Monday, January 24, 2011

Every Spiritual Blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Paul begins his artful letter with a very long sentence of praise (3-14). This is just the first of eight such sentences, something that makes this letter so rich and also so difficult to unpack. In this sentence, he praises God before moving on to his more customary thanksgiving. In this praise, however, are many of the themes that will preoccupy his teaching.

The first of these is blessing. Paul praises God for having given believers EVERY spiritual blessing they can receive in spiritual reality and in their position (being in Christ.)

The “in Christ” bit is important; so important that Paul will use this phrase repeatedly throughout the letter. Everything the Christian has is thanks to their faith in Christ, their life lived in Christ and the fact that God deals with them through Christ.

The fact that these blessings Paul refers to here are in heavenly places—i.e. the spiritual reality—means that there is a reality beyond what people can sense. This reality is what people call supernatural, but it is still a part of reality. The blessings the believer receives in Christ relate to this reality. They are spiritual.

That does not mean that God does not bless people physically—He does. It just means that Paul is concerned with the blessings that come with faith. This is not about health and wealth etc. There is no promise that being a follower of Christ will make life easier. In fact, you could say just the opposite.

One thing that many Christians and teachers miss here is the word “every.” When you accept the Gospel in faith and believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you receive every blessing from God that you will ever need. Some will try to deceive you into thinking there is more out there—that you can achieve other blessings and deeper levels of being. This is not true. Rest assured in the promise that you begin your walk with God fully blessed. You do not need another spiritual manifestation to make you a “full fledged” Christian. Just continue to walk with the One you have trusted and get to know Him better.

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