As a church, we are currently in a series on Ephesians entitled "Church Alive in Christ." Last Sunday, we looked at the first part of Ephesians 1, specifically verses 1-6. Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence in the Greek, but we are taking 3 weeks to break it down, as there is much rich theology in this 202-word sentence.
Paul begins verse 3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ..." This shows us that this is a long sentence of praise to God. Paul will remind us several times of that fact throughout this sentence, including in verse 6 when he states, "to the praise of his glorious grace..." Studying the depths of theology, especially of Christ and His redeeming work, should always lead His people to joyous praise!
Though there is so much in this passage, I really want to zoom in on God's loving adoption of those in Christ. Verses 4b-5 state it like this: "In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will..." The first two words of this phrase should make our hearts soar with adoration to the Lord: "In love." God did not adopt His children begrudgingly or because He owed us something. It was His unfathomable love which caused Him to give us grace and bring us to be part of His family. What joy this thought should bring!
This is true of all people, men and women, who are followers of Jesus: we are the adopted children of God. This has many implications for our lives:
This means we have a Heavenly Father who cares for us.
This means He will never abandon us, as a good Father would never do.
This means we have a new identity, not just as servants, but as sons and daughters of the King.
This also means that we have an inheritance stored up for us in heaven (as we will see again in verse 11).
This means that we are always welcome in His presence. He will never cast us aside or become grumpy when we come to Him in prayer.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg of God's fatherly love toward us.
I think one of the best places this loving adoption is portrayed is in 2 Samuel 9, when King David adopted Mephibosheth, the crippled orphan child of Jonathan. David brought Mephibosheth in, treated him as a son, and always had him dine at his table. What a beautiful picture of the gospel! This is exactly what God has done for us through Christ. He brings us into His family, treats us as He treats the Son, and we will dine at His table for all eternity! Our only response should be humble gratitude. God has chosen us to be in His presence forever, not based on any merit that we have achieved, but because of the precious blood of Jesus.
Our response should be like that of Mephibosheth's in 2 Samuel 9:8, "What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?" And then we will marvel as the Father brings us close into His bosom and speaks His tender care over us, reminding us of the beauty of the gospel and His loving adoption of us.