Reposted from 2011:
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. Eph 1:3-6
Spiritual blessing: “spiritual” means “supernatural” in Greek. That which is not of this physical universe. A blessing is eulogia in Greek. It is where we get our English word “eulogy” from. It means, fine speaking, elegance of language, commendation, benediction, consecration. Remember that God created the universe by His Word — He spoke, and the things which are not, become the things which are.
So when God “benedicts” us, blesses us, speaks fine words over us, and says to us, “This is who you are,” the power to accomplish or create that thing is released. God has already spoken spiritual blessings over us in Christ Jesus, from His throne in heaven. He has spoken eternal life, deliverance from sin, adoption as sons, peace, love, joy, fatness of spirit, etc. – all these things are spiritual blessings.
Predestined: In Greek, it means to limit in advance, to predetermine, to ordain. Some denominations have made a whole doctrine about this word, and say that because God predestines (ordains) those who are going to be adopted as sons, then a human being’s free will is overridden. They call the grace of the LORD, irresistable grace. It means that a person, even if he willed to do so, cannot refuse the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, if he has been predestined.
The flaw with this theology, is that it tries to take an eternal, unfathomable attribute of God, such as knowing in advance who is going to come to Him to be adopted as sons, and explain it and limit it by human logic and understanding. Man’s understanding is finite and limited. So we may not know how a human being can have perfect free will to accept or reject God, and at the same time, God can have perfect sovereignty in making His will come to pass, and in knowing who will be His. We may not know with limited human understanding how these two realities co-exist.
Predestination and free will seem to be opposites, and truth can never contradict. So either one or the other is not true (but we understand from Scripture that cannot be correct) or predestination and free will are not opposites. We do not understand how they cannot be opposites, but since we are talking about an attribute of God, we have to accept that it is so even if we cannot wrap our brains around it. It is like the truth that God has always existed and never had a beginning. We cannot wrap our brains around no beginning, but it is what the Scripture teaches about God, so we have to accept that it is true even if we don’t understand it.
I believe God’s sovereignty (predestination)/ man’s free will are two sides of the same coin. They seem to oppose each other, but both are needed to make a complete whole. How, we don’t understand. But there you have it. The denominations who make predestination and/ or free will a foundation stone of their doctrine do not agree with me. 🙂
Make us accepted in the Beloved: in the Greek, the verb, “make us accepted,” is charitoo, the verb form of charisma. Charisma is a noun, it means, a gifting, a gracing. When 1 Cor 12 talks about the gifts of the Spirit, it is talking about the charismas of the Spirit. So here, Paul is saying that His charisma (grace, free gift), has charitooed us in the Beloved. In other words, His charisma has made us favored, honored, acceptable, imbued with grace, gifted. Some translations translate this sentence:
… to the praise of the glory of His grace (charisma), which He freely bestowed on us (charitoo) in the Beloved.
I like the translation, “made us accepted.” I think it is closer to the Hebrew concept on which grace is based. In the Old Testament, a worshiper would bring a lamb or a goat, a sacrifice (a gift – the equivalent of charisma), and offer it to the LORD as a substitute for himself. This substitute, if it was an acceptable sacrifice (lamb, 1 yr old, male without blemish), then made the worshiper acceptable to the LORD by transferrance (Lev 1).
Jesus is our acceptable sacrifice, a Lamb without spot or blemish. His charisma, His grace, has made us acceptable (charitoo) to the LORD by transferrance!
Continued in: Ephesians 1:13-14, sealed with the Holy Spirit