Thursday March 28, 2019
EPH 1:3 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,
EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love
EPH 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
EPH 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
The connection of “in love” with the thought of being holy and blameless before Him or with “He predestined us” is debated. It’s not a crucial matter since both are true doctrines. God has done everything for us in love. Yet, it seems more probably that Paul meant it to modify God’s predestination of us.
God elected us to be holy and blameless and in love He predestined us to [with a view to] adoption as sons.
The preposition eis means “into, to, or towards” and since adoption is not a location but a spiritual position, we would say that He predestined us with a view to adoption. Simply put, every believer has been predestined before the foundation of the world to be a son or daughter in the family of God.
En agape proorisas [aorist active participle] hemas = in love He predestined us.
Hemas, the first-person plural pronoun means you and I and all who have believed in Christ as their Savior. The same mystery of God’s sovereign will and our free-will applies here as it does to election. God predestined you to be adopted as His son or daughter (masculine noun refers to both genders), yet your salvation to sonship was by means of your own faith in the gospel. Remember that God is not in time, He is not chronological, waiting for things to happen, though He entered time and became finite and chronological when He became a Man. Before the foundation of the earth and the moment you believed would, in some way we couldn’t understand, both have been present time to Him.
It is lovely to know that I am a son forever. So, while the messages of the past several months have been very challenging to the diligence and determination that we have in faith to be holy and blameless, the rest of knowing something permanent and wonderful about our position is now given. No matter what happens or what you do, you are, and will always be a son or daughter in the eternal family of God, with God the Father as your Father.
JOH 8:34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.
We were all born slaves of sin, which is evidenced by the fact that we all sin.
JOH 8:35 "And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.
He doesn’t say that the son is sinless, but just that he is a son. The slave, unredeemed slave, does not remain in the house forever, but the son, redeemed and adopted, does.
JOH 8:36 "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
So, we ask, “Well, which is it? Relaxing in my position or pressing on to the upward call in my condition?” That’s kind of like asking which blade of the pair of scissors you are using is doing the cutting. Both are true. You can’t have one without the other.
Christ said “Pick up your cross and follow Me.” That sounds hard. He also said, “My yoke is easy, and My burden light.” That sounds easy. Both are true.
But make no mistake, God says you must give Him your whole self. He didn’t just adopt part of you. You are to be His son in all respects.
Giving God your whole person is easier than what many try to do, which is maintaining their own will while at the same time trying to be good.
We are sons of God. We might as well get on with it and give it all over.
GAL 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
GAL 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “The ordinary idea which we all have before we become Christians is this. We take as starting point our ordinary self with its various desires and interests. We then admit that something else - call it morality or decent behavior, or the good of society - has its claims on this self: claims which interfere with its own desires. … In fact, we are very like an honest man paying his taxes. He pays them all right, but he does hope that there will be enough left over for him to live on. Because we are taking our natural self as the starting point.”
When we take our old selves as the starting point and not our new natures as sons, we seek to be good while holding on to our old selves as our true selves. This will cause you to either give up, or becoming a do-gooder in a discontented way.
Lewis continues: “As long as we are thinking this way, one or other of two results are likely to follow. Either we give up trying to be good, or else we become very unhappy indeed. For, make no mistake: if you are really going to try to meet all the demands made on the natural self, it will not have enough left over to live on. The more you obey your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you. And your natural self, which is thus being starved and hampered and worried at every turn, will get angrier and angrier. In the end, you will either give up trying to be good, or else become one of those people who, as they say, “live for others” but always in a discontented, grumbling way - always wondering why the others do not notice it more and always making a martyr of yourself. And once you have become that you will be a far greater pest to anyone who has to live with you than you would have been if you had remained frankly selfish.
“The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, ‘Give Me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. … Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked - the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’”
Taking the natural self as our foundation and trying to follow the commands of God is way harder than taking the new self, being a predestined, adopted son as the foundation and then giving my whole self over to the will of Christ.
We cannot remain what we call “ourselves” meaning our old selves and at the same time be good. Such are all trying to let their minds and hearts go their own way - centered on money, pleasure, ambition - and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us that we could not do.
LUK 6:39 And He also spoke a parable to them: "A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?
LUK 6:40 "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.
LUK 6:41 "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
The blind man with the log in his eye is the one who sees his natural fallen self as his real self. He’s a bad tree, or if a confused believer, sees himself as a bad tree.
LUK 6:42 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye [become a son of God], and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
LUK 6:43 "For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.
LUK 6:44 "For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.
LUK 6:45 "The good man [the son of God] out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Remember, more fruit comes from patient expectation. Think of Abram; He had a promise from God that he would have an heir and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Yet time went by, month after month, year after year with no pregnancy in Sarai. Sarai had had enough. Apparently, she fixed a limit of ten years on her waiting period.
They both despaired and concocted a plan from which came Ishmael. They created a war which continues to this day. Despite the ramifications of that decision, greater than any we make, we find how hard it is to believe in God’s perfect love and care when we are receiving no present comfort or peace; hard to believe we shall indeed be sanctified when we seem to be abandoned to sinful habit; hard to pass all through life with some pain, or some crushing trouble, or some harassing anxiety, or some unsatisfied craving.