Ephesians 1:5 says that God has, “…predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” In Roman law, when one was adopted, a new relationship began with the adoptee and the head of the family. The father who adopted would cancel all the debts of the one whom he adopted, but also from that time would own all the property of the one whom he adopted. The Father had the right to discipline the adoptee, but was also liable for any actions of the adoptee.
Isn’t this a great parallel to the gracious character of our Heavenly Father? He chose to adopt us as children according to the pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5). He cancels our debts, but also owns all we have. He disciplines us, but what we do as a child of His is a reflection of Him to the world. While Ephesians 1 is not teaching that we had no choice in the matter, it is focusing on the fact that God decided “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), to work out a means to bring us into the family privileges that we now have as children of Him. We ought to be so thankful that God chose to do this, because we could not afford these blessings on our own.
As children of God, all spiritual blessings are available to us in Christ (Eph. 1:3). We are accepted (Eph. 1:6), because we have redemption and forgiveness through the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7). As children of God, we share in the wisdom He passes to us through the teachings of the Spirit through the first-century apostles and prophets, recorded in the pages of the Bible (Eph. 1:17-18; 3:2-6).
Since God has been so gracious to cancel our debts and bring us into a new relationship with Him, we should reciprocate that love by walking according to His commandments. We are children of God; thus, we should act like our Father. Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” This means that we should abstain from participating in the sins of the world. Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” If you have been adopted into the family of God through the new birth (John 3:5; Eph. 5:26), then remember to focus on the spiritual blessings you have now and the great inheritance you have because you are a child of God (Eph. 1:18). Don’t forfeit these blessings for anything the world may offer.