Grace in the One God Loves

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

[In love] he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:5-6

The opening verses of Ephesians have emphasized the utter centrality of Christ in God's claiming us as his own. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing "in Christ" (1:3). He chose us "in him" to be holy and blameless (1:4). He predestined us for adoption "through Jesus Christ" (1:5). Thus, we are prepared to hear that God has freely given us his grace "in the One he loves" (1:6).

The surprising part of this verse isn't the centrality of Christ but the way in which he is identified. Nowhere else in Paul's writings is Christ called "the One [God] loves" (or "the Beloved," the Greek uses a passive participle meaning "the one having been loved"). In the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as God's beloved (Isa. 5:7, for example). This language was applied on Jesus in his baptism, when a voice from heaven said, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). This was reiterated in his transfiguration, when the divine voice proclaimed: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (Mark 9:7). Ephesians 1:6 reflects a knowledge of Jesus' unique role the one God loves and through whom God pours out his grace.

Thus, Ephesians 1:6 reveals one of the deep truths of our relationship with God. We are loved by God in and through Christ, the Beloved of God. When we live "in Christ," we live in the love of God the Father for God the Son. We are caught up in the love shared among the persons of the Trinity. We are enveloped with the very loving nature of God. Because Christ is the Beloved, you and I can be loved by God with a love that will never let us go.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of the Father's love for the Son, what do you envision? What thoughts and images come to mind?


O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be. Amen.

"O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go," by George Matheson, 1882. Public domain.