“Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.” —John Newton
Accepted in the Beloved— The unqualified sinner has become a qualified saint, accepted by God. This came about not through any merits of their own, but through the all-sufficient, atoning blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:12, 22, 2 Cor. 5:21, Eph. 1:6-7, 2:4-9, Col. 1:14, 2:13-14, Rom. 3:24-25, 6:23).
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM” (1 John 4:9). The ending of this verse is emphasized to point out that God has more in mind than eternal salvation. Eternal salvation is worked in & secured (a sealed deal) when one believes (Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30). As saints with a new position and citizenship on high, God has ordained works for the believer to work out and walk in the life they’re now living (Eph. 2:6, 10, Phil. 2:12-13, 3:20, 2 Tim. 1:9). This process is called sanctification with the end being, “to be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4).
Will this mean sinless perfection in this life? No. If we, as believers, claim we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. If we claim we have not sinned, we make God a liar (1 John 1:5-10). It’s not by covering up our sin or imagining ourselves to become sinless that draws us near the presence of the Lord. It’s solely by the efficacy of the blood that cleanses that makes us “accepted in the Beloved. It’s only through God’s amazing grace that one is made qualified to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1:12). Apart from the risen Savior, all sanctification is of the flesh. Seeking to be made perfect according to the flesh means bondage (Gal. 3:2-3, 4:3-5, 9, 5:1-3, Rom. 8:7). This truth sets the believer free to stop trying to provide good moral character on their own, knowing it’s hopeless and just gets in the way of what God has willed and purposed for their life.
The power to live unto God (sanctified) comes through believing (without question) the glorious fullness of the redemptive work of Christ and the believer’s completeness in Him (Col. 2:10). It’s not trying, but actually viewing with eyes of faith and acting accordingly. The saved sinner looks back to the cross and sees Christ dying in their place and says, “I died there too.” The saint then looks up to the right hand of God where Christ sits and says, “I’ve been raised together with Him” and so leaves the doctrines, commandments, restrictions, false practices and ways of men behind, knowing that being under grace means freedom and perfection in Christ alone (Eph. 2:6, Col. 2:8-23). The believer’s position in Christ gives access to God, Whom they can come boldly, with confidence (Eph. 2:18, 3:12). As the believer’s new nature is fed on the Word of God, the old nature is starved and pushed out. As the walk is by faith, in the power of the ‘new man’ (which is designed in true holiness), the ‘old man’ (with its deeds) is shed off (Eph. 4:22-24, Col. 3:8-14, 2 Tim. 3:15-17).
To grow in godliness, the saint needs to hold on to ‘the Head’ (Christ) and continue to renew the mind with the truth of their new position, which is safely hid with Christ in God. This regenerated thinking will enable their focus to be placed on the things above where the saint’s eternal home & future lies (Col. 2:10, 16-3:4, 3:1-3, Rom. 12:1-2).
So saints, claim the victory that’s already yours in Christ! As you do, the deadly regulations of man will fall and leave you standing to walk by faith, not by sight, looking for that blessed hope (of which, by grace, you were meant to seek). Walk as worthy saints, serving one another in love as you fulfill God’s will and purpose (1 Cor. 15:57, 2 Cor. 5:7, 1 John 5:4, Col. 1:9-11, Eph. 4:1-2, 2 Tim. 2:15).