ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED Lesson Number 8 PREDESTINATED!
"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" (Ephesians 1:5-6).
Some theology forbids the use of the term "predestinated." Other schools of thought attach meanings to the term not intended by the Holy Spirit. However, the abuse of an inspired word is no reason to ignore it or strike it from our vocabulary! Our adversary the devil is aggressive to corrupt "spiritual words"--words spoken by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:13). The reason for this aggression is obvious. The Spirit of God has invested words with life--life that can invigorate and sustain the soul. This is why man "lives by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt 4:4). As Jesus said elsewhere, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63). If we allow those words to remain corrupted in our thinking, our souls will be robbed!
The word "predestinated" is calculated to increase your confidence. Properly understood, it enables you to rely upon God rather than your own feeble efforts. It is not a word that can be appropriately applied to the human will! What man determines of himself will fall to the ground. But it is not so with God! What He determines WILL be accomplished. The only question is whether of not it will be accomplished in YOU!
IT IS ALL IN CHRIST
When it comes to the salvation of God, all Divine determination is "in Christ." Further, the point of our text is not WHO is predestined but WHAT is determined. The "US" of our text are those that are "in Christ." What of those individuals? What has God determined for them? In the Son "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself." His determination is not a happy life in the world, but intimate identity with Himself! He becomes our "Father," and we become His "sons and daughters," as confirmed by our withdrawal from moral contamination (2 Cor 6:18). Every spiritual blessing is realized within that affiliation. Apart from it, there are no genuine blessings! Those that come to Christ WILL NOT be rejected (John 6:37). He is the predetermined realm of blessing! Those choosing to "abide in Him" are in the heart of God's will--His Divine determination. Dear child of God, you must throw yourself into the work of believing on the Son of God, fighting the good fight of faith (John 6:29; 1 Tim 6:12). God's determination is implemented "in Christ," and in Christ alone!
If you are "in Christ," you have been "adopted" by God. This is what He determined: that "by Jesus Christ" His desire for "many sons" would be realized. The responsibility to MAKE THIS HAPPEN belonged to Jesus. The responsibility to ACCEPT WHAT HE ACCOMPLISHED belongs to you. There is no question about the effectiveness of Christ's work. It has satisfied God, and it will surely satisfy you, if you will; embrace it. God is devoted to His sons and daughters, and will not withhold any needed resource from them. Their role in the matter is to stay within the circumference of blessing--to "abide" in Christ (John 15:4-7).
Predestination emphasizes Divine intent. It is not meant to be a substitute for human initiative. Much of the controversy that exists over this word occurs because of man's attempt to justify lack of faith and obedience. But such lack cannot be justified, and woe be to the man that represents God as bringing men to glory against their will and apart from their involvement! Those that depend upon God keeping them while they wander will have to explain why they embraced such foolishness to Adam and Eve. God made them, placed them in the Edenic paradise, and assigned responsibility to them. The record of the effect of their disobedience is recorded in God's Word. Men had better not trample over it to justify their distorted views. Do not miss the point of this text. God's intention is to adopt as sons all that are in Christ Jesus! Run, then, Run to the Son!
HOW GLORIOUS IT IS!
The glory of this truth is found in the impact it has upon the human heart when perceived. The realization of this truth prompted Paul to say, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave His life for me" (Gal. 2:20). It was what Jesus did in time past that awakened confidence in Paul. The persuasion of this gave him moral power: the ability to subdue sinful passion and live by faith. This knowledge will do no less for you!
-- TOMORROW: WE LOVE GOD --