During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 1:3).
Paul begins Ephesians with a long song of praise to God, for praise is what is meant by the word “blessed.”
God is to be blessed. Paul aims to worship. His song starts here and ends, without stopping, at the fourteenth verse. So Ephesians opens with a run-on sentence of praise. Paul is clearly in love with God, praising and blessing and worshipping His glorious name.
But all of our worship of God is a response to God and His greatness, particularly His great love for us.
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). So Paul then gives the reason for blessing God — He “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” The full sentence/song is a description of the great spiritual blessings God has bestowed. Before we think of the individual blessings, however, we ought to consider how God is a blessing God. Unlike Zeus or Artemis of the Ephesians, God extends Himself in love for His people. He blesses them. In Paul’s day, a God who would condescend in grace for His people was a foreign concept.
So God bestows real blessings. Paul tells us we have all of them already. In Christ, they are ours. He also tells us they are “spiritual” and “in the heavenly places.”
Perhaps this gives you pause. Perhaps the physical and earthly blessings are more highly regarded in your mind. But we must not be decieved. The superior blessings are spiritual and heavenly, while the inferior blessings are physical and earthly. The Bible is a book where everything progressively gets better as each stage of revelation unfolds. Israel had many physical blessings with some spiritual ones, while the churhc has every spiritual blessing with a promise of some physical ones. But the greatest blessings are the ones which are spiritual in nature.
We should easily believe this. It should not take more than thirty seconds to think of someone we know who has all the physical blessings their hearts desire — health and wealth — but their heart is still pained and empty. We are primarily spiritual beings, so when spiritual blessings enter our hearts, we are impacted for the better. We conclude then, these blessings from God can affect our spirits in a profound way, which will lead to joy and peace and gladness, the things no one can buy. ‘
We must also conclude we need the help of the Holy Spirit to awaken us and connect us to these blessings.
They are spiritual and in the heavenly places, after all, so He must take them and thrust them into our hearts. If not, we might be able to recite a dictionary definition of blessings like redemption, but without any real impact. For real inner-person change we must have the Spirit working within to drive these beautiful blessings into our hearts and minds. Seek Him. Ask Him to help you connect — emotionally, mentally, really — to the blessings found within Ephesians.