1:4he chose us in him. See “Election and Reprobation” at Rom. 9:18. Paul rejoices that God chooses people for a relationship with Himself (Rom. 8:29–33; 9:6–26; 11:5, 7, 28; 16:13; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 1:1). Some suggest “in him” means God foresaw who would have faith in Christ and elected them. Not only does this add a thought that is not in the text, but elsewhere Paul teaches that the very state of being “in Christ” is something to which one is chosen (1 Cor. 1:26–31). Paul says explicitly that the ground of God’s predestinating love is His own good pleasure (vv. 5, 10; cf. Deut. 7:7, 8), not anything we have done or will do (Rom. 9:11, 16). “In him” means that God’s choice always had in view a fallen people in union with their Redeemer (2 Tim. 1:9). See also 1 Pet. 1:18–21; Rev. 13:8.
holy and blameless. See 5:27; Col. 1:22. God intends to bring His elect all the way from spiritual death in sin (2:1–5) to the forgiveness of sins in Christ (1:7), and finally to the elimination of all sin from their experience (Rom. 8:29, 30).
In love. If “in love” belongs with the preceding phrase, it helps explain the nature of the holiness and blamelessness to which believers are called; this is consistent with the use of the phrase elsewhere in Ephesians (3:17; 4:2, 15, 16; 5:2). If it belongs with v. 5, the phrase explains predestination not simply as a matter of God’s decision, but as an act of His love (Hos. 11:1). This understanding is probably better. It is consistent with 2:4, 5.
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