Blessings in Christ
What does the word “blessing” mean to you? It really carries the idea of reward or happiness. To be blessed is to be happy or rewarded. Certainly all of us in this life desire to be blessed, but where do we seek those blessings? Do we seek them in the things of this world, or from sources other than the ultimate source of all blessing—Jesus Christ?
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. This expression of praise and thanksgiving from Paul contains not only the reason for the praise, but also the statement of a very comprehensive fact: God’s grace was not bestowed in vain in Paul’s case—His heart was responsive in gratitude to the grace of God, and his life bore bountiful and obedient testimony to its unfailing quantity and quality. No one appreciated the grace of God more than did the apostle Paul. No one can walk with God without a similar feeling and a similar obedience. If David of old, living in the moonlight age under a less glorious covenant, the Mosaical covenant, could say,
Oh that men would praise Jehovah for his lovingkindness, And for his wonderful works to the children of men! how much more should the thanksgiving of Christians, who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, swell up in the heart and find expression with the mouth in song, in prayer, in conversation, and in everyday life?
Paul makes no mistake in naming the source of these blessings:
Blessed be God...—God is the source. And the apostle Paul was conscious of the ever-watchful care of the Heavenly Father and of his absolute dependence upon him. In his sermon on Mars Hill in the city of Athens, Greece, he said,
in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being. In the same sermon, he said,
he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things (Acts 17:25). Pity the man who, like the pig devouring acorns, never looks up to see from where his blessings come and who never expresses any gratitude.
What about the quantity of blessings that are received? Ephesians 1:3 declares the quantity of those blessings, when Paul says,
who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing... Every blessing in the heavenly sphere, or the heavenly realm—that is, in the church, the spiritual realm. There is absolutely no spiritual blessing left outside of Jesus Christ. It also tells us that no spiritual blessings may be received outside of Christ. They are all in Christ—none is left out!
What about the quality of these blessings? They are spiritual blessings sent to nourish the inner man and to develop the new creature. They are blessings for the spirit, for the soul. Blessings for the spiritual man may be enjoyed by the sinner as well as the saint. He
sendeth rain on the just and the unjust, Matthew 5:45 declares, but only to those who are in Jesus Christ are the blessings of the Heavenly places given.
Where does this verse, Ephesians 1:3, tell us these blessings are received? “In Christ,” meaning, in Christ’s body, the church. His body is the church, as Paul declares it, in Ephesians 1:22-23:
and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. The same inspired writer said to the church at Corinth,
For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body... (1 Corinthians 12:13).
To the church at Rome he wrote,
Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4).
Now, listen carefully and see when and where this new life begins:
...as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). This not only tells how we get into Christ, but also when faith saves us, or when we become children of God by faith. The faith that saves is the faith that truly obeys. In Hebrews 5:9, the writer there declared of Jesus:
“he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation. Where are these spiritual blessings received? In Christ—meaning in his body, his spiritual body, the church. The Scriptures clearly declare it.
There are so many blessings given to those who are in Christ! All could not be named, they are so bountiful. But among them, one is that our prayers are answered. What a great blessing that it! Of course, the conditions of acceptable prayer must be met. They are praying in His name, according to His will, in faith, and with unselfishness. But, when we meet these conditions, we have the assurance our prayers are answered. That is one of the great blessings in Christ.
Another is newness of life. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul said that
...in Christ...old things are passed away...they are become new. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus.
Of course, the great blessing of forgiveness of sins is in Christ. In Ephesians 1:7, Paul said,
in [Him] we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. This is superior to the old law, the old covenant under which there was remembrance of sins every year. But in Christ there is absolute forgiveness.
Also, we have fellowship one with another in Christ;
but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Fellowship with one another and fellowship with Christ are ours if we walk in the light.
Finally, we have the greatest hope ever offered to mankind—the hope of eternal life, given only to us in Christ. And only those who are in Christ have the hope of eternal life. All others cannot share that hope. In Titus 1:2, Paul wrote,
in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal. He promised to those who would follow him, becoming obedient to him through Jesus Christ, the hope of eternal life, where there will be freedom from pain and sorrow, no more tears, and no more death.
Oh, it is a blessed thing to be in Christ and to continue in Jesus Christ!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!
Do you enjoy those blessings now? You may enjoy them through simple and sweet obedience to the will of Jesus Christ.
Believe that he is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Repent of your sins and confess Jesus as Christ and Lord. Be buried with him in baptism, as we have described in this lesson, in order to have that newness of life, to walk with him in the light as he is in the light, added to his body the church upon your obedience.
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