Great Pleasure – Jeremy Austill

Thoughts derived from Ephesians 1:4-5

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose
us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance
to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.
This is what he WANTED to do, and it gave him GREAT PLEASURE. (Ephesians 1:4-5)

These two verses have
stirred much controversy among theologians for centuries. The concept of
predestination is oft debated and is likely a conversation that will never
cease this side of eternity. I do not wish to use this space to further the
discussion. However, within these verses, aside from the Calvinism/Arminianism
conjecture, there is a powerful revelation about the posture of God.

Those who believe and accept
(John 1:12) have been adopted into God’s family through Jesus for one simple

God WANTED to redeem us
because it gave Him GREAT PLEASURE.

His saving of my soul gives
Him pleasure. My redemption is not something the Lord does with reluctance.
Grace is not offered begrudgingly. His love is not tenuous; it is not dangling
by a string. If anything, because my salvation gives the Lord such great
pleasure, He is contending for it with ferocity. The Lord takes joy in offering
forgiveness…giving mercy…extending grace. The Lord is not a man that he grows
weary or frustrated by doing so repeatedly. This whole salvation thing is fun
for God.

Unfortunately I have spent a
vast number of days in my faith burdened with the idea of a frustrated God. I
am well acquainted with my shortcomings and through the years have frequently
been frustrated with myself. How in the world could a holy God be anything
short of annoyed? But what if the Lord was fully aware he was adopting someone
who didn’t have it all together? What if the idea of helping me “get there”
brings Him pleasure? I don’t know that this tension will ever fully cease but
in recent years I have become convinced that God likes me…loves me…I give Him
pleasure…and He is not inconvenienced by the times I need mercy, forgiveness or
grace. I dare not attempt to take advantage of the kindness of the Lord. I
simply rest in this confidence.

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