“In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,” (Ephesians 1:5, NASB95)
We have already read that God chose us. Here we read more of the purpose and reason for His choosing. First, the purpose (in part)—we were chosen according to His plan made from before the foundation of the earth to be adopted as His sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ. This being chosen according to His plan in advance is what “predestination” means. It means to determine a destination in advance. It means to predetermine, to decide ahead of time. God did not look through time and adjust what He was going to do with us based upon how we would someday respond, but He purposed in advance to accomplish this in us and He is faithful to bring it to pass. Throughout the Old Testament you do not really read of God being referred to as Father except in limited occasions in reference to His people Israel. Yet with coming of Christ we find that Jesus exclusively referred to Him as Father, and not just some formal term but a common one such that a child might use—“Abba.” And as Jesus spoke of God His Father He also spoke of Him being the Father of all who believe. With salvation we are drawn into a relationship with God the Father that in some sense only existed with God the Son.
Here Paul writes that God chose us in advance of our ever being born or conceived of in any way by man to be adopted as His children. For many couples the adoption process is long and arduous. It is significantly different from that of being born into a family where you were conceived by your biological parents with who you share common genes and traits. It is the process of making a choice to receive someone into the family as their own child and to impart on that child all that comes with being so chosen. Scripture tells us that we were all children of our father the devil and were slaves to sin. But God set us free in Christ, and He adopted us into His forever family as full-fledged children with an inheritance freely given to us.
And why did He do this? We read in this same verse that He did this because of the kind intention of His will. We read here of no other motive than that He wanted to do this out of His kindness toward us. He chose us as sinful throwaways to become His and to receive all that comes with being a child of the living God. What an incredible gift this is, and how freeing it is to know that we did not have to prove ourselves to Him in order to be granted such a gift of acceptance. He didn’t wait to see which child ran up to Him when He entered the facility. He did not wait to see which child might have pulled on His heartstrings the most, or who might have been the cutest or most endearing in some other way. He chose us before we ever existed, and He did so knowing absolutely everything about us. As a result, there is never to be a time with Him that He having brought us home finds that there is a repulsive trait or unexpected barrier leading Him to regret His decision and even to return us to where we came. He chose us fully and without any reservation because He wanted to. WOW!!!
And the cost of our adoption was not cheap. He did not spend countless thousands of dollars which He had to scrape together in some way. He already owned everything and easily could have paid any price. But there was no money that would satisfy what was required. There was no buying His preference even from Himself. His standard was perfect righteousness, and there is no one that could meet that standard. In the adoption center for heaven every child would have a critical fault. So He implemented His perfect plan which required nothing of the child, but everything from Him. He sent His One and Only Son to become man in order to go to a cross, despised by the very people He came to save, and to give His perfectly righteous life to pay for our redemption. He paid a greater price than anyone has ever paid and He did it willingly. We are saved in Christ, and Jesus’ righteousness has been put on us. For this kind of adoption only God Himself could accomplish it, and He did so willingly for us.
What an incredible thing it is to know that He chose me to be His child and that He will never, ever, ever reject me. And this is true for everyone that He calls as it is realized by our response in believing and being saved.
R. Kent Hughes in his commentary on Ephesians wrote, “This is primary truth, and as John Stott, a man known for measured sensibility, says: "The doctrine of election [being chosen by God] is a divine revelation, not a human speculation." It was not dreamed up by Martin Luther or John Calvin or St. Augustine, or by the Apostle Paul for that matter. It is not to be set aside as the imagination of some overactive religious minds, but rather humbly accepted as revelation (however mysterious it may be) from God. We must never allow our subjective experience of choosing Christ water down the fact that we would not have chosen him if he had not first chosen us. … The doctrine of election presents us with a God who defies finite analysis. It is a doctrine which lets God be God.” And He did this because of the “kind intention of His will.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” who has made us His.