As Found in Eph 1
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace,
WE ARE BLESSED: AN INTRODUCTION
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Paul begins a discourse of doctrines by beginning to thank God for his blessings, namely all spiritual blessings. The doctrine of election, which is the first part of his discourse and the focus of our study, is part of that, God’s blessings on his children. It magnifies the sovereign will of God and the depravity of man. It should comfort us and encourage us that a self-sufficient God save sinners, unworthy as they are. It should also humble us, for it was nothing that we deserved, or earned. It was nothing that we could do or would have done. It was totally God and him that deserve all our worship and praise for it. Let us look further at what God has revealed about this blessings focusing namely on it’s relation to his election.
The Disposition of God’s Blessings
God has blessed us “with all spiritual blessings” describes the disposition or nature of our blessings. It stands in stark contrast to the typical notion blessings, that of the material or the physical character. We need to thank God not only what he has done for us physically and materially but also what he does for us spiritually. We get it backwards most of the time, but we need to major on the spiritual and minor on the others. Paul said all, which we can understand as every sort of or every kind of. There is no need in our spiritual life that God cannot meet. There is no want that God cannot fill. There is no lack God cannot supply. He has given us every spiritual benefit. Moreover, the entirety of the Godhead had blessed us. It was the Father that selected us, the Son that saved us, and the Holy Ghost that secures us.
The Department of God’s Blessings
Next, we see the realm of these blessings that they are “in heavenly places”, and to understand this more fully we would have to look at how Paul uses this phrase. It is found only in this epistle and only 5 times (1:3,20,2:6,3:10,6:12). It has to do with the idea that we are “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Eph 2:6). We may not be physically in heaven, but spiritually we are already there. We are citizens of heaven, we may live in this world but it is not our home.
The Derivation of God’s Blessings
All our blessings are “in Christ”, and are from our relationship in him. He contains them all and they all come from him. Notice in the first fourteen verses how many times the thought of “in Christ” or “in Him” occurs. It is only due to Christ that we are blessed. We are not blessed in ourselves, but we are blessed in him in spite of ourselves. All we are and have should be tied up “in him.” Christ is the source of blessings. It is this thought of our blessing and union with Christ that leads Paul on to reveal that we are elected, redeemed, and secure.
THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION: WE ARE CHOSEN
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
The Details of Election
Election is God’s divine and sovereign choice of individuals to salvation. That is what Paul is saying here when he says, “he hath chosen us”. It is “in Christ”. Election took place in eternity past, “before the foundation of the world”. It intention is for us to be consecrated, or “holy and without blame”.
Person of our Election – It’s Author
Christ Jesus is the Head of our Election. It is in Christ that we are elected and it is our election that we are in Christ. We are “chosen in him”. We are elected into him. We were in ourselves but now we are called out of ourselves by the Grace of God and called in to Christ. In ourselves, we were wicked and depraved in darkness and sin. In ourselves we had no desire for God or the things of God. But now we are in Him. Now we have his righteousness. Now we have his desire for God and the things of God. Notice also the,
Place of our Election – It’s Advent
Our Election was established “before the foundations of the world”. It happened before the sin was conceived, before man, before Christ, and before the gospel. God doesn’t just to things by chance. Things didn’t just end up this way by happenstance, but God is his infinite wisdom and foreknowledge saw what would be needed and made provisions.
Purpose of our Election – It’s Aim
We were chosen that we “should be holy and without blame before him in love”. “Holy” conveys the thought of being different and being separate. We should be different from other men, and we should be separate. “Without blame” refers to the sacrificial animals that were without blemish or defect. We are called to live a spotless life. Since the aim of election is us being holy and without blame it is not the cause of it. For it is not in anything God saw in us that we are elected, but that he might make us holy who were before sinners.
The Design of Election
Now Paul focuses on God’s basis in our election, “Having predestinated us”. First it is the God wanted a people for himself. Secondly that God is pleased to do his will. And thirdly, that God’s grace is glorified in it.
People for himself – His Assembly
God desires to bring sinners into a relationship with himself through Christ. This is the idea of “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself”. Adoption implies a legal relationship.
Pleasure of his will – His Authority
Election is “according to the good pleasure of his will” or his own benevolent sovereignty. It is wrapped up in the character of God. What he did, he did because it seemed good and right for him to do.
Praise of his grace – His Attribute
And he did it “to the praise of the glory of his grace”. When we look into election, we can’t help but marvel at his grace. Election so magnificently manifests his grace that it is praised and extolled. We should celebrate his electing-grace.