A Heavenly Blessing
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
If you look at your Bibles, you will see that this part of the letter to the Ephesians, has the title that would be, “A Heavenly Blessing, Spiritual Blessing in Christ, Or Redemption In Christ”. Whatever heading you may have it gives the believer the confidence of his or her salvation.
God is not stingy when it comes to bestowing His blessings on His much-loved children. He has already given us every spiritual blessing’s, securing them for us in heaven, where none can be stolen, damaged or kept back.
The Apostle Paul wrote this six-chapter letter to the church in Ephesus while he was imprisoned in Rome. Most scholars believe it was meant to be a form letter, something that the churches circulated around all of Asia Minor. It makes sense, because Paul doesn’t address any specific problems in this book like he does elsewhere.
In many of Paul’s letters, he spends the first half talking about who we are in Christ, and then the second half talking about how that identity should affect our lives. That layout is certainly evident in Ephesians. The first three chapters talk about who we are and the last three about how we should live.
Chapter 1 is all about blessings God sends from heaven…
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
Many tend to think of blessings in terms of money, material, or things we get to do. Paul instead talks about blessings like salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life. Today let us focus in on three things that God does for you and I, the believer, that are absolutely mind-boggling when you really give them some thought. You’ll see them on your outline. First, consider that God chooses you...
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Do you know how long you’ve been on God’s mind? Listen to verse 4: “For he chose us in Him before the foundation/creation of the world.” That’s a long time! God has had you on his radar since even before creation! And think about the word “chose.” Verse 4 says he chose you “to be holy and without blame before Him in love.” God is holy and blameless, and he chose us to be the same. He chose us to be in relationship with Him. Doesn’t that just blow your mind!!!
A Holy God choosing a sinner, you and I, before creation…and the plan was to be saved, to be made holy and without blame!
Another word that’s used here to talk about God choosing us is “adoption.” Verse 5 says… “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”. Ladies, don’t be offended by the word “sons” It includes the idea of “daughtership” as well. The phrase, “adoption as sons” was a legal term in the Roman Empire. If you chose to “adopt to sonship,” you made your adopted child your legal heir in all senses of the word. In the eyes of the government, it was as if the adopted child had always been your biological child.
Paul also writes about this in his letter to the Romans. He says, in Romans 8:15…
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
Abba is not the rock band here…it is the Aramaic word for "daddy." We don’t live in fear as God’s slaves. We live in joy as God’s children. He has adopted us into His family, and in a way as if we were always in his family, adoption to sonship. We just didn’t know it until we got saved. Until it was revealed in Gods words. The Holy Spirit that is in you has confirmed…gave you the understanding of what it means to belong to God.
From a devotional: I heard a story about a child who was bummed to learn that he had been adopted. His father called him aside, apart from the other kids, and said, “Son, do you really know what adoption means? It means we didn’t just have you; we chose you!”
Adoption is another word signifying that God chose us to be in His family. Sometimes people get upset about the word “predestined,” which means to set the boundaries in advance. God knew from the very start of creation who would be in His family. Scripture carries a holy tension between God choosing us, God always takes the initiative and our responding freely to God. We may not fully understand how, but that doesn’t make them any less true. Just know that God chose you…That’s a good thing. That’s something worth responding to by being chosen by God! And then, God forgives you…
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
Even though God chose us from before the beginning of creation, and even though we responded to His call and entered His family, we still tend to sin. Adam and Eve sinned, and God was not taken by surprise. God knows everything. God knows we will sin, like our first parents. We fail our Father, who longs for relationship with us above all. It’s a sad story. But one that He wrote.
Paul explains that God has solved our sin problem. Listen to verse 7: “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Who is the “Him” here? It’s Jesus Christ. Jesus has redeemed us. He bought us back. That’s what “redeemed” means. He redeemed us through his blood. When Jesus died on that cross, he became the one perfect sacrifice to end all sacrifices.
From our last Bible study, (Hebrews) Never would the high priest have to offer up a sacrifice again. That’s why the Temple curtain tore in two during the crucifixion. The Holy of Holies was open to all. Jesus paid the price. His blood purchased our forgiveness, for all time. Never to be revoked or taken away! Its finished, God made a Way. That’s through Jesus!
When did God come up with this plan? A long time ago. Revelation 13:8 describes Jesus as…
“The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Doesn’t that just blow your mind!!!
Just as God chose you and I before creation, God at the same time set up a plan to deal with our sin. That’s advanced planning, right!!! Only a Sovereign God can plan such a great salvation.
Now apply the idea of forgiveness personally. God...forgives...you! Whatever weight of guilt and shame you have been carrying, give it to Jesus…Let it go. Accept His forgiveness. Believe
1 John 1:9 which tells us…
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hear Him set you free as He says, “Go and sin no more.”
God chose you, God forgives you…
And lastly, God seals you (vv. 13-14)
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Verse 13, “after you have heard the word of truth” in another translation, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession... Another rich word here, the moment you believed, you were marked, you were marked with a seal. The seal was used to stamp important documents of the king that could not be opened by anyone except the recipient. The Holy Spirit is our seal.
In Texas terms, God is the rancher who puts his brand on us. The brand, the Holy Spirit himself, identifies us as one of God’s children. We belong to God, so the Holy Spirit brands us “until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.”
Another image here… The Holy Spirit is our deposit, our earnest money, our down payment, which guarantees our inheritance until the final redemption takes place. We are kingdom citizens now, with all the heavenly blessings already given to us. God has pledged all these things that will be fully realized someday, and God’s guarantee is the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does lots of things in our lives. He convicts us, he warms us to God’s presence. He guides us. He protects us. And here we see that He seals us. The Holy Spirit whispers to your soul, “Yes, you’re a child of God”. Don’t listen to the evil one. Your salvation is real. It’s promised. It’s coming… it’s already here. God will take care of you. You are never alone. “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Ephesians 1:3-14. It’s a grand entry into this precious book of Ephesians. A little Bible trivia. Did you know that these 12 verses in the original Greek are one long single sentence? It’s like Paul got so excited writing that he couldn’t stop, not even for punctuation. One long sentence, with lots and lots of blessings in it. And to summarize them, “You are chosen, You are forgiven, and You are sealed”. When God puts you on His team, God will keep you on His team, from now through eternity.
Let us pray…
Pastor Richard Santos
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