We are returning tonight to our study of the book of Ephesians.
I would like to invite you to take God’s Word and join me in Ephesians chapter 1 as we examine verses 5-6.
In our last two studies together, we looked at the salutation in verses 1-2 and the blessing in verse 3 and God’s choosing for salvation or election in verse 4. Election is one of the first spiritual blessings that we examined in Paul’s list that begins in verse 4. Tonight we are going to continue in this context as we look at the subject of adoption in verses 5-6.
As we said last time, Verses 3-14 form the first major section in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Here Paul is showing us some of those “spiritual blessings” that we have been “blessed” with according to verse 3. The first spiritual blessing is election in verse 4 and now we’re looking at the second which is adoption found in verse 5-6.
As we look at the subject of adoption as it is found in this passage, we are going to see the motive, the manner, the meaning, the means, and the mission.
Before we consider the first, let me say that verses 4-5 offer the greatest amount of controversy in the church because you have one group saying that the Bible does not teach election and predestination and another group says it does.
It doesn’t take a Bible degree to see that the Bible DOES teach the doctrine of election and predestination.
The real question is “What does the Bible teach about those two doctrines?”
We looked at the doctrine of election in our last time together so I won’t go through it again.
But let me suffice it to say that the doctrine of election is God choosing some for salvation before the creation of the world.
Steve Lawson, in his book “Foundations of Grace, A Long Line of Godly Men, Volume 1" says, “From Genesis to Revelation, God is emphatically represented in Scripture as being absolutely determinative in bestowing His mercy.
He is shown as choosing before the foundation of the world those whom He will save and then, within time, bringing it to pass.
The apostle Paul clearly announced God’s sovereign grace in man’s salvation.
He wrote that, from eternity, God chose, willed, decided, and planned to save some sinners.
To elect is to choose, and God chose who would be saved.
Paul wrote: ‘For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’
So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy’” (Rom.9:15-16).
This is to say, God decides whom He will save in order to display His glory” (30-31).
Now the doctrine of predestination “though somewhat related to election, it is not the same.
Election pictures God's choice of people to salvation.
But predestination...means that God determined ahead of time that all who would be saved would also be adopted into His family as sons” (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995).
Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments, Eph 1:5).
So as we look at verses 5-6 we are going to see that the elect were not just chosen for God but they were /predestined to adoption/.
As we do that, we begin with /the motive of adoption/ which actually begins at the end of verse 4.
I. The Motive of Adoption (v.4c)
Paul says, “In love.”
The question at the moment is, “Do the words ‘in love’ refer to what has been said in verse 4 or what follows in verse 5?”
One commentator says, “The last two words in verse 4 of the Greek text, meaning ‘in love,’ may be taken with what precedes or with what follows” (Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993).
A handbook on Paul's letter to the Ephesians).
Another commentator says, “The words in love occur without interruption between the words of verses 4 and 5 of Ephesians 1, so it is impossible to know without doubt whether Paul thought of them as modifying the words holy and blameless in his sight or he predestined us” (Liefeld, W. L. (1997).
The IVP New Testament commentary series: Eph 1:6).
Kenneth Wuest gives more clarification when he says, “The words, “in love,” are, in the a.v., construed with what has gone before, but Nestle in his Greek text punctuates so as to relate them to what follows, thus, “in love having Predestinated” (Wuest, K. S. (1997, c1984).
Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader: Eph 1:3).
If you have the AV it says “blameless before Him in love.”
If you have a NASB it reads, “In love He predestined us...”
The text of the NASB is based on a different and older set of manuscripts than the AV so I am more inclined to side with the NASB with the words “in love” referring to God’s motive in adopting us as “sons through Jesus Christ to Himself.” \\ \\
* God’s Election and Predestination is Because of His Love for Us
It is the reason /why/ He chose us and made us His /sons/.
This word “love” is the familiar word agape, which refers to a sacrificial kind of love.
This kind of love “is not an emotion but a disposition of the heart to seek the welfare and meet the needs of others” (MacArthur).
We see this term displayed beautifully in John 15:13 and Romans 5:8.
In John 15:13 Jesus defines this term for us as one laying down his life for his friends.
He says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
In Romans 5:8 He demonstrated this term by doing exactly that—laying down His life for His friends.
It says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God’s election and predestination is an act of love through Jesus Christ.
Those whom He chose and predestined to adoption as sons, He died for.
Jesus said in John 10:14-17, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
16 "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.”
The first truth we see at the end of verse 4 is /God’s election and predestination is because of His love for us/.
Notice the second truth: \\ \\
* God’s Election and Predestination is the Proof of His Love
God chose us in spite of what we would do.
Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
The word “foreknew” is the Greek word proginosko which means “to know beforehand or in advance” (GING).
This is “not a reference simply to God's omniscience—that in eternity past He knew who would come to Christ.
Rather, it speaks of a predetermined choice to set His love on us and established an intimate relationship—or His election” (MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997).
The MacArthur Study Bible).
Adam and Eve’s sin was no surprise to God, it was part of His redemptive plan. 1 Peter 1:20-21 gives us insight into this when it says, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
“In eternity past, before Adam and Eve sinned, God planned the redemption of sinners through Jesus Christ” (John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible).
He knew they were going to sin and chose them anyway.
The same is true for us.
He knew we would sin and chose us anyway.
Israel disobeyed God many times but God did not destroy them.
God said to Israel in Isa.48:8-11, “"You have not heard, you have not known.
Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously; And you have been called a rebel from birth.
9 "For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off. 10 "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 "For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.”
(See also Rom.10:21-11:5).
Why did God choose us?
When Adam and Eve Sinned why didn’t He kill them and start over?
He did do that later in Noah’s time—destroyed the entire world with a flood but saved Noah and his family.
Why didn’t He destroy Israel for their disobedience?
Why doesn’t He now destroy all of us?
The answer is simple: God chose us because He loves us
A.W. Pink said, “The apprehension of God's infinite knowledge should fill the Christian with adoration.
The whole of my life stood open to His view from the beginning.
He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed His heart upon me.
Oh, how the realization of this should bow me in wonder and worship before Him!”
says, “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
Verse 4 gives us /the motive of adoption/, notice now:
The Manner of Adoption (v.5a)
“He predestined us to adoption as sons”
Now we come to the second most controversial word found in the Bible—predestination.
A.W. Pink says of both election and predestination that “No doctrine is so detested by proud human nature as this one, which make nothing of the creature and everything of the Creator; yea, at no other point is the enmity of the carnal mind so blatantly and hotly evident” (The Doctrine of Election).
“Hodge has well remarked that, “rightly understood, this doctrine (1) exalts the majesty and absolute sovereignty of God, while it illustrates the riches of his free grace and his just displeasure with sin.
It enforces upon us the essential truth that salvation is entirely of grace.
That no one can either complain if passed over, or boast himself if saved.
It brings the inquirer to absolute self-despair and the cordial embrace of the free offer of Christ.
In the case of the believer who has the witness in himself, this doctrine at once deepens his humility and elevates his confidence to the full assurance of hope” (Outlines) [Easton, M. (1996, c1897).
Easton's Bible dictionary].
What is /The Meaning of Predestination?/