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Words: Civilla Durfee Martin (b. Aug. 21, 1866; d. Mar. 9, 1948)
Music: Wendell Phillips Loveless (b. Feb. 2, 1892; d. Oct. 3, 1987)
Note: Canadian hymn writer Civilla Durfee Martin (1866-1948) has given us several fine gospel songs such as His Eye Is on the Sparrow, and God Will Take Care of You. But there is one that should be better known than it is, based on Ephesians 1:6, quoted below.
Words such as “accept,” and “accepted” have a range of meanings and applications.
To be accepted can mean that something is approved, such as the standard for pollutants emitted by cars. Or, the word can mean agreement or consent, as in “I accept the position of church secretary.” In the field of psychology, acceptance is the opposite of denial. When an individual comes to accept, for example, that he has a potentially fatal disease, it is a step forward toward appropriate treatment. Yet again, “accepted” can refer to someone or something being received or welcomed, as when a student is accepted for enrollment in a university, or an author’s book is accepted for publication. The opposite in this latter case is refusal and rejection.
In the Bible, the word appears dozens of times. To the above meaning accepted and welcomed, is added the idea of raise up and highly favoured. Here are a few instances where the word is used.
When the Lord rejected Cain and his bloodless sacrifice, he became angry. But God said, “If you do well [do what is right, and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted [by Me]?” (Gen. 4:7). In Israel, when an individual offered an animal sacrifice we read, “He shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” (Lev. 1:4). And David prays, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).
Our word is found in the New Testament too. “The Lord Jesus proclaims, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel…to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the time of God’s gracious welcome]” (Lk. 1:3-4). “He [the Lord] says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2).
To believers Paul writes, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [because of all the Lord has done for you], that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). And Peter writes, “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 2:5).
God chose us believers (Eph. 1:4) that we would be “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (vs. 6). Accepted, and made the objects of His grace, because God views us legally as being in His beloved Son. That’s a thrilling truth. There is nothing we can do as sinners to earn God’s acceptance. But God has provided the remedy, through His Son.
When we put our faith in Christ as Saviour (Jn. 3:16), our standing before God changes. He then views us as having been in Christ, when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, and in Christ when He rose from the dead. The phrase “in Christ,” or “in Him” appears often in the epistles. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1, cf. Rom. 6:23; 12:5; II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:10).
CH-1) ‘In the Beloved’ accepted am I,
Risen, ascended, and seated on high;
Saved from all sin through His infinite grace,
With the redeemed ones accorded a place.
‘In the Beloved,’ God’s marvelous grace
Calls me to dwell in this wonderful place;
God sees my Saviour, and then He sees me,
‘In the Beloved,’ accepted and free.
CH-2) ‘In the Beloved’–how safe my retreat,
In the Beloved accounted complete;
‘Who can condemn me?’ In Him I am free,
Saviour and Keeper forever is He.
CH-3) ‘In the Beloved’ I went to the tree,
There, in His Person, by faith I may see
Infinite wrath rolling over His head,
Infinite grace, for He died in my stead.
1) What are some of the blessings Christians enjoy because we are viewed (legally) by God the Father as being “in Christ”?
2) Are there other hymns you know that present this vital truth?