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Chosen to be Holy

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul opened a gigantic controversial can of worms when he wrote to them declaring that before the creation of the world God had chosen all Christian believers to be rescued from sin and grafted into his family (Ephesians 1:4-5). Paul’s declaration constitutes a foundational brick in a doctrine called predestination. It is the idea that each individual believer or unbeliever is destined to an eternal fate before he or she is even conceived.  For centuries, very smart Christian thinkers have argued about it.  Some argue against the doctrine saying that it robs men of free will, and to rob them of free will then robs them of responsibility.  After all, if God chose them before their own stories began, then how could any man truly be responsible for his choice to either accept or reject God?  Those who argue for the doctrine contend that free will would nullify the sovereignty of God over each individual actor in his creation, and then give them boasting rights for their wisdom in choosing God from the depths of their fallen human depravity. This controversial mystery will not be resolved satisfactorily on this side of Heaven.  While it is an important debate with important theological implications for how we practice our faith, its quarrelsome nature overshadows a potentially more important and practical element of Paul’s declaration.

Notice how Paul says that God chose us for a purpose. He chose us to be holy and blameless. Regardless of your stance on predestined salvation or a person’s free will to either choose or reject the gospel, it is safe to assume that Paul is hinting at a kind of post-salvation free will in which we are to recognize God’s purpose for our lives and then use whatever free will is afforded us after our rescue to pursue holiness and blamelessness. Of course, these are things that we cannot achieve on our own, but they are goals to which we can aim at through a submission to God’s will.

Now consider what it means to be holy. The word is translated from the Greek word “hagios.” It is a word used to denote a reverential worthiness, distinction, or purity because of an object’s connection to God. Paul is arguing that our purpose, before the creation of the world, is to reflect and be associated with the worthiness, purity, uniqueness, glory and awe of God and his family.

Are you submitting your life to this purpose? Does your life look, sound, or feel holy?

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