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
When we think about God’s will for our lives, we don’t usually go back far enough. Ephesians 1:5 says we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world and were predestined to be adopted in accordance with God’s pleasure and will.
In some of Paul’s other epistles, he speaks of Christ being “in us.” In Ephesians, he speaks of our being “in Christ.”
We don’t have to wait until we die and go to heaven to receive the blessings God has for us. They’ll be ours fully some day, but they’ve been given to us now, partially so we can live triumphantly until we arrive in heaven. No one can take these gifts away from us—ever. We know we have them because the Holy Spirit lives in us. He is a seal—“a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (1:13-14).
But what are we blessed with? Because we’re in Christ, we’ve been given God’s glorious grace. We’ve been chosen by God to be holy and blameless before Him, not based on anything we’ve done, but based on what Christ has done (v.4).
We’ve also been adopted as heirs through Christ, and we will receive an inheritance as His sons and daughters (vv. 5,11,14). We’ve been redeemed through His shed blood, our sins completely forgiven (v. 7). We’re recipients of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. We’ve been shown the mystery of God’s will “to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (vv. 9-10).
All of this was accomplished in accordance with God’s grace, given freely and lavishly, to the praise of God’s glory to those who were first to hope in Christ—Paul and other Jews as well as those who heard the word of truth and believed, that is, the Gentiles (vv. 12-13). Both groups of people are God’s possession, the ones He has been forming for Himself before the beginning of time.
Are you praising God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed you in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ?
Read Ephesians 1:6, 12, and 14. What does “the praise of His glory” mean? How should we respond to the blessings described in these verses?
Paul describes himself as an apostle. This Greek word apostolos means “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders; specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ.” * How does Paul defend his use of this title for himself and how does he qualify his own specific calling according to the following: Romans 1:1, 11:13; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 12:11-12; 1 Timothy 2:7, and 2 Timothy 1:11?
Paul died a martyr not many years after writing this letter (about 6-7 years). If you knew you only had that long to live, what truths presented here would you emphasize as you tell others about how God has blessed you?
Do you see yourself as an apostle? Where have you been “sent”? For some ideas, see Apostle under Dig into Words.
Nancy J. Baker
* Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for apostle (Strong’s G652)”. <http://www.blueletterbible. org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm? strongs=G652&t=KJV