Predestined to Adoption
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the intention of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:5– 6)
Just like election, mentioned in verse four, predestination has been a huge issue of debate in the modern church. As we previously discussed, the personal pronouns in Ephesians 1 are the key to understanding the doctrine which Paul presents in this magnificent chapter. Whoever was chosen in verse four is the same group who is predestined in verse five. Nothing in the context has changed the identity of those represented by the personal pronoun.
To be predestined means that God has literally set the boundaries of the horizon. This particular group of people has been predestined to “adoption as sons.” While much of the church has haphazardly assumed that the “us” who is predestined is the church, the context of Ephesians 1 would beg to differ. In fact, a biblical understanding of adoption as sons would remove the Gentiles from consideration as the predestined. In Galatians 4, the apostle Paul gives a biblical understanding of adoption as sons. The Greek word does not mean adoption in the American English sense of the term. Rather, it refers to the time at which a father declares his biological son to the full rights of ownership of the household inheritance. It is the Jewish people who have been kept under the guardianship of the law, according to Galatians 4, who were given the adoption as sons. It is the same group that has been predestined to such glory. The prophet Daniel speaks of this future experience of the Jews when he says, “the Saints of the highest one will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come” (Daniel 7:18).
In His Grace;
Dr. Randy White
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