If you’d like to join us in our journey reading all the way through the Bible this year, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to email back a copy of the reading plan we are using.
Cultural trends come and go. One that is popular today, even among those who would make no profession of saving faith in Jesus Christ, is to refer to themselves as “blessed.” You hear it at awards ceremonies, on talk shows – all over. And there is a certain amount of truth to it. God is good. He causes the rain to fall which brings about the crops we need for food – on both the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). But as we all know, there are blessings, and there are blessings. Some temporal and temporarily enjoyable, and some spiritual, and enjoyable only in terms of an eternity spent in the presence of the Living God. What the latter looks like is spelled out for us today in our reading of Ephesians 1:3-14.
That today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
There are important things to be understood in Mark 15:33-41 and 2 Kings 8:16-9:37. But being limited to only one – let’s set our eyes on some of what Christ crucified in our Mark passage means, when we come to Ephesians.
Hidden to us in our English translations, is the fact that Ephesians 1:3-14 is but one continuous sentence in the original. 202 words of unparalleled revelation. And the unfolding of what it REALLY means to be “blessed.” And I can think of nothing more counter to the values of this present world and age than this portion. For it lifts the Believer’s eyes to understand blessing in a way the World, and sadly, even some professed Believers have no concept of.
Paul locates our blessedness in this, in what he calls “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” And then goes on to tease out 7 of them. They come to us by the appointment and purpose of God the Father, through the work of Jesus the Son.
1. (4) ELECTION: Believers are chosen, not accidental. And that, only IN Christ. Salvation and all that issues from it is only in connection to union with Christ. Do not miss this.
2. (4) DESTINED: To be holy and blameless BEFORE Him. He did not save us to leave us slaves of our sin, but to present us holy and blameless before Himself by the cleansing of Jesus’ blood.
3. (5) ADOPTION: Set as Sons WITH Christ. We are not just subjects or creatures – but made a part of His family!
4. (7) REDEMPTION: The forgiveness of sins BY Christ. Forgiven. Washed. Cleansed. Justified. Purchased. Purged.
5. (9) REVELATION: The mystery of His will THROUGH Christ is made known to us. God’s eternal plans for us and the cosmos.
6. (11) INHERITANCE: Christ HIMSELF. We inherit God and all that He is in His eternal, infinite, indescribable glory. God’s eternal treasure in His Son, is ours too.
7. (13) SEALING: The Holy Spirit OF Christ. As an envelope is sealed to protect its contents until the one to whom it is addressed opens it – so are we safely sealed – until we are placed into the hands of the Father – the One to whom we are addressed.
All of these located specifically and exclusively IN Christ Jesus. We obtain these all “in Christ” (3); “in Him” (4); “through Jesus Christ” (5); :in the Beloved” (6); “In Him” (7); “in Christ” (9); “in Him” (10); “in Him” (11); “in Him” (13).
And so the question is – are you “in Christ”, “in Him” today? If so, here is the wonder of your being “blessed.” If not, you can be. For as this letter goes on to say, by grace we are saved – through faith. We are brought into union with Christ and all the blessings that are “in Him” – through trusting in His atoning work on the Cross, to satisfy the justice of God regarding our sin. Looking to Him alone.
Think of these things today Beloved. And BE blessed.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.