Even when we feel helpless, we can be sure of security when we rest in Jesus.
5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
I am sure when many people read the word “predestined” they groaned and braced themselves for what might be written about this. It is a very understandable reaction because there have been a lot of harsh and confusing things said and written about the biblical concept of predestination. The problems usually arise by the what-about-this-or-that-situation-or-person type of questions which lead to speculation and logical conclusions that aren’t necessarily correct.
We are wise to start our thinking with our status as sinner. It is spelled out for us in the second chapter where we read that we were once “dead in trespasses and sins.” Being dead in sin means, obviously, that we can’t do anything. It is helpful to think of Jesus’ miracles which give usually us pictures of our enslavement to sin followed by our liberation from it. We are crippled by it and need Jesus to rescue us. We are paralysed by it and need Jesus to provide the gift of movement. Blind to reality and deaf to truth are also good pictures for us. Notable in all those miracles is that those blessed by Jesus were entirely helpless in their condition and only Jesus’ goodness helped them.
Therefore, being saved by Jesus must begin with God choosing to do something for us and here we are told that “in love he predestined us for adoption.” That is, if you believe in Jesus it was God’s predestining love which began the process. There is no need to ask about anybody else or speculate about why. The reality for you, Christian, is that God chose to direct his love toward you when you surely did not deserve it.
His purpose is that you become his child by adoption. The means was through Jesus who loved you and gave himself for you in his saving work. For you, he was obedient even to death on the cross so that he could receive the wrath of God you deserve and so you could be clothed in his righteousness. This is amazing love, but we continue to want to ask questions about why he did this. We are given the answer here, it was all “according to his good pleasure and will.” Another way of expressing that is, “God wanted to do it.” That really needs to be the end of the story, the Lord goes no further, and so we cannot.
What we can do is respond to this love by expressing praise to our Lord. That is the goal as expressed in verse 6, it is “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” That is, not speculation about what God has or hasn’t done but heartfelt praise that he was pleased to adopt sinful people like us as his beloved children even at the cost of the suffering and death of Jesus.
In fact, every time we pray, we are reminded of this glorious reality. We cannot call the glorious one, “our Father” and know that he lovingly hears us apart from having been, lovingly predestined to be adopted as his children.
Prayer: Father, there are mysteries in your ways which are revealed in your word but still puzzle us. In today’s portion of your word there are many questions we have but our prayer is that we might be content with what we can understand and give all praise and glory to you. In Jesus name. Amen.
A song to listen to: Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
David Johnston Living Church – Creek Road