Summary: 6th in series dealing with adoption in Christ.
The identity, privilege and responsibility of the Church
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
1. Specially Chosen 1:4
2. Purposefully Adopted 1:5-6
3. Freely Redeemed and Forgiven 1:7-8
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6
The basic truth of this passages has to do with God’s intention not only to chose us but to adopt as into His family as His beloved child.
J.I. Packer explains the importance of this truth.
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. "Father" is the Christian name for God.
We sent nearly a year on the wonder of the Fatherhood of God and the glory of being a child of the King of the universe so this will be a brief review.
The Concepts from the passage
Import terms and truths. “Predestined” “adoption” “good pleasure of His will” “grace”
The grammar of this passage, which is one paragraph in the original” seems to indicate an order of events. The original reads, He (God) chose (elected) us from the foundation of the world having (at some point in time before time) predestined us to adoption as sons.
I am not sure the practical difference between election and predestination to adoption.
This passage indicates that election followed predestination. The term “predestined” has to do with determining, ordaining or declaring in advance. Some apply this action of God to every detail of our life. Whatever happens has been decided in advance before it happens.
Like the guy who fell down the stairs; brushed himself off and proclaimed, “Whew! I’m sure glad that’s over.”
There is no indication of such broad application in this verse. This verse limits the predestination to the blessing of adoption. That is why I chose to label this blessing as adoption rather than predestination. The point is what we were predestined to. The passage is clear that our predestination is “to adoption as sons”. The other occurrence of this term in relation to believers has a similar focus. In fact, the Romans passage reveals a process.
For those whom He foreknew, (chose to establish a relationship with) He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (determined the ultimate outcome), so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called (moved in their heart at a point in time); and these whom He called, He also justified (justified at the moment of trust in Jesus); and these whom He justified, He also glorified (brought about an actual spiritual transformation.) Romans 8:29-30
The point made by Paul here is that God chose to adopt humans into His family and community at some time in eternity past and as sons not just in name (sons) but in nature (conformed to the image of His Son). God predetermined Sonship or adoption. Romans expands on the fact that not only the name but the nature was predestined. The following illustration helps me reconcile the interrelationship between God’s determination and my decisions.
God offers free passage on the "Good Ship Grace" whose ultimate destination (destiny) is Christlikeness. Passage is provided and paid for by God through Christ purely on the basis of grace and acceptance in time by us as we responded to the call. What we do and how we respond to God and others on the ship along the way is, for the most part, up to us. We can hunker down in our stateroom the whole way. We can refuse to explore any of the other amenities provided for the ship. We can refuse to use the dining facilities. We can even doubt the destination of the ship and worry where we will end up. We can choose to believe the enemies lies and fear getting thrown overboard or that the ship will sink because there may be a few storms along the way. The point is, the ship’s destiny was set before it left and it will arrive at Christlikeness at the appointed time whether we enjoy the security and utter ecstasy of all that God has provided along the way or not.