David B Robertson
Ephesians 1: 3-6
One had an impression on Lord's day of God's valuation of persons being near to Him. It is a very great blessing for us to be near to God, and we have that privilege; in our individual history with Him, and in our homes, and especially together, we draw near to God. Hebrews speaks about that, drawing near to God, chap 11: 6. It is a very blessed matter that the way to God is open. That is an incentive provided to us from God's own side. When sin came in man was lost to God, and I believe that when God said to Adam, “Where art thou?” (Gen 3: 10), it disclosed a deep sense of sorrow in God's heart. He had lost man, but in His own operation of divine wisdom, divine grace, He operated and established a basis in redemption through which men can be secured, not merely for their own blessing but for God. We sometimes sing,
For Thou hast brought again to Him
More than by man He lost;
The wonderful effect of the great work of redemption is that we have been brought to God Himself. In Revelation, it says that we have been redeemed to God by the blood of the Lamb, Rev 5: 9. We never forget the cost. It has been an infinite cost, more than any one of us could measure, but God has measured it and through redemption He secured man for Himself. What was in my mind in saying that, beloved brethren, is that while redemption was accomplished to bring man out of the distance and bring him to God, we get through to what was in the purpose of God.
This verse was much on my mind as we proceeded on Lord's day, “having marked us out beforehand for adoption through Jesus Christ to himself”. What a blessed thing, “marked us out beforehand”. The matter lay in the purpose of God and He operated according to the counsels of His own will to bring it to pass, and we can thankfully acknowledge the glory of the wisdom that lay behind it all in securing it. It says, “having marked us out beforehand for adoption through Jesus Christ to himself”. What a blessed matter that is, that God has operated “through Jesus Christ to himself”. It could not be a greater mode of operation, or a greater Person though whom to operate: it could not be greater, “through Jesus Christ to himself”. Oh, the glory of incarnation, that one of the Godhead should step into manhood and operate in such a way! All this lay in the purpose of God. It says, “having marked us out beforehand for adoption through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. You think of the good pleasure of God; it is a remarkable expression really. It brings us into something of the secret of what God finds His pleasure in, “the good pleasure of his will”. His will also involves the glory of God's purpose. This is nothing short of wonderful, beloved brethren, all, “according to the good pleasure of his will”.
I trust that the Holy Spirit would give us some impression of the glory and greatness of it, “the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace”. If we have been brought into the wonder of these things, beloved brethren, it certainly is as a result of divine grace. How marvellous that persons have been thought about by God and secured through His grace to bring us into the glory of these things, not merely for our own blessing, although that is very wonderful and it speaks of that in verse 3, He “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ”. These are blessings that lie outside the reach of death. They are spiritual blessings. We enjoy them in time, but our blessings belong beyond death. Then it says, “wherein he has taken us into favour in the Beloved”. I do not think there is a stronger expression of the present position of Christ than that. I think it equates with what we get, “the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father”, John 1: 18. There He is: “the Beloved”! I think there is a certain strength of thought in it. There is something very great, it is “in the Beloved”. Christ is before God as the Beloved. He is there as Man, and God is finding today, at this very moment, His delight in Christ and He will find His delight in Him eternally. These are great matters to fill our hearts. Our brother has been speaking of what is to fill our minds, but this is to fill our hearts too - and to fill our minds - with the sense of the glory and the dignity and the value of being brought into these things, and we have been taken into favour in such a Person as that, the Person who means so much to God, the Person whose abiding presence fills and satisfies the heart of God constantly. Think of the glory of these thoughts, the wonder of them, the glory of the grace that has brought us into them, the glory of the position - and I use that word rightly - that God has put us in. He has “taken us into favour in the Beloved”. Now God has found far “more than by man He lost”: He has secured the glory of His eternal purposes. God secured it for Himself, but we are enfolded in it.
These are great dignified thoughts, beloved brethren. I trust I have been able to convey something of the value of them.
May God bless the word!
18th November 2014