Accepted in the Beloved
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto 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. Eph. 1:4-6
Here, we are reminded that in Christ we have been made accepted. This is one of the things that every human being craves. So many people go through the holiday season with deep sadness in their hearts because they feel alienated and alone. We all want to belong somewhere. We want to have relationships in which we are not judged, where we are genuinely accepted.
Paul reminds us that the believer has acceptance on a level that no earthly family or club or team or tribe can give. For the believer has first of all been accepted by God himself. He or she has been chosen by God (1:4) and predestined for adoption into the very family of God (1:5). God the Father has not just grudgingly accepted you. We all know what it is like to be included because people feel they have to include us in their group, even though they don’t want to. It is not a very enjoyable association. Instead, God has taken the initiative before you were born and chosen you to salvation. He chose you in love, and it is in this sense that “he that made us accepted in the beloved” (1:6). We need to remember that God’s choice of us is entirely of grace. It preceded our choice of him not only in time but also in terms of cause and effect. We chose him because he first chose us. His acceptance of us is therefore not dependent upon the vacillations of our souls but entirely upon the unchangeable love of God for his people. We ought to marvel at and be thankful for the goodness of God in whom we find perfect acceptance!
Not only this, but God has put his children in a family. He has created the church, where believers of every stamp can find acceptance. He has not only reconciled men and women to himself, he is also reconciling men and women to each other in the church. This is Paul’s point in 2:11-22. We love each other here because we all share in God’s love for us in Christ. God has created an institution in which we can grow spiritually and be encouraged and held accountable. The devil tries to mimic the church. But the church is the only place in which you can truly grow spiritually. And God your Father provided it for you, for your joy and blessing and good.