Ephesians 1 is an amazingly huge chapter. Not by length, but by subject.
Unfortunately, much of Ephesians 1 has been hijacked by Calvinists. This takes away the fun of actually studying the passage and finding application.
When you get sucked too deeply into the Calvinist/Arminian debate, all you see in Scripture is your side. That’s it. Nothing else exists. Everything is about this issue and this issue alone.
Which is too bad. Just like Romans 9, Ephesians 1 has a very cool point to make.
Ephesians 1 points us backwards first:
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:
Our minds are expanded to eternity past, before anything was. There, before there was anything physical, there was God.
God had creation in mind. He knew how things would go if He created a creature in His image and gave them freedom to rebel. He knew we would rebel.
But God had a plan. At some point in the future, God would enter His creation and sacrifice Himself for it, demonstrating His great love toward us.
We, believers today, are baptized into the Body of Christ. He chose us to be in Christ, to receive salvation by means of what He did.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Right now we can benefit. We can have complete confidence that salvation is in Christ because this was ordained and determined to be the case since before the world was created.
There is forgiveness in Christ because God determined there to be many years ago. We can have confidence in Him.
But salvation isn’t just about the present or the past, it’s also about the future.
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
There is coming a time when all things will be gathered into Christ, all the created things will be redeemed, including those who came to Christ for salvation now.
This will fully be seen and experienced in the New Heavens and New Earth where righteousness will reign.
This future promise will happen. We can know it will happen because He’s given us the Holy Spirit:
ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
The Spirit is the first-fruits–the initial harvest that guarantees more is coming. He’s our down-payment on our future inheritance.
You know if you have the Spirit now, that this eternal regathering under the rule of Christ is yours too!
Paul is pointing us back to give us assurance in God’s plan of salvation–it was planned before the world was created. Then he points us forward to give us more assurance–the Holy Spirit in you is the guarantee you’ll receive the rest of the inheritance. Knowing this better time is coming gives us hope and peace.
Paul writes Ephesians 1 to encourage us. He writes it to give us hope, peace, assurance. Salvation is God’s plan. It’s a solid plan; you can trust it! He gives us His Spirit to help us hang on through this present evil world until we make it to the next.
Take confidence in your God and His promises. Don’t take a beautiful chapter like this and make it about arguing over Calvinism. It aint worth it!