In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4–6 ESV)
The word “predestined” means what it sounds like — “to decide beforehand, mark out beforehand, to determine beforehand.” God decided in advance. We noted in our last lesson that God chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Before the world was ever created, God decided that he was going to have a people for himself. Verse 5 explains this idea with a little more detail. Election shows God’s free will to decide that he was going to have a people. Predestination focuses on the fact that God determined to adopt us into his family through Jesus.
I want us to stop and think about this statement for a minute. People want to know the purpose of their lives. People want to know what we are supposed to be doing. Why are we here? God has a purpose for you and every human being before you were ever created. That purpose is to be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ. Our destiny is to enter the family of God so that we might become children of God. God created you to belong to the family in Christ. It is interesting to me that we seemed to be wired this way. There is something within us that wants to belong to something. We want to belong to family. We look to belong in school. We look to belong at work. We want to be incorporated with a group. I believe God gave us the local church so that we could belong spiritually now to something that will build us up and strengthen us. We were predestined to belong to Jesus. That is what you have been called to. God chose us to be in Christ and decided to bring us into relationship with himself through adoption. To state this another way: God determined in advance that those who are in Christ would be his people.
Paul says that we were predestined for adoption as his children. Consider the powerful image of adoption. Adoption carries so many significant truths.
First, the one adopting pays a great price. I know of many Christian families who have adopted in this country and the cost was around $10,000 after all the paperwork and legal fees. Adoption is not free. Adoption comes at a cost. The cost for our adoption to become children of God was the blood of Jesus. His blood is the means that secured our adoption. The highest price that could ever be conceived, the death of the Son of God, was what was necessary to adopted us.
Second, the one being adopted cannot will the adoption to happen. There are thousands of children who desire to be adopted. But just because they desire to be adopted does not mean they can be adopted. Children in orphanages can want to have parents, but that does not do anything. In the same way, we can desire to be children of God all that we want to, but it does not do anything. If God did not want to adopt us sinners as his children, then we could not have been adopted.
Third, adoption means you are part of a new, permanent family. There is nothing temporary about adoption. You are given all the rights and privileges of the family. It is as if you are born into the family by blood once you are adopted. God signed the adoption papers for you with the blood of Christ. You belong to Christ.
This should radically change our hearts. God wants sinners to belong to him. God wants his rebellious creation to return to him as his children. Before the world began, God determined to execute a plan to adopt his lost children by the blood of Jesus Christ. God decided to bring you into his family through Christ. Will you respond to the Father by turning away from your life of sinning and response to his gracious call to become his child? By joining yourself to Christ you can belong to God’s family (cf. Romans 6:1-4). Desire God. Live for God. Serve God. Worship God. He deserves your life because he has made a way for you to become his child.