A Courteous Contrararian

Predestination 4

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - Jan• 21•15

We’ve been in Ephesians 1, looking at the pronouns.

I’ve put forth the idea that when Paul writes “you,” he means us. Not so hard to swallow. The hard part of that idea is that when he uses a word that means the opposite of “you,” he doesn’t mean us. He means himself and the rest of the predestined. Not always, but at least in two extended passages.

Whenever we read “we” or “us” we read ourselves into the verse, after all the Bible is for us. Especially when the text says we have been pre-chosen, we have been blessed, etc. It’s hard to write ourselves out of such a passage.

But I’ve claimed the pronoun pattern forces us to a different conclusion. Let’s review the pronouns in early Ephesians 1.

Verse 1                                                                                                                                Verse 2: you                                                                                                                      Verses 3-12: our, us, us, us, us, us, we, us, us, we                                                 Verse 13: you, you, your, you, you

Pretty dramatic. Let’s take a closer look at verse 13. And you were also included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. (NIV)

That’s good! We believe this. We believe that when we believed, the Holy Spirit came to indwell us. And don’t all of us know we have been marked by it?

But what about Paul and all the people included in “we” or “us?” Weren’t they also indwelt? If he and they were, why switch to “and you” before he talks about it? This logic is valid whether you agree with me as to whom “us” refers, or whether you would still insist that we means all of us: Paul and you and me.

If Paul means all of us, why the distinction of suddenly switching to “you” midstream unless he was saying (God forbid) that “they” weren’t indwelt by the Spirit but “(the new) we” were. If they weren’t indwelt by the Spirit, how could we trust their teachings and counsel. If they were indwelt, then “(the old) we” is a different group than the group “you.” “You” means us, just like we’ve always assumed, but “we” means them – the predestined.

If this is true, it would be terrifying to some. I know the predestined are secure in their salvation because it was foreordained, but what about us? We made a weak human decision to follow Jesus. The thought occurred to Paul. It was the first thing that occurred to him.

In the very next sentence he gives the “you also” people reassurance. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. How do I know that my weak decision was valid and true? You have been sealed. You are safe and secure. And what a seal! The promised Holy Spirit.

Paul elaborates in verse 14. who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory. (NIV) The Holy Spirit gives us a guaranty. that’s how we can be sure. And even if that other group was predestined, we are still God’s possession.  

More next time.


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