Adopted Children of God
We have learned that we are blessed beyond measure. God blesses us and blesses us. We try to bless Him back (worship) but we find we can never out-bless God, so we bless other people in our journey of life. We also have learned that God blessed us by choosing us before the foundation of the world. Before creation. Before our moms and dads even knew one another. God chose us to be in Him!
As grand as this blessing is, it is still not the greatest blessing…
#1 - The greatest blessing is that GOD ADOPTED US.
“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 1:5a
There are three things about this verse that is fully amazing. The first - In love! The reason for this entire blessing is not out of a sense of obligation, but rather from a sense of love. God loved you and me before we even knew ourselves. God knew us and loved us.
The second thing about this verse that is totally amazing - and the entire main point of this sermon is the relationship that God chose for us. Adoption! Wow! Consider that you and I would have been thrilled with anything that would have got us on the inside with God. Because any relationship on the inside with God is better than being on the outside without God! We would have preferred slavery to outside. We would have preferred servanthood to outside. We would have preferred distant relative to outside.
No! God not only brought us inside but gave us to closest, most intimate relationship with Him that is possible - that of an adopted child! God loves us so much that He makes us His family! He calls us His children! Sons and daughters! That means rights and privileges. A legal binding contract that makes us children forever in His eyes and in the eyes of the rest of the universe He created. Children - with the right to speak to our Father. Children with the privilege to be with our Father.
The third thing about this verse that is totally amazing is that God predestined this relationship for you and for me. That means God made it happen. He not only foresaw that it would happen, He caused this adoption to take place. We are adopted children of God, not because we have earned it or deserved it, but because God - in His infinite love and power - made it happen!
So the question for us this morning is this: How are we living? Are we living like sons and daughters of the Most High God? Or are we living in spiritual squalor? You know it IS possible to be adopted children of God but live like you don’t even know God. God knows you and loves you and desires this beautiful relationship with you. And maybe you name yourself Christian. Maybe you have prayed to receive Christ as your Savior, yet you continue to live as if you are outside the family. God actually gives you that choice. Consider that He has blessed you with the blessing of the adopted, most-loved child… but He doesn’t force you to live the royal life. You can chose to live in spiritual rags. God knows that love cannot be forced.
Some of us walk around with a self-pitied force field that repels all of God’s blessings. God - You can love me all you want, but it’s not going to change my attitude. What a shame! The greatest love with the greatest blessing showered down from the greatest, most-high God… yet we live as if we have never known love or acceptance. It was God’s free choice to choose us as adopted and loved children. It is our free choice to become the children He wants us to be.
#2 - God adopted us FOR A PURPOSE.
“… according to the purpose of his will.” Ephesians 5b
When we read this - that God adopted us for the purpose of his will - that should make our hearts swell with hope and cheer. Why? Not for anything written here about the purpose of God’s will, but for everything written everywhere else! What do we know about the purpose of God’s will as it relates to us as His adopted children?
God’s purpose for us is good for us!
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Whatever it is that God has in mind for you and for me is good. Plans for prosperity, hope, and a future. God is a loving Father to us, His children.
God’s purpose for us is good for others.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
God not only predestined us as His children, but He also predestined the good we would do in this creation. God is good. Only makes sense that His children do good also!
God’s purpose for us will be accomplished!
“It is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” / “The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations.” Proverbs 19:21 / Psalm 33:11.
When you begin to have some inkling of the good that God wants to accomplish through you, but that good can seem so big, so impossible. Like you are just not up to the task. Remember this. This might not be about you at all! It might be all about God and what He wants to do through you. If that’s the case, be bold! Go out there and act like you can’t fail, because if God is in it, his purpose WILL prevail in you!
This is what it’s like to live as an adopted child of God. God’s purpose has found its expression in you! God’s adoption of you is good for you, good for others and God firmly stands behind you. You are a child of the King of kings and the Lord of lords! There is a richness to your royalty, not a self-serving wealth, but a wealth that makes everyone else richer!
#3 This purpose of God’s adoption is PRAISE TO GOD.
“… to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6
We have talked quite a lot about the blessings of God being so great that we try to bless Him back. But we can never quite bless Him as much as He has blessed us. This verse gets to the very inner core of the purpose of our adoption to God and how it results in His praise.
The key word in this verse is grace. …to the praise of his glorious grace. Notice Paul did not use the word mercy. We often confuse the two words. And often we live our Christian lives to the praise of his glorious mercy. That’s good too! We should praise God for His never ending mercy. God's mercy is expressed in the Bible 174 times!
His mercy to us is new every morning! Lamentation 3:22
According to His great mercy He has caused us to be born again. 1 Peter 1:3.
The Lord your God is a merciful God. Deuteronomy 4:31.
But here in Ephesians 1:6, in reference to God’s adoption of us as His children, the praise goes up to God because of “his glorious grace.” Not his mercy. “To the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
What is the difference between mercy and grace? Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. God grants both to us - His mercy and His grace. We are relieved that God has not given us the punishment we deserve for our sins (mercy). We are so thankful. So relieved. We have been pardoned. We escaped God’s wrath. That’s mercy.
But God has done so much more in His adoption of us as His children. He didn’t just pardon us from our sins and grant us mercy. He didn’t just not give us what we deserve. He also grants us grace. He gives us what we don’t deserve. He adopts us as His very own children. He brings us into His household. We live as children of the most High King!
Notice the verse defines this grace this way: “with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Who is the Beloved? It is Jesus! The only begotten Son of the Father. The Man Who came to Earth, Who lived a perfect life, Who showed us what it is like to live as a Son of God. We have been blessed in Him! His love, His sacrifice on the cross, makes it possible for us to be born anew, to be born again, to be born alive spiritually, to live as adopted sons and daughters of God! This is the glorious grace - the receiving of the greatest gift we do not deserve.
This is also the greatest praise that we can give back to God - to live as fully functioning, fully grace-filled, fully empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, children of God. To live out our lives here on Earth as the most royal blooded children of the Highest King Who ever lived, because literally Jesus’ blood flows through our veins if the Holy Spirit lives in us as sons and daughters of Deity!
So this raises the question of how we are living! Are we living to the praise of God’s glorious mercy? Just thankful we are not going to be eternally separated from God? Just happy that we dodged the bullet of sin? Or are we living a higher level of Christian life? A life to the praise of God’s glorious grace? A life filled with the great gifts of God bestowed upon us - not because we deserve it - but because God is a great Lover, a great Giver, a great Father and King Who knows how to bestow gifts that go beyond our wildest imaginations?
When we give beyond our own measure in faith counting upon God, we are praising His glorious grace.
When we forgive someone who doesn’t deserve our forgiveness, who maybe hasn’t even asked for our forgiveness, we are praising His glorious grace.
When we take a risk to live a life to bless others, who don’t know us and will never know where the blessing came from, we are praising His glorious grace.
When we put a smile on our face and warmly embrace that person that has said hurtful things about us, we are praising His glorious grace.
When we listen to the person who we completely disagree with and tell them that we can see their point of view, we are praising His glorious grace.
When we write that reply on social media telling the other person just how wrong they are and what they can do with it as far as we are concerned… and then delete our hurtful response, we are praising His glorious grace.
We are adopted children of God. That adoption changes us. God’s Holy Presence in our lives changes us. Makes us a whole lot more like Him and whole lot less like us. We have a Holy Father coming for us. We have a Holy Home provided for us. We live to praise His grace!