Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3)


‘who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.’

Ruins of a main street in Ephesus –
perhaps Paul walked along it on his way
to meet with his fellow-Christians 
Paul tells the Christians in Ephesus that they have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. The blessings that Paul has in mind are the ones he details in the following verses (vv. 2-14). He is not referring to blessings such as answers to prayer or even to progress in holiness because these are blessings that vary between believers. Rather what he has in mind are blessings that each Christian has at all times.

There are certain things worth noting about these blessings. First, they run from eternity past to the eternal world yet to come, which is a reminder to us that we should view the Christian life from the perspective of the big picture.

Second, different blessings are linked to each person of the Trinity. The Father is linked to election and adoption, the Son to redemption and restoration, the Spirit to sealing and earnest of the inheritance. We should rejoice in knowing that each person of the Godhead provides blessings for us. Yet Paul also indicates that in a particular way we receive all spiritual blessings from the Father because it was his purpose that we should have them.

Third, every blessing is given in Christ, that is, in union to him. This is an aspect that should lead us to worship. It is easier for us to imagine being united to Christ after believing in him, but it is beyond our understanding to work out how we could have been united to him before creation. But that is what Paul says here.

Fourth, the purpose of the donation of these blessings is to enhance the glory of God. Three times in the following verses Paul mentions this important aspect. God will be magnified through each and through all of his people, including us.

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