Every Spiritual Blessing
Open Your Bible
Ephesians 1:1-14, John 1:12-13, Colossians 1:16
I have a dear friend who wants to be a foster mom so badly, she can hardly speak of it without tears pooling in her pretty eyes. She longs to be a safe place for children without a home, to give graciously to those whose lives are marked by need, to be a friend to the teenager who is convinced she’ll always be alone.
Thinking about this, of course, makes me cry. Because I know my friend, I know the weight of these gifts she’s giving. And I know they aren’t simply gifts to one person or a few, but they are gifts to us all. So, all I can say is YES. Thank you for giving what you are not obligated to give to those who cannot repay you for your gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This kind of overwhelming gratitude is Paul’s tone as he begins his letter to the Ephesians. Well, this times infinity. Paul isn’t giving thanks for a gift given only to himself, or only to a few. He is praising the Lord for the gifts given to all believers— indeed, to ANYONE who would believe in Jesus as Messiah.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
– Ephesians 1:3 HCSB
What are these blessings that have Paul borderline giddy, with his praise hands held high? In verses 3-14— which were a actually one, long sentence in the Greek— Paul declares three gifts, or blessings, that are irrevocably theirs (and ours!) in Christ. Let’s see if we can identify them together.
Blessing #1: God the Father elects. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
I know, words like “chosen” and “elect” and “predestine” make me squirmy, too. But they’re there, in black and white (and not just there, but throughout Scripture. Use John 6:44, Romans 8:29, Ephesians 1:5 as starting points for further reading). But before we get put our defenses up, consider this with me: What if we focused less on the selectivity we perceive in these words and more on the surety they present?
We know God saves us according to His love and mercy, not in response to any works of our own. (This is what Paul spent an entire letter scream-talking to the Galatians about in our last study! See Galatians 3:11.) Because our salvation is by Him alone, it must be intended and carried out by Him alone. He is the only one able to do it! Now, couple that with this glorious passage in John 1:12: “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God.” God gives guilty sinners undeserved gifts and makes them our right.
Election is not a hoop to jump through. Election means there is no hoop! God chose us. All the hoops are null because Christ jumped through them all for all.
Blessing #2: the Son redeems. (Ephesians 1:7-12)
The first blessing is eternal—God chose us before He poured the world’s foundation, and we reap the benefit yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever. Likewise, our redemption in Christ is a present and eternal promise. We are forgiven now, and we will be forgiven still. The redemption gained by Christ’s blood will never expire.
Not only that, but Christ’s sacrifice unifies all believers. Paul’s letter was written to the earliest Christians, who knew people as belonging to one of two categories—Jews and Gentiles. That God’s plan of redemption included any and all who would believe, regardless of their ethnicity, was radically good news.
Blessing #3: the Spirit seals. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to send a Counselor (John 14:26). But the Spirit is also Himself a promise, a down payment of our full redemption and future glory. God is the only One who can give eternally, not bound by time and space or any other limitation. His promises are as good as fulfilled the moment He makes them! God gives us the Holy Spirit to be with us now as we await Glory, but also as our Glory guarantee (Romans 8:30).
Whew. That’s a lot of blessing, you guys.
It’s no wonder Paul rattled all this off in one, long, Greek sentence—this is incredible and incredibly life-changing good news! Salvation is a gift sovereignly and freely given by God, redemption is fully accomplished by the Son, and our future glory is safely sealed by the Spirit.
Friends, this message was not just for the churches in and around Ephesus. This message is for you and me. We have been given a wealth of gifts we can never earn, a heap of blessings we can never repay, only because our good God desires to give them.
YES. Thank you, Lord, for giving what You are not obligated to give to we who are only made worthy by the sacrifice of your Son. Thank you, thank you, thank you.