“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.”
“In Him (Christ)” – these two simple words found in this verse demand our utmost attention and focus. The primary key to effectively living the Christian life and walking in His victory lies in embracing the truth of who we are as we abide in Christ. This concept of being “in Christ” is so important to Paul, that he uses phrases such as “in Christ,” “in Him,” “in whom,” etc. thirteen different times in this chapter alone! A phrase that’s contained so often in such a short span must be important!
What does it really mean to be “in Christ”? At its core, the concept of being “in Christ” comes down to us abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us moment-by-moment, day-by-day. This occurs through our being “born again” by believing in and receiving Him, through fellowshipping with Him, and by keeping (meditating on) His Word. (See John 15)
Why is it so important to abide “in Christ”? Here are just a few reasons:
• When we step into Christ and are “born again,” we become a new creature! Old things pass away, all things become new, and we are reconciled to God. (II Cor. 5:17)
• As we fellowship with Him and keep His word, our minds are transformed. (Rom. 12:2) As our minds are transformed, so are our beliefs. And, as our beliefs are transformed, so too are our actions. (James 1)
• Only through abiding in Christ can our lives bear much fruit. (John 15)
• All the promises of God are “Yes!” in Christ Jesus. (II Cor. 1:20)
With this understanding in our minds of what it means to be “in Christ,” let’s now take a closer look at verse four.
Verse four is a continuation of the thought that Paul began in the previous verse. In verse three, Paul blesses God, stating that He has blessed us “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Verse four expounds on that blessing, stating that we have been “chosen” to have access to these spiritual blessings as we abide in Christ since God “chose” Christ before the foundation of the world to be the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and for all the fullness of the Godhead to dwell in Christ. (Col. 2:9) Any attribute of God, any aspect of His divine nature, and all spiritual blessings are found in Christ since He is the manifestation of God! (Col. 2:9, Heb. 1:3, I Tim. 3:16, Jn. 1:14) Therefore, it follows that since the fullness of the divine nature and all spiritual blessings are found in Christ, so we too have access to the same divine nature and spiritual blessings as we abide in Christ and He abides in us! (II Pet. 1:4) We can receive His abundant life in exchange for our condemned flesh. Pause for a moment to embrace that incredible reality – receiving this Truth will forever change your life!
Let’s continue on in verse four. What does it mean that we have been “chosen in Him”? From before the foundation of the world, God knew that man would rebel and bring sin into His perfect world. The consequence of that sin would require death. God, in His great mercy, chose to robe Himself in flesh and enter earth in physical form to pay the atonement for the sins of the world through His death as the perfect Sacrifice. Through His death, His creation could once again enter into His Life! Therefore, all who are “in Christ” are in THE Chosen One (capital “C”) and have thus been chosen by God to have access to the same spiritual blessings as Christ since we are now in Him and He in us! Ultimately, the spiritual blessings to which He grants us access are for the “praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:6, 12)
The Bible is FULL of promises and blessings for those who are in Christ, and we see two of them here at the end of verse four. In Christ, we are “holy and without blame before Him in love.” The definition of the word “holy” includes concepts such as “sacred, pure, morally blameless, consecrated.” And, the phrase “without blame” conveys the idea of being “without blemish (i.e. perfect sacrifice), faultless, unblameable.”
So, what does this mean? It means that when God looks upon those who are in Christ, all He sees is Christ! And, since Christ is Holy and Blameless before the Father, so too are we as we abide in Him. What a glorious promise! His holiness in exchange for our filth. His righteousness for our sin. His life for our death. His thoughts and desires in place of our own. His strength for our weakness. What a marvelous mystery… this is good news!
God doesn’t desire to make us a better person. He desires to live His perfect life through us. As Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Praise the Lord for the greatness of the gift which He has purchased for us! May we live “to the praise of His Glory” as we abide in Christ.