Thought for Thursday

To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6

A Gospel preacher was speaking with a woman who told him she had tried her best to please God, but added ‘I’m afraid God will never accept me’. To her astonishment, the preacher agreed with her, saying, ‘I agree with you. He never will’. But the preacher continued, ‘No, He never will. But God has accepted His beloved Son, and if you accept Him by faith, you will find God’s acceptance which you desire!’ The words ‘accepted in the Beloved’ in our text present us with the third great spiritual blessing that is mentioned in verse 3 of Ephesians 1.

Here is what C.H. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers from a century ago, had to say about these four words: ‘Are there grander words in any language than these four? There seems to be a sacred poem in these words. To my heart, there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard.’ I can just imagine the apostle Paul, as he was led by the Spirit to pen these words, pausing in wonder and praise at their glorious significance. And so should we today, as we reflect on them. Webster’s dictionary says that to accept means to receive willingly, to regard with approval, to value, to esteem, to take pleasure in or to receive with favour. Paul is saying in essence that the Father has accepted us willingly, with approval, with value, with esteem, with delight, not because we have in any way merited His approval, but because His Beloved paid the price in full for our approval. At the moment we first trusted Christ, we received this acceptance, and this acceptance can never be withdrawn, because God has forever accepted His Son. ‘He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities’ – Isaiah 53:11.

There are two aspects of Jesus’ acceptance with His Father – Who He is and what He has done. The first is the aspect of His person, the aspect of Who He is. Luke 3:22 tells us of the voice from Heaven at the time of His baptism which declared, ‘Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased’, Of no one else who ever walked this earth could God say that. We are all sinners, failures, and in ourselves unacceptable to God. But before Jesus had ever preached one sermon, or performed one miracle, and three years before He went to Calvary, Jesus was publicly declared acceptable to His Father. When we come to the second aspect of His acceptance, His work on the cross, what He has done, we have already seen in Isaiah 53:11 God’s satisfaction with that. And after Calvary, we have the proof of His acceptance in the words of Acts 17:31: ‘Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead’.

We are accepted in the Beloved. No greater spiritual blessing can be had. -Jim MacIntosh

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