Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Predestined To Sonship

Text:  προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν δια ιησου χριστου εις αυτον κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου

Translation:  "having predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Ephesians 1:5, (ESV)

Truth:  προορισας ημας εις υιοθεσιαν - "...having predestined us to adoption as sons..."

proorizo (pro-or-id’-zo) Our participle comes from the Greek verb orizw which means "to set a boundary, determine, separate. We then take our word "horizon" from this word. When we add the "pro" or "before" it gives us the meaning of "before" in time. It means "to determine before hand, mark out beforehand. Of course in our context it means before the creation of the world, before time.

Paul makes it quite clear that God chose us and marked us out or predestined us before he ever created the world. This means we have been in God's mind and plans forever and ever and ever. God has predestined us to something. Paul makes it clear that our ultimate destiny is determined beforehand. Paul uses the active voice of the verb which shows us that God himself did this action or activity. God did the choosing and the predestining of each and every believer. The interesting and most blessed thing to see in this passage is that both the choosing and predestining were done by God himself. The active voice of the verb shows that God did the activity Himself.

The reason that God chose certain people out of the mass of humanity that would be born is because God had already predestined or predetermined their destiny. The prepositional phrase "to son ship" tells us just what the saint has been predestined to, it is "to adoption as sons of God."

In the Roman culture the father had absolute power of his family. This was known as "patria potestas." The Father's power was so absolute that he could take the life of one of the members of his family and it would not be considered murder under Roman law. The Roman father had absolute control over all of the property that the family had and could buy, sell, trade, or otherwise encumber it at his discretion.

Under Roman law there were two steps to adoption. In step number one the individual being adopted (almost always were males-sons) was released from the natural father's control. This involved the natural father selling the individual as a slave three times to the adopting Father. The adopting father would "release" the individual twice whereby the individual came back under the authority of the natural father. However, with the third "sale as a slave" the adopted father then assumed control and responsibility and the individual was now absolutely free from the natural father.

In the second step the individual who now had no father, since the natural father sold the individual as a slave, the individual came under the control and authority of the adopting father forever. The individual was no longer responsible to the natural father. He was only responsible to the new adopting father.

The purpose of this adoption was so that the individual could take the position of a natural son in order to continue the family line and maintain family ownership of property. This new individual, provided it was a male, who is now the "son" became the patria potestas for the next generation.

Believers are chosen by God and predestined (marked out beforehand) to become adopted sons (and daughters) of God. What does this mean? It entails two things. First, believers who were previously children of Satan, were "sons of disobedience" and "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:2-3) no longer have any responsibility or obligation to their old father, the devil (John 8:38, 44). Believers are now God's sons and daughters and God has absolute control over them as their father. God controls their lives, property, and their future. Since God is eternal and will never die, we as his children will be eternally under this control.

Our new father has the right to discipline us as his sons and daughters (Hebrews 12:5-11). We  share in the inheritance of our "elder-brother" Jesus Christ. Believers have a new status and new privileges as adopted children of God.

Second, this determination of who would be adopted as "sons and daughters" of God was settled before God ever created the world. Just as orphans cannot choose adoptive parents but are chosen to be adopted, human beings can not choose to be adopted by God. In God's own secret counsel and mind lie the reason or motivation for  the adoption of any human being as sons or daughters of God.

δια ιησου χριστου εις αυτον - "...through Jesus Christ to himself..."

As we continue to read on in verse five, it tells us through whom the adoption is made possible. This adoption, where we are released from the responsibility of Sin and Satan and adopted by God is through or by the means of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection makes it possible for the sinner to be adopted into the family of God.

κατα την ευδοκιαν του θεληματος αυτου - "according to the good pleasure of His will..."

Paul tells us why or at least by what standard governed the actions of God. The standard is the good pleasure of God's will. This word is used in the LXX (Septuagint) to describe God's actions. God chose to adopt us because it pleased him. God takes great pleasure in caring for His adopted children and in the dispensing of the riches of his grace to them.

This is a second reason why we as believers are to praise God. We praise God for his benefits or blessings to us. This benefit or blessing is something we had no control over. God took the initiative and predetermined the destiny of some of humanity to be adopted as his sons into the family of God through Jesus Christ. God did this freely as he operated from his own will for his own pleasure. In other words, nothing compelled God to choose and predetermine whom he would adopt. It was not our lineage, our disposition, our merit, our value, our desire, nor anything inherent within us.  Nothing "made", "caused" or compelled God to adopt any one of us. He did so from his own free will which was governed by his own pleasure.

Is it any wonder that God is to be praised?
What are your thoughts on your adoption?


Tuesday: "Priceless Pearls" - Stories of Christian Truths

-Weekly Devotions for Disciples

Follow along on Tuesdays as we offer filling and fruitful devotional commentary on various Scriptures.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

How you find time to write such interesting and thought. provoking post amazes me, this was just great.

Have a good day,.

Seams Inspired said...

I feel amazingly blessed to be a child of God. My heart aches for those who yet know Him as their Father.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this post, Gregg. I need a quiet moment away from children to absorb all of it. :o) Thanks for sharing. Happy Tuesday! :o)

Scott said...

Come on, Gregg. You know that what this really means is that God looked forward into history and saw all those people who would choose Him, and then He responded to their free will and chose them back. It's not like He's totally Sovereign or anything. (please hear the sarcasm in my voice). Great post, brother.

Arlee Bird said...

I'm sorry, but as much as I've read what you've posted about this topic, what others have said, and what I've heard in church, this continues to be something difficult for me to grasp. Since vast masses of people are not chosen, why should any of them attempt to do any good or be considerate of others? And why should Christians be exhorted to spread the Good News if the chosen are already in place? It's just a tough concept for me to grasp and even though it's been explained to me it doesn't totally make sense.


Brad said...

Hi Gregg,

I have to agree with others here, you really are hitting your stride in consistently blogging such great stuff day after day - keep at it.

Hi Lee,

"And why should Christians be exhorted to spread the Good News if the chosen are already in place?"

Because we don't know who will be chosen. God knows those who are his and will be his, but we don't and we should never presume to know who God will save. In fact, we have enough to worry about in terms of our own hearts. So we preach, knowing that God will do the choosing, the drawing, the sanctifying and the glorifying - and we trust in that along with the fact that the blood Jesus will purify us from all sin.


Gregg said...

My response to Lee was too long for this software to take. So I turned my reply into tomorrow's post. Be sure to stop by tomorrow.


Arlee Bird said...

I appreciate the lengthy response you sent. I will take your advice.

Now for something off topic. You may enjoy a new country song that another blogger talks about on her blog:


I'll be looking for tomorrow's post.

Cathy M. said...

Adoption is such a great picture of how God brings us into His family. (I was adopted twice; once by godly parents, and once by God.)

Anonymous said...

Just as in earthly adoption, it is the parent's who pick (choose) the children, so God does the same. He is a father even to the fatherless. I can only say, why me?