”He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4).
For the first 30 years of my life I cannot recollect one single time that I heard a sermon on that God has made those who believe in Jesus ”holy and blameless” before Him. If I ever heard a sermon on this verse, the point was that we must strive to become holy and blameless before God – not that we, by grace, already are.
But the first chapter of Ephesians shows us that God’s plan from before the foundation of the world to make us holy and blameless before Him now has been fulfilled through Christ. How did this happen? Let’s keep reading:
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. (Eph. 1:5-8)
It is clear from these verses that we already have been redeemed by God, already have the forgiveness of sins, and already have been accepted in the Beloved (which is Jesus) because of God’s glorious grace. This is already a done deal, by grace, and not something which is about to happen in the future if we perform or strive well enough.
As believers in Christ we are redeemed! We are forgiven! We are holy and blameless before God; not one day in the future when we come to heaven, but today! Maybe you are thinking, “but I am struggling with temptations and sin – how then can I be holy and blameless before God?
This is what makes the Gospel such good news that “it sounds too good to be true, but still is true” (the literal meaning of the original greek word for “gospel”). Whatever struggles we may face in our lives; sin, temptations, disappointments, sickness, financial lack etc., this does not define who we are before God. Did you know that we became sinners – not because of our own sin – but because of Adam’s sin?
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (Rm. 5:18-19)
In the same way that we were not part of the equation when mankind became sinful, God has arranged it so that we, independent of our deeds or performance, have been made righteous before God because of what Jesus has done. This is good news! We are holy and blameless before God, in spite of ourselves! When God sees us He sees Jesus’ own righteousness in us!
There was a time in my life when I started every moment of prayer by asking God to forgive me all of my sins, known and unknown, I had committed since the previous devotion time. In the back of my head was a belief-system telling me that I constantly had to confess every single sin I had committed in order to be in right standing with God.
Imagine a child that approaches his/her parents and all the times starts by saying “I am not worthy to be called Thy child”, “I don’t deserve to be in Thy presence”, “forgive me all my known and unknown sins”. If someone on the outside overheard such conversation, that person would probably consider reporting the parents to the social authorities!
We have made the Christian life to be about that God all the time asks for an account of our sins, but we have then forgotten that God already, once and for all, has dealt with the sin problem through what Jesus did for us at the cross.
God is our loving Father who always receives us in His open arms. We read in Ephesians 1:5 that God predestined us to be adopted as His sons so that the response from our side would be to praise and glorify God’s grace. This is not about that we always have to be perfect in ourselves. If so there would be no reason to give glory to God’s grace, which is his undeserved favor. Instead the glory would go to ourselves!
Maybe you have problems with sin consciousness making you believe that God all of the time looks down on you because of your sins and shortcomings. A good thing to do is to take a moment every morning and evening and say out loud: “Thank You God that I am holy and blameless before You! Thank You that this has nothing to do with what I have done, but only to do with what Jesus has done for me”.