“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
I think of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians as “nuclear strength theology.” Every verse is filled with awesome, life-altering truth about God and His plans and purposes for man. In today’s verse passage, we read that God has “chosen us to be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Greek scholars agree that the phrase, “in love” could just as easily belong to Paul’s next statement. That is, Paul could just as easily be telling us that God’s predestining us to the adoption as sons was itself done in love. Personally, I see no reason to bicker about this because neither one is exclusive to the other. In light of the rest of Scripture, both seem to be obviously true. Today our special focus is on two blessed features of God’s immutable character, namely, His holiness and His love. In general, holiness refers to a withdrawal or separation from that which is common or unclean; it speaks of consecration to that which is divine, sacred, and pure. As applied to God, holiness speaks of God’s separation from, and transcendence over, all of His creation. It refers to His supremacy, majesty, and awesome glory and as well as His ethical spotlessness. The prophet Amos mused, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The answer of course, is that they can’t. How then can sinful, fallen man have fellowship with a Holy God Who is of purer eyes than to look upon evil? (Habakkuk 1:13). “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness,” wrote the psalmist, “neither shall evil dwell with thee” (Psalm 5:4). God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness cannot find agreement or fellowship. “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” wrote Paul, “and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (2 Corinthians 6:14b-15a). Of necessity, human sin creates a chasm between us and the Holy God of Heaven (Isaiah 59:2), not only for His glory but our good as well. Presuming into His presence on our own terms means instant destruction (Leviticus 10). If all we knew about God was His holiness, we would be completely without hope in his world. Our God-given consciences would ache without remedy. We would lament our permanent estrangement from God as much as we would, in our perpetual state of guilt, fear His righteous judgment. We praise God that He has not only revealed Himself as holy, but as love itself (1 John 4:8, 16). His love for us was confirmed beyond all dispute when, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). May we in return walk before Him in holiness and love, twin reflections of His own blessed character. Hallelujah!