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Spiritual Blessings in Christ March 26, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Ephesians 1:3-14.

Summary: Paul begins by praising the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed him and the Ephesians – in their heavenly state – with every blessing from the Holy Spirit, which stems from their union with Christ. Indeed, God has elected believers – who are united to Christ in the new covenant – from eternity for holiness, which consists in love. He has elected believers as His sons according to His good pleasure, bringing praise to the glory of His grace, which He has shown towards those who are in Christ. In Christ, believers are ransomed by means of His blood, as their sins are forgiven; this proves that God’s unmerited love is inexhaustible. He has caused His abundant grace to be exercised towards believers, and this is tied to His giving us the Gospel – and the ability to apprehend it. He has now revealed His (formerly hidden) purpose of redemption according to His kind purpose which He had purposed in Himself. This purpose refers to His plan – which is to be carried out at the fullness of time – to unite all believers in one body under Christ, their head.

Now Paul notes that Jewish Christians have obtained a heavenly inheritance in Christ according to the purpose and work of God – which stems from His sovereign will. This has occurred so that the Jewish Christians would be the means of causing God’s divine excellence to be praised. Also, the Gentile Christians have obtained this heavenly inheritance in Christ when they heard the Gospel – which is saving truth; moreover, since they possess the Holy Spirit, their salvation is assured. Paul concludes by stating that the Holy Spirit is a pledge guaranteeing the Gentile Christians’ enjoyment of their heavenly inheritance as God’s people – which will occur at the second coming of Christ – which glorifies God.

Thoughts: In verse 9, we see that God has revealed the Gospel message to believers; it had been a mystery before this revelation was made. Hodge offers some thoughts on this point:

Any fact or truth, however simple in itself, in the New Testament sense of the word, is a “mystery” if it lies beyond the reach of our powers…For the same reason, any doctrine imperfectly revealed is a mystery. It remains, in a measure, secret.

This reminded me of the Biblical figures who 1) lived before the death and resurrection of Jesus and 2) had more insights on this mystery than others for some reason. It is evident that God provided valuable hints along these lines to Old Testament figures such as Isaiah and Zechariah, along with New Testament figures such as Simeon and Anna. Yet it is important to remember that none of these Biblical figures had the full revelation of the Gospel that was given to post-resurrection believers. When we contemplate the great faith that these Biblical figures placed in God, it should serve as a valuable reminder that

  • we are abundantly blessed to be able to read the entire Bible
  • we should not allow the fact that we possess the full revelation of the Gospel to stunt our faith.

In verse 10, we see that at some point in the future, God will bring all believers together as one body with Christ as their head. Hodge offers some thoughts on this point:

The words may be confined to the people of God, the redeemed from among men, some of whom are now in heaven and others still on earth. The whole body of the redeemed are to be gathered together in one, so that there will be one fold and one Shepherd. The form of expression is similar to Ephesians 3:15, where the apostle speaks of the whole family in heaven and on earth.

It is still difficult for me to comprehend the fact that God the Father has ordained a specific date in the future – possibly at the end of this year, if the Mayan calendar has the meaning that some have assigned to it – when Christ will return. At some point, human history as we know it will cease, and believers will enter a new era characterized by infinite blessedness. While the concept of infinity is still difficult for me to grasp, one encouraging aspect of the end-times is that I will eventually be able to meet all kinds of believers who have lived through varied time periods. That is definitely an event that I eagerly anticipate.

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