Kenneth W. Yates
Paul uses two verbs in Eph 1:4-5 which deal directly with the issue of election. In the NKJV, the verbs are “to choose” and “to predestine.” The Apostle writes:
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will… (emphasis added)
R. C. Sproul cites these verses, along with eleven others, and concludes that if an exegete is going to be Biblical, the issue is not whether the Bible teaches predestination or not, but what kind of predestination is Biblical.1 Sproul makes it clear that he strongly believes that God has predestined or chosen certain individuals for eternal life. This choice was made by God before these people were born. Their eternal destinies were settled even before the world was created. Sproul goes on to say that to believe otherwise is to make eternal salvation dependent upon work and makes the person holding that view an Arminian.2 This, in turn, would deny that eternal salvation is completely by the grace of God.
This article will agree with Sproul that Eph 1:4-5 does teach predestination. However, it will disagree that this predestination involves God’s selecting specific individuals for eternal life. Instead, it involves the corporate Church and the service God has called the Church to do.
It would be helpful to look at how different scholars view the doctrine of election. It will become clear that one could disagree with Sproul’s definition and still hold to salvation by grace through faith alone.3
II. DIFFERENT VIEWS OF ELECTION
Some agree with Sproul that in Eph 1:4-5, Paul is teaching that God has chosen some people for eternal life before they were born. Among those who do agree, there are differences of opinion as to when this choosing took place and whether this choosing by God removes all free will. Others believe that the predestination of Ephesians 1 does not involve the choosing of individuals but the Church.
A. Individual Election Without Free Will
There are many who would agree with Sproul that God has chosen who will spend eternity with Him. This all happened before they were born. God’s will cannot be thwarted; thus, this view involves the removal of any free will on the part of men and women. Since God chose certain people to be eternally saved, they have no choice but to believe. Those not chosen will not believe. Man does not have free will in this matter.
All who hold this view would appeal to Eph 1:4-5. They could be divided into two groups. Some within both groups hold that God also chose who would spend eternity in the lake of fire (double predestination). Others believe that God only chose who would have eternal life and that those He did not choose were not involved in any choosing. They were eternally damned to begin with and simply remain in that state. God left them as they were.
Supralapsarianism maintains that God decreed mankind would fall into sin in the Garden of Eden. The election of certain people for eternal salvation logically preceded this decree.4 It only logically preceded God’s decree that Adam and Eve would sin because God has always known everything and therefore has always decreed everything. Mankind had no free will when they sinned in the Garden, and the elect have no free will when they believe the gospel today.
Reymond argues for a supralapsarian view. He states that God placed at the “forefront” of His plans the salvation by Christ of certain men and women. He did it even before He decreed they would sin. The salvation of these people was done in such a way that God arranged all the means to achieve that salvation. This would include even the fall of man into sin.5
Reymond refers to Eph 1:4-5, along with Eph 1:9, 11, to support this view. These verses, he suggests, show that the eternal salvation of specific individuals “proceeds from the pure sovereignty and absolute determination of His [God’s] counsel.” Such election is both “unconditional” and “unconditioned” and dependent solely upon the grace of God. Ephesians 1:4-5 teaches us that “from all eternity” God has chosen a course of action that would result in the eternal salvation of His children.6
Reymond believes so strongly in the impossibility of any free will on man’s part in his salvation that he says no Christian can “legitimately doubt” a supralapsarian view of Eph 1:4-5. He points out that other scholars of weight agree with this assessment.7
Infralapsarianism agrees with advocates of supralapsarianism in that God chose certain people to obtain eternal life and that mankind has no free will in this matter. However, they disagree as to when this decree to save certain people logically occurred. The election of the saved followed the decree of the fall of man in the Garden.8
Ware holds to an infralapsarian view and says that all of Paul’s long introduction in Eph 1:3-14 supports it. If man had free will, there would be an element of uncertainty about the eternal salvation of the elect of God. However, in Eph 1:3, Paul begins the introduction with praising God for what He has done for His children in blessing them in every way (vv 6, 12 also mention praise to God). Any uncertainty would undermine the praise that God receives. The whole tenor of Eph 1:3-14 clearly states that all Paul is speaking of is the result of God’s counsel and election. God’s choice of the individuals He saves is His choice, “pure and simple.”9 God completely controls who is saved and who is not.10
Ephesians 1:11 mentions the “inheritance” that those chosen by God receive. This inheritance is the eternal salvation of individuals, the elect sinners.11 The goal of this election is that the individuals chosen by God would be “holy and blameless.” This refers to what Christ has done through His saving work on the cross for those predestined by God. They were chosen to be conformed to the likeness of Christ in perfect holiness.12 Both Reymond and Ware maintain this refers to what the elect will be forever in the presence of God.
3. Other Reformed Views
Others who hold that Paul is speaking of election to eternal life of individuals as well as the fact that mankind does not have free will in that salvation do so without specifically taking on a supralapsarian or infralapsarian understanding. Hodge says that Eph 1:4-5 speaks of predestination of individuals for eternal salvation. This is the heavenly “inheritance” of every believer (v 11).13
Hodge notes that in Eph 1:12-13, Paul speaks in a corporate sense. “We who first trusted in Christ” (v 12) refers to all Jewish believers. “In Him you also trusted” refers to Gentile believers (v 13). Even though this is the case, Hodge says that Paul is not talking about the election of the Church made up of such Jewish and Gentile believers. There is no corporate election.14
Also of interest is Hodge’s view that the holiness mentioned in v 4 does not deal only with the holiness one has as a result of being “in Christ.” That is the emphasis, but the believer is also to walk in holiness. Daily living in holiness is also the evidence of being chosen by God to eternal salvation.15
Calvin agrees that God’s predestination in Ephesians 1 concerns His choosing of individuals for eternal life and that to hold any other view is an exercise in changing the gospel. Even though it sounds unfair and paints a picture of God we do not like, we must accept it. In addition, election in this sense takes all glory away from man and gives it to God.16
However, like Hodge, Calvin asserts that the holiness in v 4 contains an element of how a Christian lives in this life and not simply the positional holiness the believer has by being in Christ. When Paul says that believers are to be holy and blameless before Christ “in love,” the love does not refer to the love of God that chose certain believers for the kingdom, but the love that is to be manifested between believers. Like Hodge, Calvin says that Christian love is a display of the believer’s election. God’s election to eternal life does not make us holy in daily living, but election and holy living go hand in hand.17
Hoehner also takes a Reformed view of election in Eph 1:4-5 but softens possible objections by saying that God’s election of certain individuals is not cruel because He was not obligated to choose anybody. It was gracious that He chose any at all. In addition, Paul does not say that God chose some for an eternal hell.18
Those chosen receive eternal life. This is an individual and not a corporate election. Hoehner says that the plural “us” in vv 4-5 simply refers to Paul and every single believer at Ephesus. This is true for every believer because he is in Christ/Him (vv 3-4).19 God chose the believer before the world was created by Him. One’s eternal destiny is determined before he is born. God chose the believer (v 4) because He predestined (v 5) his destiny. The believer has been predestined for “adoption” (v 5), which means the believer is now a son of God. He is no longer under his old father Satan but in the family of God.20
While the holiness of v 4 refers to what the believer will be in the kingdom of God, Hoehner says it also refers to current Christian living. He agrees with Hodge and Calvin that “in love” refers to the love between humans and not God’s love for the elect.21
Pink also sees the election and predestination of Eph 1:4-5 in individual terms. To be holy and blameless “before Him” in v 4 refers to our status before God in Christ.22 This perfect holiness refers to the world to come but it also refers to the believer’s imperfect holiness in this world. Here Pink agrees with the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. He states that God does not choose a person for eternal life in eternity past without making him holy in this life as well, even if this present holiness is “imperfect.” If this type of temporary holiness is not present, the professed Christian will not be a part of the kingdom of God since he has a false faith.23
Hendriksen takes a view very similar to Pink’s. The election of Eph 1:4 deals with individual believers, even though Paul applies it to the believers at Ephesus. God predestines the individual believer to be His child, and He does it “in love.” However, the inheritance (v 11) of the believer is not simply being a part of the kingdom of God and that “future glory.” It also includes the present blessings involved with being in Christ.24
Being holy and without blame, for Hendriksen, also has a future and present component. God begins it in this life but it finds its ultimate reality in the world to come. Even in the present age it is always true, as far as the Christian is concerned, in God’s sight.25
Simpson takes up this theme of holy living. Not only are individual believers elected to eternal life and stamped with the image of Christ as adopted sons of God, they are elected to holiness. Eternal life as well as holy living, or sanctification, is guaranteed for all God has chosen. Simpson argues that “in love” in v 4 modifies “holy and without blame.” He seems to indicate that God’s predestination of believers also guarantees that they will love one another.26
It should be noted, however, that Simpson acknowledges a corporate aspect in the passage. The “we” and “you” in vv 12-13 refer to Jewish and Gentile believers respectively who make up the church at Ephesus.27
B. Individual Election with Free Will
Both Chafer and Ironside are Dispensationalists who believe that Eph 1:4-5 speak of God’s choosing individual people for eternal life. However, they differ from the previously discussed group, for they say that men and women still have the freedom to believe or not to believe.
Chafer says that everyone who believes has all the spiritual blessings of Eph 1:3-14. The believer will appear faultless before God. Being holy and blameless can either refer to the day the believer will see the Lord (1 John 3:3) or what the believer currently is in Christ. God has accomplished this “in love” when He predestined the believer for this glory. The human mind cannot comprehend or reconcile how God can do this and how man can have free will at the same time.28
However, Chafer also sees a present-day emphasis in this passage. The “adoption as sons” in v 5 involves a process. The believer is called to spiritual maturity in this life, as he no longer lives under the Law of Moses. Such a believer can walk in holiness and serve God.29
Since Ironside also believes in the freedom of the will, he agrees with Chafer that we cannot understand election. God is not pictured as being cruel to the unbeliever in this passage because there is no mention of His choosing people for damnation. Ironside reasons that this passage points to the future. God chooses people for eternal life; they are made holy and blameless in the eyes of God because of the cross of Christ; God adopts the believer to be His sons by giving the believer His life; and He predestines them for their eternal future “in love.”30
C. Corporate Election
Thielman takes what can be called a middle of the road position on election in Eph 1:4-5. The emphasis of this election is not God’s choosing individuals. Instead, it finds its parallel in the OT with His choosing the Jewish nation as His people. Even though individuals are involved, the election in Ephesians deals with the people of God.31 Believers in Christ become the people of God.
In addition, Thielman believes that the idea of being holy and blameless has a corporate emphasis. God called the nation of Israel to be holy and blameless and an example to other nations of how to live and to show by their actions that they were God’s people. Ephesians 1:4 refers to how the Church should live. To do it “in love” also has a corporate emphasis as the ethical injunctions later in Ephesians indicate (Eph 4:1–6:20).32 Believers are to love one another.
However, Thielman does not think the election is completely corporate. God chooses the Church, but He chooses individuals to be a part of that Church. This is individual election to eternal life. God chose them before they were born, and they have no freedom of will. Their inheritance (Eph 1:11) is their individual bodily resurrection. He chose them, however, so that His people (the Church) would be separate from the other people in the world.33
Best takes an even harder stand on the corporate nature of God’s election. He specifically says that God elected the Church. This election focuses on God’s purpose. There is an emphasis throughout Ephesians on the unity of Christians as members of the Church. In Ephesians, the elect group consists of a Body that includes both Jews and Gentiles, not the elected nation of Jews in the OT.34 Holy and blameless is not what believers are as a result of who they are in Christ or the imputed righteousness of Christ; instead, the phrase refers to Christian living. There is a need in the Church for “moral effort.”35
Lincoln takes a view similar to that of Best. He says that God’s election involves His choosing a people as He did with Israel (Deut 7:6-8; 14:2). In the case of Israel, it was an election that was for the blessing of the nations, as God told Abraham (Gen 12:1ff ). Lincoln calls it a call to service.36
In the case of the Church, election emphasizes the gratitude the people of God should have towards God, not the destiny of individuals. The goal of election also involves a call to service as the Church is called to live in a holy and blameless way. Holiness involves living “in love” in service to others.37
Even though Lincoln does see individual election, it is not the emphasis. First of all, the eternal destiny of the individual believer is intimately related to the destiny of the Church. The Church has a purpose, which is to further God’s own glory (Eph 1:6). God’s glory is the goal of the Church’s existence and predestination. In addition, the individual salvation of the believer has not yet been fulfilled. It has only been initiated.38 This indicates that Lincoln does not believe the election of individual believers in eternity past guaranteed the eternal salvation of every individual God chose. He does not say it, but it seems implied that the purpose of the Church will be fulfilled.
Pinnock sees election in Eph 1:4-5 as corporate and vocational. He strongly rejects the idea that God has chosen certain individuals for eternal life in eternity past and specifically states that God wills the salvation of all nations.39 The elect at the present time is the Church, but election is functional as it focuses on what the Church does for humanity.
God has chosen a corporate group of people with the goal to save all of mankind. Others will be added to the elect body, but we don’t know who will be added to this “eschatological fellowship.”40
With others, Pinnock sees a parallel with the Jews of the OT. Their election was communal. It is only the corporate that is unconditional. There is an elect body. However, the individual enjoyment of the privileges of being in that body is conditional. That is the way it was with the Jews.41
When Pinnock applies this to the Church, he includes eternal salvation in the privileges the elect Church enjoys. Christ will present His elect people to Himself. This is guaranteed. But in order for individuals within the church to be presented to Christ, they must continue in faith and obedience (Col 1:23).42 In a type of summary statement, Pinnock says that the election in Eph 1:4-5 is both ecclesiological and missiological as the church implores others to become a part of the elect Church.43
While many look at Eph 1:4-5 as a proof text for the election, in eternity past, of individuals for eternal life, there are many others who question whether this is Paul’s point. Those who question individual predestination ask if God has elected a group of people instead. If that is the case, the election may not be election to eternal life.
To understand what Eph 1:4-5 teaches on the topic of election, the exegete must take into consideration the context, as well as the meaning of the terms “in love” and “holy and without blame.” In addition, it would be helpful to consider how Paul in his other writings uses certain words found in Eph 1:4-5.
III. PAUL’S MEANING OF ELECTION IN EPHESIANS 1
As discussed above, even some scholars who believe the election cited in Ephesians 1 involves the choosing of specific individuals to eternal life recognize that the corporate Church is a major theme of the book.
A. Election as Corporate
As noted, Paul uses plural nouns throughout Ephesians 1. He refers to the election of “us” and the election of Jews and Gentiles. The Body of Christ is a major theme. He continues this idea in chap. 2. He says that the Gentiles (“you,” plural) were dead in sins (2:1) prior to coming to faith in Christ. The Jews (“we”) were in the same situation (2:3).
In Eph 2:11-14, Paul specifically states that God has made both groups, Jews and Gentiles, into one. God has created a “new man,” which is the Church. The Church is a household and a building. God dwells within that building (2:19-22).
In Ephesians 3, Paul says that the church was a mystery (3:4); it was not revealed in the OT. In this context, he says that Gentiles are fellow “heirs” with Jewish believers, which reminds the reader of the inheritance of 1:11. All of this was in accordance with God’s eternal purposes in Christ. This seems to be a clear reference to the purpose of God in eternity past as discussed in Eph 1:3ff.
In Ephesians 4–6, Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus to use their spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ (4:12). These chapters are then filled with how believers are to treat one another as members of that Body.
In Ephesians, Paul never speaks of the individual believer as chosen or predestinated by God. God’s election is spoken of in plural terms, and the purpose of God is fulfilled in the Church. The purpose of God is fulfilled when Jewish and Gentile believers love one another and build each other up.
At face value, shouldn’t the reader conclude that God has chosen the Church to accomplish His purposes? It would seem that the burden of proof would rest on those who claim Paul is speaking of individual election to eternal life.
B. Holy and Without Blame in Love
While many take the words “holy and without blame” in Eph 1:4 to refer to the believer’s position in Christ, there are good reasons to see them as referring to the Christian’s manner of life. Outside of Ephesians, Paul only uses the word for “without blame” (amōmos) two other times, Phil 2:15 and Col 1:22. In both of these cases, Paul is discussing Christian living and a conditional way of life. This is a common way of understanding the word.44
The same can be said about the word “holy” (hagios). While often in the NT the word is used to refer to believers as “saints” or is used to describe the “Holy” Spirit, it often carries the idea of a person who is reverent or a loyal follower of Christ.45 Paul uses it in Eph 3:5 to describe the “holy” apostles and prophets. He uses it in 1 Cor 7:34 and Col 1:22 to describe Christian living.
A key point in this discussion is what the phrase “in love” modifies. Hoehner points out that there are three options. It can modify the verb “chose” in v 4. It can modify “predestinated” in v 5. Or it can modify the phrase “holy and without blame.” Even though Hoehner takes the position that the election in Ephesians 1 deals with election of individuals to eternal life, he says that “in love” modifies “holy and without blame.” It is too far removed from the verb “chose.” As a prepositional phrase, “in love” is used in Ephesians five times. Four of those times it follows the clause it modifies (Eph 4:2, 15, 16; 5:2). Here that clause would be “holy and without blame” and not “predestinated.” The same is true in other places in Paul’s writings (Col 2:2; 1 Thess 5:13; 1 Tim 4:12; 2 Tim 1:13). In Ephesians, it is a love that is displayed between humans.46
In the ethical section of Ephesians, Paul tells the church at Ephesus to love one another, including the idea that they should walk in love and speak the truth to one another in love (4:2, 15, 16; 5:2). In addition, Paul closes the letter with an exhortation that the church at Ephesus should be at peace with and have love towards one another (6:23). The verb “love” is used in 5:25, 28, 33 to describe how believing married couples should treat one another.47
The point here is that in Eph 1:4, “holy and without blame” does not refer to what the individual believer is as a result of his faith in Christ. Instead, it refers to how believers should live. Particularly, it refers to how believers within the church should live in their relationship with each other.
C. Adoption as Sons (1:5) and Inheritance (1:11)
Paul also says that God chose the church for “adoption as sons.” In Greek it is only one word (huiothesian). While many believe this is a description of all believers, Paul’s use here, as well as in other places, suggests otherwise. In Rom 8:15, the word refers to those believers who walk by the Spirit. It refers to an adult, or mature, son.48 The word is used that way by Paul in Gal 4:5 as well.
Hoehner and Lazar both see this word as referring to more than simply being a believer and child of God. Both point out that the term is associated with the Roman practice of adoption. In that system, it involved inheriting the estate of the adoptive father. It was the means by which the authority of the father was passed to his adult son.49
This fits nicely with the idea of the inheritance mentioned in v 11. The Church has an inheritance from her Father. In Eph 1:18, Paul mentions this inheritance again.50 In that context, Paul says that Christ will be above every power in the age to come. He will rule over all things (vv 21-22). The church is His body and will share in that authority and inheritance with Him.
D. “Before Him” and Colossians 1:22-23
Paul says the purpose of the election of the church is that it would be holy and blameless “before Him” (v 4, katenópion autou). Again, while many take this to mean that believers will appear sinless before Christ on the day of judgment, there is a better alternative based upon the above discussion.
All believers will appear before Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The goal of the election of the Church is that it would appear before God as those who walked in a holy and blameless way by loving one another. Those who have done so will be rewarded on that day. They will receive the inheritance of ruling with Christ in His kingdom.
This is supported by a parallel passage. Colossians 1:22 is the only other place the phrase “before Him” appears. It also has the exact same words “holy and without blame.” Many have noted the parallels between Eph 1:4 and Col 1:22.51 It should be noted, in addition, that both Ephesians and Colossians were written by Paul during the same imprisonment. It would not be surprising if similar ideas were present in both letters.
In Col 1:22-23, Paul tells the Colossian believers that they will be presented before Christ holy and without blame only if they continue steadfast in the faith. In Col 1:28, Paul says that his goal is to present them to Christ as mature believers. In this light, the Colossian believers have a “hope of glory.”
Since Paul is talking to believers, he cannot be threatening them with the loss of eternal salvation, which is impossible. Instead, Paul is speaking of the day when they will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10). On that day, faithful believers will be greatly rewarded and share in the “glory” of reigning with Christ (Col 1:27; Rom 8:17; 2 Tim 2:12). Paul wants the believers at Colossae to stand before Christ on that day with those results.
Clearly, this is conditional for the believers at Colossae and for individual Christians. Paul says he teaches them so that this will happen. They must continue in the faith and not be influenced by the false teachers at Colossae (Col 1:23, 28).52
This fits nicely with Ephesians 1. The Church has a glorious inheritance. It will rule with Christ in the world to come. God chose the Church to walk in holiness while loving one another. All believers who do so and remain faithful to the Lord will reign with Him. They will be the ones declared mature sons when they stand before the Lord. While Christ and the Church corporate will rule, not every believer will.
In Eph 1:4-5, Paul says that God predestinated the Church in eternity past. He did so in order that it would walk in good works (Eph 2:10). As the Body of Christ, the Church has a glorious future, an eternal inheritance in the kingdom of God. It will rule that kingdom with the Lord (Eph 1:11, 18-23).
When God chose the nation of Israel in the OT for a purpose, not every individual in the nation achieved that purpose. They were called to be a light to other nations. They were called to serve. They had a job to do. The same is true in the Church.53
Only those believers who are faithful to the Lord (Col 1:23) do the works God requires of them. They live holy and blameless lives and will be found that way at the Judgment Seat of Christ. While all believers will be in the kingdom, only those who are found this way on that day will be the mature sons who receive the inheritance of their Father.
Believers are not chosen individually for eternal life. Unbelievers have the freedom to believe the gospel. Believers are only chosen “in Christ” and are part of the Church.54 As members of the Church, we are called to serve those in the Church in love.
1 R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1986), 11.
2 Ibid., 13.
3 Of course, Sproul and those who accept his definition of divine election would contend that this very sentence argues against salvation by grace alone. They maintain that faith is itself a work and involves man’s participation in his eternal salvation. However, it is not necessary to see faith as a work. Faith occurs when a person simply believes in the promise of eternal life as a free gift from Christ. Believing the promise of a free gift is not a work and does not mean the believing person is working to obtain that gift. It seems that it is only in the area of theological discussion that it would be suggested that believing the offer of a free gift is a work.
4 Frank Cross and Elizabeth Livingston, eds., “Supralapsarianism,” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1563.
5 Robert L. Reymond, “A Consistent Supralapsarian Perspective on Election,” in Perspectives on Election: 5 Views, ed. Chad Owen Brad (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2006), 150.
6 Ibid., 160-61.
7 Ibid., 161. Reymond quotes approvingly from John Murray, “The Plan of Salvation,” in Collected Writings of John Murray (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977), 2:127.
8 Cross and Livingston, Oxford Dictionary, 1563.
9 Bruce A. Ware, “Divine Election to Salvation: Unconditional, Individual, and Infralapsarian” in Perspectives on Election: 5 Views (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2006), 13.
10 Ibid., 23.
11 Ibid., 14.
12 Ibid., 51, 58.
13 Charles Hodge, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1950), 55.
14 Ibid., 30.
15 Ibid., 34-35.
16 John Calvin, Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth, 1973), 25-26.
17 Ibid., 33-37.
18 Harold W. Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 176.
19 Ibid., 177.
20 Ibid., 178, 192-96.
21 Ibid., 179-84.
22 A. W. Pink, The Doctrines of Election and Justification (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1975), 77.
23 Ibid., 78.
24 William Hendriksen, Exposition of Ephesians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1967), 75, 78-79, 87.
25 Ibid., 78.
26 E. K. Simpson, The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, NICNT, ed. F. F. Bruce (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975), 25-27.
27 Ibid., 34.
28 Lewis Sperry Chafer, The Epistle to the Ephesians (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1991), 31-36.
29 Ibid., 37.
30 H. A. Ironside, Ephesians (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 2000), 24-26.
31 Frank Thielman, Ephesians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 48.
32 Ibid., 49-51.
33 Ibid., 45.
34 Ernest Best, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Ephesians (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998), 119-20.
35 Ibid., 123. It is interesting, however, that Best does not think “in love” in Eph 1:4 goes with “holy and without blame.” Instead, He says that God chose, or elected, the Church in love.
36 Andrew T. Lincoln, Ephesians, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1990), 23.
37 Ibid., 24.
38 Ibid., 25, 36.
39 Clark H. Pinnock, “Divine Election as Corporate, Open, and Vocational,” in Perspectives on Election: 5 Views (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2006), 279-81.
40 Ibid., 282.
41 Ibid., 287.
42 Ibid. 291. Pinnock seems to be saying that eternal life can be lost by the individual.
43 Ibid., 315.
44 BDAG, 56.
45 Ibid., 11.
46 Hoehner, Ephesians, 182-84.
47 Lincoln, Ephesians, 17.
48 Zane C. Hodges, Romans: Deliverance from Wrath (Corinth, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2013), 222. There is a difference in Rom 8:14-16 between being a child of God and a son of God. In Galatians there is a difference between being a child and being a mature son as well.
49 Shawn Lazar, Chosen to Serve: Why Divine Election Is to Service, Not to Eternal Life (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2017), 209; Hoehner, Ephesians, 186. Hoehner, however, does not see this as related to the issues of rewards, as this article argues.
50 In v 11 Paul uses the verb and in v 18 the noun.
51 See, for example Pinnock, “Divine Election,” 291; Lincoln, Ephesians, 24; Norman L. Geisler, “Colossians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983), 674; and J. B. Bond, “Ephesians,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, vol 2 (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 863.
52 Many commentators recognize that this is conditional even though they mistakenly apply it to eternal salvation and not rewards. See, J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), 163; Herbert M. Carson, The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians and Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984), 48; David W. Pao, Colossians and Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 109; Peter T. O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2000), 68-72.
53 Lazar, Chosen to Serve, 207; See also, C. Gordon Olson, Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: An Inductive Mediate Theology of Salvation, 3rd ed. (Lynchburg, VA: Global Gospel Publishers, 2002), 336.
54 Lazar, Chosen to Serve, 205.