Friday, 1 July 2016
…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6
This verse is again a continuation of the same thought. It is a comment on the predestination and election which was referred to in the preceding words. Taken together, they read –
“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
The words “to the praise of the glory of His grace” are a Hebraism. They bear the same meaning as, “to His glorious grace.” And so Paul is indicating that praises are due because of the process of predestination and election which have been laid out in the stream of time, and in which those who participate should be forever grateful. Such praises are made because of His glorious grace. His grace, revealed in this redemptive process, is the very basis of our gratitude towards God.
To see this further revealed, we can note that first in Ephesians 1:7 “the riches of His grace” is mentioned. Afterward, in Ephesians 1:17 & 18 the focus is on the “glory.” First it mentions that He is “the Father of glory,” and then it speaks of “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
This connection between God’s glory and His grace is seen in a marvelous way in Exodus 33 when Moses spoke to the Lord –
“And he said, ‘Please, show me Your glory.’
19 Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’” Exodus 33:18, 19
In this, we find that the grace of God isn’t just a favor granted by Him. Rather it is one of His very attributes and a part of His divine nature. He is gracious just as He is love. Vincent’s Word Studies rightly states that, “In praising God for what He does, we learn to praise Him for what He is.” We praise God because of His grace bestowed upon us, and in this we understand that we praise Him because He is gracious in His very being.
And Paul goes further yet. He says that it is this grace, “by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” It is through Christ that the tie is made. God demonstrates His grace towards us, this very aspect of His nature, through the giving of Christ. Christ is the means of bestowing His unmerited favor upon the people of the world.
Calling Christ “the Beloved” shows the inseparable connection between the two. The love found in this Father/Son relationship is infinite. Therefore, in our uniting with Christ, the love relationship between God and us places us in that same infinite love. Christ becomes our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Mediator to God the Father.
As He gave up His Son for our salvation, not sparing Him, then how great a love God must have for us, the objects of His affection! This is the true demonstration of the glory of His grace. It is the reason why our praises are directed towards Him. We have been made acceptable in the Beloved, and thus our praise of what the Beloved has done for us are praises for what the Father has done in Him for us. The two are inseparably connected, and thus the praises are also inseparably connected. This is revealed in the words of John –
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:1-5
This also explains why Jesus made this claim – “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23). There can be no honor of the Father if the Son is not honored. The grace of God, shown in the Beloved, means that the praise of God either honors both or it honors neither.
Life application: Take time today to sing to the praise of God’s glorious grace. This song from Michael W. Smith, based on this verse, will help you along the way – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idbh7w1A3VY
Heavenly Father, You word shows that being gracious reflects Your very nature. As You are love, You are also gracious. And Your grace has been revealed in the Beloved, Your Son Jesus. Because of this, we cannot honor You without honoring Your Son. What He did reflects Your very nature. And so help us to cling to the cross of Christ; Your grace put on full display for the world to receive or reject. Help us to be wise enough to receive Him, and thus receive You. Amen.