Ephesians 1:1–6 (NKJV)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Welcome to Reformed Theology 101. All the saints are saints because he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. In Titus 1:2 and 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul describes this choice as being made before the beginning of time. And why is it this way?
To the praise of his glorious grace.
Consider the opposite. If we worked our way up to salvation, who would get the glory?
We would. Imagine what we’d do with that.
Physicists say that the universe wouldn’t work if any of the key parameters (such as the strength of gravity) were just a bit different. Here’s how Stephen Hawking explains it in A Brief History of Time.
The laws of Science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. … One can take this either as evidence of a divine purpose in Creation and the choice of the laws of science or as support for the strong anthropic principle.
In the same way, the universe wouldn’t work if the plan of salvation were even slightly different. The gospel also seems to be very finely adjusted for life – eternal life. Only salvation by grace alone glorifies God. Any other method would glorify us, and that would ruin the whole thing.
Praise God for the way He works – not because we make out great in the end, but because the ending is great.
He alone is worthy of praise.
The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here: