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Day Five:  Overlooking and Neglecting Our Blessings

Day Five: Overlooking and Neglecting Our Blessings

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Our Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 1:3a

The phrase “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” appears three times in the New Testament, and in each instance, it highlights some often-neglected spiritual blessings that believers have in Christ (Eph. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3).  And once we learn to embrace these blessings and not let them slip out of the spotlight because of our trials, temptations, or just the chaotic stuff of life, then we can remember how truly blessed we are, regardless of how we feel or what others might say.  Long two sentences, I know.  But let’s look at some of the incredible things God has already given us by virtue of our redemption provided by the sacrifice of His only Son (John 3:16).

The Letter to Ephesus

In Ephesians 1:3, Paul proclaims, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (why) who has blessed us with (what) every spiritual blessing (where) in the heavenly places in (how) Christ.”  He then lists some of these blessings that are easily ignored.  For example (and we’ll only look at the ones found in this one, long sentence):

   We Have Been Given Every Spiritual Blessing: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed (past tense, action already accomplished) us with every (pas) spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ ” (Eph. 1:3).  This overarching truth sets the foundation for all the blessings that follow.  In Christ, we have been granted access to every (pas) spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms— which means there are no existing blessings we do not have access to.  Everything, all of them that ever existed, are available to us as His children.  This is the meaning of the adjective “every” (pas) in the Greek.  It doesn’t say we have been blessed with “some” of the blessings or “most” of them are available to us.  No, it says “every” or “all” (pas).  Think about that for a moment.  Do you understand what that means?

   We Have Been Chosen for Holiness (to be just like Him): “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4).  Before the creation of the world, before time began, God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in His sight.  And our holiness is not based on our own efforts, which are usually littered with failure, but on His sovereign choice and the work of Christ in our lives, where He imputed His righteousness to us (2 Cor. 5:21).  God chose us to be like Him, holy, faultless, and without blame, simply because He loves us and wants us to be with Him (Jude 1:24).

   God Determined to Adopt Us to Himself: “Having predestined (to predetermine the outcome beforehand) us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, (why) according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5).  God not only purposed to adopt us as His children, but has also elevated our status as children to heirs, and even joint-heirs with Christ Himself (Rom. 8:16-17).  Can you imagine what that means (we will unpack this truth at a later time)?  God determined, long before we proved ourselves worthy or not, to bring us into His family as His children for no other reason than “the good pleasure of His will.”  Or, as we would say, “Simply because He wanted to.”  It was His choice to choose you as His adopted child, and this unspeakable blessing should make everything else in life pale by comparison.

   God Has Chosen to Accept Us to Himself: “To the praise of the glory of (what) His grace, by which He made (His action and not based on our merit or work) us accepted (charitóō – to be highly honored or greatly favored) in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).  The world may reject you, as they did Jesus, but the Father never will.  By grace, God has determined to accept us unto Himself, even covered with the scars of our sins and past failures, because of His great love for His children, including you and me.  And again, what problems in life could we possibly have that compare to this blessing?  I can’t think of any.  Can you?

And all this is only from Ephesians 1:3-6, which is just the second sentence in this letter.  Can you imagine the multitude of blessings we can find elsewhere in Ephesians?  I, personally, have found over sixty— and the number keeps growing daily.

How Should We Respond?

In light of these truths, what should we do?  How should the blessings of God change our view of life, church, worship, and how we approach Him and others?

First, with gratitude and praise.  When we reflect on what we already possess in Him, our hearts should overflow with praise and thanksgiving to God for His grace in Christ, freely given— no, lavished, on us (Eph. 1:8).  We did nothing to earn or deserve these blessings because they flow from God’s love and mercy alone.  So, as we meditate on these spiritual riches, let us remember the words of David: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).

Next, we should be encouraged and strengthened in the face of trials.  When we encounter hardships that just come with life, we remember that our identity, security, purpose, worth, future, and hope are always anchored in Christ, and not in our circumstances.  Pain and suffering are for only a moment, but eternity lasts forever.  And we have a compassionate Father who is ‘the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3), who will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:4).  From His perspective, our sufferings and trials are nothing more than “light afflictions, which is but for a moment” (2 Cor. 4:17), and are “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Finally, these blessings should inspire us to live holy and godly lives.  Truth is, we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4).  That seems to be one reason He created us in the first place.  Therefore, our lives should be marked by growing conformity to Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29, which is called sanctification), by our daily choosing to put off the old self and put on the new (Eph. 4:22-24).  And as we abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit, we will bear His fruit that gives glory to our Lord and points others to Him (Gal. 5:22-25)

Let’s Put it All Together

There is so much more to this life with Christ than we have been taught or experienced in the church in the West.  And I’m not sure why that is.  But, our blessings in Him are inexhaustible and already ours in Christ.  They are not some future promise for those who meet some predetermined condition, nor something we receive only when we die and go to heaven.  They are ours now, as stated in the past tense.  We have been “blessed” (past tense) with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (where God lives) in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

Tell me, what does this world offer that you don’t already have in Him?  That’s right, nuthin’.

So Let’s Pray

As you pray, remember to never cease to thank and praise God for the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8), that are yours, right now.  And ask Him to give you a life overflowing with gratitude as we share with others the wonders we have found in Christ (1 Pet. 2:9).

Dear Father,
I can’t thank You enough for all the blessings that are mine because of Your choice in me before the foundation of the world.  It literally takes my breath away.  And just think, You chose me for no other reason than the fact You wanted to.  Lord, I am overcome with humbleness, knowing that I’m Your son, adopted into Your family because of Your love, mercy, and grace.  And that this is something You actually wanted to do.  You forgave all my sins.  You redeemed me and made me an heir, a joint heir with Your Son.  How is this possible?  And why did You choose me?

Lord Jesus, I don’t know the answers or what You had in mind, but thank You for making all of this possible.

Would You teach me to show the same grace and gratitude towards others that You have shown me?  And never let me get so burdened with the trials and temptations of today that I forget who I am in You, and once again view myself for who I once was.  That person is dead, buried with Christ.  I know I am no longer that person, but I am now someone new, created in Your image.  Lord, help me live like that today, just for You.

And let me remember today, and commit to memory, Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Father, bring this verse to my memory several times today and let me contemplate how truly blessed I am.  Thank You for all You’ve done for me.  And allow me to live a life worthy of Your grace and sacrifice.

In the name of Your Son Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

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