“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ… he has chosen us in him… that we should be holy and without blame before him in love… he has made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace…” (Ephesians 1:3-7 KJ 2000)
Being conscious of our standing before God can make all the difference in our daily lives. We, too often, measure our worth in terms of our external circumstances. More importantly, because other people around us evaluate us on those terms – we may feel trapped by what we have or what we do.
We all have labels attached to us, based on our age, physical appearance, skills, job, health condition or social position – ‘young’, ‘old’, ‘beautiful’, ‘plain’, ‘overweight’, ‘highly educated’, ‘comfortably off’, ‘professional’, ‘home maker’, ‘middle class’, ‘poor’, ‘unemployed’, ‘single parent’, ‘disabled’ or ‘terminally ill’. Based on these labels, people may respect, admire, envy, ignore or despise us.
In heaven, where reality lies, our worth is determined solely by our relationship to God, just as a prince’s position in society is determined primarily by his birth as the child of a king. Our self-worth, therefore, should be defined by this relationship .
What does God think about us? “…You are precious to me. You are honoured, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4 NLT). “You are my treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6). “But you are a chosen race, a priesthood of kingly lineage, a holy nation, a people belonging specially to God, that you may make known the perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9 Weymouth).
The world’s grading system shrinks to insignificance in the light of God’s truth. The slot that we occupy here on earth has certainly been allotted to us by God, but it determines our responsibility and sphere of influence for the Kingdom, rather than our worth or standing.
Why does God set such high value on us even in our fallen state? Because of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf, we are God’s re-created handiwork and the ‘long lost child’ restored to Him. In the divine transaction on the cross – our sinfulness, worthlessness and humiliation were poured upon Jesus; while His sinlessness, worthiness and honour are granted to us. While we may not see ourselves that way, ‘the worthiness of Christ’ ascribed to us is a done deal as far as God is concerned.
What does it mean for us to be ‘accepted in the Beloved’? It simply means we are fully accepted, and made fully acceptable in a exactly the same way as Jesus Christ. We are clothed with Christ; therefore His dignity and excellence covers our flaws and failings.
What are there practical benefits in being accepted? As I mentioned before, our heavenly position is far more substantial and real than our earthly position. We will experience the fullest benefits of this position in the age to come. Still, even now, during our temporary stay on earth, there are numerous tangible benefits. As we gain a more realistic view of ourselves, – we will be given neither to self-exaltation nor to self-reproach – our character, work and relationships will be impacted by this knowledge.
Believing God’s evaluation of our lives will liberate us from unnecessary self doubt as well as from cumbersome pride, both of which can limit our ability to fulfil our appointed roles to a high standard. The quality of our interactions with people will be positively altered. The confidence that comes as a result of embracing our heavenly position will spill over into every area of our lives.
What does God expect from us in response to what we have been taught? First of all, He expects us to give up worry about ourselves and our futures, and to trust everything into His hands. Whatever our struggles may be – whether in relationships or at work, in temperament or in the area of sexuality – these do not have the power to diminish our worth in God’s eyes. Indeed, His heart is drawn to His struggling ones, who constantly depend on Him for strength and deliverance. Though we may fail many times before we rise unshackled from past shortcomings and failures, God’s love for us does not change.
Through Christ we can do all things. God will cause us to will and to act according to His good pleasure. With His help we will overcome every sin and every obstacle. Believe these things, and make them part of your daily confession. We walk by faith, not by sight. Anything we appropriate by faith (accepting what God has told us) – not presumption (which means demanding that God give us even what may not be in His pleasure to give) – can become the reality in our lives.
“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son” Ephesians 1:6 NLT.
Accepted in the Beloved. “Are there grander words in any language than these four? There seems to be a sacred poem in these words. To my heart, there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard” (C H Spurgeon).
Thank You, eternal Father, for calling us into this very wonderful position in Jesus. You have freed us from every chain that the world might try to lay over our lives. We are fully Yours, fully loved and fully accepted because of what Jesus has done for us. Help us understand more fully what this means and embrace this reality above everything the world might tell us. Help us grow to maturity and bring You glory. In Jesus’ name.