Text: Ephesians 1.3-14 (Read it here.)
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1.13-14, NIV)
Who Adopted Us
Author: Matthew Killough
Well, there they were: five rambunctious puppies jumping, biting and playing with one another in the floor. My two boys could hardly contain themselves, “We get to pick one? Are you for real Dad?” Yes, I assured them I was for real and that day we would choose one of the little critters to become part of our family. I’m not certain how much it meant to the dog that we adopted him and took him with us that day, but it meant everything to the kids. Of course the first lesson we learned was to not squeeze the puppy so hard that his eyes began to bulge! I’ll be honest it was little embarrassing in the beginning.
Paul is almost embarrassing in the language he uses to describe God’s love for us that led to our adoption into HIS family. Notice some of these: has blessed us in the heavenly realms (3), he chose us to be holy and blameless (4), in love he predestined us for adoption (5), he lavished the riches of his grace on us (7), in him we were chosen (11) and we were given a deposit to guarantee our inheritance (14). That is a lot of love! That is love that is only given by the creator of the universe to his creation. It is no wonder that Paul ends this passage of encouragement by saying: “to the praise of his glory.”
As you read this passage take time to think about being chosen. Take time to think about being adopted. Take time to think about being loved by a God who loved you so much that he made plans to bless you by making you member of his family before the creation of the world. How does that make your soul feel? Can you let your guard down now? Can your mind be at peace? God’s love transforms our lives by giving us the peace and security that he intended for us to have even before he created our world. This is the God whom we serve, a God who loved us first with an embarrassing love.
In the original Greek, today’s section is actually one sentence. As you read through this sentence, what sort of statements does Paul make about being included in Christ? What does it say about God that he “chose us,” “predestined us for adoption,” and “included [us] in Christ?”
Think about groups to whom you belong or have belonged, for instance a social club or civic club. What did (or do) you have to do to become a member of these organizations? How much of the emphasis on inclusion within the group is on the existing group versus how much is on you, the one coming into the group? How does God’s selection of you relate to the way you are called into groups?
Have you ever been excluded from the “cool kids,” or from some group that you longed to be a part of? How does this exclusion cause you to act differently than you would if you knew you were a part of that group? How does knowing God has chosen you cause you to be more at peace with your life and cause you to act more in confidence, versus wishing you were a part?