The first blessing Paul mentions in Ephesians is that God chose us in Him “before the foundation of the world.” The second blessing Paul mentions is our “adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” The third blessing is that we were adopted by Christ “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” We have a high calling and purpose! There is nothing small or ordinary about Christians. We have been called by the Most High God to the most high purpose: “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” That statement in itself is amazing and almost beyond explanation.
“to the praise”
- Praise is the Greek epainos and means “applause, commendation, approbation, praise.” Jesus Christ is the object of our praise. I like the word picture of applause. I’ve often thought about how hundreds of millions of Christians will react to seeing Christ in Heaven’s great arenas and applause and shouts of adulation come to mind. I can just see and hear the throngs of the redeemed applauding, shouting and singing songs of praise to the Lamb of God as we see Him in all His Heavenly glory. We get a picture of that in the Book of Revelation as the heavenly host sing “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Won’t it be wonderful to join with the angels in heaven to sing their song to Christ? We’ll see the 24 elders worship Christ saying “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We will praise Christ with our whole body, including mouths for shouting and singing and hands for applauding.
- We don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to praise Christ and applaud Him. We were adopted as children “to the praise” of Christ in this lifetime and for eternity! The singing and praising and shouting and applauding started at our adoption service (our salvation) and will continue forever. The purpose of our entire life is to be to His praise!
“of the glory”
- Our excited praise is because of the “glory of his grace.” Glory is doxa and means a high opinion of someone or something and the honor that would go with it. In the case of Jesus Christ, doxa would be the highest opinion and the highest honor we can possibly give! We know about the glory of Christ through what He created and His life-giving sustenance to everyone and everything (“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1)
“of his grace”
- Grace is charis and means “unmerited favor.” Charis has the underlining meaning of favor that causes joy and gladness. The Grace of God brings joy! It brings gladness! It brings hope! We were lost in sin. We were spiritually dead. We deserved God’s punishment, but instead we received His Love and Grace! That’s why we sing! That’s why we shout! That’s why we applaud!
God’s Grace is what we praise and honor. Christians were adopted as children of God to the praise of the glory of His grace. We spend our lives praising God, applauding God, singing to God and serving God because of the glory (highest opinion and honor) of God’s Grace (unmerited favor). There is nothing higher or more important in our life than the high purpose of our calling. We are God’s children. We were adopted as His children to be to the praise of the glory of His Grace.
How do we live our lives to the praise of the glory of His grace? We obey Him. That means knowing what He says about every subject of life, every aspect of life, and obey what He says. That means reading the Bible regularly, intently and fervently. That means praying to God regularly, intentently and fervently. That means living the life of Christ before others regularly, intently and fervently. That means sharing Christ with others regularly, intently and fervently.
Think about how excited Christians get at sports events, entertainment events, church events. We shout and applaud and high-five each other and enjoy ourselves thoroughly. Do we have that same high opinion of Christ? Does being a child of God bring out that kind of fervent joy and gladness? If not, why not? What keeps us from enjoying our relationship to the Most High God to a higher degree than our favorite team making a touchdown or getting a home run or hitting another basket or making another goal? Why would we become more excited about hearing our favorite singer or group in concert than hearing from God in prayer or study?
I think about this often. Nothing in this life should make me happier or fill me with more joy than being a child of God. Christians should be “the” happiest people on earth. We have something that everyone wants, even though they don’t know it. I didn’t know I wanted Christ when I was an atheist. I wanted happiness. I wanted joy. I wanted fulfillment. I wanted satisfaction. I wanted love. I wanted acceptance. I just couldn’t find it in anything or anyone. My search for peace in this life was not fulfilled by anything in this life. What I wanted was to be adopted by God. I wanted His love, His grace, His acceptance. I wanted to belong to Him. I just didn’t know it until He found me and wooed me and saved me and cleansed me and taught me about His Grace. That’s when my applause began. That’s when I shouted for joy. That’s when I cried with tears of thanksgiving. That’s when I knew I belonged. That’s when I knew my life had begun. That’s when I knew life had meaning. I was a child of God. We are children of God “to the praise of the glory of his grace.”
In Christ’s Love and Grace,