Ephesians 1:1-15(HCSB)Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will:
To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. 4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. 7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. 11 We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory.13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.
In Paul’s world, adoption was ordinarily of young adult males of good character to become heirs and maintain the family name of the rich who were childless. Paul, however, proclaims God’s gracious adoption of persons of bad character to become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” Romans 8:17(HCSB)17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Justification is the basic blessing, on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing, to which justification clears the way. Adopted status belongs to all who receive Christ John 1:12(HCSB)12 But to all who did receive Him,He gave them the right to be children of God,to those who believe in His name,. The adopted status of believers means that in and through Christ God loves them as he loves his only-begotten Son and will share with them all the glory that is Christ’s. Here and now, believers are under God’s fatherly care and discipline and are directed, especially by Jesus, to live their whole lives in light of the knowledge that God is their Father in heaven. They are to pray to him as such, imitate him as such, and trust him as such, thus expressing the affectionate instinct that the Holy Spirit has implanted in them.
Adoption and regeneration accompany each other as two aspects of the salvation that Christ brings John 1:12-13(HCSB)But to all who did receive Him,He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God., but they are to be distinguished. Adoption is the bestowal of a relationship, while regeneration is the transformation of our moral nature. Yet the link is evident; God wants his children, whom he loves, to bear his character, and takes action accordingly.
First adoption is “from Him”—from God. “In love he predestined us for adoption.”Ephesians 1:4-5(HCSB)4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,
So adoption was part of a God’s plan. It was his idea, his purpose. It was not an afterthought. He didn’t discover one day that against his plan and foreknowledge humans had sinned and orphaned themselves in the world, and then come up with the idea of adopting them into his family. No, Paul says, he predestined adoption. He planned it. The misguided but popular concept that all people are children of God and can truthfully call Him “Abba Father” is simply not true. Just as children do not choose to be adopted or choose who will adopt them, neither do Christians choose to become children of God. Instead, God chooses them. He predestines them “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”, having been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world”
And if we ask when this predestination happened, verse 4 makes that plain: “He chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless in His sight.” Before the creation of the world, and before we existed, God looked on us in our need, and he looked upon his Son crucified and risen as the all sufficient atonement for our sin, and because of that he chose us to be holy and blameless. And to that end he “predestined us for adoption.” It happened before the creation of the world.
So the first thing you need to know about your adoption into God’s family through Christ is that God chose you and predestined you in love for adoption before the foundation of the world. God’s love for you and its expression in your adoption into his eternal family of joy did not start in this world. It reaches back to eternity. So when Paul says, “From him are all things” Romans 11:36(ESV)36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen., he includes our adoption, and means that before the foundation of the world he predestined you to be his child.
Why were we chosen or selected? As in 1 John 3:1-3(HCSB)1 Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. 2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. Paul expects that the children of God will bear an undeniable resemblance to one whom they claim as their spiritual parent. That resemblance a parent primarily in the sphere of conduct, in the way the child lives out the responsibility of the family. We are predestined for sonship to bear the family likeness.
The difference between predestination, which is mentioned in verse 5, and election (or choosing) which is mentioned in verse 4, is that election refers to God’s freedom in choosing whom he will predestine. Predestination refers to the goal or destiny for which he chose them. Election is God’s choosing whom he will, and predestination is God’s determination that they will become his children.
When God chose you, he had a purpose, and so he predestined that purpose to come about, namely, that you would become a child of God. That you would be part of his family. That you would become an heir of all that God owns. That you would take on the family likeness. We are destined to take on the character of God our Father, the character of holiness and blamelessness.
Therefore your adoption is not based on your fitness, your worth, or your character. It is rooted in God’s eternal purpose and grace. And that means that your adoption is not fragile or flimsy or uncertain. God will not adopt and then find out that you are not worthy and unadopt you. He knows we are unworthy. And he chose us and predestined us for adoption. This is firm and sure and unshakable. He reached down when we were at our worst to make us sons and daughters.
Before the foundation of the world God saw that we would be sinners and planned the death of his Son so that our sins could be forgiven and God’s wrath removed. Through that we were adopted.We were not cute little orphans that God was attracted to; we enemies in rebellion against God.
That is who God decided before the foundation of the world to adopt. Romans 5:6(HCSB)6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. Our adoption is not fragile or flimsy or uncertain. God will not adopt and then find out that you are not worthy and unadopt you. He knows we are unworthy. Romans 5:10(ESV) “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” And he chose us and predestined us for adoption. This is firm and sure and unshakable. He reached down when we were at our worst to make us sons and daughters.
So our adoption is not based on our being worthy or cute or attractive. It is based on the free and sovereign grace of God planned before the world and bought for us by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 1:13-14(HCSB)13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.
One of the biggest misconceptions of Reformed Theology is that Reformed(Calvinist) do not put a priority on evangelism or missions, which is a big misconception. Reformed Christians put a huge emphasis on spreading the Gospel. The only hope we have at Evangelism is the Holy Spirit working in the person. God chose evangelism as the tool to bring the elect into the sheepfold. John 10:16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. Here are a few reasons why.
1. God commands us to do so. “We should remember that the gospel is preached not only by the command of Christ but at his urging and leading.”
Matthew 28:18-20(HCSB)18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of[a] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2. We want to glorify God. True Christians yearn to extend God’s truth everywhere so that “God may be glorified.”
3. We want to please God. Calvin writes, “It is a sacrifice well-pleasing to God to advance the spread of the gospel.”
4. We have a duty to God. “It is very just that we should labor… to further the progress of the gospel,” Calvin says. He adds, “It is our duty to proclaim the goodness of God to every nation.”
5. We have a duty to our fellow sinners. Our compassion should be intensified by knowing that “God cannot be sincerely called upon by others than those to whom, through the preaching of the gospel, his kindness and gentle dealings have become known.” Romans 10:11-15 (ESV)How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
6. We are grateful to God. We owe it to God to strive for the salvation of others; if we do not, we are behaving in a contradictory manner. Calvin says, “Nothing could be more inconsistent concerning the nature of faith than that deadness which would lead a man to disregard his brethren, and to keep the light of knowledge… in his own breast.”
Love God Love People, and it is not the worldly love, it is gospel love, You are a sinner going to Hell and you need Jesus. and that my friends is compassion.
Once we are adopted(Regenerated, justified, saved, covered in the blood of Christ) our identities are no longer what they used to be. We have new identities, our identity is no long, who we are,where we are from, what we did in the past. Our identity is now in the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. We are no longer citizens of the world but apart from it. We understand that we are a part of a heavenly, God-ruled kingdom. Things of the earth no longer draw us. We don’t fear or over-emphasize suffering on earth or the trials we face, nor do we place importance on things the world values. Even our bodies and our actions reflect that our minds are no longer conformed to the world but are now instruments of righteousness to God. And our new kingdom perspective means we understand that our enemy is not the people around us but the spiritual forces that endeavor to keep the people from knowing God. We are ambassadors of Christ, aliens in this world, set apart to be holy, we are now in the sanctification process.
Our identity in Christ is first and foremost one of newness. We are new creations in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17(HCSB)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Identity is defined as “the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known,” so our new identity in Christ should be recognizable both to ourselves and to others. If we are “in Christ,” that should be evident, just as being “in the world” is equally evident. A further definition of identity is “the quality or condition of being the same as something else.” In the case of our identity in Christ, our lives should indicate that we are the same as Christ. The name “Christians” means literally “followers of Christ.”
In our new identity in Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, Romans 6:(HCSB)6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. What is sin’s claim? Death, Romans 6:23(HCSB)23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sin not necessarily results in physical death right away.Romans 6:23 is not telling us that when we sin we will physically die immediately, it is referring to spiritual death. When we are saved in Christ, we are rescued from final spiritual death and brought into eternal spiritual life with Him.We are no longer slaves to sin, but we are reconciled to God Romans 5:10(HCSB)10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! This new identity completely changes our relationship with God and our families, just as it changes the way we see the world. Our new identity in Christ means we have the same relationship with God that Christ has—we are His children. God has adopted us as sons. We are able to call Him “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15–17(HCSB)15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. This relationship is even stronger than those we have with our earthly families. (Matthew 10:35–37(HCSB)35 For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.37 The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Also instead of fearing God as judge, we have the great privilege of coming to Him as our Father. We can approach Him with confidence and ask of Him what we need.
Hebrews 4:16(HCSB)16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
We can ask for His guidance and wisdom and know that nothing will take us from Him Romans 8:38–39(HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers,things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! We also rest in His authority and respond to Him with trusting obedience, knowing that obedience is a key part of remaining close to Him
John 14:23(HCSB)23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
One of the greatest blessings about our identity in Christ is the grace we’re given in order to grow into the spiritual maturity that truly reflects our new identity. Our lives in light of our identity in Christ are filled with a heavenly Father, a large, loving family, and the understanding that we are citizens of another kingdom and not of this earth.
Adoption is a grace beyond and above justification. In justification, God acquits sinners of all the charges against them. Indeed, he goes further still and declares that in Christ their righteousness meets the highest possible standards. They are as righteous as Christ himself 2 Corinthians 5:21(ESV)21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. There is not a stain on their characters. We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.
At this point, in normal human systems of justice, the accused is then simply free to go, and both he and the judge hope they will never see each other again. But the divine judge not only acquits. He invites the sinner home — and not just for an evening. He adopts us as his own forever, tells us we are to call him “Father,” and pronounces us lawful heirs to all he is and to all that he has.
Paul is the only New Testament writer who uses the term adoption, but he is not the only one who speaks of believers being God’s children. John also highlights it, particularly in 1 John 3:1(ESV)See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. “See,” he exclaims, “what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Yet while they speak of the same subject, the two apostles use different language.
Change in Status
The word adoption, like the word justification, refers not to a change in our disposition and character, but to a change on our status. It speaks of a revolution in our relationship with God. As unbelieving sinners, we were utterly alienated from him: total outsiders, as far as his family was concerned. Now we belong, and by using the term adoption, Paul is using formal legal language to remind us that our membership of our new family is absolutely secure. It can never be undone.He is committed to us. He has given us His name.
Divine adoption, then, secures what no human adoption can secure. It is always accompanied by a radical and total transformation at the very core of our being. Not only do we have a new status, we are new people Ephesians 4:24(HCSB)24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. Should we, then, just sit back passively and let grace do its work? Indeed, the spirit that God has implanted in us won’t let us sit back, nor will the hope that God has given us. The assurance that our destiny is to be “like him” compels us to set about purifying ourselves, and to do so with the utmost strictness, satisfied with nothing less than to be as pure as God himself (1 John 3:3).
While we may be sure that adoption gives God immense satisfaction, he never adopts in order to meet some need of his own. He adopts us because he loves us, not because he needs us.And far from exploiting us and subjecting us to a life of hard work, he showers upon us every spiritual blessing and fills our lives with the melody of joy and salvation.
God adopted us in our unworthiness to make his grace look great. You were adopted for the praise of the glory of his grace. God’s action in adopting us is radically God-centered and God-exalting. I know that many hear this and think it is not loving. How can God’s seeking to exalt himself be loving? The answer is that the glory of God is what we were made to see and enjoy for all eternity. Nothing else will satisfy our souls. Therefore if God does not exalt himself for us to admire and enjoy, then he is unloving. That is, he does not give us what we need.
We are adopted by God not so that we will rejoice that God made much of us. We are adopted by God so that we will enjoy making much of God’s grace as our Father forever. We are adopted so that in this family the Father and the unique elder Son, Jesus Christ, will be the source and focus of all our joy. We are adopted “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” It will take an eternity for the glory of that grace to be fully displayed for finite people. Therefore, we will be increasingly happy in God for ever and ever. That is the final meaning of adoption.