ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED Lesson Number 6 GLORIOUS GRACE
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." [to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves." NIV]. God's grace is glorious; i.e., it evidences itself in undeniable and God-honoring ways. Something glorious can be comprehended in measure. It can be measurably discerned, and thus appropriated. The grace of God is like that. It can be so understood, or comprehended, that it provokes praise. It is a "glorious grace" that kindles expressions of praise among angelic hosts, and in the people of God: those "accepted in the Beloved." Some people do not like to talk about the grace of God. It does not comport with their theological stance. But that is of no matter to us. God talks about it, and so will we! The grace of God is revealed in the birth of Jesus. He was the appointed One through Whom "grace and truth" became more fully accessible to humanity (John 1:17). It is made known in His ministry as He went about "doing good . . . " (Acts 10:38). It is disclosed in His vicarious death, and declared in His overcoming resurrection. God's grace is proclaimed in the ascension of Christ to the "right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens" (Heb. 8:1). His marvelous intercession makes God's grace known. Everything about Jesus illuminates the grace of God. Christ makes grace understandable. He also makes it accessible. Without the Son of God, the grace of God could be neither comprehended nor appropriated. As simple as that may seem, Satan often manages to effectively obscure this truth in our lives. Hardly a day passes that our situation does not seem to take the preeminence over Christ's accomplishments. And, when this happens, the marvelous grace of God recedes into the background, and its power no longer is realized. Jesus died that "that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Cor 5:15). Those that have other agendas are flirting with eternal disaster!
MADE ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED
We are accepted in Christ: accepted by God Himself. The acceptance is without reservation. There are qualifications, to be sure, but there is no reluctance on the part of our Heavenly Father. Christ so thoroughly met the exacting requirements of the Father, that those in the Son are received. Hallelujah for such a blessing! I particularly like the KJV translation of Ephesians 1:6: "wherein (His grace) He has made us accepted in the Beloved." The NIV reads this way, "His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves." The RSV reads, "His glorious grace, which He freely bestows on us in the Beloved." The NEB translates it, "so graciously bestowed on us in His Beloved." The point of the proclamation is God's attitude toward us. How does He view us? Does He favor us? Does He delight in us? Are we a blessing to Him? The answer is always in the affirmative to those that are "in Christ." Divine displeasure is incurred outside of Christ, not in Him. I realize that there is the matter of chastisement. But this is not an expression of displeasure, but of divine love, for "whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth . . . " (Heb. 12:6). If God puts you through the mill, so to speak, it is because He loves you. He is refining you for heaven, and for a much larger ministry. He has high aims for you. However, you currently occupy the low grounds of a "present evil world" (Gal. 1:4). Your difficulties are equipping you to reign with Jesus! Hold in there! Those that "endure chastening," coming through the fire with a firm grip on the Lord, will not be disappointed! Afterward chastening "yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Heb 12:11, NIV). The point of this devotion is simply this. Were it not for God's acceptance of you in Christ, you would not be chastened. He would not work with you as with a son. I realize you can reject His gracious dealings, but those that do such things are fools. May you take hold of your acceptance in Christ, and draw near to God, press toward the mark, and lay hold of eternal life!
-- TOMORROW: WHAT IS BALANCED PREACHING? -- -- MONDAY: GOD LOVES US --