The book of Ephesians is perhaps the most lofty book in the Bible. In a grand sweep, it tells us that the purpose of everything is somehow found in Christ from eternity to eternity (1:10). The purpose of all things throughout all of time explained in one book (Ephesians) and in one word (Christ). Lofty to say the least. After a read of the first chapter it almost seems impossible to comprehend. Peter O’Brien in his commentary on it wrote that Samuel T. Coleridge called it, “the divinest composition of man.” So, I want to move through it in a number of posts and just highlight some things that have really gripped me, and I pray anyone who reads it is helped and comes to understand this book of the Bible just a little more. The first thing that strikes me is that one of God’s promises is that through Christ he has given his children “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
Spiritual blessings: So, what are these spiritual blessings, and how do I get them, you may be wondering. I fear many Christians today only have a small grasp of what God’s spiritual blessings to them are. Understanding and dwelling on God’s spiritual blessings can provide us with more comfort and joy than we know what to do with. But what are these blessings? Below I want to just list out some critical ones, and how we can only have these because we are “in Christ (1:3).”
- Grace: In Christ we have received “grace upon grace” as John tells us (John 1:16). Unearned and totally underserving love from God. And God doesn’t just provide grace to justify you, he provides grace to sanctify you and bring you all the way home, safely into his heavenly kingdom, and that’s a comforting thought.
- Forgiveness: This is such a beautiful spiritual blessing because it leads to all the others. To be forgiven leads to a right relationship with our Creator, which is the very source of true joy, and because we have his forgiveness, we can give forgiveness to those who wrong us. We have been given a vertical forgiveness from God and now we can give a horizontal forgiveness to our neighbor, and this is a great spiritual blessing.
- Peace: The source of true peace is not external but internal. A deep inner equilibrium as Tim Keller calls it, that everything has been made right with God. Sin has been dealt with and now all is well in the context of the soul and it’s relationship to God. The heart can finally say with Horatio Spafford, “my sin, oh the bliss of that glorious thought, my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”
- Prayer: Anyone can pray to God but does God respond in the same way to everyone? Christ has said, “no one comes to the Father but by me (John 14:6).” Those in Christ can pray to the Father and know that because their sin has been dealt with God wants to have dealings with them. God is not just love, he is “holy, holy, holy” as the angels cry. Prayer in it’s true form is a great spiritual gift like a spiritual treasure chest. Through the practice of it we come to find a world of wonder and joy which can be explored for a lifetime and still there are treasures yet to be found.
This list could continue on, but the above four are a good start to anyone wanting to know more of and grip onto the spiritual blessings they have access to in Christ at all times in the heavenly places. A few more to list are joy, hope, love, unity, and truth. Importantly, these aren’t just blessings that we have been given and now leave on the shelf, they are blessings we have been given to drink throughout our lives. We should treat them like water that we need daily, not like a vacation that we go on yearly. They are ours to drink, so in the power of the Spirit who lives in us let us drink them until we are bursting at the seams with them!