“For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4)
There are two prominent thoughts expressed in this verse… One) God chose us to be His before He ever created anything. You and I (who love Jesus) were in God’s plans from before the very beginning of those plans. That thought should daily remind us of just how special and precious we are to Him.
Two) He chose us, NOT to do something… but to BE something. His plan (before the “foundation of the world”) was for us to BE “holy and blameless in His sight.” This is the work of Jesus… and Jesus alone. He came to make us holy and blameless in His sight.
Holy and blameless is what we ARE. It is not what all our efforts make us. It is not in our performance, or our religious fervor, or in how many good things we do.
God’s work (through Jesus) is His alone, complete and finished… to make us into something we could never be on our own.
Before trusting in Jesus, we WERE sinners. Unholy. Full of blame for all our sinful actions, words, and thoughts. Helpless to be anything other than sinful, unholy, full of blame.
But from before the very beginning, Jesus was to be the means of changing us from one thing into another. Immediately – on receiving God’s Provision for our change.
Being “holy” is another one of those “things” that is so difficult for us to see in ourselves. It is something we so often struggle to imagine. We know our own thoughts, motivations, issues, and hang-ups. We know that when we look at our own lives… we do not see “holy” or “blameless” in any way, shape, or form.
That’s because we have learned and re-learned to emphasize the identity of the old self within us. The old self struggles. The old self sins. The old self hangs on to grudges. Refuses to forgive. Often thinks of no one but ourselves (most of the time). The old self only knows unholiness – and is powerless to be anything else.
But God calls us to a wear a new identity. NOT something we are trying to be. But something we ARE (only) because of the work of Jesus.
Jesus did not come to reform or fix the old self. He came to give you a new self – that is “created to BE like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The work of Jesus made us holy. Not just sans sin. But a new character. Holy and blameless in God’s sight. Something that is truly like God Himself. Something we are… and are to BE.
That’s why nearly all of the letters in the New Testament are addressed to the “saints” in (whatever city or region). “Saints” does not mean the super-spiritual or the ultra-Christians (often what we have been trained that “saints” means)… it means “holy ones” – and that term applies to EVERY person who has received Jesus as Lord.
We do not become holy by our efforts, or our longevity in the faith, or even by doing something miraculous. The Bible says that we are holy from the very moment we turn our hearts to Jesus and make Him the Lord of our lives.
We were sinners. Unholy. But because of Jesus… we are NOW holy in His sight!