Adopted as His Children

Ephesians 1:1-2 ESV

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Who are the saints? They are those of us who are set apart by (or for) God to be holy, to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. And if we are being made to be like Jesus, then we are living holy lives pleasing to him for his glory and praise, no longer conformed to the pattern of this sinful world but transformed of the Spirit away from sin to walks of obedience to Christ.

This means that we are not people professing faith in Jesus Christ who are still doing and speaking and thinking the things that the ungodly of this world are doing, speaking, and thinking. We have been changed. Our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer live as slaves of sin but now as slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17).

And who are the faithful in Christ Jesus? They are the reliable, the trustworthy, and the believing. They are loyal to the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ – the gospel as Jesus taught it and as his New Testament apostles taught it, and not as this modern-day cheap grace gospel, which is permeating the church of today, is teaching. Thus, they are the repentant and the obedient and the submissive to Christ the Lord (Master).

For the faith required of us for salvation is not man-made. It is not created in our own minds and hearts according to our own will. This faith comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and it is divine persuasion of God as to his holiness and righteousness and as to our sinfulness and of our need to repent of our sins and to be changed in heart and mind and to now walk in holiness and righteousness in obedient faith in our Lord.

Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

What is a blessing? It is a gift. It is something that is beneficial to us, that is for our good, for our welfare. It is something that is reasonable (sensible, wise, acceptable to God), i.e. it is good (decent, upright, moral, righteous). And in this case this is talking about spiritual blessings, so they are of the Spirit of God, so they are for our spiritual benefit. They are blessings which will help us to grow in and to walk in the Spirit.

The first blessing would be our salvation. And our salvation is not just about “getting saved” so we can go to heaven when we die. Jesus died to free us from our addiction to sin so we would now be slaves of his righteousness. He died on that cross to buy us back for God so we would now honor God with our lives (with our bodies). And he died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and rose again for our salvation.

And then the Lord supplies all that we need to be able to continue in him in dying daily with him to sin and to self and in walking with him in obedience to his commands. He empowers and strengthens us, and he counsels us in the way that we should go, and he provides his written word and spiritual songs and hymns and the body of Christ to encourage us and to help us to grow in him and to walk in faithfulness to him.

And all of this goes along with God’s will for our lives. All of these blessings are to help us to be holy and blameless before him. And “holy and blameless” are not just our status because we are in Christ by faith in him, but we are to walk blamelessly (above reproach), and we are to walk in holiness in all our conduct, and to die to sin and live to God and to obey our Lord’s commands and to do his will for our lives daily.

Ephesians 1:5-6 ESV

“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

Again, same language here. We are adopted as his children according to the purpose of his will. And the purpose of his will for our lives is that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we follow him in obedience to his commands, and that we love others with his love. And it is that we do the will of God for our lives, not just his general will for all of us, but specifically what he has called us to do individually.

And all of this is to the praise of his glorious grace. And his grace, which brings salvation, is not freedom to continue living in sin only now guilt free. His grace instructs (teaches, commands, trains) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and to fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. His grace frees us from our addiction to sin so we can now live holy lives pleasing to him (Tit 2:11-14).

Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

Jesus Christ poured out his blood for us on that cross to redeem us, i.e. to buy us back for God so we would now honor God with our lives (with our bodies). Yes, if by faith in Jesus Christ we are repentant, and if we surrender our lives to him, and if we die with him to sin so we might live to him and to his righteousness, he forgives us our sins. But then he says, “Go and sin no more.” For that is the object of our salvation.

So, this isn’t “Jesus does it all and we do nothing.” Yes, we can’t even come to faith in Jesus unless God the Father draws us to Christ, and even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God. But that faith is from God and it is persuaded by God and thus it conforms to God and to his standards, according to his will. So, if we have obtained such a faith as this it will result in us dying with Christ to sin and us walking with him in obedience.

So, yes, all that we have comes from God. We can do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. He supplies all that we need. We can do nothing without him. But we still have to do what he says. Faith is action. Faith is obedience. Faith is surrender of our lives to Jesus to walk in his ways and in his truth, according to his will and purpose, but only as empowered by God and in his strength and not of our own flesh.

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

The Rock of My Heart

Lyricist: Bassford, Matthew W.; Psalm 73
Composer: Schales, Glenda Barnhart

My Lord, I need nothing beside You;
Without You, I could not have stood.
Your promise is my hope and my refuge;
Your nearness, my strength and my good.

When I was distressed and embittered,
By things I could not understand,
Your presence was continually with me;
You always took hold of my hand.

I know that Your counsel will guide me
In wisdom, devotion, and love,
And afterward You’ll call me to glory
To dwell in Your presence above.

My heart may be broken within me;
My earthly strength may depart.
But You are my portion forever,
You are the Rock of my heart.
You are the Rock of my heart.

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