A meditation on Ephesians 1:5
At one level God is the 'Father' of all because he is the source and sustainer of all life. At this level we can say that every human being is a 'child of God'.
But at another level none of us are by nature children of God, for we have turned our backs on him and refused to display his nature in our lives. At this other level the Bible calls us 'children of wrath', 'children of disobedience' and 'children of the devil'.
Yet here, in this list of salvation blessings in Ephesians, we learn that God has 'adopted' those who believe in Jesus Christ as his 'sons'. This means that he has legally restored to us the identity and the rights of sonship. John wrote: 'to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.'
This change of relationship, this change of identity, does not come about by our own efforts; it is not something we are expected to somehow achieve for ourselves. John goes on to explain how it happens: 'children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.' This change of relationship and identity is the result of the pleasure, the purpose, the will, the decision and the regenerating work of God. More precisely, it is the result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. It is 'by him' Paul says, that 'we cry “Abba, Father.”
It is also the Spirit of God who impacts us with the certainty of this sonship: 'The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ …'
This is an amazing identity, an amazing relationship. Yet, to look at us, we are just normal human beings. More 'religious' than others, perhaps, and hopefully more loving and peaceful, but, on the outside, we simply don't look any different than we did before this amazing gift became ours, than we did before God made us his children. To look at us, no one would know.
John explains it this way: 'How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.'
Because we have this amazing relationship with God, this amazing new identity, and this amazing hope, let us, as John exhorts us, purify ourselves, just as he, our Father, is pure.
Scriptures: Ephesians 1:4; 2:3; 5:6; 1 John 3:10; John 1:12,13; 3:6-8; Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:4-6; 1 John 3:1-3.