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Accepted in the Beloved

(Ephesians 1:1-14)

Lesson 10 -- second quarter 2009
May 3, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

"To the saints...and to the faithful in Christ Jesus" -- is this letter for me?

Am I grateful for and pleased with "all spiritual blessings" I have received?

Does "holy and without blame" describe my status before God?

To "be to the praise of his glory" -- shall I pursue a lesser life goal?

Me? Chosen? Why?

The team captains had one question before they started taking turns selecting their softball players: "Mark, are you playin'?" Ah, such a warm glow in my head to realize they each hoped to have first choice if I were playing. (That was over two decades ago; now others get chosen first.) But why did they want to choose me? They had experienced history. They hoped that history would repeat itself. (Now they know better!)

Praise the Lord, He chooses differently! When He chose me for Himself, He did not first consider my history. He did not make His selection fervently hoping that the good I had done I would somehow be able to replicate. Nor did He figure that if I were that good then, I would certainly be an improved version of myself by now. No!

God chose me long before I existed. He chose me before Creation. Why? Because in His eternal state He saw that at some point I would accept His redemption when given the opportunity. He didn't make the decision for me, but He knew what my decision would be. So He chose me.

Does that make His choice easier to understand? Only a bit. But I do not have a problem with my limited comprehension of His choices and His ways. On the basis of His Word, I believe He has chosen me. That is enough for me.

I have been chosen; so what?

When I listened to team captains making their choices, I knew that their expectations were directly related to the order of their choices. Those times I was chosen first, I knew my captain expected a great deal from me. If, however, the captain waited to pick three or four (or eight) others first, I knew that my contributions to the team really weren't all that critical. Oh, I knew that any contribution I could make would be valuable, but I couldn't kid myself about this fact: I generated low expectations.

Not so with God!

Regardless who joined His band before us, He still chose us "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Ephesians 1:4). He chose us "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (Ephesians 1:6). Do you get it?! The Everlasting God, the Almighty Father, chose you and me with some very specific purposes in mind!

When the captain chose me for his softball team, he usually knew the position he wanted me to play. So did I. Whatever position I ended up in, the essential job description was the same: Do it faithfully to the best of your ability; don't fail your captain nor your team.

Shall I do worse for God? No! You see, my softball abilities and history made me acceptable (or otherwise) to the captains. But there is nothing in my abilities and history to recommend me to God! He is the One that brought me into favor with Himself. He made me "accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). So by His grace I shall be "holy and without blame...to the praise of the glory of his grace."

Now we need to be reminded of something else. All of this can be no more than glorious, uplifting rhetoric. Sure it's true, but until it is both liveable and lived, it is not enough.

Have you been chosen? Praise the Lord! Now go in the grace of the Lord and strive to meet His expectations. Be faithful (Revelation 17:14)!

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