Recently, my blogger friend ElShaddai Edwards asked me to comment on this article relating to election and adoption written by Stephen Douglas. Mr. Douglas attempts to refute the Reformed or Calvinistic view of election and adoption by trying to show that the Calvinists has taken key verses out of context such as Ephesians 1:4-5. The claim by Mr. Douglas is that these verses are only meant for the first century Saints in Ephesus specifically and not to all Christians in general. He than attempts to exegete Romans 7 and 8 to prove his point but has only succeeded in doing the very thing he accuses the Calvinists of doing, he uses “non sense ad hoc philosophy and theology in order to sustain” his erroneous view. His biggest error is holding to the heretical view of eschatology known as full or hyper or un-orthodox Preterism.
If we are to hold that rationale because Paul has addressed his letter to the saints in Ephesus, upon what basis then should we hold to any of the teachings of the Bible? Even if we do hold to that rather poor argument, then God’s election and adoption of the saints in Ephesus was a monergistic work and thus only goes to prove the view held by the Calvinists.
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
V.1 gives us the subjects to whom the letter is addressed to, and if the Bible is God’s written revelation to the church then I can deduce that what was written to the first century Christians is valid to me in the twenty first century otherwise the didactic portions of scripture are nothing more than a history.
3 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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Verses 3 and 4 are all one sentence. First Paul offers up a blessing to God for blessing us in Christ, then Paul mentions the spiritual blessings that God has also blesses us with namely, having been chosen in Christ before the world was even created. Paul finishes the sentence by claiming that we the believers will be holy and blameless(in Christ) before God. It is God that did the choosing, no where does it say that he chose us because we chose Him first. It is God doing all the actions that in the end will keep holy and blameless. That is the perfect work of God in salvation. He didn’t make salvation a possibility but he secured it for those whom He chose.
In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Verses 5 and 6 continue the theme of God’s action, not man’s will. Because of His love and for the glory of His grace God has adopted us according to the purpose of His will not the will of man. Man didn’t predestine himself to adoption, it was God that did the predestining, it was God that did the adopting, a blessing that can only be found through Jesus Christ.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Paul states that “we have redemption through His blood.” Who are the subjects of this letter, the saints mentioned in verse 1. So it is the saints and not every human individual. The redemption through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the lavishing of grace, the wisdom and making known the mystery are all things that are done by God for the elect, not for every one. All these things are done according to the purpose of God’s will through the plan set forth in the work of Jesus Christ. This perfect work of Christ is only for those whom God has predestined and elected unto adoption, it can mean anything else otherwise we have universalism.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
In verse 11, again the subject of the sentence is the believer, so it is the believer that has obtained the inheritance. How is the inheritance obtained? Through the predestination in the purpose of God, who works all things according to the council of His will. What does that mean, council of His will? It is the will of God that Jesus save all those whom the father has given Him to save(John 6:37-59). God councils with God, within the godhead not with man. How silly that would be for God to have to council with man whose intellect is limited, God is the all knowing all powerful creator who works ALL things including salvation after the council of HIS will.