SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN CHRIST
A. The Work of the Triune God on behalf of the believer.
1. The work of God the Father (vv 3-6)
As an opera has an overture which sets the tone for all the melodies that follow, so Ephesians 1:3-14 sets the tone for the rest of Ephesians.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Paul calls for a blessing upon the Father (in the sense of recognizing His glory and honor and goodness), because the Father has already blessed the believer with every spiritual blessing (who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing).
Who has blessed us: This blessing is ours; God’s resources are there for us in our time of need. But these blessings are ours in the heavenly places in Christ.
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
This is where Ephesians wants to take us - into the heavenly places in Christ; to show us the treasure of riches and blessings that are for us there.
For He chose us in Him: Our possession of every spiritual blessing is as certain as our being chosen by Him, and chosen before the foundation of the world.
Believers are chosen by God, and they are chosen before they have done anything or have been anything for God.
Jesus said in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
We are chosen in Him. "For if we are chosen in Christ, it is outside ourselves. It is not from the sight of our deserving, but because our heavenly Father has engrafted us, through the blessing of adoption, into the Body of Christ. In short, the name of Christ excludes all merit, and everything which men have of themselves." (Calvin)
In Roman law, when the adoption was complete it was complete indeed. The person who had been adopted had all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family and completely lost all rights in his old family. In the eyes of the law he was a new person. In the same way when a person comes to Christ his redemption is complete. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are made new.”
To be holy and blameless in his sight. We are chosen not only for salvation, but for holiness.
1 Peter 1:15,16 says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
We are chosen according to His good pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 says, “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
It says that we are adopted as his sons. Galatians 4:6-7 says, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, the Spirit who calls out “Abba, Father”. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you an heir.”
Romans 8:14-17 says, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father.” The spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ..”
2. The work of God the Son (vv7-8)
A. In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
There is no possible redemption outside of Jesus and His redeeming blood.
Redemption always implies a price being paid for the freedom that is purchased; here the price is His blood.
Jesus does not redeem us by His sinless life or His moral example, but only by His death in our place - by His blood. The redemption and forgiveness that is given to us comes according to the measure of the riches of His grace. It is not a "small" redemption or forgiveness won by Jesus on the cross.
Hebrews 9:22 says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Hebrews 10:10 says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
3. The mystery of His will (vv 9-12)
A. Having made known to us the mystery of His will: Part of what belongs to us under the riches of His grace is the knowledge of the mystery of His will, God’s great plan and purpose which was once hidden but is now revealed to us in Jesus.
B. That . . . He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him: God’s ultimate plan is to bring together - to ultimately resolve - all things in Christ, either through Jesus as a Savior or Jesus as a Judge; this will happen in the fullness of the times.
The word for gather together has the idea of "to unite" or "to sum up"; it was used for the process of adding up a column of figures and putting the sum up at the top. Paul’s idea is that God will make all things "add up" at the end, and right now He is in the process of coming to that final sum.
C. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance: For believers, Jesus is not a judge, but the One in whom we have an inheritance. Believers are predestined for this according to the counsel of His will - again, the reasons for His choosing reside in Him, not in us.
D. That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory: God’s purpose in all this is so that those who have trusted Christ will exist to the praise of His glory. The goal of God’s ultimate plan is to glorify Him.
E. We who first trusted in Christ speaks of Jewish believers; the you also of Ephesians 1:13 speaks of Gentile believers. God’s great plan has a place for both Jew and Gentile, and brings them both together in Jesus.
4. The work of the Holy Spirit (vv13-14).a. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth: God’s sovereign choice works, but it does not exclude human cooperation. These ones who were so sovereignly chosen were also the ones who trusted, heard the word of truth, and believed.
b. You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise: Also essential in God’s work is the sealing work of the Holy Spirit. His presence in our lives acts as a seal which indicates ownership, and which is a guarantee of our inheritance.
The word guarantee ("down payment") is used only in the New Testament of the Holy Spirit. He is our only down payment of coming glory; nothing else is provided - or needed.
c. Until the redemption of the purchased possession: We have this guarantee until we are "completely purchased" by God through resurrection and glorification - again, all to the praise of His glory.