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. He did this when he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ. He did this in accordance with the good purpose of his will, and for the praise of his glorious grace, which he has graciously given us in the one he loves. (Ephesians 1:3-6 EHV)
Looking at our world these days, we have to stop and wonder how close we are to Jesus’ return. A review of the news headlines from the past year shows that we live in a world not only stained by sin, but seemingly ruled by it. Brutal violence against our neighbors everywhere we look. God’s Word mocked, belittled, and even suppressed. Politics has become almost a blood sport throughout the world. There is violence in our cities, racial tensions, crime everywhere. It’s an almost unending list of problems. How do we talk about these things? What do we say to each other when we do talk about these things?
We can easily say to every believer in Christ: “God has chosen you. He has paid for your forgiveness and salvation and guaranteed it. And all for His glory.”
God not only knew you, but chose you before the foundation of the world. Before the universe was formed, while the earth was still formless and void, before He spoke into existence all things, before the Fall into Sin, before Abraham, before Moses, before David, before the Apostles, before Luther, before time even existed—God chose you as His adopted son through Jesus Christ.
What amazing news that is! God chose you and adopted you! And with that adoption as His son comes the inheritance—eternal life in His kingdom. As we see signs of our world falling apart around us, God gives us this comfort in His Word. We don’t decide to follow God. You didn’t choose Him. He chose you through Christ.
Thank God that He didn’t leave it up to us to make a decision for Christ, or we would all be doomed. We know that, as we’re told later in Ephesians, it’s only by God’s grace through faith in Christ that we are saved. You didn’t choose Him. He chose you. But not because of you, not because of who you are or what you’ve done.
God points us not to ourselves, but back to His Word. And that Word gives us an absolute guarantee of forgiveness and salvation that is sealed with the blood of Christ. When forgiveness and faith are poured over us in baptism, when we hear God’s Word and study it, when we are given Christ’s body and blood in the sacrament, when the words of the absolution are spoken—that promise and guarantee is repeated over and over again to us. God wants there to be no doubt in your mind that your forgiveness and salvation have been purchased by Christ and given to you through Him by His grace through faith.
As we continue to be assaulted by the news in our world, as our world grows colder and more hostile to God’s truth, we look in faith to God’s promises—promises already fulfilled and promises of future fulfillment. We look to God, who chose us before the foundation of the world, the One who became man and lived a perfect life in our place, who took all of our sins on Himself, who died to pay our debt. And who rose again to guarantee our eternal life. You are His adopted son and heaven is yours!
Rev. Paul Fries