Summary: What are the blessings that the believers enjoy? Are we aware of the valuable benefits that God’s people have?
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession -- to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:3-14, NIV).
"Praise be to the God..." as we read in verse 3. The New Living Translation states, "How we praise God..." After Job lost all his children and all his material possessions, he said, "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord BE PRAISED" (Job 1:21).
God is worthy to be praised -- to be lifted up, be glorified, be commended, be approved, and be applauded, in spite of what had happened, what is happening and what will happen to us, for He "has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ"!
He, as we read in the New Living Translation, "has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ."
God "has blessed us..."
He is the God of blessings. He does not just punish, discipline, or avenge. He also blesses.
Though He brought many troubles to Job, allowed various sufferings and trials to happen to men, or sent the latest super typhoon -- "Reming" (International Name -- Durian) in our province (Albay, Philippines) last November 30 -- destroying houses and hundreds of lives caused by winds of more than 260 kph, with heavy rains, flooding the many areas and pushing down the volcanic debris from Mayon Volcano and covering many villages -- yet, He provided many blessings!
We read in Proverbs 3:33, "The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous."
In Genesis 5:2, we read that He blessed our first parents, "He created them male and female and blessed them..."
He blessed Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, "The Lord had said to Abram, ’Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’" (also Gen. 22:15-18).
And through Moses, God promised great blessing to the Israelites. We read in Deuteronomy 7:12-15, "If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land--your grain, new wine and oil--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you. You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor any of your livestock without young. The Lord will keep you free from every disease. He will not inflict on you the horrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all who hate you" (also Deut. 28:2-13; Ps. 115:12).
God also granted the request of Jabez to bless him, as we read in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ’I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ’Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request."