“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” –Ephesians 1:3
What does it really mean to be blessed?
“Blessed” means that we have experienced the divine favor of God and have been consecrated or set apart for His purposes.
This is a far cry from how we typically use the term! It’s probably not what the guy in the gym has in mind when he flexes for his selfie and posts, ‘#blessed’, is it?
Paul shines the spotlight on an area of overlooked blessings in our life – our spiritual blessings or the blessings of the Spirit of God. How do we know that we are blessed? Simple. We know because we have been born again by His Spirit. He is our “seal…, a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” in the presence of God (1:13, 14). It is through the Spirit of God that we become aware and experience the reality of our spiritual blessings.
In Greek, verses 3-14 are one lengthy, complex, run-on sentence. Your middle school English teacher would cringe at Paul’s grammar, but it is an effectively elegant way to communicate in the original language. Take some time to slowly read the beautifully crafted first fourteen verses of Ephesians 1.
Notice phrases like:
- “Chosen” (4)
- “Predestined” and “adopted” (5)
- “Redemption through His blood” (7)
- “Forgiveness of sins” (5)
- “Lavished riches of God’s grace” (7)
Like a stunning string of pearls, the phrases independently stand alone but are also linked together. Each phrase describes a unique spiritual blessing that is ours through Jesus Christ. Of course, this is not an exhaustive inventory of spiritual blessings, but a way of whetting our appetite for what is to come in the remainder of Ephesians.
There is only one appropriate response to blessings such as these: Praise.
In other words, we are to praise God for His blessings. Paul, as if writing a headline across the top of the letter, wants us to realize how AMAZING this truly is. We can’t just casually shrug our shoulders, give God a nod, and go on with our day.
The blessings we possess in the “heavenly realms” should impact us on Earth. They are not only meant to be celebrated in the life to come but in our everyday life. If we truly see the blessings we have in Christ, it should stop us in our tracks and cause us to shout from the rooftops with heartfelt praise.
If you are in Christ, you are blessed indeed. Take a few moments to personally express your praise to Him.
If perhaps these blessings sound foreign to you, seize the moment to confess that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Express your desire to be born of His Spirit. And place all of your life in His trustworthy hands.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director of RFTH