April 19, 2013
I came across four words in Ephesians 1:6 that greatly blessed my life. The four words are these: “…accepted in the Beloved.” In the several Bible translations and paraphrases that I have in my library (I counted 23!), only four use the term “accepted” in verse six – King James Version, New King James Version, Young’s Literal Translation, and The New English Bible. All the others translate the Greek word cha ri to’ o as grace or favor. But being accepted is all because of His grace!
But let me give you the whole sentence in the NKJV that Paul wrote in these four verses:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us
with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in
Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before Him in love, having predestinated us to adoption of sons by Jesus
Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of
the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
The idea is that in and through Jesus Christ, God has richly given us grace (undeserved favor), and by His grace He has given us several things:
• He “…has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ….” I don’t yet know all the spiritual blessings God has lavished on me, but I am learning, and the more I read my Bible, the more I understand some of those blessings. I suppose we could say that we have a part in all the blessings the Father has poured upon the Son since He returned in triumph to be seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven. I will share just one blessing, Philippians 4:19, that God has promised us through Jesus: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Contemplate this gem for awhile and see how many blessings from heaven are included in it!
• “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world….” God knows everything. He knows who will accept Him and who will not. Yet He still holds us accountable for our choice concerning His Son Jesus Christ. But He has known us for a long, long time, even from before creation! And knowing me, He knows all about me, my sins, faults, needs, strengths and weaknesses. And He still chose me! That blows my mind!
• “…that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love….” Holy (sanctified, set apart unto Him) and without blame (no sins for which to blame me). We have that in Jesus Christ as we stand before the Father. We actually wear Jesus’ righteousness – His goodness, His perfection – as a robe when we are in Him. And it is because He loves us, not because we deserve it! What we deserve is God’s judgment and condemnation! “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 – NKJV)
• “…having predestinated us to adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself….” Here is where I believe the predestination comes in. We are going to be full sons and daughters when God gets done with us – just like Jesus! John wrote in I John 3:2, that we are already His children, but “…when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” When the Lord returns and we see Him by sight and not just by faith, we will be changed into the same full sons (and daughters) as He is with the same sinless nature. In the meantime, we are in that life-long process of refinement toward that goal. When we are born by God’s Spirit, Jesus, being God’s first Son, is our Elder Brother!
• “…according to the good pleasure of His will….” We have to always remember this. It is not the pleasure of our will – what we want – but His! Jesus showed us that in the garden before He went to the cross when He prayed, “…nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 – NKJV). And I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that God’s will is always more pleasurable – more profitable – than mine, even if His way hurts sometimes!
• “…to the praise of the glory of His grace….” Remember, God’s grace is His undeserved favor. If we have experienced His grace – and you surely have, Christian – we should be praising Him and, as Paul’s sentence begins in verse 3, blessing Him! Have you taken time lately to just tell God how good He is? This, too, is a privilege He has given us.
• “…He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” It is by His grace that God accepts us. It is in the Beloved that God accepts us. Would He accept His own Son? Of course He would! And when we are in Jesus Christ (see I Corinthians 8:6) because He is in us by His Holy Spirit, then we are accepted by the Father as much as He would accept His own Son!
When you come before God next time with a request, remember this gem in Ephesians 1:6: I am “…accepted in the Beloved.” You don’t need to approach Him with fear and trembling, wondering if He will receive you and hear you. As it says in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” We can relax and live our lives with enjoyment in His presence. We are “…accepted in the Beloved.”