“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). Here the Apostle Paul unfolds the blessing of believers according to the purpose of the Father, and therefore their highest blessings. In this great passage we learn the source of all our blessings, their character, the beginning of our blessings, and the end He has in view in so richly blessing us, and above all that His purposes are accomplished through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The source of all our blessing is found in the heart of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father has been perfectly revealed in Him. In His pathway through this world as Man, He manifested the infinite holiness and power of the Father, and the perfect grace and love of the Father. It is to the very heart of God the Father thus revealed that we are privileged to trace all our blessings.
Then we are instructed as to the character of our blessings. The Father has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). The little word “all’ tells us of the fullness of our blessings. Not a single blessing that Christ, as a Man enjoyed, has been kept back. We are blessed with “all” spiritual blessings (not physical blessings—NC).
However much the profession of Christianity may confer outward benefits upon men, it ever remains true that Christian blessings are spiritual and not material, as they were with the nation of Israel (physical blessings—NC). Our blessings are none the less real because they have a spiritual character. Sonship, acceptance, growth (in Christ - Eph 4:15—NC)—some of the blessings brought before us in the Word—are spiritual blessings beyond the reach of the world’s wealth, but secured through the Lord Jesus to the simplest believer in Him.
Further, the proper sphere of our blessing is not earth but heaven. We are blessed “in heavenly places.” On earth we may have little; in heaven we are richly blessed (Rom 8:18; 2Co 4:17—NC). All these spiritual and heavenly blessings are in connection with the risen Lord Jesus, not in any wise because of our connection with Adam. They are “in Christ.” The blessings of the Jews were temporal (physical—NC), on earth; Christian blessings are spiritual, heavenly, in the glorified Lord Jesus. Unlike earthly blessings they do not depend upon health, or wealth, position, education or nationality. They are outside the whole range of things earthly, and will remain in all their fullness when the life in time is finished and our path on earth is closed.
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him” (Eph 1:4). Here we learn not only the source and character of our blessings as coming from the heart of the Father, but we find that they had their beginning “before the foundation of the world.” Then it was, in that far distant eternity, that we were chosen in Christ. This involves a sovereign choice entirely independent of all that we are in connection with Adam and his world, and that nothing that transpires in time can alter.
Moreover, we are permitted to see not only the beginning of our blessings before the foundation of the world, but also the great end the Father has in view when the world shall have passed away. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen us in the Son before the foundation of the world that in ages to come we may be before Him for the satisfaction of His heart—“that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph 1:4).
If it is the Father’s purpose to have a people before Him for all eternity, they must be in a condition that is absolutely suited to Him; and to be suited to Him they must be like Him. Only that which is like God can suit God. Hence He will haves us “holy and without blame” and “in love.”
This is really what the Father is, and what was perfectly manifested in Christ as Man. He was holy in character, irreproachable in conduct, and in nature, love! The Father too, will have us before Him in a character that is perfectly holy, in conduct to which no blame can be attached, and with a nature (new man—NC) that is love and can respond to love—the love of the Father. He “is love” (1Jo 4:8, 16), and love cannot be content without a response in the objects of love. The Father will surround Himself with those, who like Christ as Man, perfectly respond to His love so that He can delight in us and we can delight in Him.
As faith receives these great truths, and looks on to the glorious end, it delights in all that has been revealed of the heart (Mat 6:21—NC) and of the efficacy of the work and Person of the Son. Such is the Father’s love, and such the virtue of the Son and His work on the Cross, that for all eternity we shall be before the Father’s face holy and blameless, and therefore in the full unhindered enjoyment of divine love.
As we are thus permitted to look into eternity and see the vast vista of blessing that lies before us, this passing world—that so often appears to us so great and important—becomes very insignificant, while Christianity, seen in its true character according to our Father, becomes exceedingly great and blessed.
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph 1:5). There are, moreover, special blessings to which believers are predestined. Predestination always seems to have in view these special blessings. According to sovereign choice believers, in common with angels, will be before the Father holy and without blame. But, in addition to these blessings, believers have been predestinated to the special place of sonship. We are set in the same place of relationship with the Father as the Lord Jesus is as Man, so that He can say, “My Father, and your Father” (Jhn 20:17). Angels are servants before Him; we are sons “to Himself” (Eph 1:5).
This special place of relationship is “according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph 1:5). Thus the blessing of verse 5 surpasses the blessings of verse 4. There it was sovereign choice that by grace makes us suited to Himself; here it is the Father’s good pleasure that predestinates believers to the relationship of sons.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6). The way the Father has acted in predestinating us to this great position of blessing will redound “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” The riches of the Father’s grace set us before Himself in suitability to Himself; the glory of His grace brings us into relationship with Himself, having taken us into favor in His Beloved. If we are accepted in the Beloved, we are accepted as the Beloved—with all the delight with which the Beloved has been received into glory.
—Hamilton Smith (1862-1943)
MJS daily devotional excerpt for Nov 4
“The test of genuine revelation is as to whether the one concerned is manifestly well crucified to a desire for power, position, influence. Can that one be resisted, assailed, thwarted, rejected, without in some form seeking to come out even or on top? An element of personal domination or self-vindication will spoil the outreach and discredit the servant. Oh, the peril of getting hold of Divine Truth in order to use it!” -T. A-S.http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/