2004-09-21 - Positive Union
Ephesians 1:5, 6, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."
We continue on with this wonderful passage today, and I wanted to remind you a little about the flow of this section. In Ephesians 4-6, we are seeing the role the Father plays in salvation. In verses 7-12, the role of the Son in salvation is emphasized. And in verses 13, 14 the role of the Spirit in salvation is in view.
We note again that adoption into the family of God is through Christ alone. "I am the way the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6. It is only in Christ that salvation is possible. Paul is addressing Christians here, and reminding them of their position in Christ. It is not that every person is a child of God, but rather that those who are in Christ are the Children of God. We are the sons of God by adoption, but Christ is the Son of God by eternal generation. We become sons of God through our union with Christ, but Christ always is the Son of God.
We have to be careful that we understand these particulars. Years ago, there was a teaching in the church that all Christians were children of God, but only a select few, who had reached a certain level of holiness, were the sons of God. They believed that only those who were really sons of God would participate in the first resurrection. The children of God would be left on earth. These kinds of strange teachings abound in the church, and it requires us to be diligent students of God's Word, to avoid being blown about by every wind of doctrine. We see in Romans 8:15, 16 that the concepts of children and sons of God are the same. The terms are interchangeable in the paragraph, and to draw a distinction between the two is to unfaithfully divide the Word of Truth. Note also that John, in both the Gospel and the Epistles never uses the word "sons." He always uses the term "children." Clearly John was not aware of the distinction between children and sons of God.
Lastly, I would like to introduce a term I really like, that concerns our union with Christ in coming to Him in faith. It is a positive union. Sure, it is not overly profound, but when we consider that we are all born in Adam and into a sinful condition (Romans 5:12-21), our union with Christ is well-described by using this simple term: Positive Union. Faith in the work of Christ really brings with it positive things. We could make a grocery list of them, but consider just one, peace of conscience. It may be that our faith often leads to a disturbed conscience, but when we take our sins to Christ, we can know that they are forgiven by His sacrifice, and thus have peace that our sins need not haunt us, and will be forgiven through Christ's meritorious work. Peace of conscience is for those who have this positive union with Christ. May we all labor to live in such a manner, and trust God's promised forgiveness to the degree that peace of conscience is our common experience.
Soli Deo Gloria,