Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Truly Blessed we Bless (Ephesians 1:3)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” (Ephesians 1:3, NASB95)

“Who” turns everything back to God. It would be so easy to “spiritualize” this verse in such a way that we look only at those intangible things that we can’t see or touch. But that is not what this verse is about. When Paul wrote that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing he was not referring only to the immaterial, though that is included. This blessing refers to the work of God who is Spirit and who as Spirit blesses us in every way. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” (John 4:24, NASB95) He is the source of all blessings. We are reminded of this throughout Scripture where the word of God proclaims His constant and incredible grace shown toward us through blessings that cannot be counted or measured. He is the source of all that is good and perfect (James 1:17), and He is the One that causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He doesn’t just dump blessings and let them unfold, but He is intimately involved in working them through to their full, complete, and perfect end. He is the one that causes (makes it happen) all things to work in them, even those with thorns. This causing work means that even those things that we do not perceive as blessings He turns them through the power of His hand into good. This does not mean that we get everything we want, but that when we are seeking after Him and submitting ourselves to His will for our lives that He is the One from His heavenly realm who makes it happen just as He intends and for our benefit.

Peter tells us that He has given us everything we need, and when God gives us everything there is no need to look anywhere else. “…seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2 Peter 1:3–4, NASB95) This is a hard one for many of us because we are so time and material oriented. We tend to focus on what lies before us and we feel the pressures of what is most imposing. But God, He sees these things as well and He knows the perfect way to maneuver us through them to His perfect end. From my side I know I have made many short-sighted decisions and have cut short waiting on God leading to additional consequences. But at the same time, I have also seen how gracious He has been to me when I turn even those times of not trusting back to Him and seek His perfect direction. This does not mean that He has removed me from the hole I might have dug in not trusting or waiting on Him, but it does mean that He gives me light for the way out and hope for the future.

And in those times when I see no way and I chose to wait on Him I am regularly amazed at how He answers. It is in these moments that I realize just how blessed I truly am. Sure, I know it in the other times as well, but seeing God work when I could not see the way is so incredible that I am frequently brought to tears and I can do nothing but give praise to God and bless His name. All of this because He first loved me and called me to be His through His Son who gave Himself to die for my sins and who through His resurrection gave me newness of life. It was at the moment of salvation that this was all perfectly realized, and my eternal position was firmly established. We will explore this more as we move through Ephesians, but stop and consider the reality of what has already happened to us according to chapter 2, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4–7, NASB95)

In the last post I included the words of a popular doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below…” We are truly blessed to be the recipients of His great love and constant blessing shown toward us, and as a result it is our great joy to bless or praise His name—giving Him full credit for all that He has done and even falling short in not being able to verbalize those things that we don’t even see. He truly has blessed us with everything pertaining to life and godliness—pertaining to all that we are, need, and do.

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