“having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1:5)
If God’s grace is sufficient, which it is, He will begin to communicate something so deep, so strong, so potent, so raw, so uncut – of truth, intentionality and purpose… that if we could but step into it.
If you start letting it frame you, it will devour every point of destruction, every point of confusion, or loss that has touched your life. It will just swallow up death. This is where we’re headed. Death will be swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory!
In Romans 8:1-39 is an elaboration of Ephesians 1:3 – 14. So in 12 verses, Paul takes 39 verses to enlarge and elaborate.
Colossians is very similar to Ephesians. Many bible scholars believe that Colossians may have been the first book written and that Paul may have looked upon the revelation that he was communicating, and then wrote again. He enlarged and perfected. Then he would put it in writing and probably send it to all of the churches that he had a ministry relationship with. We have the one that went to the Ephesians.
There are not as many personal salutations and greetings. It’s just truth being communicated. It’s really powerful. The first 3 chapters deal with our place and position in Christ and in what Christ has accomplished. The next three chapters deal with our relationship one to another, as a body in Christ.
Let’s look at verses 3 – 14. All 12 verses in my New King James version are only three sentences. Three sentences that take 12 verses. This is why, when read, we may want to just go on. He’s actually connecting, distributing, positioning and expanding. He’s talking from foundations to the future. He’s talking about us in our relationship to: Father, and in Christ, His plan of our relationship as one in Christ, as well as our place in the One with an inheritance in Christ. And, it just gets bigger and bigger.
But for me, I was led here because I am going into scripture and we’re practicing His presence. This is like what we were saying in the Misty Edward’s song, “If you bring your cold heart; your un-renewed mind; and you give Him time then He can come and melt you...” The first time I heard this song, I heard her singing, “and come and know me”.
So in scripture, let’s frame it. Then we can step inside of what that really means and experience it in wherever our day is, or whatever our life is currently going through. It will be placed inside of this truth.
Ephesians 1:3-6 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, 4 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, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In Paul’s opening sentence: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing the heavenly places.
Now, if this is so, it is not some “encouraging thought” that one day we will enjoy. It is a current truth that we can step inside of now.
So let’s just open this up. There are not some or more—but EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places that we have been blessed with. Every spiritual blessing.
When we are convened, identified with Christ, and experiencing Christ, we are not experiencing Jesus, Who walked in Galilee. We are experiencing Jesus, Who rose from the dead, and all that He completed in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and intercession!
In John: 1, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as the only begotten Son of God. That was a unique God/Man express image of God. When we now behold Him, and we talk about conformity (Romans 8) is that we were fore-known in Christ to be predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, the first born among many brethren.
So this is a that we are being conformed to, not the first advent. This helps us open the experience beyond what we saw of Him in His earthly ministry. Now we can also know Him in His heavenly ministry, the High Priest of our confession.
So there’s a multitude of blessings that are available to be experienced in Christ.
He chose us in Him – so now everything is going to be inside of Jesus. And all of these statements:
Father chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world. So before time began, before this world was set in order, and set in motion, He chose us in Him, that we should be holy and without blame before Him inside of love.
Holy means to be sanctified, set apart, clean, and sacred. It has the idea of being cherished, brooded over, and highly valued.
Blameless also has the idea of without blemish, it’s just faultless. It is the identical two words that we see later in Ephesians 5 when we’re being instructed as husbands to love our wives. Marriage is now being used as the best description of the relationship between Christ and His Church. That He might present to Himself without spot or wrinkle that we might be holy and without blemish before Him.
So this is then determined for us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that we would be before Him, holy and without blemish, before Him in love.
So, before means to be in front of. So, in the culmination of being known by God, the Father, it will be in love. It will be with a complete awareness that I am holy and without blame. And I will be able to receive love in Christ, holy and without blame, before God, my Father.
Now again, my point is, that this is to be experienced today. It’s to be endeavored to received, acknowledged or recognized.
So pause and think about this: Before the foundation of the world, before you and I entered the planet, before we came into faith and then “messed up”, what we came into, God had already determined that “in-Christ” it would not dismantle what Father had determined for us to come in to.
Whatever we do, inside of Christ, good, bad or indifferent, every one of His sons and daughters will be before Him: Holy and without blame inside of love!
Inside of love. I can remember coming out of a season of law and practicing the Word as though it was a formula, and trying to be holy by adhering to all that was said. I can still remember, in my bedroom, reading this. I thought that to be before Him in love felt so foreign. Because the more you try to be holy, the less holy you are. Right? Because if holy is 100% “nothing wrong”, and you decide today to stop being wrong and to “be right more”, you’re starting at 10% right and 90% wrong. We might, at best, get to about the 50-50 level and we would crack.
We would either snap or go into super-hypocrisy… and just live a hypocrite. Nobody chooses that. You’re forced to be that.
I remember hearing that and thinking, “What would it feel like to just be before you in love? You’ve chosen me to be before You inside of love, not inside of “I’m God, I saved you, now rise up and live the standard I’ve saved you for”.
It might appear to any onlooker, that on the outside, I was doing an awesome job of living for Christ. But on the inside, I was coming to the end of the 50-50 mark. I was trying to get to that 51% so I had enough shares in righteousness that my iniquity could be atoned for. If I could get to at least 51% and I had a share in the company but I couldn’t get up to 51.
So in the heavenly places, all the spiritual blessings, He chose us before time began, in Him, to be holy, without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons.
So again, if this is the point of beginning or foundation, then predestination in the Greek just simply means to set limits in advance. So here you and I are, all of us in Christ; in God’s foreknowledge, before time began, before Adam sinned, before Abraham showed up, before the flood or any of these events.
Now, all of a sudden we’re coming along and our life has now entered into the earth. We’re born of a mother, we grow up in a household, we’ve come into Christ. Inside of that experience, there have already been limitations – limits set in advance. Where you were going to be born. What country you were going to live in. And I believe those limits, what you in Romans 8 are both the good and the bad. You can’t just say “good leads you to God and bad leads you away from God.” It’s just the whole package, the whole journey. That’s why all things work together for good. They all move under the conscript of what God has set in motion. What I’m learning, for me, God never expected me to come into a new experience with Jesus, pick up a bunch of knowledge and live under it. He came into that experience knowing I would do all of that. And, in the failing of doing all that, I would come to know Christ in a whole other level or dimension. By the end of my journey, I would just have yielded everything to Him. It’s all about surrender.
Or if you want to use a scarier word, It’s all about submission. But that sounds like, “Oh no! He’s making me do what I don’t want to do.”
By the time you’re at surrender it’s like, “Please! Anything You want! I don’t want my way anymore!” It’s all about surrender. It’s all yielding, yielding, yielding. More of Him and less of me.
So then it says, having predestined us to adoption as sons. The son[s] is the mature hweehos in Greek. An adoption means set in place the mature son. So it is not adopting a little baby and bring him in your home and hope to raise him up to be like you. This is recognized maturity and placement of son-ship and joint heir-ship, with Christ, as referred to in Romans 8.
And all of this has been predestined in my standing before Him in love, holy and without blame I have been predestined to adoption as a son by Jesus Christ to Himself.
So this adoption has happened because of Jesus Christ, Because He’s the firstborn among many brethren. Not just a few – many. He’s brought the Captain of our salvation, perfect through suffering, so that we could come out from the fear of death and destruction it brings.
So, here I am now, before Father, in love as a son. And before Father, in love as a son. It then goes on to say, this was according to His good pleasure of His will. According means, “for the reason of” or this was because. According to the good pleasure of HIS will. And this all just means that this was His decision.
I had a vision of sitting before Father as He was encouraging me to stay here with Him, and I’m worrying about what might happen or not happen. And, If it doesn’t happen what might go wrong….if I do or don’t do….and He’s saying “None of it matters.” It’s because everything that He gave me in Christ, He had decided to give to me back here [before the foundation of the world]
What future are we going to have when we get to be 85 years old and we’re taking our last breath? We had better hope that it isn’t up to what we did on this earth. We sure better hope that it was all given to us in Christ. This is beyond good news. This was predestined – to adoption – as sons – by Jesus Christ – to Himself – according to the good pleasure of His will. His decision. His choice.
So, frankly if God says, “I want to love you,” you can’t stop God from loving you. He has decided, about every one of us, “I’m going to love you. You’re going to be before Me in love as My son, because I decided that.”
In Christ, it’s accomplished, it’s done – set in motion. There it is. Ok, that’s just the first sentence.
Let’s read the second sentence. In Him, now we’re speaking of Jesus, in Christ, In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace…see now we’re going to deal with all that stuff that happens while we journey through life – it’s going to address all the stuff that happened generations back and generations ahead. It’s going to address all the things that were done wrong to us and sinned against us, it’s going to address all of that because in Him we have redemption! Through His blood!
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth in Him. Second sentence.
Ok, so let’s unpack that. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. This is what addresses our life. The sum total of your life – every day, every way, every wonderful thing – your wonderful things according to scripture…are filthy rags.So it just addresses the humanity. He says, “I pulled you out of that. I placed you into My son-ship, into the second Adam, into My life-giving Spirit, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
My journey, of however long I travel through time on this planet, is in Christ, in experience of redemption and the forgiveness of sins, which is according to the riches of His grace. So this experience of redemption, forgiveness, of bailing me out and calling me free, and declaring me righteous, this whole continual experience, is according to the riches of His grace.
So there’s nothing to “do” on my part. We are not given [a small portion] which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. This grace is unlimited.
In these three sentences of these twelve verses, you will discover that there is only one thing we are asked to “do”. Of all these things…not one of them are dependent on you. This redemption by His blood and forgiveness of sin. It means a deliverance, liberation, freedom—it’s the jubilee. Its according the riches of His grace and this riches of His grace, He’s made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence. So, this experience of grace, is continually causing us to obtain redemption and forgiveness, redemption and liberty, is according to the riches of His grace. And this riches of His grace, He made to abound to us in all wisdom and prudence.
Now the word wisdom, is the word where we get the big picture, the “Sophia”. It’s like climbing on top of a mountain and figuring out where you are inside of the terrain. There is an expansiveness of grace, that when you can step inside the largeness of it, you can look at your little situation and realize that this is nothing for God.
There will be no problem, no worries, and no hurry. This is like when you first got saved, if you had enough time to cognitively mess up your life and realize that you really did get saved. The first weird experience of salvation is that you looked at all the things that had led you to get saved, that once were burdening your life down to where you needed a Savior. Then all of a sudden you look at them, in Christ as of no consequence. Didn’t that happen? “Thank You God! All of this stuff led me to You! Thank You that these things caused me to look up, and see my Savior.”
Well, why would this be any different? Why wouldn’t every time we come into the need of redemption and deliverance, we would look up and behold a whole other facet of grace? A whole other dimension of grace – we could never have understood it if we had not walked into our captivity!
We shouldn’t be offend…we must simply let it hurt. We’re not impressing God with our behavior. And our sacrifices have not caused Him to say, “Truly, here is a pure one.”
Seriously, I’m sorry. None of it matters. It’s like Paul said, “By the grace of God, I am what I am. But His grace did not prove in vain, for I labored more than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God. It’s all grace. And the joy is not how far up we got up on the totem pole of “holiness” or “righteousness”. It is the discovery of Christ that we came into!
I would want to have a hundred times of failure, so that I can discover God a hundred more times, than to have ten times of selected, controlled success. Because that leads me to look good on the outside, but on the inside I’m untouched. Where I can’t touch the inside…because I’ve got to keep the outside looking good.
So this penetration of God is one of redemption and one of deliverance. And inside of this there’s the wisdom, the large picture and also, there is prudence which is to think. It is to think brilliantly, to become genius, to see, to perceive. It’s as if all of a sudden, we can think from grace, as we can see the largeness of God from grace.
And if we can step inside of the largeness of God and grace and then see the clarity of God and grace then we will realize how blessed we are, with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. Just as He chose me before the foundation of the world, that in Christ, I should behold Him without blame, before Him in love, as He predestined me to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, which He purposed in Himself.
And this is according to the riches of His grace which He has now made to abound in me. I’m redeemed and I’m delivered, I’m redeemed and I’m delivered, I’m redeemed and I’m delivered! It is unlimited redemption and unlimited deliverance.
Now this shouldn’t make us think, “Oh, cool. I can sin on Saturday and get saved on Sunday.” It doesn’t do that, not when you taste God as He says, “Come on in. I’ve got pleasures you’ve never touched. I have thoughts that you have never considered. I have substance that you have never even felt. Come on in, come on in more.”
He knows that if He gets you in deep enough you will say, “I’m lost, I can’t get out, I don’t want to go back. Even if I have perplexity following, I’m too in.” So He knows that it’s goodness, longsuffering, forbearance that leads us into greater and greater repentance.
Think of that. Every time we encounter the goodness of God, it just makes us yield more, more. Less of me, because I’ve got more of Him. Yield, yield, yield.
So then he says, “…having made known to us the mystery of His will according to the good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”.
So now we’re about to step out of our unique place, individually that we all have, into something bigger that Father had dreamed of from the very beginning, that He made known to us – this is the mystery of His will.
This is His decision. This is what He’s doing. This is what’s happening. It’s already happened and now we just unfold it. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times – in the completion – in the summing up of all things – dispensation means the administration of time and the fullness is the completing, it’s just full. Of times is “chairos”. When all is in His administration, complete time, He might gather together in one –uniquely and clearly gather us into one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and are on earth—in Him.
So this is the New Jerusalem. This is the compacting of the people. This is the joining of us into One…..all the things of Christ into One in the fullness of time to be in Christ. In Him also, “we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to the purposed of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory in whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of you salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.
So, before Him in love, as a son,according to the riches of His grace, the praise of the glory of His grace, that has to provided me redemption and freedom, remission of sin, redemption, which He’s now abounded toward me in more and more grace, when He made me accepted.He, to the praise of the glory of His grace (verse 6) wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. This is the phrase that says, “ to the praise of the glory of His grace”.
But it’s a bunch of grace, grace, grace words. It’s like saying, “To the praise of the glory of this thing called grace, that He has made us accepted. He has graced us inside the Gracious One.” According to the riches of His grace, what this adoption was, not, “Son, you’re in the family, now go work and make a living for yourself.” No. He took us and placed us into full grace inside the gracious One. He just “pushed” us inside of Jesus. We are inside of Christ. We can not be found outside of Him! We are SO inside of Christ that He wants us to know that His plan is that He has a family that He is making into one in His Son.
But, in Him, we also have an inheritance. So, we have a very special place inside the conglomerate body of Jesus Christ in heaven and earth. We have a room with a view. We have a purpose and an intentionality. That very thing He set in motion, before the foundation of the world—to be holy, without blame, before Him in love, by adoption as sons, by His graciousness, in His grace. And summing all this up into one, even in this compacting, we have a unique given place—in Christ.
Sunday, October 5, 9 am: Mack and Cathy will share “Why pray for the peace of Jerusalem?” This is a preface for the time of prayer for the nations and it is the international day of prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.
Sunday 10:20am: Prayer for the Nations – Join us as we pray in agreement with our Father’s will. We are in dynamic shaking changing times. Father is bringing us to the desire of all nations; Jesus Christ.
Sunday 11am: I will be sharing “Jesus Christ, Our High Priest and Coming King” Understanding what Jesus is doing now and what we can expect and eagerly anticipate at His appearing.
Champion’s Monday Night Prayer concluded last week, but please continue your personal prayer for Highway 35 Conference which starts next week.