ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED Lesson Number 3 DIVINE DETERMINATION
God fully designed this great salvation before the world was conceived. I like the term "foundation of the world" better than "the creation of the world." The world was created as an arena for the enactment of the drama of redemption. There is no reason for the world apart from God's "eternal purpose" of the reconciliation of the world. Observe God's determination -- it has to do with you! His intent was that "we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (v. 4). This is a condition fervently desired by every child of God. To be "holy" means to have divine utility. A "blameless" state is one in which the all-seeing eye of God finds no flaw or imperfection. Do not miss this: here is the purpose that constrained the whole matter of our salvation.
THE NATURE OF SALVATION
You must not fail to see the remarkable nature of salvation. We are made "holy and without blame" before God! The acid test is not passing the scrutiny of our brethren, but the perusal of God Himself. And what is His mind as He surveys His own work within us? We are spotless before Him "in love." The NIV states it this way, "In love He predestined us . . . " The meaning is the same. The KJV emphasizes His attitude toward the adopted ones -- LOVE. The NIV underscores the causal power of His love, which determined this would come to pass. Salvation was initiated by God. His primary motivation was not our need -- although that was surely a factor. The basic impetus was His love: His "great love" (Eph. 2:4). With God, love is the expression of His Person. It is a matter of His will. God embarked on this marvelous enterprise because He wanted to. This is the "good pleasure of His will," or "His pleasure and His will" (NIV). Not only does He want to save us, He delights to do so!
THE DIVINE OBJECTIVE
The objective of the Lord was the enlargement of His family. He set out to have children, a lot of them. They could not be His children by natural birth. They would be His by "adoption:" by a legal, but effective, procedure. The process of adoption is driven by the One doing the adopting -- not the ones being adopted! Unless God desires to adopt us, adoption is not possible -- needed or not! The term "adoption" is not meant diminish the effectiveness of the sonship. It emphasizes the cause of sonship, not the effect of it. From the subjective point of view, "now we are the sons of God" (I John 3:1-2). This is an adoption recognized in heaven and realized by men. And it is based upon the predetermined will of God!
-- TOMORROW: JESUS IS NOT ASHAMED OF YOU! --