As a position before God, none could be more elevated or consummating than that a believer should be “made accepted in the beloved”:
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
and “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”:
1 Peter 2:5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NIV)
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
Such an estate is closely akin to that already mentioned wherein there is no condemnation, and to that, yet to be considered, of justification; but this aspect of truth not only announces the marvelous fact that the Christian is accepted, but grounds that acceptance in the position which he holds in Christ. As definitely as any member that might be joined to a human body would partake of all that the person is to whom it is joined - honor and position - so perfectly and rightfully a member joined to Christ by the baptism of the Spirit partakes of all that Christ is. In respect to this union with Christ and that which it provides, wonderful declarations are made:
A. We Are MADE RIGHTEOUS.
Reference here is neither to any merit nor good works on the part of the individual believer, nor has it the slightest reference to the unquestioned truth that God is Himself a righteous Being. It rather represents that standing or quality which Christ released by His death according to the sweet-savor aspect of it, and which rightfully becomes the believer’s portion through his living union with Christ. It is righteousness imputed to the believer on the sole condition that he has believed on Christ as his savior. Two major realities which constitute a Christian are: imparted eternal life:
John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (NKJ)
and imputed righteousness:
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJ)
Of the two great salvation books in the New Testament, it may be said of John’s Gospel that it stresses the gift of eternal life, and it may be said of the Epistle to the Romans that it stresses imputed righteousness. Eternal life is defined as “Christ in you, the hope of glory”:
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (NKJ)
and imputed righteousness is based on the truth that the believer is in Christ. These two supreme truths are compressed by Christ into seven brief and simple words, when He said:
John 14:20 “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (NKJ)
Whether it be the reception of eternal life or of imputed righteousness, but one condition is imposed on the
human side, namely, to believe on Christ as Savior:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJ)
Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;(NKJ)
In an earlier treatment of this theme the essential features of imputed righteousness have been recorded and the extended body of Scripture bearing on this doctrine has been cited. The believer is “acceptable to God,” even the infinitely holy God, since he has been made accepted in the Beloved; and this constitutes a transforming feature of the riches of divine grace.
B. We Are SANCTIFIED POSITIONALLY.
That there is a positional sanctification which is secured by union with Christ has too often been overlooked, and, because of this neglect, theories of a supposed sinless perfection in daily life have been inferred from those Scriptures which assert the truth that the believer has been “perfected for ever” through his sanctification. The point of misunderstanding is with regard to the design of sanctification, which may be defined as the setting apart of a person or thing, a classifying. It is thus that Christ sanctified Himself by becoming the Savior of the lost with all that that involved:
John 17:19 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (NKJ)
which sanctification certainly could not imply any improvement in moral character on His part. Likewise, the
santification of an inanimate object, such as the gold of the temple or the gift on the altar:
Matthew 23:17 “Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? (NKJ)
Matthew 23:19 “Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? (NKJ)
These verses indicate that a moral change in the thing santified is not demanded. Thus, in the case of the
sanctification of a person, the moral change in that person’s life may not be the result of sanctification; but
no person or thing is sanctified without being set apart or classified thereby. Christ has been “made unto us . . .
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
and the Corinthians - even when being corrected for evil practices - are assured that they were not only “washed” and “justified,” but that they were “santified”:
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you
were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (NKJ)
Such sanctification was neither the estate of those believers nor did it refer to their ultimate transformation when they would appear in glory:
Ephesians 5:27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (NKJ)
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but
we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (NKJ)
It evidently indicated that greatest of all classifications, which resulted in the standing and position of every believer when he enters the New Creation through being joined to Christ and partakes of all that Christ is. This truth is declared in the phrase,
C. We Are PERFECTED FOREVER.
This consummating phrase appears in:
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (NKJ)
and applies equally to every believer. It, too, relates to the Christian’s standing and position in Christ. Such a union with Christ secures the perfection of the Son of God for the child of God.
D. We Are MADE ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED.
The student would do well to observe the force of the word “made” as it appears in a considerable number of passages, where it indicates that the thing accomplished is not wrought by the believer for himself, but is the work of God for him. If he is made something which he was not before, it is evidently the work of another in his behalf. In this instance, the believer is said to be “made accepted”. He is accepted on the part of God who, because of His infinite holiness, could accept no one less perfect than Himself. All of this is provided for on the basis of the truth that the believer is made accepted “in the beloved”:
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (NIV)
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. (NKJ)
Without the slightest strain upon His holiness, God accepts those who are in union with His Son; and thisglorious fact, that the one who is saved is accepted, constitutes a measureless feature of divine grace.
E. We Are MADE MEET (QUALIFIED).
Here, again, the word “made” with all its significance appears, but with respect to that requirement which must be demanded of all who would appear in the presence of God in heaven. The text in which this assuring phrase occurs is:
Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (NKJ)
and this verse asserts that the believer is, even now, fitted for that celestial glory: “giving thanks unto the
Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” No mere pretense or bold assumption is indicated in this passage. The least believer, being in Christ, is even now “made meet” to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. It therefore becomes no arrogance or vainglory to accept this statement of God’s Word as true, and as true from the moment one believes on Christ as Savior. To be acceptable to God by Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to
offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
this is a reality in every aspect of it and this truth,incomprehensible as it is, constitutes an important item in the whole field of the riches of grace in Christ Jesus.