Read Ephesians 1:3-14. What, according to Paul here, have we been given in Christ?
The followers of Jesus have much to praise God for. In Christ, God has chosen to adopt us as sons and daughters and to represent Him to the world. Paul uses many images to describe our new relationship to God in Christ. Of these images, the image of adoption addresses this lesson’s theme of oneness.
In Christ, we have been adopted, and we belong to the family of God. This family image is also a reference to God’s covenant with the children of Israel. In the context of Paul’s epistle, Gentiles who accept Jesus as the Messiah are also children of God, heirs of the promises made to Israel (Rom. 8:17, Gal. 4:7). The benefit of this relationship with Christ, to be in Christ, is fundamental to all Christian unity. This passage also tells us that it has been God’s desire all along to reunite all humanity in Christ. And, in God’s family, knowing Jesus does not provide any special status: we are all children of God, equally loved and cherished.
Some get confused when, in this passage, we read about predestination (Eph. 1:5, Eph. 1:11). The promise that God has chosen us to be saved seems to imply also that God has chosen some to be lost. But that’s not the biblical teaching. Rather, God prepared the plan of salvation before the foundation of the world in order that everyone might be saved. “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” (John 3:16, NKJV; see also 1 Tim. 2:6, 2 Pet. 3:9). God knows beforehand who will accept His offer of salvation, but that is not the same as predetermining one’s decision. Salvation is offered to all humanity because of what Christ has done for us. The question is: How do we respond to this offer? God does not use coercion to save anyone.
“In the council of heaven, provision was made that men, though transgressors, should not perish in their disobedience, but, through faith in Christ as their substitute and surety, might become the elect of God, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving His only-begotten Son to pay man’s ransom. Those who perish will perish because they refuse to be adopted as children of God through Christ Jesus.” – Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1114.