Last evening in our Bible study we ended up studying the first chapter of Ephesians. I would like to share a few thoughts from that study with you as the Holy Spirit seemed very busy speaking to our hearts and you may enjoy some of what inspired us.
3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:3-7
What does it mean to be blessed with “all spiritual blessings?” First it is important to notice that it is God the Father who blesses us. He is the subject of every main verb in these passages. It is the Father who has blessed us (v. 3), who chose us (v. 4), destined us to be His children (v. 5), freely gives us His grace (v. 6) and this is all according to His will. (v. 11)
John Stott writes, “Paul in quick succession to God’s love and grace, to His will, His purpose and His plan. Thus the whole paragraph is full of God the Father who has set His love and poured His grace upon us, and who is working out His eternal plan.” The Message of Ephesians p. 33
Secondly, all our spiritual blessings are received in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the first fourteen verses of Ephesians chapter one Jesus is named either by name or title fifteen times, and the phrase “in Christ” appears eleven times. It is “in Christ” that we have received the richness of the Father’s grace so that “in Him” we have redemption and forgiveness. (v. 6, 7)
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is mentioned by name in verses 13 and 14 but the influence of the Holy Spirit is all over the chapter. Our blessings in Christ, from the Father through the Spirit, are spiritual.
The answer to our question, “what does it mean to be blessed in ‘all spiritual blessings?’” is that every blessing of the Holy Spirit is given us by the Father because we are “in Christ”. No blessing has been withheld.
Think about that for a while. These blessings point back to the fact that God has adopted us as sons and daughters of the Kingdom before the foundation of the world. The plan of salvation was no last minute emergency plan that God had to respond to on the fly. He predestined that any man, woman, or child who called upon His name would be saved in the Kingdom.
To have every spiritual blessing also refers to the present because “in Christ” we have been adopted into the family of God and Satan cannot snatch us out of God’s hand. You and I have assurance that we belong to God for the simple reason He said so. Read John, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians and you cannot miss the reality that, God loves us, and that love is unconditional. He gave His all for us and we give all of us to Him. Also our spiritual blessing has a future aspect to it. It is the future when all things will be untied under Christ.
Now here is a question people have asked throughout the ages. If God in His foreknowledge knew that humanity would fall then why did He create us? The answer is that He had a higher calling for us than mere creatures that live out their lives upon this earth. This calling is higher than His relationship with Adam and Eve. Because of His sacrifice at Calvary’s cross we are adopted into His family and made sons and daughters according to His will. God couldn’t do that any other way than through the forgiving of sin that comes through the blood of Jesus.
If we had been born without sin in a sinless world we would never know what it means to be thankful for redemption or the wonder of God’s grace. Our experience here on earth is based on the grace of God and that grace allows us to be sons and daughters of the King.
Let’s finish this little study by looking at Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” I absolutely love this text because it leads us so wonderfully to the cross.
First of all we have to hear the word of truth and then we trust it. The reason we trust it is because the Holy Spirit convicts us that the message we hear is the truth and it is the gospel of salvation. How do we receive such the wonderful gift of grace? We believe and the result is we are sealed. That sealing is our down payment or assurance that we have eternal life and live in the presence of God.
God is good and He loves you and He loves me. He predestined that we would be redeemed through the blood of the Lamb. Jesus does all the work and we receive all the blessings. The great blessing is that we have our past erased, our present life adopted into the family of God, and our future assured.
You never have to fear or doubt your salvation. You and I never have to say, “I hope I’m saved”. We can shout it from the rooftops “Jesus loves me and He has accepted me into the family of God through His love at Calvary!” Live each day with a spring in your step; after all you are a child of the King.
* All’s quiet in the front…really? Just because it’s hardly reported in the news these days doesn’t mean it’s not happening anymore. Many people around the globe are STILL experiencing persecution for their faith in God, and many even unto death. They need our support and continuous prayers. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet but you have to search for it