“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ”Ephesians 1:3-9 ESV
Observe from this text the love and affection that God has for His elect people. God blessed His elect in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places ( I would argue that this phrase is talking about the entire redemptive package-election in Christ; the imputation of my sin to Christ and forgiveness thereof; the subsequent imputation of His righteousness to me; Regeneration of the Holy Spirit and faith to believe the gospel). In LOVE, He (the Father) PREDESTINED the elect to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (both the Person and His work) according to the purpose of His will. It was the will of God (He WANTED and DID) to choose a people for Himself to redeem and adopt as sons (and daughters) through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is God. He did this to the praise of His glorious grace (we the elect praise God for His glorious grace on us) which He (the Father) has blessed us (the elect) with in Christ. Because of Christ and His finished work, we have forgiveness of our trespasses and redemption from the curse of the law which is death, according to the RICHES (or abundance) of His grace, which He LAVISHED upon us (the elect), in all wisdom and insight, that we would know His will and purpose set forth in Christ-to save His chosen people by putting to death His perfect Son. God acted to save His chosen people, and He did not do it reluctantly. He did it with eternal love and affection for His chosen people.
There are times when the elect sinner can wonder why God would love them or decide to save them. This can happen as we grow more and more familiar with just how wretched we truly are. If I get caught up with thinking of just corrupt I truly am, I can fall into a state of despair. For many years, I struggled with a myriad of different sins, particularly drunkenness (with both alcohol and drugs) and debauchery of all kinds. I can look back on my life, even up through today as I write this and firmly declare that I deserve death under the perfect law of God. I do! That is what I deserve. The wage of that sin is death and death is what I DESERVE. If we take our eyes off of Christ and begin to dwell on our wretchedness, we can begin to take a view that God may have saved us, but that He did so reluctantly, like “ugghhhhh, here we are again Giovanni, you’re the same old sinner who never gets any better, why did I decide to save you?” This text tells us otherwise.
This is not to say that we do not confess our sin, or feel remorse for it. We most definitely should confess and feel remorse over our sin. John tells us to confess our sin (to agree with God concerning who we are as sinners and admit that we are in violation of His perfect law). But we are not camp out there in some pity party. We are to agree with God concerning the satisfaction of His law in Christ.
We must be clear that God does not love the elect sinner because there is something about that particular sinner that sets them aside from another sinner. God doesn’t play favorites between men based on something in them. No, Romans 8 tells us that the love of God is in Christ. God loves the elect sinner because they are in Christ, by the operation of His will and action. There’s nothing inherent or intrinsic about me in particular that sets me aside from any other sinner, but for the will of God in saving His chosen people.
Do you believe the true gospel? If the answer to that question is yes, then you can know that God loves you and does not save you reluctantly, no matter how much a wretch you are, and if you’re like me, then you are a wretch. His Son, who is our substitute, surety, mediator, high priest and Brother, fully satisfied what God required of you and me when He went to the cross. The text says that He lavished the riches of His grace upon His people in Christ. The term “lavish” according to Merriam-Webster means :: expending or bestowing profusely. A secondary definition defines the term as: expended or produced in abundance or marked by profusion or excess.
Imagine that! God has profusely given grace to His people! He gives them grace in abundance! If you are one of His chosen people, the guilt of EVERY sin you have committed, are committing and will commit has already been laid on Christ and paid for by His death. ALREADY, as in, it is a past event that has already occurred and is already efficacious. God did this because He loves you. He does not hold back, or reluctantly save His people, all of whom are absolute wretches that deserve the same death sentence the non-elect will receive on judgment day.
The good news of the gospel is that God sent His Son to die as a substitute for His chosen people that He chose before all of creation. God loves His elect based on nothing in them good or bad, but because they are in Christ.
If you believe this gospel, then rejoice! Your sins will not be imputed to your account! You will not be found as a guilty sinner owing a wage of death on judgment day! God saves His people for His own good pleasure, for His glory, and to His praise. If you are a justified sinner, rejoice in what God has done in Christ. When you are tempted to navel gaze, look back at the cross and agree with God that all that was required of you was met in Christ, and agree with Him that He is just in forgiving you BECAUSE of what was done on your behalf. As Paul says in Romans 6, reckon yourself as dead to sin! Glory in Christ! There is no room for boasting, save for boasting in Christ, there is no room to take credit, give credit to God and Christ for saving you, and find rest there. May God be glorified by the confidence with which we declare that our sins have been forgiven and that we have been imputed with an alien righteousness, not because of anything in us, but because of His wisdom and insight, revealing to us in the gospel His purpose in Christ.