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Adopted and Wanted

Ephesians 1:4b-6
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (NIVUK)

All of God's blessings (powerfully good words that He will fulfil) stem from His love. He does not bribe us with nice words and then fail to keep His promises. It is wonderful to know that we have been chosen; not just to be part of His 'team' or in his 'business' but to be personally related to Him. It is even more than the privilege of being a distant relative to a famous person: it was always God's plan that Christians should have the full status, rights and affectionate closeness of being sons of God (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Ladies need not be bothered here; 'son' is not being used as a gender word but means having the legal right to inherit the Father's estate.

You may say, if I am created by Father God, then why did I need to be adopted into His family? It is simple. Like the prodigal son who left home and squandered his father's money (Luke 15:11-32), we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In the words of the prodigal, "I am no longer worthy to be called your son..." (Luke 15:19). Our adoption is therefore all the more remarkable - God has deliberately chosen to adopt children who have rebelled against Him ... and restore to them all the rights that they have abused. Indeed, to reinstate unworthy sinners is not only His purpose, but also His pleasure (Ephesians 1:9). It can only be that God loves sinful people so much that He chose to send His dearly beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our sin-substitute who was punished for us, as He died on the cross (John 3:16).

“…to the praise of His glorious grace” may seem a strange expression. God does not do wonderful things for us, to manipulate us into admiring Him: He is truly wonderful and always does what is in His character; He cannot do anything else. Whatever He does should evoke praise. Creation not only stirs us to praise, but is an expression of praise itself (Psalm 19:1; Psalm 148:1-14). When the Pharisees complained about people praising Him, He said, "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (Luke 19:40). The whole of God's domain - which is everywhere – is designed to glorify Him. The tragedy is that His finest work, the redemption of sinners through the sacrifice of Christ, draws indifference from many and derision from some. Their failure to glorify the Creator-Redeemer is enough evidence to bring sinners to judgement, when they will deeply mourn their praiseless rebellion (Revelation 1:7) and will finally admit that He was right and they were wrong. But it will be too late. Those who praise now will have nothing to fear.

Think: do you praise God now for His glorious grace? The angels are in awe of what God has done for us (Luke 15:10). Consider: His adoption is free to us, although it was very expensive for Christ. It was also so painful for both the Father and Son, as they were separated for our sake, when Jesus' body hung on the cross. Unbelievers may mock our Lord; sometimes our sense of unworthiness makes us cower away. But don't let your sense of unworthiness stop you praising God - it was because you are unworthy that He has chosen to adopt you with full family rights! Dare to praise Him today. The unworthy-feeling Christian who grasps this truth is often the best person to recommend Jesus to others.

Father God. Thank You for wanting me to be a full member of Your family, even though I am not worthy. Forgive me for not praising You as I should. Help me to look at Jesus the Saviour and away from myself so that I may give You the glory for who You are and all that You have done: and help me to tell others that You want to include them too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams