During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.
“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 to himself 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.” (Ephesians 1:4–6).
Here, Paul runs on with his sentence of praise regarding the blessings which come from God. He first focuses on blessings from God the Father, next the Son, and finally the Spirit. To describe the blessing which come from the Father he uses two concepts which boggle the mind, God’s choice and predestination. The Bible teaches of God’s election. The Bible also teaches of the need for a personal decision for Christ. How both are true seems bound in the wonderful mystery that is God. Humanity should burst forth in praise and worship at the wonder of God, for His ways are not our ways.
But Paul did not merely mention God’s choice and predestination with an expectation we would marvel at the words alone. No, he continued on. He is not stuck on the concepts, for he wanted to marvel more at what we are chosen for and what we are predestined to. What is the destination?
We have been chosen by the Father — before the foundation of the world — to be holy and blameless before Him.
Your holiness and blamelessness are facts to live out, not hopes to try to turn into facts. God has made them so. But notice when God saw this: before the foundaiton of the world. When one reads the account of creation in Genesis they are confronted with the question of why? God knew what man would do. He saw how death, the slow release of corruption and pain and physical death, would come upon the world through Adam’s sin. He saw the brokenness, the wars, the natural disasters, the family strife, the ethnic cleansing — all of it, He saw. So why did He go through with it?
In His love God saw holiness lost, but also holiness restored. He saw you, clean, spotless, and right before Him. He sees it in you now, if you are in Christ, but He also sees it in you in the future. He sees the glorified you. That vision enabled Him to endure the pain and heartache, even to the shedding of the blood of His own Son. This is the love of God.
We have also been predestined for adoption as God’s children.
In Paul’s day adoption meant more than taking a child into a home. He was not thinking of a minor being adopted by adult parents, but an adult servant being adopted into a family. There were times heads of household would have no heir, or reject their natural born heirs, thus necessitating the finding of an heir. Sometimes a beloved servant would be chosen, adopted by the master, to be the heir of the household. When this occured the old family rights of the servant were lost; they legally received the name of their new father. The servant would become the legal heir of the estate and old debts and records were completely wiped away; he was truly a new person, for the law considered him the son of his new father.
So adoption speaks to us of our great position in Christ. It was God’s predestined plan to adopt us. We have a new master, a new name, a new record in Christ. Our old family rights and claims evaporated at contact with the blood of Christ. We are now brand new, the heritage of God, joint heirs with Jesus. This is the plan of God.