A Word for Today | Ephesians 1:5
Ephesians begins with Paul’s grand hymn to the grace of the Triune God, working out God’s grace to us through the sovereign work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He opens with the grace of the Father, which centers on Him ordaining the salvation of His elect. Having said in Ephesians 1:4 that God “chose us in Him,” that is, Christ, “before the foundation of the world,” Paul adds that in His love – his infinite, eternal, and omnipotent love – God “predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5).
Predestination means that God determined something in advance, in this case, our adoption as children and heirs in His family. God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless because He had predestined us to be His sons. In the ancient world, wealthy men adopted heirs to receive their wealth and status, and it is in this sense that Paul speaks of our sonship. (Ladies, here you get to be sons, just as we men get to be brides to Christ!). But while ancient men chose people because of their excellence, God predestined that those who are completely undeserving would become heirs of His glory entirely by His grace.
Adoption makes us full members of God’s family, not second-class children. It provides us all the privileges of sonship, along with its obligation of obedience. Let me list some of these privileges. First, we have a relationship with God as our Father, with open access to His presence and blessing. Second, we have God’s care and provision, materially and especially spiritually. Third, we have the privilege of God’s Fatherly discipline as He leads us out of sin and folly. Fourth, we become heirs of all our Father’s treasures and enter His glory forever. The final privilege we receive in adoption is acceptance as beloved brothers with Jesus Christ. In sin, we were a disgrace before God, having nothing in common with God’s natural-born Son. But in His love, God predestined us for adoption, and therefore Jesus took up our flesh and died for our sins to make us “holy and blameless” (Eph. 1:4), to make us fit to be His brothers.
If you are a Christian, you are a son of God by divine adoption, predestined from eternity past. The rest of our lives are therefore to be lived learning about God’s love, taking possession of the spiritual blessings that belong to us as sons and heirs, and doing God’s will as beloved children who long to please the Father. Sons go into the family business, and the chief reward of devoted children is the father’s pleasure and praise. This is what eternity holds for us who are made sons of God through Jesus Christ, and it begins now: the joy of pleasing our perfect and heavenly Father and basking in the light of His blessing and love.
In Christ’s Love,