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Ephesians 1:6

Accepted in the Beloved

Years ago I was preaching in the small town of Roosevelt, Washington, on the north bank of the Columbia River. I was the guest of friends who were sheep-raisers. It was lambing time and every morning we went out to see the lambs—hundreds of them—playing about on the green. One morning I was startled to see an old ewe go loping across the road, followed by the strangest looking lamb I had ever beheld. It apparently had six legs, and the skin seemed to be partially torn from its body in a way that made me feel the poor little creature must be suffering terribly. But when one of the herders caught the lamb and brought it over to me, the mystery was explained. That lamb did not really belong originally to that ewe. She had a lamb which was bitten by a rattlesnake and died. This lamb that I saw was an orphan and needed a mother’s care. But at first the bereft ewe refused to have anything to do with it. She sniffed at it when it was brought to her, then pushed it away, saying as plainly as a sheep could say it, “That is not our family odor!” So the herders skinned the lamb that had died and very carefully drew the fleece over the living lamb. This left the hind-leg coverings dragging loose. Thus covered, the lamb was brought again to the ewe. She smelled it once more and this time seemed thoroughly satisfied and adopted it as her own.

It seemed to me to be a beautiful picture of the grace of God to sinners. We are all outcasts and have no claim upon His love. But God’s own Son, the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the World,” has died for us and now we who believe are dressed up in the fleece of the Lamb who died. Thus, God has accepted us in Him, and “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” We are as dear to the heart of the Father as His own holy, spotless Son.

“So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves His Son,
Such is His love to me.

So near, so very near to God,
Nearer I could not be,
For in the person of His Son,
I am as near as He.”

Illustrations of Bible Truth by H. A. Ironside, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 33-34