Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. 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—to the praise of his glory.
In the text above, Paul describes some of the blessings for believers who are in Christ Jesus. It is as if Paul were making a list of the benefits for those who put their faith in Jesus. Some of these blessings are immediate and some are future promises. This week we will look at some of these blessings with joy for what we already are experiencing and anticipation for what is to come.
Today we will focus on verses three through six. Here we see God’s activity toward believers. Verses four and five can be summarized this way: “God chose us in Christ. He adopted us into His eternal family. He loves/accepts us in Christ.” Here we find several of the “spiritual blessings” that Paul refers to in verse three. You will notice several phrases in this passage of scripture: “in Him, through Jesus Christ, in Christ.” The blessings that Paul refers to are all meaningfully connected to Christ and what He has done for us. These blessings cannot be experienced outside of Christ.
The first blessing has to do with God’s divine choice: “For He chose us in Him.” We all remember the joy or sadness that came from being chosen first or last in our youth. When being picked for a team, every child would raise their hand and shout with exuberance, “Pick me, pick me!” If you were the one picked, you felt great! If you were not picked, an emotional heaviness would begin to settle into your heart. When it got down to the last two people, both would be thinking, “Pick me! I don’t want to be the last person chosen.” It is important to note that God’s sovereign choice is rooted “in Him,” that is, in Jesus.
The idea of divine election comes out of the important matter of our union with Christ. The theology of divine election is “best understood as God’s sovereign initiative in bringing persons to faith in Christ.” The true source of all our blessings is God. Here Paul reminds us that our salvation is from God and not of ourselves. The whole conflict between God’s Sovereignty and man’s free will is a larger debate that cannot be adequately addressed in a short devotion.
The second blessing is our adoption as sons/daughters. God has not only saved us, but He places us in a spiritual family for our good and for our growth. He does not leave us as spiritual orphans but provides a familial structure for us to be a part of. This spiritual family is designed to provide strength, security, comfort, and growth opportunities for the new believer.
The last blessing outlined in this passage is that we are loved or accepted because of Christ. We are accepted because of who Jesus is and not because of anything we have done. Only those who have trusted Christ can experience the magnitude of God’s love and acceptance.
In his commentary on Ephesians, J.V. McGee wraps it up this way: “All is done on the basis of His grace and the end is the glory of God. The inception is grace; the conception is adoption; the reception is for His glory.”
Questions to Ponder
As you think about the spiritual blessings outlined above, which one of these is most meaningful to you and why? How do you reconcile the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man? How does it make you feel to know that you are accepted/loved by God because of Christ? Are you part of a spiritual family? If so, what is one of the greatest benefits to being part of a church family?
- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
- Continue to praise our uncreated God who has created all things for His glory. Thank Him for who He is and what He has done.
- Praise Him for saving you and adopting you into His family. Thank Him for faith, forgiveness of sin, His amazing grace, and His mercy.
- Thank Jesus for taking all of your sin, punishment, and guilt so you may be holy and blameless in Christ. In Him you are chosen, loved, redeemed, blessed, forgiven, made clean, and called to be holy and blameless.
Praise be to You, oh Holy Father, who is the kindest one I know. Thank You, Lord, for saving me and giving me a robe of righteousness and garment of salvation. Thank You for setting me apart for You and Your glory, giving me new life, and blessing me with forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Thank You for adopting me into the family of believers and calling me Your child and co-heir with Christ Jesus. I bless Your name, oh Lord, and I ask for myself and our church family that by Your Holy Spirit in us You would give us clean hands and a pure heart. Help us to be holy as You are Holy. I ask that we may walk worthy to please You. Help us to love and reveal Your love to all those around us today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.