Book information

Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0962-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 3 of 97 Section 1 of 4

LIFE-STUDY OF EPHESIANS

MESSAGE THREE

CHOSEN TO BE HOLY

In this message we come to God’s selection (1:4), to the matter of our being chosen to be holy.

I. THE FIRST ITEM OF GOD’S BLESSING

Ephesians 1:4 says, “According as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before Him, in love.” Following verse 3, verses 4 through 14 present a list of all the spiritual blessings with which God has blessed us. God’s choosing is His first blessing bestowed upon us; it is the first item of God’s well-speaking concerning the church. God’s choosing is His selection. From among numberless people, He has selected us.

II. IN HIM

God chose us “in Him,” that is, in Christ. Christ was the sphere in which we were selected by God. Outside of Christ we are not God’s choice.

III. BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

Verse 4 says that God chose us before the foundation of the world. This was in eternity past. God chose us according to His infinite foresight before He created us. The book of Romans begins with fallen men on earth, whereas Ephesians begins with God’s chosen ones in the heavenlies.

God’s selection was not made in time, but in eternity. Before the foundation of the world, God chose us. Among millions of people, He foresaw us before we were even born and selected us before the foundation of the world. The expression, before the foundation of the world, implies the entire universe, not only the earth. This indicates that the universe was founded for man’s existence to fulfill God’s eternal purpose. Without such a universe, it would be impossible for man to exist. Man’s existence is for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose. Thus, man is the focal point of God’s eternal purpose. The universe was founded so that man could exist to fulfill God’s eternal purpose.

IV. THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY

God chose us that we should be holy. The words “holy” and “holiness” have been spoiled by today’s Christian teachings. Your understanding of holiness is probably influenced by these teachings. In the Bible the word “holy” should not be understood according to our natural concept. Many think that holiness is sinlessness. According to this concept, someone is holy if he does not sin. This thought is absolutely mistaken. Holiness is neither sinlessness nor perfection. Holy not only means sanctified, separated unto God, but also different, distinct, from everything that is common. Only God is different, distinct, from all things. Hence, He is holy; holiness is His nature.

The way God makes us holy is to impart Himself, the Holy One, into us so that our whole being may be permeated and saturated with His holy nature. For us, God’s chosen ones, to be holy is to partake of His divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4) and to have our whole being permeated with God Himself. This is different from mere sinless perfection or sinless purity. This makes our being holy, like God Himself in His nature and in His character.

A. God Being Holy

To be holy is to be separated from everything other than God. It also means to be different, distinct, from all that is not God. Thus, we should not be common, but different. In the universe God alone is holy. He is different from everything else and is distinct. Therefore, to be holy means to be one with God. To be sinless or perfect is not the same as being holy. To be holy we need to be one with God because only God is holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Sam. 2:2).


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