ye may have a strong defence in every hour of temptation.In conclusion:
1. I infer that there are some doctrines wherein the reason of man finds many difficulties, and which the folly of man would abuse to unhappy purposes, which yet are plain and express truths asserted in the Word of God. Among these, we place the great doctrine of the election of sinners in Christ to be made holy and happy.
2. However this doctrine may be opposed by the reasonings of men, and even ridiculed by a bold jest, yet, if it then appear to be a Divine truth, as the Scriptures now seem to teach us, the blessed God will not be ashamed of it in the last great day; then shall He unfold all the scheme of His original counsels, and spread abroad His transactions towards mankind, before the face of all His intelligent creatures. I cannot think, that any of the cavils of wit against this doctrine will stand before the light of the great tribunal.
3. The whole chain and current of our salvation, from the beginning to the end, arises and proceeds all the way from the free grace of God, through the mediation of His Son Jesus Christ. God and His Son must have the glory, and pride must be hid from man forever.
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: