The verse numbers and chapters in the Bible are not inspired. In-depth studies often show that they start or stop at the wrong places. The transition between Ephesians 1:4-5 is one of the most contested transitions in the Bible. Verse four ends with two words, “in love.” It says, He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love….” Putting it here suggests that the ones who assigned the verse numbers thought it went with what came before the phrase and is associated with love being connected in some way with believers being “holy and blameless before Him.”  However, If the “in love” phrase goes with the following verse, we have In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” It is strongly argued by various proponents of both options. I think it belongs to both! I think the important thing to notice is that “He” is the subject in both sentences. He did the choosing, and He did the predestining!

He chose me before the foundation of the world. He chose you too. But why did he choose us? Was it because we were so good? No! Was it because of some special quality we might have over and above others? No! The Bible makes it clear that the only reason He chose us is because He loves us. This was the basis of his choice of Israel as well. Courson writes, “I love this Scripture. Moses says I want you to know the Lord didn’t select you to be His, holy, or different because you were mightier than others. No, He chose you simply because He loved you. God loves you and me, not because we are mighty, together, or have something awesome to offer. Quite the opposite, He loves us just because He loves us. Period. His love is not based upon how good I’m doing or how much you’re doing, how poorly I’m faring, or how much you’re erring. God’s love for us is honestly, truly, absolutely unconditional. And once we grasp this, we can go through our day expecting the Lord to bless us, to shower grace upon us—not because of who we are or what we’ve done but simply and solely of who He is.”[1] The only explanation we can find for God’s choosing us is that He loves us. Furthermore, He loves us because He loves us. He does not choose us, and He does not love us because we are loveable. It’s a mystery, and we must be content with that answer.

The “Predestination” Paul refers to in the last part of the verse is also based on His simple love for us. I may not understand it, but I have to accept it. God’s predestination involves our adoption as God’s children. We were not born into God’s family as the children of Abraham, but we were grafted into the family through our faith in Jesus. It might be argued that the adopted child is less loved than the natural child. But that is not the way it is with God. God is like the mother who went to be with her daughter as she delivered their first grandchild. After giving birth, the daughter said, “I don’t understand how his hair can be so dark; both my husband and I have light blond hair.” “Well, honey,” the mother began, “your daddy has black hair.” “Mom, the girl replied, “You know that doesn’t matter; I was adopted.” “Oh yes, Mom replied, “I always forget that.”

 [1] Courson, Jon. 2005. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume One: Genesis–Job. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.