Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace… (Ephesians 1.4-6)
I love it when Isla repeats again and again with excitement and glee, “Daddy, daddy, daddy!”
Her mother and I chose her before she was conceived when we decided to adopt a child. Our love and our desire to be parents, to be a mommy and daddy drove us. We went through all of the necessary hoops to be able to adopt a child; prescreening and applying, writing bios, reading homework, references home study, background checks, submitting financial records, so that a child would be predestined to live with us, have our surname and an inheritance from us. By the time we had been approved and placed on a waiting list there was a yet to be born child out there who had been chosen by us. By the time we had been approved and placed on the waiting list there was a yet to be born child out there who was destined for our address.
Now when I read Ephesians 1.4-6 it doesn’t seem quite so far fetched or difficult to imagine, “… even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. 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.”
Our choosing and predestining of Isla before she was even conceived by going through the process of being pre-approved to adopt a child is but a shadow of what God has done in choosing us before the foundation of the world and predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ. Our will in adopting Isla is not all that different than God’s will in adopting us. I love it when Isla repeats again and again with excitement and glee, “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” Of course Emma loves it when the refrain is mommy. In the same way God wants to be praised by those whom he has chosen and adopted.
I’m trying my best to tread lightly on a touchy subject. Predestination and election have long been contentious doctrines in the church for centuries and Ephesians 1 has been a mainstay text in the debate. I’m not writing this to argue for one side or another in that on going discussion. I would just like to point out that I now see the focus of this text being Jesus and what he’s done both before the foundation of the world and in flesh while he dwelt among us. Our life was laid bare before the adoption agency to decide whether or not we were approved to adopt a child, and thus a child would be destined to live with us and have our inheritance. The whole process of being scrutinized for approval to adopt a child is but a shadow of Jesus, “who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself…”(Philippians 2.6-7). Jesus laid himself bare in his life (pre-application process) death (application process and home study) and resurrection (approval) that approved God to adopt us as sons and daughters.
[Note From the Author: The middle school small groups have been and will be going through Ephesians 1.3-14 the next few weeks. These are some of the thoughts I’ve shared with them in helping this the text become more meaningful and rich for them.]