May 4 I Friday
1 Kings 16-18
“For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” —Ephesians 1:4
By Jesus’s day, the Jews had become very picky over who could be considered part of the chosen people. Lineage, circumcision and obedience to the law were all incredibly important markers of one’s Jewish identity, but Israel’s history reveals that inclusion within the people of God was not always so clear cut. Nine and a half of the tribes of Israel had been forcibly removed from the chosen people when Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. On the other hand, biblical heroes like Ruth, Rahab and Caleb were originally from pagan nations but became part of the chosen people when they joined into Israel.
Under the Old Covenant, the chosen people of God were the Israelites as a nation. To be included in Israel—the people, not the geographical landmass—meant to be amongst the chosen, while not being in Israel meant not being one of the chosen. Under the New Covenant, those in Christ—the church—are the ones chosen in God. We become chosen by virtue of believing in Christ and accepting Him as Lord and Saviour.
Since Jesus’s death and resurrection, there are now two possible positions for all people. We can either be in Adam or in Christ. To be in Adam is to remain in our natural, sinful state, separated from God and outside His will and relationship with Him. To be in Christ is to be regenerate, reconciled to God and the recipient of spiritual life. Believing in Christ baptizes us into His body so we become part of His means of fulfilling His agenda in the world. One who is in Adam is, by definition, not in Christ or among the chosen people of God, just as a non-Israelite could not be a chosen person under the Old Covenant unless they converted to Judaism.
Under the New Covenant, it is when we believe in Christ that we become God’s chosen. Many Christians get this reversed. They think it is God’s choosing of us that allows us to believe, but this understanding skips two incredibly important words in the opening Scripture verse—“in Him,” who is Christ. Ephesians 1:4 does not say, “For He chose us before the creation of the world…” but, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world.” The “in Him” is what makes the difference between being saved and unsaved. As Christians, we are assured of salvation because we are in Christ, and having been saved, we are God’s chosen means by which the Lord Jesus is going to do His work.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the fullness of what it means to be in Christ, united with You so that what is true of You becomes true of me. Work in and through me as You desire.