Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. — Ephesians 1:3
All blessings come from God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. To me, one of the greatest blessings as a Christian is to be able to pray and have God answer. At times, I don’t even know how to pray about a certain situation, but God’s Spirit leads me.
Some time back, the hospital where I am currently employed needed to make budget cuts. Although the team I work with provides a service that our physicians and nurses deem useful and needed, administration decided that our team was on the front line to be reduced.
I did what I knew was best: prayed, asking for the Lord’s will in this situation. The Holy Spirit showed me that He had everything under control, and that the changes would not be what the administration had planned. I shared my answer to prayer with my colleagues. For the next nine months, they would say, “We know you have prayed about it; would you pray once more?” Each time I brought it before the Lord, the answer always came back the same.
When the new budget year arrived, you can imagine the results. Not only was our team retained in full force, but I received four raises during the following twelve months! While the raises were nice, the most marvelous blessing was the evidence that God certainly answers prayer.
In our key verse, Paul wrote to the believers at Ephesus that we are blessed “with all spiritual blessings.” At times, these may be temporal benefits: some are favored with health, financial comfort, adequate food, and shelter. At other times, the benefits may be less tangible: comfort in adversity, strength for our day, or divine protection. Think about the joy of salvation, the gifts of the Spirit, power to do God’s will, the hope of spending eternity in Heaven with Christ himself. Don’t forget the blessing of answered prayers. Clearly, the list could go on and on, yet, these are only part of the spiritual blessings that God bestows upon our lives, and for which we are to thank Him.
Count your blessings! It is a wonderful way to get your day started right.
The times in which Paul wrote were difficult for new Christians; there was much to oppose them. Ephesus itself was a city steeped in heathen traditions and idolatry. This letter was written while Paul was imprisoned; it probably was penned during his first Roman imprisonment, A.D. 60-62.
The Apostle began his epistle with thanksgiving and praise, and went on to describe, with considerable fluency, the great and precious benefits that believers enjoy through Jesus Christ. He wrote that believers are chosen to be holy and blameless. In His infinite love, God adopted us to be His children when He forgave our sins, and He gave us spiritual authority over evil.
This portion of the first chapter of Ephesians describes the foundation of the Church, and is a doxology composed of three stanzas describing the work of the Trinity. Paul writes of the office of the Father (election — verses 3-6), the office of the Son (intercession — verses 7-12), and the office of the Spirit (application — verses 13-14). Each stanza closes with a similar refrain praising His glory (see verses 6, 12, and 14).
The word chosen in verse 4 comes from the Greek word eklegomai, which means, “to pick out.” God’s plan of salvation was provided “before the foundation of the world.” This statement does not mean that God arbitrarily assigned some to Heaven and consigned all others to Hell. Rather, God offers the opportunity of salvation to all (see Romans 10:13) and man either receives or rejects His provisions in Christ. Every man not only has the opportunity to receive Christ, but is invited and urged to do so.
The meaning of the word predestinated in verse 5 is, “marked out beforehand.” It alludes to God’s purposes rather than a selection of souls to be saved, as all men everywhere are included in God’s invitation (see John 3:16). When God saves a soul, it is clear that He always intended to do so. He has no new plan. It is not an afterthought. It is not the work of chance. God has predestined our adoption (Ephesians 1:5), our conformity to Christ (Romans 8:29-30), and our future spiritual inheritance (Ephesians 1:11). Anything that God has done, we can be certain that He always meant to do, and this is all that is intended by the words election or predestination.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction (1:1-2)
A. The author and recipients (1:1)
B. The salutation (1:2)
II. The calling of the church
A. The foundation of the church
1. The foundation revealed: the work of the Trinity (1:3-14)
a. The Father’s work: election (1:3- 6)
(1) Blessed by God (1:3)
(2) Chosen by God (1:4)
(3) Predestined to sonship (1:5)
(4) Accepted in the beloved (1:6)
b. The Son’s work: mediation (1:7-12)
(1) Redemption from sins (1:7-8)
(2) Revealed His will (1:9-10)
(3) Provided an inheritance (1:11-12)
c. The Spirit’s work: application (1:13-14)
(1) Sealed us (1:13)
(2) Pledge of our inheritance (1:14)
One theme of Ephesians is that of praising God. In his opening comments, Paul affirmed the glorious fact that believers in Christ have been showered with God’s kindnesses. When we review these, how can we help but praise Him?