To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.
Accepted in the Beloved. The phrase is simple, but not, at a mere glance, immediately obvious. To feel its force, we must enter in and survey its interior, and see as far as our short-sighted faculties can reach, what it takes within its range. It is a summary and simple form for gathering up everything we need to have, in a provision for the world to come.
I. WHERE IS THE PROVISION LAID UP? It is laid up in a living Person. It is with a living Person that we have to do from first to last. And the fulness and suitableness of that Person comes forth here in a vivid and peculiar manner — for you observe how He is named. By a name of holy endearment and of Divine tenderness He is called here, "the Beloved." "Lovely" and "Beloved" He is in Himself, because from Him emanate whatever qualities of good are possible in a creature — because in Him, as the God-man mediator, all excellencies, both created and uncreated, are centred and combined. In the prospect, moreover, of what He was to fulfil on earth, as the Redeemer of mankind, beheld and set apart from all eternity as the object of the Father's infinite complacency and delight — the name in the text belongs to Him in a peculiar manner. But further observe, He is "the Beloved," because through Him alone could a holy God find the fitting channel for His love to man. He is "the Beloved," moreover, specially because of the perfect fulfilment in Him of the relations in which He stands, at once to God and to man; for whatever is due to God, and everything requisite for the deliverance and happiness of man, are found in infinite fulness in Him. His person communicates to everything He did and still does, in our stead, a value, a worth, which never can be measured, and to which no limits can be set.
II. WHAT PROVISION HAS BEEN LAID UP FOR US "in the Beloved." The text proclaims it in terms so simple, that some may be apt to pass them by without much consideration. It is acceptance "in the Beloved." To be "accepted" — to have our acceptance before God — what is this? It is first of all —
1. To be cleared and acquitted in the eye of the law — to be, in the judgment of a holy God, discharged and set free. It has its foundation broad and deep in the precious fact, which is immediately connected with it in the words following the text, at verse seven — it rests upon "Redemption" — "Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." You see how deep down it goes — as deep as the humiliation of the Son of God from heaven to earth, even to the utmost extremity of His abasement beneath the curse!
2. But there is something more in the acceptance wherewith we are accepted in Christ. It is also to be fitted for service. It is to be put into the position of those whose worship, whose free-will offerings of grateful obedience are well pleasing to God. It is to have liberty to serve Him all our days "without fear," and from the blessed motives of love and thankfulness.
3. The holiness of character which has its beginning in the acceptance of our persons. To be "accepted in the Beloved" is to begin to be holy. To have your feet planted on the "foundation of God," which "standeth sure," is to depart from iniquity.
(J. S. Muir.)
Parallel VersesKJV: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.