Many of the last elections in our country have been hotly contested. Many have been too close to call until all the ballots were counted. We’ve even seen several decisions land in court with issues ranging from hanging chads, to stuffed boxes, to hacked electronics. As a result, we are trained to watch with anticipation of the election results.
When it comes to the most important election, however, we can know the results immediately. We read in Ephesians 1:4 that “… He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
This verse calls for some time in meditation. Think about it – God chose you; He elected you. We can wonder and debate about when this election happened, or to whom it happened, but it is more pleasant to simply marvel in the fact that it did happen.
Children on the playground will pick team players based on how good a player the candidate is expected to be. God did not choose us based upon how good of a Christian we would be. Courting couples choose mates or dates based on who is likely to choose them in return. God did not choose us because He knew we would choose Him back. His election is not based on any merit of ours or of His knowing how we would respond, although He certainly knows the future.
The word in Greek is eklego, where it carries the basic meaning of gathering or collecting. The English word “eclectic” is derived from this term. When we assemble our own collection of movies or music from various sources, we show off our elected taste. In the same sense, God has assembled a people from all over the globe throughout time into His church, which is another related word in Greek, the ecclesia.
One interpretive issue with which we must grapple has to do with the prepositional phrase “in love.” To what does “in love” refer? Paul’s sentence actually runs from verse 3 down through verse 14, so the original language punctuation offers no insight. Both the NASB and the NIV have placed a period before the phrase and thereby attached it to the upcoming sentence. The KJV, NKJV, and CSB have translated it to refer to “holy and blameless.” That makes sense because love is the driving force behind our personal holiness. I prefer the phrase be interpreted to modify “chose,” which is the thrust of the NLT translation. The NASB and NIV translations will carry the same interpretation because they attach it to “predestined” in verse 5.
God did not have to chose us. He was not forced, coerced, or persuaded. He didn’t get talked into it. He did so because He loves us. As the great gospel songwriter Andre Crouch said, “I don’t know why Jesus loved me; I don’t know why He cared; I don’t know why He sacrificed His life; oh, but I’m glad He did.”
The moment you give your heart to Jesus, you can know the election results. You have been elected to God’s family and you can know He loves you.