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He made us accepted in the Beloved

Ephesians 1:6

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand how much God loves us or accepts us as we are. Instinctively we know that God loves us, He loves everybody, doesn’t He? But how much does He love me? Does he accept me warts and all, just as I am? That’s a different question.

So let’s backtrack that bible reference in the heading a bit, and put it into context.

Ephesians 1:3–6 (NKJV)

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, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

These verses follow right after the address block and the greeting in verses 1&2, which makes these verses the first and most important thing that Paul wants to talk to the believers at Ephesus about. In fact, he goes on in the same vein for the whole first chapter. Paul is making a powerful and beautiful declaration of just what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ or as Paul puts it, to be ‘in’ Christ.

Firstly, he says that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing that heaven can supply through our relationship ‘in Christ’. Secondly, and this is the big one, that we were known and chosen by our loving heavenly father before creation. Before the world and everything in was created, He knew us, and chose us to be adopted as His own children through our relationship with Jesus. This is the will of God for each of us. This is the glory of His grace which He has lavished upon us.

The idea of God knowing us and blessing us before we were born was not a new revelation to Paul as he wrote this letter. It is a well-established theme through the Old Testament. One of the best-known references is the call of Jeremiah the prophet:-

Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

5       “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;

Before you were born I sanctified you;

I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Later in Jeremiah the prophet gives the word of the Lord to the people in exile, saying:-

Jeremiah 29:11–14 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, …

This is all despite the fact that his chosen people had rebelled against Him so many times that they had to be evicted from their land, and carried off into exile. The overwhelming truth of the scriptures is that God loves people. He wants only the very best for them as all good fathers do for their children.

How then do we become acceptable to God? By being “in Jesus Christ” to use Paul’s turn of phrase. It means having made a conscious decision to be a follower of Jesus. To commit to accepting him as your Lord and Saviour and then allowing the Holy Spirit to work in you to bit by bit, to transform you into the image of Christ. Paul writes to the Corinthians:-

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This then is what it means to be “in Christ”, a fully accepted follower of Jesus.

Bob Gass writes the last word:-

He made us accepted in the Beloved

Let these words sink into your spirit today! With full knowledge of all your faults and failings, God says you’re accepted! How wonderful! God’s kindness and His favor have been poured out on you, because you belong to Christ. Here is how it works: His life covers your sins of omission, His death covers your sins of commission, and His perfect love covers your sins of disposition. Are you getting this? You’re completely covered! You are justified, which means “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. You are accepted because of Who you belong to. Then you have the right Name, all the doors open! (See Isaiah 43:1.)

Now, that sets you free to accept yourself with all your imperfections—to be comfortable being you, and once you can do that you can begin to accept others as they are, without needing to change them. Listen: “It is God [not you] Who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13, NIV). When you begin to see “God at work” in others it relieves you of the enormous responsibility of playing God in their lives. All of us are insecure in certain areas. All of us struggle with different things, but when you can accept yourself, then you can begin to accept others, and that’s the first step toward loving them. Jesus said, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NIV).

Now for the first time, you can begin to do just that![1]

[1] Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 250.

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