Monday, September 2, 2013

Ephesiians 1:6 comments: accepted in the beloved

6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Acceptance is a very important thing to us on this earth. Feelings of being unworthy of being accepted or just someone not accepting you for who you are is a great wound in some people’s hearts. God reached out to us when we were still sinners. He did not accept our sin but He did accept us into His grace and mercy because that’s just who He is.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

We have been accepted by God and if God accepts you then it doesn’t matter who else does not.  “... the glory of his grace” is referring to God the Son here, God the Father in verse 12, and the Holy Spirit in verse 14.

Christ has made us accepted in the “beloved”. He has made us accepted in the beloved by the glory of his grace. It is the nature of the Creator of the universe to accept those who seek Him, having paid the debt for their sins, and having risen for their justification. Some people would say, “well, if God is so loving and accepting why doesn’t He just accept all people no matter how they act, if they aren’t ‘too’ bad, and no matter what they believe?”

I believe that in this letter to the church at Ephesus, the Holy Spirit, through the wisdom He gave to Paul, is going to explain that very question in full.

What is sin?

1John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

What is the law that sin is a transgression of? The law is the righteous standard of God for the Hebrews revealed to Moses to give to the Hebrews when they wandered in the wilderness after being led out of Egypt. It was their civil and their religious duty, their duty to God and to their fellow Hebrew.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

To break one simple commandment of the law is to break every commandment.

James 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

No human being, other than Jesus when He walked on the earth, is capable of keeping the Law given by Moses in every point. So, we are all condemned. No one keeps the Law perfectly or ever has and as James 2:10 says to offend in one point of the Law is to be guilty of all.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Several times, God boiled it down to one or two principles for the Hebrews, the Jews, and gave those principles by His prophets. The Hebrews, like many modern Christians, thought that God demanded ritual observances and forms and vain speeches and vague promises to justify them but He made it clear what He wanted from them.

Micah 6:7  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Still, no one got it.

Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalm 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Sin separated the Hebrew and all of mankind from God.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

So, there was a wall keeping mankind from God. There was a barrier no one could or would pass over. We could no more not sin against God than a horse can be president of the United States. Just as a horse is not qualified to be president we, in our natural state, are not qualified to be in God’s presence. Humans, having the capacity to know the difference between good and evil at some point in our young adulthood or even earlier, because of that knowledge that the first humans gained by disobedience, are rejected in our natural state by a holy, righteous God. Even out best, Christian, gentlemanly or ladylike, civilized behavior is too weak a plea, too inconsistent, or nonexistent to even be considered as a substitute for obedience and will not get us fellowship with God.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

So, to you proud, self-righteous, wicked, perverse, spiritually blind fools who think of God as a fine ideal, a quaint, superstitious notion for bumpkins, or someone you wish would leave just leave you alone I point out that God came in the flesh, lived as one of us, shared in our temptations and physical struggles, died for our sins, and, this is very important to grasp, rose again from the grave.

If I give you a gift on your birthday and you refuse to open it or even to accept it the gift does you no good and it certainly isn’t my fault. People dying and their souls, the seat of their self-identity, going to a burning Hell for the balance of history and then to a lake of unquenchable fire for eternity, is not God’s “fault.” It is their own. Because, for Him to save you from this natural, human fate which results from knowing the difference between good and evil, between the God who created you and the darkness that doesn’t even comprehend Him, and choosing the darkness is your choice.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It simply involves faith in believing what He did;

Romans 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [ means non-Jew, a gentile]: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Believe what Jesus Christ has said about Himself and have eternal life.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

Or go your way to the fate of all men and women who will not believe.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Those who believe and trust in Christ are not necessarily better people than those who do not, at least by the world’s standards, although they should be and really have no excuse. They are often carnal, bigoted, worldly, fearful, superstitious, mean-spirited, Biblically ignorant, followers of men and not of God, and basically foolish as a child. But, the difference between them and the men and women of the world is that they are saved. They have no excuse for their weaknesses and their sin other than that they are prideful, Biblically ignorant, and unsubmissive to God. But, if they believe and have faith, as odious as they might be to you, as ignorant as they may seem, as childish as they might appear, and even though they may only be able to handle milk and not meat their entire lives they are going to spend eternity with Christ and be made like Him. You, on the other hand, are going to spend an eternity writhing in agony because that is what you chose.

I’m sure there are men and women who could have put this better than I did, who are more eloquent or powerful, more learned, more spiritual, more understanding, and full of wisdom but this is what I have.

I’m not trying to control you, get you to abandon all of the responsibilities God has given you as ministries except for church attendance, emotionally manipulate you, make you cry, be afraid, feel guilty for being a failure in life, a bad parent, a rotten employee, obey the speed limit,  get you to empty your wallet or purse, get you to vote for one political party or the other, make you do what I think I should do, come to the front of the church, go to the back of the church, tell you that there is only one or two acceptable ways to testify of your faith, get you to follow a man, or anything other than seeing you be saved, love the Lord, and trust Him.
 Be accepted in the beloved. How much simpler could I make it?

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