So, after Paul tells us in chapter 1 verse 3 of the letter to the Ephesians, that God has blessed us with everything heaven has to offer, he says next that God “chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.”
One amazing thing follows another. Not only are we blessed in the company of Jesus—truly, deeply and fully blessed—but we’re chosen before the foundation of the world. And maybe that’s even more astounding. For those of us, like me, who live in relative affluence—food readily available, safe shelter, a credit card for emergencies—the notion that we’re blessed might not be that hard to imagine. We might have a stunted understanding of what blessing is, or what it’s for, but most of the time we know we have it pretty good.
But the fact that we’re chosen may be harder to know, deep down. We all have experiences of not being chosen. For a job, by a lover, for the team during recess. We all know that pain, that feeling of inadequacy.
And there are so many things that make us feel like we are not chosen, or if we are chosen that we’re in danger of losing that status. Most advertisements play on our fear of not being chosen. We are regularly made to feel that we need to acquire, achieve, and at very least maintain certain standards in order to be worthy of being chosen.
In the context where I live and work, on a university campus (the beautiful University of British Columbia, on the traditional, ancestral, and unneeded territory of the Musqueam people), sometimes that pressure to keep up, to prove one’s worth, to show that you deserve to be chosen for acceptance to the next degree program, or a dream job, or maybe as a partner or spouse can be off the charts. This is a context where your performance often directly correlates to your acceptance and success.
But the Gospel—the good news of Jesus—is that in him, God has made it clear once and for all time, that we are chosen without qualification. In Jesus, God’s love embodied, we see how far God will go to be with us. There’s nothing God won’t give just to have us. And what’s more: God chose us before we managed to do anything (before the foundation of the world). Which means, that whatever we do or have done or failed to do, good, bad, and otherwise, God sees us as eternally worthy. Nothing can change the fact that we are eternally chosen. No matter what we’ve done, or where we’ve stumbled, God is always welcoming us in, drawing us close, choosing us.
This is wildly good news. We were chosen by the One who made us, who knows us better than we know ourselves, and who loved us extravagantly, before there was work to do, marks to meet, ladders to climb, or peers to impress. We were chosen before the foundation of the world. And because God is faithful, we can know that there is nothing we can do to change that choice for us and of us.
You are chosen, and loved beyond measure. No matter what.