Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, there was some point at which you heard God’s Word, felt His prompting, and responded. This might not be an exact moment that you can pinpoint on a calendar, but the fact that there was a period of time over which this process was occurring is certain. God was working in you and you responded to His call. You became part of His family. And He sealed you.
Much like the seal of royalty in times of old, a wax emblem placed on a document so it could only be opened by the rightful recipient, God has placed His seal on us with His Holy Spirit until the right time for our inheritance. No one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29). He has guaranteed our inheritance as His sons and daughters.
Likewise, in the same way the seal of royalty showed the king’s approval of the document (his endorsement), God has stamped His endorsement on us from the time that we believed on Christ for our salvation. Rest assured. If you are a believer, you belong to the Lord and He belongs to You.
Ephesians 1:5-6 In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
God predestined us for adoption. He chose, before the world even began, to make us sons and daughters. So often we see family terminology used in the Bible to describe our relationship with God. He is our Father, we are heirs, adopted sons. We can’t choose our own family members, but God can and did choose His. If you’re in Christ, God chose you. You are His and He is yours. And He chose you with a purpose.
God’s will is that we would bring Him glory. His main purpose is not merely our redemption but that His holy name would be praised through our redemption. He wants to pour out His goodness and grace on us in Jesus Christ for His glory.
There is nothing quite like the knowledge that you’ve been chosen by God Almighty to be part of His family to carry out His purpose. But what are you going to do with that knowledge? What will you do with that feeling you get from it? He’s equipped you, so what are you doing to act on this fact?
Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
There are few doctrines within Christianity that are more controversial than that of predestination, which Paul speaks on a lot in his letter to the Ephesians. Many Christians shy away from talking about the subject, but we need not fear discussion about something that God spoke about in His Word. As John Calvin is quoted as saying, “No doctrine is more useful, as long as it is handled properly.”
As Christ followers, there are certain things we need to know about our identity. I’ve mentioned the importance of knowing that we’ve been adopted into the family of God as a result of Jesus Christ’s completed work on the cross, but there’s more to it. You did not just choose to follow Christ, you were chosen in Him. That phrase “in Him” sometimes slips by us as we ready, but it’s vital to our understanding of who we are as God’s children.
Adoption, in earthly terms, implies that a family has chosen a child that will become one of them and take on their identity. The child does not choose the parents, the parents rather choose the child. God has revealed in His Word that we have not chosen Him, He has chosen us. He chose us “in Christ,” which means we were only capable of ever being adopted because of Christ. Does this mean we didn’t have a choice in the matter?
Well, we have plenty of time to get into that as we study the rest of Ephesians, but here’s a quote to get you thinking more:
“Those who do not believe are responsible for the fact that they do not believe and will perish as a result. But those who believe, believe by the grace and mercy of God and walk in the fear of God, living holy and blameless in Christ by love.”
– Heinrich Bullinger