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"In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." Eph. 1:4b-6 [NIV]
In love He predestined us - Why did the Father choose us? Because of love. Love is a decision before it is an emotion. The Father chose to express His eternal love. He did not have to do this. Within the Trinity there was perfect unity, perfect fulfillment and perfect love. There was no need in God to create or share His love with others. It was a choice. God chose to create and He chose to love. He chose the ones to whom He would reveal His love before the creation of the universe. We were chosen. As chosen ones we cannot refuse the call. We do not recognize the call until after we have come through the process of salvation - justification. But our failure to recognize it does not change the fact. This should give us confidence and joy. We are chosen by Almighty God. We are His. No one or nothing can ever change that.
to be adopted as His sons - We were chosen to be adopted. We were chosen with a purpose. God wanted us in the family of God. When we are adopted, we are taken out of one family and placed in another. By default we are all born into the abusive family of Satan. God rescued us from that horrible situation and placed us in the family of God. It is new family that we must adjust to. It has a different way of doing things, a different way of thinking and acting.
Adoption is always at the choice of the one doing the adoption. It was God's choice to adopt us. It was His choice to expand the family of God. As we enter the family of God we become His sons and daughters. We are sons of God. We have rights and responsibilities. It means we have access to all the resources of the family as it is the will of the Father to give them. There is no shortage. There can be no shortage with God. We are no longer outsiders, we are on the inside. We all know what it is like to be an outsider shut out by friends, family, churches. But not with God. We are all included. We are all on the inside, loved members of the family. Our faces are no longer pressed against the pane of glass looking at the wonderful things happening inside while the snow drifts around our bare feet. No, we are inside beside the fire laughing and eating with our family. We can never be disinherited. Once we have been adopted, it is forever.
However, we now also have the responsibility to uphold the family name. We have the responsibility to maintain the family honour, to represent it in the world the way the Father wants it represented. We are not to look out for our own best interests, but we are press the interests of our family. We are to expand our family's influence and prosperity. We are to work under the direction of our Father for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. We are to sacrifice to see them provided for. We are to prefer them above ourselves. Being part of a family is a great thing and demands our all.
through Jesus Christ - The only way this is possible is because of Jesus Christ. He did not look after His own interests, but put the desire of the Father and needs of the family of God above His own welfare. As the elder Brother He provided the way which would make all this possible. Without Jesus, we have nothing, can do nothing, are nothing. Jesus is the only Way. Any attempt to find another way, including legalism, takes glory away from Jesus. Everything we have or ever will have is through Jesus Christ.
in accordance with His pleasure and will - It was the Father's pleasure and will to adopt us as sons and daughters. He did not have to do it. There was no obligation on His part. He could have left us as hell-deserving, hell-bound rebels. He could have left us in the filth of our sin. We were more than unattractive, we were mean spirits of hate and spite actively working against everything that was good and right. We were self-indulgently slaving for a master who was seeking the ruin of everything God had made and everything God is. Yet in the greatness of the Father's love and mercy it was His pleasure to reach down and change our hearts. It was His pleasure, His delight to take a sin-destroyed person and change him into a son or daughter in the family of God. He took that person, loved him, saved him, and made him a co-heir with His own beloved and perfect Son. That the Father would do this boggles the mind. Yet He wanted to do this. It was His pleasure and His will.
to the praise of His glorious grace - All of what we have is due to the grace of God. We deserve nothing good. We deserve judgment and punishment. It is the grace of God which raises us up into His favour. We are to praise and thank God the Father for His grace. If we begin to think, that even in the smallest way, we deserved the grace of God or that God made a wise choice in choosing us, we rob God of the glory of His grace. The true beauty of His grace is seen in the fact that it is all of God. It was His will. It was His pleasure. It was His decision. I was a hopeless, helpless, undeserving rebel, but the Father, in grace, chose me. All I can do now is say, "Thank you" and live a life pleasing to God. I do not try to live a life pleasing to God to earn His favour, that also is robing God of the glory of His grace, I work at living a life pleasing to God to say "thank you," to show a changed heart, and because of the undying love I have for Him. His grace is indeed glorious. May I never do anything to rob it of its glory.
which He has freely given us - The Father's grace is freely given. There are no conditions. We do not have to "clean up" our act. We cannot work for or do anything to earn this grace. It is given freely according to His good pleasure and will. In that sense we are passive. It is something that is done to us and for us. It is only after we have been given grace that we can respond with love and obedience. Without the grace of the Father unconditionally given, we would be forever lost, searching but never finding. This grace is not given to everyone. It is given to those the Father has predestined to give it. Those who receive this grace should be forever thankful. Those who have not been given this grace are so steeped in sin that they mock at it and hate it. They don't want it. Because of our corrupt nature, no one wants this grace until after they have received it.
in the One He loves - The primary focus of the Father's love is the Son. The Son is the Loved One. All things are to the Son and in the Son. The Son is the central point of it all. If we being to think the grace of the Father is primary because He loves us, then we have missed the point. The Father loves us because He loves the Son. We are His gift to His totally loved Son. So the Father has chosen us as a gift for His Son and the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives to make us a gift the Father can be proud to give His Son. The focus is not on us at all. This is a blow to our human pride. It really is not about me. It is all about Jesus.