THE FATHER OF OUR SALVATION – Ephesians 1:4-6
Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on February 1, 2017 under AM Bible Study |
AM Bible Study Group; February 8, 2017 from Ephesians 1:4-6
Theme: In this passage, Paul tells us about the wonderful news of the heavenly Father’s role in our salvation.
(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).
The word ‘father’ is a wonderful word. And in the way we commonly use it, it can have two very important meanings. First, and most obvious, it describes a man who begets a child and cares for that child as his own. But another common meaning is as someone who is honored and respected for having given origin to something—for being an originator. We use ‘father’ in that second way, for example when we speak of our first president as “the father of our country”.
In Ephesians 1:4-6, the apostle Paul speaks of God our Father; and in it, he presents the Father not only as the one who has embraced us as His children by faith, but also as the one who is the originator of our salvation. Our redemption is His great act toward us—an act which He purposed in His heart out of love for us. He is truly ‘the Father of our salvation’.
This passage is part of a larger section. It began in verse 3; after which Paul then goes on to describe the specific role of each Person of the Trinity in bringing about our salvation—how the Father chooses us and adopts us (vv. 4-6), how the Son redeems us and shares His inheritance with us (vv. 7-12), and how the Holy Spirit seals us and guarantees us for eternal glory (vv. 13-14). In each case, these things are done “to the praise of His glory” (vv. 6, 12, 14).
In this study, then, let’s consider the work of the Father for us; that …
I. THE FATHER CHOSE US IN CHRIST (v. 4).
A. Paul begins by declaring, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ …” (v. 3). He is still speaking of the Father of our Lord Jesus, then, when he goes on to write, “just as He [the Father] chose us in Him [our Lord Jesus] before the foundation of the world …” The word “chosen” is a translation of the Greek word eklegō; which means ‘to pick-out or select something’. Paul includes himself in this act of having been ‘chosen’. And what was it that we were chosen from out of? Paul tells us in 2:1-7. We were dead in trespasses and sins; walking with the devil along with all the other “sons of disobedience” who were led by their lusts. But even when we were dead in trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up in new life. This was not done because God looked down upon us and saw that we were unique and worthy; because we were dead in trespasses and sins. Paul is very specific in saying that the Father chose us “before the foundation of the world”. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “God certainly must have chosen me before I came into this world or He never would have done so afterwards” (cited in Harry Ironside, In The Heavenlies, p. 25). We may not understand fully why it would be that God would choose us for salvation in Christ; but that should not stop us from accepting it and praising Him for it. We shouldn’t demand and explanation—but instead, offer exaltation!
B. And look at what it was that He chose us for: “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love …” The Father did not choose us from out of our lost estate—before the foundation of the world—in order to leave us the way He found us. Rather, He choose us that we should be made “holy” (that is, truly sanctified in the way we live) and “without blame” (that is, with no guilt for sin upon us). That is a description of righteousness—a complete work. And notice that this is so that we would be holy and blameless “before Him”. Who is the ‘Him’? It’s certainly true that we are made to stand faultless and blameless before Jesus Himself (see Ephesians 5:27; Jude 24). But the context suggests that we are made to stand in righteousness before the Father—the Holy One who chose us for this! This was His initiative! We’re told that this was done “in love”; which may mean that we’re made to stand before the Father holy and blameless in love, or that—as the next verse tells us—in love He adopted us. But in either case, it’s still true—He did this in love!
II. THE FATHER ADOPTED US THROUGH CHRIST (v. 5).
A. And look at how great that love is! Paul says that the Father so chose us, “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself …” To ‘adopt’ means that a father takes a child who is not naturally his, and legally makes that child his own—just as if he had begotten that child himself—with all the rights and privileges of sonship or daughtership. And notice that the Father ‘predestined’ us for this. To ‘predestine’ simply means to ‘destinate or ordain beforehand’. This tells us—to our great joy—that our adoption wasn’t an afterthought. He purposed long ago—long before we were—that we, who were alien to Him, would be adopted “to Himself” by the work of Jesus Christ. As the apostle Peter put it, we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).
B. And why would God the Father do this? We could never find the reason for it on the basis of anything in ourselves. Rather, Paul makes it clear that it was done “according to the good pleasure of His will”. What wonderful news that is! If there was nothing in us that would make us worthy of His adoptive love, then there will never be any fault or failure in us that would cause Him to take His adoptive love away. It was all by Him “who is rich in mercy” and who acted toward us “because of His great love with which He loved us” (2:4). We are His according to His own good pleasure, dear fellow believer!—and will be His forever!
III. THE FATHER DID ALL THIS FOR THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY (v. 6).
A. And the result of this should be praise. Paul says that the Father did this for us in Christ, “to the praise of the glory of His grace …” It is so that, “in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (2:7); and so that “now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (3:10-11); and so that, as the apostle Peter put it, “you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
B. This was done by the Father’s grace. We sometimes—unworthily—believe that our salvation is based on the gracious work of God’s beloved Son Jesus, who sought to placate the anger of the Father who really, justly, wishes to judge us poor sinners. But no! It’s true that our Savior went in love for us to the cross; but it was in obedience to the will and plan of His Father, who—Himself—took the initiative of love in saving us! Our salvation is all to the praise of the grace of the Father, “by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
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When we think of the wonder of our salvation, let’s be sure that we give praise to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He sent His only begotten Son to be our Redeemer, and has adopted us through Christ as His own; and truly is—in the fullest sense—the Father of our salvation.