In this letter, Paul gave us some great and fundamental facts of our faith!
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence. Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Yeshua Christ. He freely chose to do this so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory.
Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. He poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight when he revealed the mystery of his plan to us. He had decided to do this through Christ. He planned to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ would be the head of everything in heaven and on earth. God also decided ahead of time to choose us through Christ according to his plan, which makes everything work the way he intends. He planned all of this so that we who had already focused our hope on Christ would praise him and give him glory.
You heard and believed the message of truth, the Good News that he has saved you. In him you were sealed with the Holy Spirit whom he promised. This Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive our inheritance. We have this guarantee until we are set free to belong to him. God receives praise and glory for this (Ephesians 1:1-14)
When Paul traveled around the Roman Empire, he saw people who were spiritually and materially destitute, poverty-stricken. Many were slaves. Most had nothing of this world’s goods. They were depressed, discouraged, overcome with fears, anxieties, jealousies, and hostilities. They were under the grip of superstition and filled with fear about the future. There was no hope of life after death. And Paul’s greatest joy was to explain the riches that were available to them in Jesus Christ — riches which, if accepted as facts, would free them, transform them and make them completely different people; would bring them into a sense of joy and love and faith. Over and over, he was able to share the great news of Jesus Christ.
That is where we find encouragement! When we look at the resources that belong to us, the riches, the realities that undergird our faith, along with Paul we can shout:
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer (Ephesians 1:3)
But guess what I learned. In the Greek text, verses 3-14 are one complete, unbroken sentence filled with many phrases that are filled with adjectives. If you really want to have the full effect of this, take a deep breath and read those eleven verses with one breath. Go ahead and try! Obviously, Paul was geeked and wanted to cram as much stuff into this fascinating sentence, as he could. I mean, once he discovered all of these great things; once he understood the magnitude of his faith he became “jazzed.” He was writing his letter and began with one important fact when something else pops into his mind and he had to add that in. I have been there! Merely reading these truths flips me out! I become so excited I want to run around my coffee table shouting, “Hey, family! You have to see this!” Glory flashes on glory until Paul had this tremendously complicated sentence which includes almost indescribable riches. Wow!
But remember, these are all available to us in the realm which Paul calls “the heavenlies.” As I said before, this isn’t heaven; it isn’t about going to heaven when you die. No, no! We get such distorted concepts of heaven! Most people think that this is what Paul is talking about when he speaks of “the heavenlies.”
No, “in the heavenlies” is a reference to the invisible realities of our life now. Yes, it does reach into eternity, but it is something that is experienced now, in the inner life. That is what he is talking about — your thought-life, your attitudes, your inner life where you live, where you feel conflict and pressure, struggle and disaster — that is part of the heavenlies. It is where we are exposed to the attacks of the principalities and powers that Paul talks about in Chapter 6, those dark spirits in high places who get to us, and depress us, and frighten us, and make us anxious or hostile or angry.
Don’t read this as though it was something out in space somewhere. These blessings are yours in now. But only if you are in Jesus Christ.
Obviously, all of this comes to us in one great package “in Christ.” If you are not a Christian, there is no way for you to claim these benefits. They do not belong to you. They cannot be bought; they cannot be discovered on your own; Three is no course you can sign up for. You can’t send ten dollars, away, and get a pamphlet that will lead you to them. There is no way you can appropriate them unless you are in Christ. However, if you are “in Christ” there is nothing to keep you from having all of them, every moment of every day. That is why it is so important that we discover what they are.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.