Praise God for Our Salvation, Part 1: Praise to the Father

Today’s theme mimics a parable that Jesus tells in Matthew 20:1-16 about a landowner going out and hiring workers. Although some workers started early in the day and others much later, the landowners gives all the workers the same wage, exactly what he promised to give them. The workers who started early in the day complained, but Jesus said "am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you angry because I'm generous?"

We'll see in Ephesians 1:1-6 that some get more than they deserve, but no one gets less than they deserve. Ephesians 1:3 tells believers that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. The blessings we receive are sourced in Heaven. This means the purpose of these blessings is from God, originate in Heaven, and are given to us.

In this first chapter of his letter, Paul praises the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today we will talk about the Father.

Praise Him for Choosing Us

Ephesians 1:4 tells us that Christians were chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world so that we would be holy and blameless. Paul is telling the Ephesian Christians (and us) that we were selected by God to serve Him. Before this planet even existed, God chose who would be saved. He thought of you and chose you to be saved to be holy and blameless. He did not choose you because of your qualities or your faith. The choice was made in Christ, because of what He did.

Praise Him for His Plan to Adopt Us

Ephesians 1:5 tells us that the Father predestined us to adoption. This statement of being predestined is repeated in Ephesians 1:11. This word means to decide beforehand.

The nature of God's choice was a part of God's plan (Ephesians 1:9 and 1:11). God's choosing is not random but by His plan and good pleasure of His will. If God is choosing, we can know that His choice specifically is good. Every Christian is individually selected to be a part of God's family.

Praise Him for His Glorious Grace

Ephesians 1:6 focuses on God’s glory. His glory must be recognized when we see how God gave so much grace to us, adopting us and choosing us although we do not deserve this.

This topic of God choosing us is the doctrine of election, but this term is not readily accepted by many. This doctrine means some are not elected. Some stumble over why God doesn't choose us all. How can God choose some for salvation and not others? Does that mean He chooses some for damnation?

God is God, and we are not. His ways are not our ways, and we are limited in our understanding. But Ephesians 1:3-14 tells us that we are to praise God for choosing any of us. We can also reference Psalms 14:1-3 and acknowledge that we all are corrupt; there is not even one of us who does good.

We can also look at Ephesians 2:1-3. As sinners, we don't want God to meddle in our affairs. We just want Him to help us out when we want His help. We do not naturally want God or God’s goodness. In order for us to want God, we have to be changed. There must be a divine activity on our hearts. Otherwise, we deserve the wages of sin -- death.

God takes His enemies and turns them into His children. So the question isn't "why doesn't He save all of us?" The question is "why does He save any of us?"

Application Points

  • Praise God! Look at what God has done. We must know that He is worthy of praise. We need to take time to think about God, not compartmentalize our lives and only let Him affect us on Sundays. Think about God throughout the week, then praise Him.
  • We should have confidence as we approach evangelism. If God is in control and He has ordained salvation, then we should confidently give the gospel. Just because there is this doctrine of election, that is not an excuse for not sharing the gospel. That is sin. We are to remember the place we've been given in God’s family because of God's grace and share that with others.
  • Give grace to others whom God has chosen, just as He chose you. No one is a finished product.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:
  • Matthew 20:1-16
  • John 3:16
  • Ephesians 5:23-27 - husbands loves wives as Christ loves the Church
  • Psalms 14:1-3
  • Romans 1
  • John 3:3
  • John 6:44
A Hymn to Encourage: “To the Praise of His Glorious Grace” – D. A. Carson

What astonishing mercy and power:
In accord with His pleasure and will
He created each planet, each flower,
Every galaxy, microbe, and hill.
He suspended the planet in space
To the praise of his glorious grace.

With despicable self-love and rage,
We rebelled and fell under the curse.
Yet God did not rip out the page
And destroy all who love the perverse.
No, He chose us to make a new race,
To the praise of His glorious grace.

Providentially ruling all things
To conform to the end he designed,
He mysteriously governs, and brings
His eternal wise plans into time.
He works out every step, every trace,
To the praise of His glorious grace.

Long before the creation began,
He foreknew those He’d ransom in Christ;
Long before time’s cold hour-glass ran,
He ordained the supreme sacrifice.
In the cross He removed our disgrace,
To the praise of His glorious grace.

We were blessed in the heavenly realms
Long before being included in Christ.
Since we heard the good news, overwhelmed,
We reach forward to seize Paradise.
We shall see Him ourselves, face to face,
To the praise of His glorious grace.

Quotes to Ponder:

"I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that great Biblical doctrine."

--Charles Spurgeon