having fore-ordained us (he had already decided) [a past participle which should be interpreted as the time frame of when it took place]
to be adopted [infinitive clause of the purpose of the fore-ordaining]
through Jesus Christ [prepositional phrase of means or instrument, the means whereby the adoption was brought about]
to Himself [this element ties the purpose of it all back to God the Father i.e. through Christ to God the Father]
according to the pleasure of His will [a rather complicated (deep) phrase especially when linked with what follows and the will of God] (Eph 1:5)
Wow we were fore-ordained to be adopted through Jesus Christ. Lots to think about with that image. Study each element. You can look at some earlier related Gems if you wish. Gem 193, 194, 208 and 210.
Think on the concept of adoption for longer. Most of us, when it comes to Bible images, we rush on past; a brief moment of reflection and we on to the next point. Stop and ponder what a privilege adoption really is! When we have a natural child we don’t get to choose our child. The child we give birth to is the child that is ours. We can’t order a child with certain features or a particular skill set or character. What comes out at birth is how our child is? This is the genetic raw material upon which the environmental factors will come to bear. Remember we are a mixture of hereditary and environment. But with adoption there is choice. Many of us struggle with finding out we were adopted, if indeed we were. But stop and think about that for a moment. When you are born into a family, your mother and father have no choice as to who will be their son or daughter. You are what you are. The parents who adopt have choices. They chose you to be a part of the family. Well, let that train of thought continue with you and keep God in mind.
There is huge grace involved in adoption. Adoption is an act of the Father’s love, He has taken those who were not His children and called them as those they were His children. Now that is SPECIAL. You have no legal right to the son or daughter status you have been granted. This has been given to you freely. The adopter, in this case God the Father, was under no compulsion to adopt you. Every orphan wants to be chosen: “pick me, pick me”. But they have no way of influencing the final outcome. Neither did you! God was the initiator and the finisher in this process of choice. It is because of His goodness and kindness and the providence of His grace. Paul has put adoption in His list of spiritual blessings and rightly so. Not only did God not HAVE TO CHOOSE YOU, there was nothing in you that was worth choosing. You were an orphan. Just let the fullness of the image of adoption wash over you for a moment. You were a dirty, unkempt, worthless little orphan, buried beneath your sin. [I am not thinking of you when I write this. I am thinking closer to home. Me!] Totally unworthy of anything good; lost in sin. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
Now imagine an orphan who has been taken from the depths of poverty and hopelessness and adopted into a high class, royal family with prestige and power. The orphan now has power and privilege at their disposal and at their own finger tips. They just have to learn how to manage such power and privilege in the right way. Not only that, there are other blessings which come with such a status change. Being placed in a royal family, the orphan now has immediately privilege of access to the king. (Think on that for the moment – that’s you!) Along with the privileges available to you now, there’s more to come. In being adopted into THIS family you have been given the right of inheritance. In fact you have been granted the rights of inheritance equal to that of first born son. I will leave you again to ponder what that means. I think that would be a good Bible study for you to do that would come with high motivation for you to find out what is yours, by right of being an adopted child of God.
Another question which some of you may be asking: Have we been adopted by Jesus or by Father God? In the normal course of adoption it is the father who carries out the adoption The adopted child is entitled to bear the name of the father whose child (s)he now is. In this case it is God the Father who is adopting us but through Jesus. What does that mean? Look at John 1:12. He gave us the right to become His children. That is describing the adoption process. Given the right to become someone’s child when you were not naturally born to that person. Adoption. But how is it that we are given the right? Where does the right come from? John tells us clearly. To those who received Him, to those who believed in His name, they are the ones who are given the right to be called His children. It is all to do with our trust and belief in Christ. That theme is all through the Bible. One could even take it a stage further and say normal birth involves being a blood child or relative of a person. In this case too, we can be called children by His blood, but not in the normal way; we are covered by His blood or made righteous through His blood. rather than being blood children we are blood-bought children. That is what lies behind this concept of “adopted through Jesus”.
“Wow, being an adopted child of God is like a blessing beyond my wildest dreams.” Yes indeed it is. That is why my mind turned to the transition from orphan to privileged child of the royal household. That is the magnitude of the leap and more. Go ponder the depth of your inheritance.
Your salvation wasn’t a joint effort. You didn’t contribute a penny because you were spiritually bankrupt.Bob Gass
“I know you have no righteousness of your own…here, have mine.”God
What is grace? It’s what someone gives out of the goodness of his heart, not out of the perfection of yours.Max Lucado