As a result of their being chosen and adopted in Christ, Paul now instructs the Ephesians to imitate God as beloved children. In short, Christians do not become God’s children by imitating him, but rather we are first brought into his family by grace alone, and then are called to walk in light of our new identity. More than anything, therefore, thankfulness and gratitude should characterize the Christian life.
“When I think life apart from Christ, walking in the futility of your minds, where you’re not thankful to anybody because it’s your choices, your decisions. If you made bad decisions, you own them. If you make good decisions, you own those. You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul. So, there’s nobody to thank but yourself or blame but yourself.Michael Horton
“And yet, Paul says, wait, here’s a different reality. I’ve just told you, you’ve been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, redeemed by Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit while you were dead in trespasses and sins, inserted into the body of Christ who has been raised and ascended, seated at the right hand of the Father who sent his Spirit, giving you all of these gifts, in particular the gift of the ministry, and the only appropriate response to that is thankfulness because it’s all gift.”
TERM TO LEARN
Sanctification is the fruit of justification. It is the gracious and continuous operation of the Holy Spirit by which He delivers the justified sinner from the pollution of sin, renews his whole nature in the image of God, and enables him to perform good works. Sanctification never reaches perfection in this life (believers continue to struggle with sin), but by virtue of the believer’s union with Christ, real conformity to the image of Christ occurs by means of the Word and sacraments.
(Adapted from Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, pp. 532–535)