God has chosen us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him. Yet too many of us don’t understand what it means to be holy and blameless. In this expositional study of Ephesians 1:4, Nathan Johnson examines these two concepts and discusses three aspects of what it means to be made holy and blameless IN Christ Jesus.

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Key Passage: Ephesians 1:4

Ephesians 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love …”

  • Holyidea of separation or unlike something else
    • we are to be consecrated and set apart for God’s use alone
    • a life altogether pure, upright, blameless, virtuous, holy
    • Leviticus 11:44 – “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves….” [also see: 1 Peter 1:16]
    • William Barkley [Commentary on Ephesians 1:3-4]: “In the early church, Christians never had any doubt that they must be different from the world; they, in fact, knew that they must be so different that the probability was that the world would kill them and certainly was that the world would hate them. But the tendency in the modern Church has been to play down the difference between the Church and the world. We have, in effect, often said to people: ‘As long as you live a decent, respectable life, it is quite all right to become a church member and to call yourself a Christian. You don’t need to be so very different from other people.’ [When] in fact, Christians should be easily identifiable in the world. Christ does not take us out of the world; He makes us different within the world.”
  • Blameless – without spot or blemish, faultless
    • OT concept – Leviticus 22.17-22 – every sacrificial animal had strict examinations to meet the standard of perfection. Anything less not accepted — we are called to give very best
    • 1 Peter 1:19 – “[You were redeemed] … with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
    • Ephesians 5:27 – [speaking of Jesus choosing His bride the Church] – “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
    • Colossians 1:21-22 – “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight …”
    • Hebrews 9:14 – “… how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
    • Jude 1:24 – “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless [blameless] Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy …”
    • Revelation 14:4-5 – “And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”


  1. Consecration
    • consecration: completely undefiled, separated, set apart, and unlike the world at any level—anything that taints, distracts, or defiles us at any level must be purged
    • 2 Chronicles 34:33 – Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the LORD their God. All his days they did not depart from following the LORD God of their fathers.
  2. Consumption
    • Holiness creates an intense consumption for God within our lives.
    • He is not an “add on” to our lives … He is our lives
    • Do I find myself ever increasing in my love, delight, and desire for Him?
  3. Christlikeness
    • to be holy is to be like Him
    • 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “… as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.””
    • Colossians 1:27 – “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
    • I can’t be holy apart from Christ – holiness is more than sacredness, purity, and free from defilement – it is more comprehensive – it is mainly godlikeness

In Our Next Study Together …

I invite you to join me on this journey from the book of Ephesians to discover God’s eternal purpose, His plan for your life, and learn how to practically live out an abundant and fruitful Christian life. 

  • Focus of our next study: Ephesians 1:4
  • We will examine what it means to holy and blameless “before Him” – as found in Ephesians 1:4
  • I encourage you to read through Ephesians a couple of times this week and focus specifically on the blessing section found in Ephesians 1:3-14.

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The Deeper Christian Bible Study Series

The Deeper Christian Bible Study Series in Ephesians is an in-depth verse-by-verse study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. These studies will guide you through this life-changing book of the Bible and give you practical application to help you grow in your faith, gain greater intimacy with Jesus, experience the victorious Christian life, and help you build your life around Jesus Christ. 

About NRJohnson 

NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps Christians discover and experience a passionate love for God and His Word so that they can grow in their faith, live victorious lives, share the Gospel boldly, grow in their intimacy with Jesus, and transform the world through the indwelling life of Christ.
Read more about him here.

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