ACCEPTED INTO THE BELOVED – Ephesians 1:7-12
Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on February 8, 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 how God the Father brought about our full salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).
We have been studying together from the wonderful unit of scripture we find in Ephesians 1:4-14—a passage in which we are taught about the work of each Person of the Trinity in bringing about and securing our salvation. And as we saw in our last study, this begins with the work of God the Father. We saw that our salvation is the great, loving initiative of the Father; who has chosen us for Himself (v. 4), and adopted us as His children (v. 5), and has done all this for the praise of His glorious grace (v. 6).
But it’s important to know how the Father did this. And that leads us to the work of the Second Person of the Trinity on our behalf. As verse 6 tells us; God the Father has made us “accepted in the Beloved”—that is, our Lord Jesus Christ. He chose us in Jesus before the foundation of the world (v. 4), and adopted us by Himself by Jesus according to His good pleasure (v. 5). All that the Father has accomplished for us is through His Son Jesus Christ.
And so; as Paul goes on in this passage, He tells us more of what the Father has accomplished for us in Christ. And what wonderful things they are! They make us unspeakably rich in every blessing in heavenly places!
* * * * * * * * * * *
Note that …
I. IN JESUS, WE HAVE REDEMPTION FROM SIN (vv. 7-8).
A. Paul writes that, “In Him”, that is, “in the Beloved”—who the Father Himself called “My beloved Son” (Matthew 4:17)—“we have redemption through His blood …” (v. 7a). The word for “redemption” here (apolutrōsis; made from the Greek word apo [away from] and lutrōsis [to be free]) speaks of being completely set free from something. We have been loosed away from the judgment-price for our sins before a holy God. Now; such a redemption would be expensive indeed! None of us could possibly pay the price for our own redemption in such a way as to have a relationship with God, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And yet, that was the very wage that was paid for us on our behalf—through the blood of God’s sinless Son Jesus!
B. To assure us that we truly have been redeemed, Paul puts it in another way; calling it “the forgiveness of sins …” (v. 7b)—or literally, “trespasses”. A ‘trespass’ is when we put our foot over the line and step into one of God’s moral ‘no trespassing’ zones. But in Christ, all of our moral trespasses are forgiven and are taken away from our record. And note that Paul says this is done “according to the riches of His grace”. You may think that your sins—the trespasses on your record—are too great to ever be forgivable. But note that we’re told that God doesn’t just forgive us from ‘out of’ His grace; but rather ‘according to’ His grace. And how great is His grace? It is infinite and exceeds our sin; for “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20); and “as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11). In the grace of God, we could never have sinned more than what the blood of Jesus could atone for.
C. And we need never fear that the immeasurable forgiveness of God through the blood of Jesus is ‘reckless’ and untrue to Himself. Paul tells us that God forgives us according to His grace, “which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (v. 8). He takes all things into account—so much so, in fact, that when the full story of His saving grace through Jesus toward us is told, we will say, with Paul,
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33).
* * * * * * * * * * *
Note also that …
II. IN JESUS, WE ARE BROUGHT TOGETHER AS ONE (vv. 9-10).
A. Paul says that God has done this for us “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself” (v. 9). The Father has a “will”—a divine purpose and plan. People often speak of the missio Dei; and truly, here it is! It is a will that did not result from any compulsion that was placed upon God; but rather is something that He purposed in Himself to do—“according to His own good pleasure”. It was something not known in former times; but rather, was a “mystery” that has now been revealed. It is something that, in fact, could not have been known in any way unless God Himself graciously revealed it (see also Ephesians 3:3-6, 9-10).
B. And what is this great “will”? It’s “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” (v. 10). That “dispensation”—that is, that divine administration of things—is not yet in operation. It comes at the time when Jesus returns in glory. But as Paul puts it in Colossians 1:19-20,
… it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:19-20).
C. Although this is something fulfilled in the dispensation of the fullness of time (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-28), it is something that we experience in part even now. Through Jesus, God has brought together the two most divided groups in all of humanity—Jews and Gentiles, and brings them both into reconciliation with Himself. As Paul puts it in Ephesians 2:14-18;
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:24-28).
* * * * * * * * * * *
Third, notice that …
III. IN JESUS, WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE (v. 11).
A. Paul goes on to tell us, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance …” (v. 11). When God saved us, He so drew us to Himself that He adopted us in Christ. Now, we are His own sons and daughters; and along with our adoption comes all the rights and privileges of sonship and daughtership. Among those rights and privileges is an “inheritance”—a full share in the eternal riches that He gives to His Son Jesus. In fact, it couldn’t be said that we were fully saved in Jesus if we didn’t then also—by God’s grace—receive a full share of the eternal inheritance with Jesus in heavenly glory. As the apostle Peter puts it;
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).
B. It almost seems too much believe, because we feel so unworthy of such an inheritance. But in the end, our possession of it is not based on our worth, but based on the grace of God expressed in the good pleasure of His will before time. We are made by the Father to be heirs with Jesus, as Paul says in verse 11, “being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will …” As Paul said elsewhere,
… all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:28).
* * * * * * * * * * *
And let’s remember God’s purpose in doing all this for us. It’s that …
IV. IN JESUS, WE WILL BE TO THE PRAISE OF GOD’S GLORY (v. 12).
A. Just as Paul says is true with respect of the work of the Father (v. 6) and also of the Holy Spirit (v. 14), our salvation through the work of Jesus is ultimately to the glory of God. It’s “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (v. 12). It’s not just that God would receive the glory; but that we ourselves will be to His glory!
B. Note that this great work—through which God is glorified—is not in any way apart from our involvement. We are destined for heavenly glory in Christ; but it is only to us “who first trusted in Christ”—or, as it can be translated—“who hoped in Christ beforehand”. All that the Father has done to make us acceptable to Himself is done through His Son Jesus Christ; AND all that we are to do in response to what He has done for us is only done by us through faith in Jesus Christ. Truly, “to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21).