Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:1-14
As Christians, what we have we have purely by virtue of being in Christ. He is the one who inherits all things. We are blessed “in Christ” with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. That is a rather all-encompassing statement. Paul goes ahead and breaks it down in the following section giving us five examples of the blessings we have in Christ.
We are chosen “in him” to be “holy and blameless” before him.
- That holiness and blamelessness are the results of being “in him.” It is really his holiness and blamelessness that is credited to us.
- In terms of practical conduct, we all come short of holiness and blamelessness now. If you question that, just take a serious look at the Sermon on the Mount where you will find that sin is not just an outward act but flows from a heart that still sins through lust, anger, etc. But here is the good news. We were chosen before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless. Since God has chosen us to that end, you can be assured that it will come to pass. It won’t happen in this life, however. But it will come to pass in the resurrection in the New Heavens and New Earth. Meanwhile, we rejoice in the holiness and blamelessness of Christ that is credited to our account.
“In the Beloved,” he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons.
- Being adopted as a son is not a sexist statement, it is a statement of status. In the New Testament world, women generally could not inherit. Sons did inherit. Paul’s point is that we are predestined “in the Beloved,” that is, in Christ, to be adopted to a position in the family of God where we are inheritors. We now have an inheritance in Christ.
- In love he predestined us. He loved us from before the foundation of the world. It is the same principle demonstrated in Deuteronomy 7:7-8 with Israel: “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers…”
- Our being adopted is in accord with his eternal purpose.
- The end purpose of our adoption is the praise of his glorious grace
“In him” we have redemption through his blood.
- This redemption grants us the forgiveness of our sins.
- How fully are we forgiven? Paul tells us it is measured by how rich God’s grace is which has been lavished on us. To be lavished is to be excessive, ostentatious. That is the richness of God’s grace given to us in Christ. It is much more than “just enough.”
- In this lavish grace, he has revealed to us his mystery that in Christ he will unite all things in heaven and earth in him. This is taking us forward to the New Heavens and New Earth.
“In him” we have obtained an inheritance.
- This amazes me. This inheritance is that we are to the praise of his glory. What God has done, is doing, and will do in us is such that it produces glory for God and causes praise to rise to God’s glory. This is the work of God’s gracious power. Nothing I, or we, could ever do on our own, no matter how gracious, how humble, how effective, could be something that would glorify God and produce that praise to his glory. In fact, Scripture makes it clear that our human efforts are but filthy rags.
- This glorious reality only comes about because we are “in him.”
“In him,” we are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
- We are marked off for God. We belong to him. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the proof of the efficacy of Christ’s work on our behalf.
- This indwelling Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our future inheritance. He is the down payment on our future. He gives us the foretaste of life with God in the New Heavens and New Earth.
I guess we could refer to these as the Big 5. Paul has told us we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ and then lists these five, so I assume Paul saw them as the biggies we should focus on. All I have done here is identify the Big 5. I encourage you to take the time to meditate on what Scripture has to say about each of these blessings in Christ. If you’re not happy now, you will be after spending time focusing on these blessings that are yours in Christ.