Editor’s Note: Click the links below to read previous articles in this series.
Believers Have Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ – Part 1
Believers Have Every Spiritual Blessing in Christ – Part 2
Focusing on Self
Focusing on self is a sure-fire way to get off track spiritually. Even as Christians, it’s easy for us to be focused on our circumstances and how we feel. I can personally fall into this trap in the midst of trials and, when I do, I forfeit the confidence and comfort that come from meditating on and believing the promises of God. When I’m focused on my circumstances and how I feel, I’m generally not focused on God or his provision for me.
In Ephesians, the apostle Paul gives us many amazing truths to meditate on that can help snap us out of our inwardly focused seasons of spiritual dryness. Remarkably, he tells us that we already possess every spiritual blessing in Christ that we could ever need.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly placesEph 1:3
Paul goes even further in Ephesians 1:4-14 by outlining many other extraordinary blessings that God has bestowed upon us in Christ. In our last article, we looked at Ephesians 4-8 to see how God has greatly blessed us with salvation in Christ. Moving through Ephesians 9-14, we’ll see how God has blessed us with unity in Christ (extending salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike) and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The Blessing of Unity in Christ
Ephesians 1:9-10 says this:
making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Paul tells us that God is revealing the mystery of his will that, according to his eternal plan in Christ, he will unite all things in Christ. Paul uses the term “mystery” and it’s not what we think of when we picture something like a murder mystery. It speaks of a truth that was not known before that is now being revealed. Later in Ephesians, Paul will explicitly call out what the mystery is that God has revealed to him.
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.Eph 3:6
This is a huge deal. Historically, the understanding of God’s people was that salvation was going to be for the Jews only. The fact that gentiles would be included in God’s plan of salvation is fantastic news for all of us who are not Jewish.
Jesus alludes to this new unity in John 10:
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.John 10:14-16
Additionally, we see from Ephesians 3:6 that gentiles are on equal standing with the Jews in salvation. Gentiles are not second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. All believers are equally children of God, because of Christ’s work on the cross. Through Christ, we have unity across racial and ethnic lines in a way that didn’t exist before, because we all belong to the flock of God. Believers have a new ultimate identity that is not based on any factor other than who they are in Christ (see Gal 3:26-29).
We see some of this fulfilled now, but there is a perfect, ultimate fulfillment of this that has not happened yet. Paul says in the fullness of time all things will be united to Christ. Ultimately all will be united in the millennial kingdom and the new heaven and earth. All enemies of God and sin will ultimately be vanquished and everything will be united in perfection in Christ. Meditating on the fact that we are united in Christ and can be part of the family of God (whether we are Jews or Gentiles) is a tremendous blessing that can snap us out of any spiritual dryness.
The Blessing of The Holy Spirit
Ephesians 1:11-14 says this:
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Paul says that believers have already obtained an inheritance. “We have obtained an inheritance” is actually one word in the Greek (eklērōthēmen) and it speaks of something so certain that it has already happened. In Christ, there is the rock solid promise of many, many blessings. While we have everything we need now for life and godliness, there is a future aspect of our salvation that will be fulfilled in God’s eternal kingdom. For example, we have the promised inheritance of:
- Life with Christ forever
- Seeing God face to face
- No sin, pain, or suffering for eternity
- A perfect, eternal body
- The new heaven and new earth
Paul explains that for those whom God has saved, we have a down payment of our future eternal inheritance: the Holy Spirit. We have received a foretaste of all those future blessings in the Holy Spirit, which we receive at the moment of salvation. Jesus said it was actually to our advantage that he would return to heaven and that we would receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit would indwell us. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and guides believers in the truth. He glorifies Christ in all he does (John 16:7-15).
Paul tells us in Galatians, that the Holy Spirit working in us is the source of all of our spiritual resources (Gal 5:16,22-25). Paul tells us in Ephesians that the Holy Spirit is empowering us to utilize the armor of God to fight sin and temptation (Eph 6:10-11,13-18). In Ephesians 1:13, Paul says that the Holy Spirit has sealed us. This is like the signet of a king.
In ancient times, the king would set his official seal on a document to authenticate it by putting his ring signet in hot wax that had been poured on the document. The symbol would dry and the seal would be official. The Holy Spirit is God’s official seal on true believers and he dwells in everyone who has placed their faith in Christ (see Rom 8:9).
Paul says the Holy Spirit is the “guarantee” or “pledge” of our inheritance. That Greek word is arrabōn and means down payment. We understand this concept well. A down payment on a house is showing we are committed to purchasing that house. We know that an engagement ring is a promise showing the intent to be married. The fact that we currently have the Holy Spirit is proof that God will fulfill all future promises he has made to us.
Focusing on the Truth and Praising God
What is the natural response from a Christian to these amazing truths? Praise.
When we’re confronted with the fact that we have everything we could ever need in Christ, we have full salvation, we’re united in Christ, and we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, our hearts should be overflowing with praise to God for his manifold blessings. By meditating on all that God has blessed us with in Jesus and responding in praise, we can fix our wrong thinking. We can reorient our focus off of ourselves or our circumstances and back onto God. Embracing the incredible truths of our blessings in Christ will help us to live our lives in confident faith and have victory over sin, fear, and doubt.