Ephesians 1:4  "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:" 

The above is a great statement of God's grace.  It tells us of an election that took place before the foundation of the world.  It also tells us who did the electing.  It also tells us what the purpose God had for doing the electing.  This verse teaches us about the "doctrine of election by the grace of God." 

Please note that we were not just chosen, but that we were chosen "in him."  Since all spiritual blessings are in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  We see how that we came to be in Christ Jesus.  We are in Christ Jesus because God chose us in Christ Jesus.  It is truly that simple. 

This verse tells us that God did the choosing.  Man did not do the choosing.  You did not do the choosing.  God did the choosing.  God had to be the only one doing the choosing, because the choosing took place before the foundation of the world.  Since no man existed, except in the mind and purpose of God, before the foundation of the world, then man could not have a say in who was chosen. 

Some have suggested that God looked down through time and saw all the multiplied race of Adam and based his selection on what man did in his life or based his selection on who believed and accepted Christ during his lifetime.  While this is a popular belief, yet it is absent any scriptural basis.  Further, we do see that God looked down from heaven but Psalms 14 and Psalms 53 tell us what God saw: Ps. 14:2 "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."  What God saw when he looked down from heaven upon the children of men was that there was none that sought God and there was none that understood, and there was none that did good.  What they did was go aside and they were all filthy and had become filthy together. 

Romans chapter 9 tells us that God's selection of a people was not based on either good or evil: Rom. 9:11 "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."  Thus God's election of a people was not based on any works whatsoever. 

Romans chapter 11 tells us that election is totally by the grace of God alone: Rom. 11:5 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." 

God is a God of purpose.  He elected a people and placed in them in Christ Jesus for a purpose.  The purpose of God's election is that those chosen "should be holy and without blame before him in love."  The final end result of God's election of a people to be his is that they will be holy and without blame before him in love.  Now there are things that God did to bring this final end result to pass.  Those things that God does to bring about the elect being holy and without blame before him in love are set forth in the form of a covenant.  We refer to this as the covenant of redemption.  Rom. 8:29, 30 plainly declare the covenant of redemption: 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."  These same covenant principles are set forth for us in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2, which we will cover as we study those chapters.

We also note, that the same ones that God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, were predestinated to the adoption of children (v. 5), made accepted in Christ (v. 6), redeemed by the blood of Christ and forgiven of their sins (v. 7), and predestinated unto an inheritance in Christ (v.11). 

Ephesians 1:5, 6   "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." 

The scriptures tell us that we (the elect) have been predestinated unto three things:

    1.  Unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.

    2.  Rom. 8:29 "to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

    3.  Eph. 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

The word, "predestinate," means to determine the finally destiny beforehand.  God is the only one who can predestinate anything.  Further, the scriptures only speak of God's predestinating a people and not of predestinating things.  The idea that God predestinated everything that comes to pass is foreign to the scriptures.  God determined and fixed the final destiny of God's people before the foundation of the world.  This final destiny of his people is for them to be conformed to the image of his Son; to be adopted into the family of God; and to obtain an eternal inheritance. 

To adopt a child is to take the child legally out of one family and place them in another family.  Those that God chose before the foundation of the world are born of the Spirit.  Adoption does not apply to the spirit or soul of the elect.  They are born spiritually into the family of God.  Adoption pertains to the bodies of the elect.  We are naturally the descendants of Adam and are naturally a part of the family of Adam. 

In order for our natural bodies to be adopted into the family of God by Jesus Christ, there are at least three things that had to take place.  The first step in adoption is the choosing of the child.  In adoption, the child does not choose the parents, but the parents choose the child.  The child has no say in who will adopt him.  In like manner, it is with God.  God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.  As those that God chose, we had no say in this choosing. 

The second requirement in adoption is that the legal work must be accomplished and the debts paid.  The legal work was accomplished in the covenant of redemption and the debts were paid by the blood of Jesus paying the price for our sins. 

The third requirement is that the child must be brought home.  From the perspective of the children who are being adopted by God, this is yet future.  We are waiting for the adoption: Rom. 8:23 "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."  We have the promise of God of the resurrection of our bodies and that we will go home to glory at that time.  This will complete the adoption process to which God has predestinated us.

"Wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."  So many people today concern themselves about whether they have accepted the Lord or not.  Yet, this was not the overriding issue.  The overriding issue was whether God had accepted us.  In our natural state, we were not acceptable as we were guilty of sins.  The wrath of God rested upon us and we were not in an acceptable state before God.  Something had to be done to us in order for us to be acceptable unto God.  God had to make us acceptable unto himself.  We could do nothing to make us acceptable unto God.  As sinners, we had no ability to redeem ourselves from sin.  Only Christ could make us acceptable unto God.  It was "in the beloved" that we were made acceptable.  This thought carries us back to the fact that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and predestinated us in Christ before the foundation of the world.  Furthermore, it was because that we were in Christ and were redeemed by the blood of Christ that we were made acceptable unto God.  Through the redemptive work of Christ, we were cleansed of our sins: 2 Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 

"To the praise of the glory of his grace."  God's covenant work in choosing us in Christ before the foundation of the world, predestinating us unto the adoption of children and making us acceptable in Christ is to the praise of the glory of his grace.  If we had a hand in bringing about any of the above then it would also be to the praise of the glory of our works.  Yet, it is only to the praise of the glory of God's grace and not to the praise of the glory of our works.  God's choice of a people, his predestinating them to the adoption of children, and his making them acceptable unto God is solely and totally by the grace of God. 

Ephesians 1:7-10  "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 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." 

In the above passage, we find the phrases, "in whom," "in himself," "in one," "in Christ," and "in him."  Surely, the passage is teaching us that the things accomplished in this passage were brought about by covenant design.  It all goes back to the fact that "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places are in Christ."  Further, the benefits are to those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.

Redemption through the blood of Christ is a great theme of both the Old Testament types and shadows and of the New Testament.  It would be extremely hard for someone to read the bible and not realize that it is teaching that redemption from sin comes from the blood of the atoning sacrifice of Christ.  We read, "without the shedding of blood is no redemption."  Redemption from sin required the shed blood of Jesus Christ. 

Forgiveness of sin is an accounting term.  For something to be forgiven someone, it required someone else make the payment.  Jesus Christ made the payment to God to satisfy God's wrathful judgment of the sins of the elect.  Because Jesus paid the price, we, the elect, are forgiven of our sins. 

Redemption is by the blood of Christ alone.  Redemption is an accomplished fact.  It is not something that will happen in the future, it is already accomplished.  "We have redemption."  We won't get redemption in the future, because we already have redemption.  There is nothing left to pay.  The debt has been paid in full.  There will be no future debt as Christ paid it all. 

Grace is once again emphasized.  Our redemption is according to the riches of God's grace.  You cannot have God's grace and our works together and it still be grace.  Since grace is unmerited, our works are excluded.  If our works had anything to do with our redemption, then there would be some praise due to us.  Yet it is all of God's grace and all the praise belongs to God.

"Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:"  In the grace of God, God has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.  God's wisdom is manifest in his covenant work.  He has made known to us the wisdom of God through the preaching of the gospel.  It took God's wisdom to bring about our redemption.  Man could not have brought about his redemption.  He had not either the ability or the wisdom to bring about his redemption.  Furthermore, God has made known unto us the mystery of his will.  God's "will" is his covenant work.  God made the covenant of redemption before the foundation of the world.  Yet he kept this knowledge secret from man until it pleased him to make it known.  After the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God began to open the understanding of the hearts of his apostles and the gospel ministry that they might preach the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ and salvation from sin by the grace of God. 

 Not only was it God's good pleasure to redeem his people from their sins, but it was also God's good pleasure to reveal this unto us.  God purposed to redeem his people from their sins before the foundation of the world.  God also purposed to make this known unto his people at his appointed time. 

"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."  God is sovereign.  He does according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.  None can stay his hand or say unto him, "What doest thou."  It pleased God to send Christ into the world at God's appointed time.  Furthermore, it pleased God to gather together in one all things in Christ.  All of the covenant promises were in Christ, all the prophecies are fulfilled in Christ and all God's people are in Christ and were in Christ when he was conceived, born, lived, died, and arose.  This included the souls and spirits of the elect that were already in heaven, and the bodies, souls, and spirits of all the elect who are still, or were still on earth.  Both the things and the elect were gathered together in Christ in the fulfillment of his covenant work.