“He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” – Ephesians 1:6
“The beloved!” Spurgeon relished this “golden name” which the ancient church ascribed to Jesus Christ. Indeed, even in the “long winter” when “idolatry withered the garden of the Lord,” the prophets were able to cease “uttering the thunders of judgment” to sing of their “beloved” Messiah.
But who precisely was “the beloved” of Israel? First, Jesus was the “glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” Indeed, he was “full of grace and truth,” that is, he perfectly incarnated the character of God, especially his covenant keeping love and faithfulness. Furthermore, he was the “consolation of Israel,” the deep and abiding “joy of all the chosen.”
Yet, Spurgeon noted that Christ was called “the beloved” by the Holy Spirit because “he is the beloved of the Father’s heart.” This was a deep mystery, for “none of us can tell how dear Jesus must be to his Father.” Yet in all these things, Spurgeon noted that “we love him because he first loved us.” Thus, for all of Christ’s intrinsic beauty, it was his redemptive love which “hath kindled in our poor souls a flame undying.”
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon meditated on the phrase “‘In the beloved,’” or the “Positive Union.” Indeed, Spurgeon knew that the doctrine of union with Christ was of utmost importance. He even went on to say that “a thousand sermons would never exhaust the theme” and that “no divinity is sound which does not recognize” the doctrine.
First, Spurgeon expounded upon the precious words “in Christ.” Here he asserted that believers were “in his heart…from all eternity.” Indeed, “it was not in time that Christ wrote the names of his people upon his heart,” rather it was “before all times.”
Second, Spurgeon declared these same names were “in Christ’s book,” having been “chosen in him and elected by the Father.” Third, Spurgeon asserted that believers are “in Christ’s hand” as Christ was their blessed “surety.” After all, the Great Shepherd of the sheep would not permit them to be snatched from his hand.
Furthermore, because of the believer’s vital union, when Christ “obeyed the law and made it honourable,” the benefits of his perfect obedience were imputed to all who were joined to him. Indeed, not only that, but now “justice looks upon the chosen as though they themselves had suffered all that Christ suffered.” Through union with Christ the great exchange had taken place and now believers could rejoice in God’s great deliverance.
In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon expounded upon the meaning of being “Accepted in the beloved.” First, Spurgeon noted that such acceptance must include “justification before God.” Indeed, through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, the believer became and object of “God’s complacency” instead of his wrath.
Furthermore, God was not just “complacent” with his ransomed people, rather they were objects of “divine delight.” Indeed, for Spurgeon this was an “extravaganza of divine grace,” that “worms,” “mortals,” and “sinners” should be loved by God! In Spurgeon’s view, such an outpouring of love should result deep devotion.
And yet, Spurgeon was aware that there were many who looked to their experiences as the ground of their acceptance instead of Christ. One moment their heart was filled with “gleams of [Christ’s] love” and the next their “souls [cleaved] to the earth.” Here Spurgeon called for a “blessed faith, that walks above experience!” After all he said, “if my good works had put me into Christ, than my bad works might turn me out.” But because salvation was by grace the believer was secure, even in the “darkest nights.”
In the third, and final, section of his sermon, Spurgeon dwelled on the “Divine operation.” Here Spurgeon urged his congregation saying, “do you not see, beloved, the whole way through, [salvation] is all of God and not of man.” Indeed, because it was “God from first to last” the believer could have the ultimate assurance of salvation.
Why you should take up and read:
“The beloved!” Spurgeon relished this “golden name” which the ancient church ascribed to Jesus Christ. Indeed, this “beloved” was the “glory as of the only begotten of the Father” and the “consolation of Israel.” In this sermon Spurgeon meditated on the believer’s beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ. For the one wanting to steep in the sweetness and dearness of the Saviour please be encouraged to take up and read.
Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/accepted-in-the-beloved#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves at the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City where he is also pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.