“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—“ (Ephesians 1:4-5)

 

The following illustration really struck me.  It is by Pastor Mark Cares, www.truthinloveministry.net.  He writes:

I like to tell story of little Orphan Andy.  Andy lived in an orphanage. His greatest desire was to be adopted and become part of a family.  This is what he thought about every night before he went to sleep.  One day a couple came to the orphanage and told Andy that they were thinking of adopting him but they wanted to take him home for a month to see how it would work out.  After the month was up they would decide if they would adopt him.  Andy went home with them and tried to be on his best behavior but every night he couldn’t help but wonder if he was good enough.  Talk about a stress filled month!  Let’s say however that this couple, instead of waiting for a month to make a decision, had come to the orphanage and told Andy that they had already adopted him.  The papers were signed.  He was their son.  Imagine the joy Andy would feel.  Imagine how he would show his gratitude by trying to be the best he could be.  He would act even better than in the first scenario because he wouldn’t have the pressure of having to work to be accepted.

Many people are under tremendous stress wondering if they are ‘good enough’ to be acceptable to God.  Some days, when they’ve been having a good stretch of reading their Bibles, going to church and/or doing certain good deeds for the Lord, they feel that God is pleased with them.  But other days, their sin convicts them and they feel like God wants nothing to do with them.  What a roller-coaster, and what a burden! 

The truth is, none of us can ever behave well enough to earn God’s favor.  As Christians, we are like Andy in the second scenario.  We try to please God, yes.  However, we do this not to become accepted by God but rather because we know that God has already accepted us through Jesus.  The Bible tells us that we are already his adopted sons and daughters through Christ (Eph. 1:4-5). 

This may seem like a subtle distinction, but make no mistake.  This difference in our understanding of God’s love and Christ’s salvation is transformational in how we live, love and behave.  As we understand that we have God’s love and favor regardless of what we do, we are filled with an inexplicable joy, peace and contentment.  And as we realize that we are God’s sons and daughters and bear His Holy Name, we are motivated to love and serve the Lord out of gratitude, not compulsion.  My prayer is that you experience God’s gift of grace for yourself.

Connecting People to Jesus,
Pastor Augie