Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:3
Continuing with my blog series about the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Ephesians study we are involved in, I am continuously thankful for the meat of the Word. Truly any time we give to chew on the Word of God is never wasted time.
In the last verse, I was looking at verse 2 which could be seen as merely introductory material however it is full of truth about the grace and peace available to us from God through Christ and why we need these critical things. God has given us favor that we could never deserve and the end result of this in our lives is PEACE: with God, with others, with ourselves. What a blessing we have through the grace and peace of God.
Now, the next verse flows directly from the previous one. Because of the grace and peace of God, we bless God! Praise and thanksgiving should flow from our lives despite our circumstances. What a gift that God has made peace with Himself, peace with people around us, peace within our own selves possible! What favor! What kindness! What GRACE...
Then we consider the fullness of this verse: God our Father has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing... I want to jump to another passage found in Luke 15 beginning in verse 11 that I think highlights this verse in a unique way.
One of the most sobering passages in the Scripture is the parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son isn't the character in this story who troubles me or leaves me feeling sobered. No, the prodigal son is the part of the story that leaves me in open-mouthed awe at the grace and kindness of the Father God. And, his flight from his father isn't really surprising. After all, it is in the heart of men to go their own way. No, the older brother is the one who leaves me quaking a bit. This one who "remained faithful" and seemingly never strayed from his father. He says he served faithfully and never disobeyed the father's commands. Yet, somehow, he has completely missed his father's heart.
And, then the father in the story says the most astounding thing to this son who is feeling left out from the celebration of his "wicked" brother's return: "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours." Oh. my. This son had access to everything belonging to the father and yet he missed it. Completely.
And, what about me? This is where I shudder a bit because I never want to be like the older brother. So, when I read Ephesians 1:3, I am astounded at the generosity of the Father and I tremble, wondering if I'm living like this is true that He has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places?
Do I really live like I have access to the FULLNESS of the BLESSING of GOD the Father?
What about you? What blessing do you feel like you're lacking? Where do you feel weak? Have you gone to the Source of every available spiritual blessing and asked Him for it?
Before I go any further, it is critical that we start at the beginning with these blessings. Sometimes we get things out of order. Ok, mostly we get things out of order and we focus on ourselves and we say, "Goody! Presents! Blessings! What's in this thing for me?" We might never admit to or even realize completely that we have such skewed thinking because we disguise it pretty well even from ourselves, but truly we demand our rights, our happiness, "blessings" according to our definitions. And, we miss the point. God has blessed us with every SPIRITUAL blessing in heavenly places.
In order to truly appreciate the blessings He has given us we have to have a renewed nature. We have to have a new outlook. A heavenly outlook. When we are born again into Jesus' kingdom, we don't just have a natural outlook on the life around us or on eternity. We still are natural creatures and we have natural needs, but we also are suddenly alive spiritually and we are aware of a new heavenly perspective. Suddenly, the most important thing may not be that everything goes right for me and I have "success" as the world measures it, but that I know His presence with me and that I know He approves of me. Suddenly, my prayers change from "I want the bestest, coolest car" to "I need a way to get around so that I can serve You, Lord." I'm not saying the Lord doesn't bless us with nice things, but that's not even really the point of this verse in my thinking.
He's talking about something so much higher than physical needs being met. We often settle for "stuff blessings," when God wants us stuffed with Spiritual blessings that we are completely missing.
One more important thing before we leave this verse (which I am pitifully summing up in a few pages while the good Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones spent THREE sermons on this particular verse), is that we must look at who is giving these blessings and how we get them.
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has so many names throughout the scripture. And, in the Old Testament he is primarily referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, now we see something different: God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the previous verse, he is referred to as "our Father" and this so true, and such an amazing revelation. But, here in this verse we see He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that this is because it demonstrates what kind of Father He is. "Our Father" might make us think of our earthly examples of fathers, which can be great, but might not be even close to great and may even be non-existent. So, here He is saying that He is the Father of our Lord Jesus. Jesus said Himself that He revealed the Father to us. His nature shows us the nature of our Heavenly Father. As we look at Jesus and we know HIS Father, we realize that this, too, is our Father.
And, finally, how do we get these never-ending spiritual blessings? In Christ. It is all through Him and because of Him. Christ is the source.
God our amazing, caring Heavenly Father, who like the father in the aforementioned parable, says to us, "Son, daughter, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours."
Live like this is truth.
Matthew or Julie Wine