Ephesians 1:3-14 is a rich hymn of praise to God the Father. God the Father is blessed and worthy of praise because of who He is and what He has done. Paul begins this hymn by saying that God is blessed and worthy of praise. In this context Paul calls us to praise God because He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
Notice the text does not say that we have every physical blessing on earth. It is propagated in the health, wealth, and prosperity “gospel” that those who serve God will have physical wealth and health. This is simply not the teaching of the New Testament. While health and wealth are indeed blessings from God, they are not promised by God for His people.
Instead, Jesus told His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). By inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul told Timothy, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
We are never promised physical health, wealth and prosperity. The Good News of Jesus actually promises pain and loss in this world (Luke 14:25-33; John 16:33).
Yet, no matter what trouble and loss Jesus’ followers have in this world, we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Because of who Jesus is and what He has done for those who are His, we have every spiritual blessing in heaven. On our behalf Jesus has lived a perfect life that we could not live (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus has died in the place of His followers and has come back to life again for us (1 Corinthians 15:3-11; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:7; 2:4-7). Those who are trusting in Him are united to Him in a real, living union. In Him, in Christ, His own are blessed with everything heaven has to offer. All the Father has to give is given to us in Christ.
Paul then takes verses 4-14 to explain some of the spiritual blessing in the heavenly places that the Father has given to His own in Christ.
IN CHRIST God’s People Are:
•Chosen to be holy and blameless (in position) (v. 4). God has set His people apart for Himself. We are blameless in His sight. This is not based on our goodness, but it is based upon Jesus’ righteousness being given to us. This is driven home by the fact that this choice took place before creation – before we existed!
•Predestined for adoption as sons for God (v. 5, 11). We were marked out to be adopted children of God. The Roman concept of adoption is probably in view here. God’s children were marked out to be brought into God’s family as adult heirs with all the rights, responsibilities, and resources of adult heirs. In Jesus Christ, His followers “…have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). Not everyone is a child of God. Only those who have received Jesus Christ are God’s children (John 1:12). Are you His child?
•Accepted in the Beloved (v. 6). We are not accepted based upon ourselves and our goodness. We have nothing good to bring to God (Romans 3:10-12, 23). We are only accepted in Jesus Christ. Because the Father loves the Son, He accepts those who are in the Son.
•Redeemed through Jesus’ blood, forgiven of trespasses (v. 7-8). God’s children have been purchased from Satan, sin and the world system for Himself. The price paid to purchase us is the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Those who belong to God have been purchased by Him and our sin has been removed. We still sin, but all condemnation for sin has been removed (Romans 8:1). This is according to the riches of God’s grace. God has a limitless, infinite supply of grace. All the riches of His grace have been lavished on those who belong to Him.
•Given knowledge of the mystery of God’s will (vv. 9-10). God has a set plan. It is a plan to unite all things under the headship of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is Lord. He is risen. He is coming again. He has all authority in heaven and on earth right now (Matthew 28:18). Some day in the eternal state, all things will be visibly submitted to His Lordship. This does not mean that all will be saved. Only those who turn to Him now will be saved. This is speaking of the time mentioned in Philippians 2:10-11, “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
•Sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (vv. 13-14). Those who belong to Jesus Christ are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. We are safe. We are secure. We are authentic. We have Him as the Guarantee, the downpayment, of our coming inheritance until the day we enjoy and experience that inheritance in all its splendor!
All that I am and have as a believer is IN CHRIST. It is not based in my goodness or my performance. It based completely in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done on my behalf.
All that I am and have as a believer is for the Glory of God! ( vv. 6, 12, 14). Notice that this is repeated three times throughout this hymn of praise. Why were His children chosen and predestined? “…to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (v. 6). Why have we been redeemed, forgiven, made knowledgeable of His will, and given an inheritance? “…to the praise of his glory” (v. 12). Why have we been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit and given Him as the down payment of our inheritance? “…to the praise of his glory” (v. 14).
Every aspect of salvation from sin and every detail of human history has been planned out to accomplish one ultimate purpose – to speak well of God’s glory!
Followers of Jesus – Take time to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for blessing us in Jesus Christ with every spiritual blessing in heaven. Actually, let’s dedicate our lives to that end, because this is why we exist! Direct the world’s attention to the one and only true God who has given us all things in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:32).
If you have never received Jesus Christ, look to Him and be saved. Turn to Him. Trust in Him to rescue you. He has died in the place of all who trust in Him. He has paid the penalty for sinners. He has come back to life again. He will rescue all who turn to Him in faith.
If you would like to learn more, read through the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of John. Also feel free to contact me by using the “Letters to the Editor” page.
In Jesus’ Service,
Notice: “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.” https://www.crossway.org/permissions/