Full Reading: Ephesians 1
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,
There are many things to love about Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. This letter’s style is quite different from Paul’s letter to the Romans. In Romans, Paul spends half his first chapter writing an extended greeting, then two more chapters laying a logical foundation for what will be the main thrust of the argument in Romans 3:21-26. Paul takes a completely different approach here in Ephesians. Essentially, the rest of Ephesians will be an exposition on Eph. 1:3-14. The spirit of this letter is to take no time making sure we’ve dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s to make a sound logical argument. Paul immediately praises God and declares the vast richness of His grace.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”! When writing, we are often encouraged to save the climax for the middle or end of the piece. Paul does no such thing. Paul fixes God at the center of everything that is about to come. We will see this explicitly in v. 6, but already Paul is attributing all glory to God. This will be more evident as we see what God has done for us.
We see, then, that God the Father has “has blessed us in Christ”. The first thing I would take from this is the Fatherly love we have in the Father. Scripture makes no hesitation to describe God the Father with the intimacy that fatherhood brings. There was recently a question asked in the Dirty Christians page about calling God, “Daddy”. I struggle with this idea, likely because I have never called my own father “Daddy”, but only “Dad”. The truth of the matter is that Scripture uses this idea, albeit in Greek, to refer to God. Three times the Bible features the phrase “Abba! Father”. This is an intimate declaration of love for the Father, not unlike the name used by children for their earthly fathers. We have a Heavenly Father who deeply and intimately cares for His children.
Next on this phrase, “has blessed us in Christ”, we see the Trinitarian work of God being played out in the relationships within the Trinity. God the Father has blessed His children in God the Son. As always, we must be careful not to confuse the persons of the Trinity, and one of the ways we make the distinction between the persons is through the unique ways the Scripture teaches that they work, in harmony. The Father blesses through the work of Christ.
We see further that the Father blesses us in Christ “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”. A few important points need to be made. First, what does God not bless us with? Health. Wealth. Prosperity. God certainly can bless His children with those things, but that is nowhere promised in the Scripture, and it is definitely not found in Ephesians 1:3. What we have here is something far greater than any material blessing. This is a spiritual blessing, and Paul is not exaggerating, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. The moment we, by faith, are saved by the power of the Gospel, we are blessed with every blessing that comes with saving faith. Justification is ours. Salvation is ours. Sanctification is ours. The power to flee from sin is ours. The power to fight temptation is ours. The comfort of the Holy Spirit is ours. The peace of God is ours. God’s grace cannot be received in part. God gives His grace to overflow in all of its ways.
We could spend much time discussing the peculiar ways in which God’s grace is manifest in our lives. I will focus on two of them. First God’s grace, which is poured out in the Gospel of Christ, saves, and it saves with assurance. If you are believing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you have assurance because of God’s grace. God has promised that this grace, this love, cannot be stopped. It is a spring overflowing and torrent of living water that is that flows unsparingly into our lives. God’s Spirit is poured out and testifies to the hearts of God’s people that they are God’s people. You have assurance in Christ because God is faithful to make His grace abound in your heart.
Last, with this grace comes the grace to fight temptation and flee from sin. You have been born again and made new, if you believe the Gospel. You are no longer defined by your sin because you are justified before God, and Christ’s righteousness is your own. You are defined by Christ, and God has promised to give you this power to flee from sin. No matter the sin, God’s grace abounds to forgive that sin, and to fight that sin. This is not a license to keep on sinning, this is the power to fight it!
I encourage you to continue reading Ephesians 1. My words are powerless without it. This devotional would be just as effective if it just said “read Ephesians 1” every day for a month, as long as you actually read it. The power to change your heart and your mind is in God’s Word, not mine.