By Ike T. Sidebottom
In Ephesians 1, verses 3 to 14, we get a glimpse of the eternal purpose and plan of God which is now being worked out through the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. At the time Paul penned these verses he was suffering untold cruelties of earth, but he was enjoying unlimited visions of heaven. Though he was lodged in a Roman prison, he launches forth into the message of this epistle with the triumphant word “blessed” (verse 3).
The clause, “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” in verse 3, reminds us of this testimony in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
Paul seems to never forget the blessing and praise that belongs to our God and Father and to our Lord and Savior. Perhaps our prayers would be more far-reaching if they were filled with more praise and gratitude to God for what He has already done, and less begging for things we think He ought to do.
We call your attention to four things about the blessings of verse 3. He “hath blessed us with all … blessings.” They are “spiritual blessings.” They are blessings which belong to the “heavenly places.” And they are blessings which are secured “in Christ.”
Seven of these blessings are dealt with in detail in these verses. They are as follows:
We were “chosen” in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (verse 4).
God “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself , according to the good pleasure of His will” (verse 5).
“He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (verse 6). That is, He hath made us acceptable to Himself by robing us in the righteousness of His own Son.
He has redeemed us through the blood of His Son by which we have “forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (verse 7).
He has instructed us “having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself” (verse 9).
“He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise” until the day of the redemption of our bodies when the church is caught into glory (verse 13).
Finally, He has enriched us with a specified “inheritance” which will be given unto us when we, “the body, the church” meet our Lord and Head in glory.
As members of the “church, which is the body of Christ,” we are God’s children, or sons (verse 5). This is true because we are in His Son. Our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins is “according to the riches of His grace” and the riches of His grace are “unsearchable” (Ephesians 3:8). Therefore the measure of forgiveness which we enjoy in Christ is the measure of the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” In Christ, we stand “holy and without blame” before God. God cannot see us as we were in Adam, fallen and condemned; but He sees us as we are in Christ, risen and accounted righteous. This reminds us of Colossians 1:21-22:
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight:”
It is true that “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6). Yet, it is also true that we who are saved have been made clean through the blood of Christ and we are now robed in His infinite righteousness. Therefore, we are a new creation and we no longer belong to the fallen race of Adam. Our citizenship is in heaven and our standing before the Heavenly Father is just as perfect as that of His dear Son, because we stand in Him and in His righteousness.
This article is taken from the book, The Fellowship of the Mystery, a verse by verse study of the book of Ephesians, by Pastor Ike T. Sidebottom.