"Favored" In The Beloved
"To the praise of the glory of His grace,
through which He hath made us accepted* in the Beloved"
The grace of God is glorified as the effective
means by which the purposes of electing love are compassed. That
conscious sinners should be encouraged to assume the place of
sons of God, is indeed a triumph of His grace. The language of
this verse is most significant. We are viewed with acceptance
in the Beloved. But since the Beloved of the Father is also the
despised of men, the manifestations of His love to usward are
according to the tenor of our calling, as confessors of the cross.
We are not, therefore, brought, as a token of the Father's favor,
into the fatness of an earthly portion. Instead of riding on the
high places of the earth, which is the heritage of Jacob, we are
invited by the Gospel to look upwards into heaven; to view there
the Pattern of our blessedness in the Person of the ascended Son
of man. Instead of being spread visibly before us in the multitude
of outward blessings, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christ glorified is the living assurance to
His brethren, that they for whom He suffered in the flesh are
loved in Him, as He is loved of God. The Father hath bestowed
that manner of love on us. As, therefore, the Beloved is in heaven,
so are we also, in the eyes of God's affection, even in the midst
of our conflicts and afflictions in the world. The Person of the
Beloved becomes thus the all-absorbing Object of true Christian
faith. We love Him whom the Father loves; knowing and loving the
Father in the Son. On the other hand, we are loved in Him according
to the strength of an affection which none but our Lord Jesus
can yet worthily appreciate. If, therefore, we would learn the
manner of our blessedness, we must surrender our hearts to the
direction of that Comforter who expounds to God's children the
secret of their joy, by declaring to them what the Father knows
to be in the Lord Jesus. Both what we are and what we have, must
be learned by immediate reference to Him in whom we stand.
Grace, then, which gives its efficacy to the
sovereign will of God, becomes, for that reason, a theme of glorious
praise to Him. But who are to minister this praise? Assuredly,
the fullness of creation will consent with gladness to its Maker's
glory in the coming day. And in that general anthem, the ransomed
Church will have preeminence, in praises as in place. She will
lead, instead of following, the choir of heaven. But, already,
grace is glorified in praise wherever faith has tasted that the
Lord is gracious. To show forth the praises of Him who has called
us out of darkness into His marvelous light, is the proper occupation
of those who already are a royal priesthood through electing grace.
By the Spirit, our Lord Jesus, the First-born, moves the celebration
of the Father's praise among the brethren of His love. It is the
glory of our calling to offer a continual sacrifice of praise
to God, by the steadfast confession of the Lord Jesus, as the
only hope of our souls. True Christian worship dates its beginning
from our consciousness, through faith, of our personal acceptance
in the Beloved. For they who worship God in the Spirit, "rejoice
in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
* This term appears to express, first, our being
favored absolutely in Christ, according to the sovereignty of
Divine election; and, second, our subjective investment with the
comeliness of Him who alone is acceptable in the Father's sight.