'Chosen In Christ' is the latest song released from ONElife Worship's forthcoming debut EP. This is the Theology Behind the Song.
The Christian life is one marked with various victories and trials, as we struggle in the tension of the already/not yet. We see this reality throughout the New Testament.
In 1 John 3:2, we read, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” The "already" I've spoken of, then, is the reality that we are right now actually children of God because of Christ's work on the cross in securing our redemption! The "not yet" refers to the fact that while we are children of the King, we don't exactly know what that entails, as our physical bodies are still here on earth.
We see this actualized further in Romans 8:30, which says we are “glorified” and then in Ephesians 2:6, where we see that we are seated with Christ “in the heavenly realms,” as if these things have already come to pass. If we're honest, most of the time we don't feel very "glorified," and it's certain that our earthly surroundings don't look much like "heavenly realms." The reason for this is that our present spiritual reality does not yet match up with our future, physical reality. One day, the two will be in sync, but right now they do not. So, out of sync we, as followers of Jesus, trudge through this fallen world.
A regular part of our life here on earth are struggles with temptation, sickness, physical ailments, and loss. Through the trials we face in this lifetime, it's easy to let our vertical gaze (on Christ and what He has already accomplished for us) slip away. As a result, we can easily become infatuated with the horizontal (what we see immediately around us), the not yet. Brokenness, weariness, and feelings of defeat are all a regular part of this life, especially when we've forgotten what has already been accomplished for us. It is in these moments that the believer has two options: seek rest in God and hold onto the promises of the already in the not yet, or seek fulfillment and rest in the created order (people, possessions, substances, etc.) which is to sin -- to choose temporary happiness and relief over lasting joy. Being filled by the Spirit of God, when we choose the latter, feelings of guilt, shame, and self-condemnation are the inevitable end.
"Broken, weary, and defeated
As Christians, our blessed hope and rest on our worst day, even when we have succumb to those horizontal comforts and are riddled ourselves with guilt, shame, and self-condemnation, is to remind ourselves of the already found in Ephesians 1. The Apostle Paul tells us that before God even laid the world's foundation He chose us in His Son (v.4), and how "in love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (v.5)." So, when Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, infecting all mankind with sin, God the Father had to make a plan for redemption. This plan was set into motion not primarily because we sinned, but rather because of His great love for us. The Father's plan for our redemption meant sending His own Son, Jesus, to live the perfect, sinless life we couldn't live and die the sinners death we deserved, because "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). It was the blood that Jesus shed on the cross that bought our redemption, the forgiveness of our sin and trespasses. Previously wretchedly depraved, vile, and undeserving, the riches of God's grace in Jesus overcame all of our sin -- past, present, and future (v.7)!
"But You predestined from the start
The chorus of the song then reiterates the realities associated with the Father having chose us before the world's foundation and the blood of the Son having purchased our redemption; by believing in our hearts what Jesus has done for us and having confessed with our mouths that He is Lord, we now stand holy and blameless before the Father because the imputed righteousness of the Son (v.4)! As I previously alluded to, through Jesus' sacrifice, every sin -- past, present, and future has been totally forgiven and even expunged. We already stand before the Father holy and blameless, despite not yet fully understanding that reality.
"Before the world's foundation
Having been predestined and subsequently adopted into the family of God, we were sealed for all eternity with the Holy Spirit, "who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it (v.14)." Jesus sent His Spirit to testify of this inheritance in the not yet! Our blessed inheritance is that we will spend all eternity in Heaven with God, where we have been seated.
"Adopted in and sealed forevermore
Why? Why would God do all of this for people who would never "get it right," for people who would never be "good enough," for people who still toils in sin despite having been totally forgiven? The answer is that He did it for the praise of His glory and according to the purpose of His will (vv.5-6)! That's right, God chose to love you (v.4), predestine you, adopt you (v.5), redeem you (v.7), give you an inheritance (v.11), and seal you with His Holy Spirit to testify to all of this (v.13), because He desired to do so, and it was based on no "good" in you or I! He did it to the praise of His glory and according to the purpose of His will when we were far off, dead in transgressions and sin.
"To the praise of Your glory
If you are trusting in Jesus for salvation, this is your reality: despite any brokenness, any weariness, any defeat, any failure, any sin, any guilt, any shame, and any self-condemnation, you already stand holy and blameless before God the Father because of His loving you, His choosing you, His predestining you, His adopting you, His redeeming you, and His sealing you for all eternity. You are already His! Rest in that in the face of any trial that may come your way and live free from the curse of sin and darkness.
Contributor / Dan Dameron
Dan Dameron is the Pastor of Worship at ONElife Church in Flint, MI.