All Lives Matter to Him (Ephesians 1:6)
Ephesians 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Notice: He has made us accepted. We are acceptable to God. Accepted means to be approved and adorned in the same sense that God has accepted, or is pleased with, Jesus (John 17:23). Here is a question. When did God start loving us? Was it when we desired to live for Him and to do His will? Was it when we were saved? Was it when we were born? Was it when we were in our mother’s womb? Was it when He created the world? No, He loved us long before that. His love is an everlasting love, a love without a beginning, as eternal as He Himself is (Jeremiah 31:3).
What is God's acceptance of us based upon? How can a sinner be saved and accepted? Our acceptance and salvation is based upon Christ shed blood for us. When God sees us He sees no sin. This is our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:17). In His grace, we are accepted in our fellowship with Jesus. Redemption means to go to the market to purchase; to buy and ransom for rescue; to loosen with ransom. We have the forgiveness of sins and redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7).
Can we depend upon God's acceptance? We are accepted by a God who does not change. Hebrews 6:17-18, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” God's two "unchangeable things" are His nature and His promise. God personifies all truth and He cannot lie. Because God is truth, you can be secure in His promises. You don't need to wonder if He will change His plans. To the true seeker who comes to God in belief God gives an unconditional promise of acceptance. When you ask God with openness, honesty and sincerity to save you from your sins, He will do it. This assurance should give you courage and hope.
Since Christ received us, we ought to receive one another. How important is it to accept other people? Romans 15:7, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Accepting others grows out of obedience to Christ. To accept Jesus' Lordship in all areas of life means to share His values and His view. Just as we accept Jesus' views on the authority of Scripture, the nature of Heaven and the Resurrection, so we are to have his attitude of love toward other Christians. As we grow in faith and come to know Jesus better, we become more capable of maintaining this attitude.
1. Acceptance toward the Undesirable.
Leprosy has always been a fearful and frightening disease. In Jesus times, when Christ ministered on earth, lepers were considered outcasts from society. According to the Jewish law they were unclean. When a leper was approached by someone, the leper would have to yell “Unclean, unclean”. Jesus’ response to a leper was an acceptable approach where he received the leper as He stretched out his hand and touched him in Mark 1:41. In Mark 5, it was a former demon possessed man who was now a new man in Christ Jesus, who Jesus Himself, commissioned to go to Decapolis to share his testimony of Christ’s love. Jesus did not allow the society around Him to dictate who, or how, He was going to accept and treat others. Too often, we allow the crowds, cliques, and inner circles determine who and how we accept.
2. Acceptance toward the Unimportant.
In today’s society, mankind is categorized in ranks etc. However, in Jesus’ kingdom, there are no big I’s and little you’s. Often we are quick to accept people of prominence if we feel we will reap a benefit from the relationship. In Matthew 19, parents wanted Jesus to touch their children, to bless their children and to pray for their children. However, the disciples believed Christ was too busy to be bothered by little children and sought to send away the parents and their children. Like those little children, all people are important to God. Jesus’ response is seen in Matthew 19:13-15. All lives matter to the Lord, regardless of the age, race, socio status, or background. Everyone is important to the Lord and He has a work for everyone to do. It is His will that not any perish but that all come unto Him for repentance in II Peter 3:9. He invites all to come to Him in Matthew 11:30. Any and all who come to Him He will not reject (John 6:37).
3. Acceptance toward the Underestimated.
John 6, it was Jesus who accepted this little boys sack lunch to be part of such a miracle. It’s amazing that a small child with just five loaves and two fish was used by God to feed five thousand men. This miracle was recorded in all four Gospel accounts. His blessing to those around him is a lesson for us today. You may feel small and insignificant. You may feel like these disciples felt; helpless and hopeless to minister to anyone. You may be the only one like this little boy and wonder how Jesus could ever use you, but just put yourself in the hands of the master. Give him all you have. Use the talents God has given you through the Holy Spirit to serve Him and encourage others. He will use it all, multiply it all, and will waste none. You can serve him and others for God’s glory. Who has God placed in your life that you can minister to?
Prayer, Father, thank You for always seeing in me what others may never see and for giving me the strength and desire to serve You. Help me to utilize these truths for the purpose of ministering to others. Please show me how I can actively and passionately engage in the ministry opportunities You have sovereignly placed around me. Give me eyes to recognize these opportunities, a heart dependent on You, and a desire to come alongside people in my life to help them to grow into a deeper relationship with You.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.