“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:5–6

It is always a great benefit to know someone who is willing to do you a favor when you have great need. A favor is generally a gift of good will, showing kind regard, or granting approval and liking. It can mean something as simple as a token gift, but it may be truly a treasure if the favor demonstrates partiality on the part of the giver.

The Hebrew words translated as favor generally carry the connotation of taking “delight in someone, to have favor toward, to be well pleased with, of satisfaction and good will.” Lest you be tempted to conclude that favor is just another word for grace, take note that grace is much more than a mere favor because it can neither be deserved nor gained. Pure grace is God’s love in action to the wholly underserving. Favors may be gained and deserved.

Notice Proverbs 3:3–4, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.” Hebrews 11:5–6 is an illustration of this proverb, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found because God had taken him;’ for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him.”

To have the favor of God resting upon you is a supreme blessing. A particularly wonderful promise is found in Psalm 5:11f, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” Compare this thought with our verse in Ephesians 1:6. The experience of God’s favor toward His own in our walk with Him is seen in Psalm 30:4f, “Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

This experiential favor from God is what is prayed for in several of the psalms. Psalm 31:16 reads, “Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies’ sake.” Psalm 80:3 states, “Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” Also Psalm 119:135 pleads, “Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.” Such words are borne of a heart that delights in the presence of the Father and so he finds delight in the Father’s eyes.

In Proverbs 8, where wisdom is personified and extolled, verses 35f declare, “For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.” Proverbs 11:27 and 12:2 expand on the theme of living according to God’s wisdom: “He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil.” and “A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.” Proverbs 13:14f and 14:9 add, “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death. Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.” and “Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.”

Proverbs 14:35 handily provides a transition for Church Age saints, “The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.” It is this principle of favor that we find taking its ultimate meaning in the New Testament with God as our King and we His servants. Our Lord is the prime example for us as He states in John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him (Luke 2:52, 3:22).” He is our prime example of humble obedience to the Father’s will and divine favor rests upon Him.

Accordingly, Paul challenges all believers in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God.” He had already stated in 2:4, “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, even so we speak not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”

Our text from Ephesians 1 states that God has made us “accepted in the Beloved.” The original word for accepted is found in one other text—Luke 1:30 where Mary is told by Gabriel, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor (accepted) with God.” How gracious of God to use the same word to describe the position of every saint who is washed in the blood of the sinless Lamb of God! In Christ you are a favored son of God! In obedience (Hebrews 13:14–16) we find favor in our daily walk with our Father. Trust and obey.