Chosen to be loved or loved to be chosen
I am not sure the order of the above statement is critical to understanding Ephesians 1:4, “In love, he predestined us.” Whatever the meaning of predestined one takes, the bottom line is God chose me—He chose you. Out of love, he chose us—a freewill choice to love us. No compulsion here. Not a forced love (an oxymoron?). The God who existed before time began and who will exist after time ends (try to get your head around that one), chose to love us. And out of love for us, he chose us.
I realize that I write (along with most who are reading) from the perspective of ones who have experienced, who have tasted, who enjoy God’s personal God’s love. Paul says this is a love that God has lavished upon us (8)—what extravagance!! I am not sure these words can be understood except by those on this side of the door (to borrow an image from C.S. Lewis).
What love and what choice!
Spiritual blessings pour out of the pen of Paul in Ephesians 1, describing the consequences of those who have been chosen to be loved.
Makes known to us His will (9)
And all of these promised blessings are sure to be our experience (“sealed” (13), “guaranteed” 14)! And lest we think that this passage is all about our being chosen in love, Paul reminds us that our predestination, our being chosen, our being loved, is all about God. The purpose of his will (6) says Paul, is “to the praise of His glorious grace.” (7) God has a mind-blowing plan to “unite all things in Himself” (10)—His will, will be done on earth one day just as it is currently being done in heaven! God wants us to experience the sweetness of hope as we taste of His love “to the praise of his glory” (12). We have yet to received our full inheritance and redemption (see Romans 8:23) but when we do, when “we acquire possession of it,” it will be “to the praise of his glory.” (14)
Peter C. Craige describes the godly as “both the one who has experienced God’s faithful love (hesed) and the one who has learned to show that love to others.” So, just as we see that this passage is all about God, so also we should see God’s chosen love is transformational for us and for others.