In love he predestined us for adoption 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 1:5-6 ESV)
In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul describes some of the many blessings that God has bestowed upon those who are in Christ. Yesterday we learned that one of these blessings is that God will wipe away all our sins and make us holy and blameless before Him.
To further expand on that, today we learn that one of God’s blessings for believers is to be adopted into His family. This is the destiny that God has planned for those who believe. Our sin separates us from God. But God has created a path of reconciliation “through Jesus Christ” [Colossians 1:21-22]. This reconciliation allows us to be adopted into His family.
Many people believe that all human beings are children of God. But this is not true. Only those who believe in the work of Christ on the cross to forgive sins are God’s children [John 1:12]. For this reason, we know that not all people on earth are worshipping the same God as we learned a few days ago. Believers are adopted “as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ”. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus [John 14:6].
Adoption was a common practice in the Roman Empire. Any child who was adopted immediately and permanently received the same rights as a child naturally born into a family. Legally there was no distinction. The same is true for born-again believers adopted into God’s family. We have all the same rights and benefits as God’s only Son, Jesus. While we won’t ever become gods, we do share all the blessings and benefits that Jesus has as God’s son.
All this is possible because of God’s “glorious grace”. The definition of grace is “unmerited favor”. None of us deserve to experience this adoption by God. None of us can earn acceptance by God. It is only by “His will” that this happens. The entire history of the universe can be summed up in one sentence: God is creating a family and He wants to adopt you into it.
All this is “to [His] praise”. God could have left us to die in our sin. Our behavior is offensive and repulsive to Him. In fact, God says that, due to our sinful behavior, it is as if we are covered in excrement [Zechariah 3:1-5]. Yet God took the initiative to cleanse us from our sin so that we can enter His presence – be adopted into His family – forever.
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