4 March 2004

"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"-Ephesians 1:3,4

A thankful heart is always acceptable unto our Lord. The Christian has great reason to be thankful. He is the recipient of "all spiritual blessings". Though all blessings from our heavenly Father could be placed in the category of <i>spiritual,</i> the blessings Paul speaks of here are not temporal; they do not fade away with the using. They are the ones that carry us to glory and remain with us there.

There is a purpose for Paul's categorical listing of spiritual blessings. He wants the church to understand the <i>mechanics</i> of their salvation. While many understand redemption at the cross, they fail to see all that went on behind the scenes: the events that brought Christ to the cross and the people for whom He died. For this reason you will not find the name of a preacher, a church, a denomination, a creed or an ordinance in this list of spiritual blessings. It is the Father and the Son from alpha to omega as Paul extols the sovereignty of Jehovah in redemptive history.

This list of blessings is not only spiritual; it is equally logical and progressive. It begins before the foundation of the world and finds it climax at the cross of Christ. The first of the spiritual blessings that the apostle brings before the church at Ephesus concerns the wonderful doctrine of <i>election</i>: "he hath chosen us". While many hold their free will before the Father, Paul raises the head of his Savior, Jesus Christ. This choice was made in and through the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. As the whole human race was in Adam when he fell, these chosen were in Christ when He was raised. This is the platform for all spiritual blessings, the foundation from which the others must rest.

This word election scares many Christians. They feel it might exclude persons who want to be included in God's redemptive process but can't get in. When we understand it correctly, we will find that it does just the opposite. It is a word that goes beyond man and his preaching to include a people who lived millenniums before the cross, people who lived behind iron curtains and those whose mental faculties excluded them from a knowledge of the gospel of Christ. If they want to be included in the cross of Christ it is evidence that they already are. Why would the be worried about if Christ did not already dwell in their hearts? The word elect is larger than the militant church and includes a people out of every kindred, tongue and tribe. Paul wrote about it most because he rejoiced in the fact that election was not predicated upon his works, seeing himself as the chief of sinners. Surely, this is a reason to bless God!

God's purpose in election is no secret. Paul explains it thus: "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." This was God's mind and heart from the beginning of His salvation process:  To save His people from their sins, to make them holy and without blame before the bar of divine justice. No wonder the apostle would write, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ ".