The Exceeding Riches of His Grace: Selection and Adoption (continued)
"Election": To Serve God In A Purpose (continued)
Now, if you and I in Christ, as a part of that nation, of that Jerusalem which is above, that holy city, if you and I have been called and chosen in Christ to form this body, which is symbolized as the city, to diffuse the light of grace in the ages to come to the redeemed nations in order that they shall see the full manifestation of the grace of God, which is the exceeding riches of His grace to us-ward, then you and I will have to learn the meaning of grace very deeply.
So, dear friends, while I am saying these things, I am all the time catching my own breath. I know quite well that I am involving myself in something that will be a very real test, the ground of very deep testing. And, I say this again, that because of the greatness of the vocation, which is to display the exceeding riches of His grace, not only to angels, but to the redeemed nations in the ages to come, because of that vocation, you and I will have to learn the meaning of grace in a greater depth, if it is to be displayed in its fullness. My, how you and I are going to be made to know the necessity for grace, the greatness of grace. It is all grace. May that not explain the fiery trial of which Peter speaks in connection with grace? "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you ..." (1 Peter 4:12). "Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in the heaviness, through manifold trials" (1 Peter 1:6). Why? Well, he just says there, As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10). Chosen - what grace! Grace to know it and grace to show it!
How deep is grace! If this is true, and not imagination, and not only visual ideas, but if we could see with John the nations, the redeemed nations of the earth walking in the light of what God has done in us, deriving their blessings through this vessel, if we could just see that, then we should bow and say, "Oh the depth of the riches, the unsearchable riches," how great is grace, "that in the ages to come, He might show forth the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us."
"Unto Adoption As Sons"
Well, I have taken a lot of time on only one of the five of these riches of grace, but it needs a great deal more, does it not, to explore that one realm. Perhaps, I might take another one of the exceeding riches of His grace this evening; and if we do not get further than that, it does not matter. But for the time being, let us go into the next one in Ephesians 1, at verse 5:
"Having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Chris unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."
"Foreordained us unto adoption as sons unto Himself through Jesus Christ." Now that needs breaking up,but let us just be content with this one phrase, this part of the whole scripture: "unto adoption as sons."
Selection? Adoption? Now what does that mean? Paul has more to say about that in his Letter to the Romans in chapter 8, where he is defining sonship. He is saying, These are the sons of God, that are led by the Spirit of God (v. 14). "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (v. 9). And he is explaining that it is by the Spirit that we become sons of God. Now here he goes right back and says, "Having foreordained us unto adoption." And one meaning of adoption is certainly this: that an adopted one does not stand upon the natural ground of sonship but is brought in from the outside.
As you know, this Letter to the Ephesians was written almost entirely, if not entirely, to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were brought in from the outside, they were called outsiders by the Jews, but this adoption goes far back before Israel was a people. These Gentiles existed, having been foreordained, to be brought in the the outside and made sons. "You are not sons by nature, and you are not sons, or children of God on natural grounds at all. This disposes of the whole theory that everybody by natural birth is a son of God, is a child of God. This whole theory is not true.
(continued with # 22)