"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6).
It is in or by grace that we have our acceptance. God has made us accepted, we did not attain to it by any volition or works of ourselves. Only those in the Beloved qualify for this great blessing.
In speaking of Mary in Luke 1:28, this word accepted is translated highly favored.
In the Old Testament there is a peculiar form of acceptance in the case of offerings. Of course if the offering is accepted, then it is a certainty that the offerer is also accepted.
Take the case of Abel in Gen. 4:4. God had respect unto his offering. This was shown in such a way that Abel knew that it was accepted. On the other hand Cain just as certainly knew that his was not accepted. Later events will tell us how.
In Lev. 9:24 is the scene of the dedication of the tabernacle in the wilderness. It had been built carefully according to pattern. Then the offering was put on the altar and fire came from before the Lord and burned the offering. Contrast this with the fire that killed Nadab and Abihu in the next chapter. And their fire was strange fire.
Then note what happened to Gideon in Judges 6:20,21. His offering was also accepted by fire.
We are not so sure that fire came down to burn the offering of Manoah in Judges 13:20, but the angel of the Lord went up in the flame and so Manoah and his wife knew that they were accepted. It is quite likely that fire from God burned their sacrifice.
We have a mighty fine example in 1 Kings 18:38. It is the strife between one lone man, Elijah, and 450 prophets of Baal backed up by the queen, Jezebel. The prophets put their sacrifice on an altar and all day tried every stunt they could think of to make fire come from their god to burn the offering. Nothing happened. Then it was Elijah's turn. He prepared an altar and put the offering on it. He dug a trench around it and poured water on the altar and filled up the trench. There could be no sleight of hand here, for if he started it with strange fire, he would meet the same fate as Nadab and Abihu. But fire did come down and burn, not only the offering, but the water and all. Jezebel was very unhappy with this result. Elijah ran.
When David numbered Israel and incurred divine displeasure, he made an offering at the threshing floor and it was burned up by fire from God. So he was accepted and the plague was stayed (1 Ch. 21).
And finally, when the temple was built and the day of dedication came (2 Ch. 7), fire came and burned the first offering. So it was accepted.
We are accepted in the Beloved. Twice a voice came down from heaven saying, "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." This was at His baptism and His transfiguration (Matt. 3:17, 17:5). Also Matthew 12:18 quotes from Isaiah using the words, My Beloved. He was accepted when He was raised from the dead for or because of our justifi- cation. Hence, we are accepted in Him, the Son of His love.