Blessings in Christ

Ephesians 1:1-14

 

Last month, we introduced the overall picture of the book of Ephesians. Paul writes to the "saintswho are faithful in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:1). The entire letter is broken into two main sections. In chapters 1-3, Paul affirms believers, the "saints", as being "in Christ." Throughout the rest of the letter, chapters 4-6, Paul exhorts believers to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called.

Paul begins by blessing the Father. Why? Because the believer has been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). The blessings of Christ are remarkable aren't they? Paul makes an unparalleled declaration when he states that all heaven has to offer has been given to us in the greatest gift of heaven, Christ Himself!

In verses 4-14, Paul expresses the blessings in Christ that are for the believers. The Father is in focus here as the Giver of salvation through His Son. The blessings given to believers are not simply a itemized list of good things. Rather these blessings are a means by which the Father has blessed believers, emphasizing to the believer the Blessed Person of central importance, Christ Himself. All of our blessings are in Christ. In short, believers have been blessed by the Father with His Son, Jesus Christ.

What are the means by which this takes place? Paul states that we are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the earth to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). Paul goes on to declare that believers are predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5). Paul emphasizes that the believer's salvation is in Christ and according to the Father's will. Many volumes have been written on this subject, and truly this is something of a mystery.

Before time began, God chose us in Him. Although it is clear from what Paul writes that we are chosen, it is equally clear in this passage that we are in Christ "having also believed," having listened to the message of truth: the Gospel (Eph. 1:13). What a joy for the believer to know that our salvation is not a work of our own but rather a divine act of the will of the Father through His Son! We have the blessing of experiencing salvation according to the riches of His grace. As Paul states, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 1:3).

Paul continues to elaborate on our blessings in Christ sharing that our salvation came with a price. We are redeemed (purchased), our trespasses forgiven, through the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7). Jesus was crucified, His perfect blood shed that we might be purchased, redeemed, and forgiven of our sins. Our being "in Christ" and blessed in Him is not of our own accord or merit. Rather it is through the payment that Christ Himself made on our behalf to the praise of the Father.

Paul further reveals that the mystery concerning Christ has been made known to the believer. The Father is managing the events of time so that all things will be summed up in Christ. Christ will rule over all (Eph. 1:10). All things will be under the headship of Christ. Everything that had been impacted by sin will once again be under its rightful Lord, Jesus Christ.

Finally, Paul makes clear that in Christ believers have an inheritance (Eph. 1:11) and an eternal assurance, being sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13). Due to the work of Christ on the cross, the Father blesses us with His Son and places a down payment, or a promise of our salvation now and forever in the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are guaranteed a future with Christ as a result of what the Father has accomplished through His Son, which we receive by grace through faith.

As believers, we need not fear that our salvation is of our own doing-if it were, it could just as easily be undone. We need not fear that we might lose that which we did not earn. Our salvation in Christ is secure as salvation is a work of God. We are "in Christ" and have the great privilege of now following Him. We have been blessed with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Blessed be the Father for His indescribable gift of His Son! God bless you as we continue in our study of Ephesians.

Erik Christensen is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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