“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4)
Pastor Matt Chandler focuses on God’s sovereign work in salvation and in making Christians conform to the image of Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians have a problem accepting what the Bible teaches about God’s role in saving us and making us holy.
- ‘I found that the longer someone has been in church, the more difficult believing this truth [of Ephesians 1:3-4] becomes. Some people have been in church for so long, been doing the “be a good Christian” thing for so long, that the very idea that they were chosen and determined for blamelessness before they’d started earning credit is very offensive. In our flesh, we tend to think that our holiness is a result of our spiritual elbow grease. Which intellectually may agree to the doctrine of sola gratia [by grace alone], but we tend to live and act like we’re saved by white Don Whitney calls “sola boot-strappa” [by pulling yourself up by your own boot straps]. That, however, is not the testimony of Scripture. (Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ to Die is Gain, p.109)
- As Chandler points out about God’s work of choosing and electing, the apostle Paul continues: “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
(GSiV: Election ; Earning vs effort: grace, justification, and sanctification)