If you were to look at the Greek Bible and turn to Ephesians 1, you would soon see that verse 3 to 14 is one long sentence. Paul's mind goes on and on because gift after gift and wonder after wonder from God pass before his eyes and enter into his mind.
Ephesians is a tremendous book. Often, it is recognized as the "The Queen of the Epistles" -- and rightly so. It helps us understand the crucial questions in our heart...WHO IS GOD, followed by WHO IS MAN.
When man makes a choice to be "IN CHRIST", God sees that person in a totally new light. "IN CHRIST" means that we have made a decision to become a Christian, to become a Christ-follower. We have asked God's forgiveness and seeking to live in obedience to Him.
(1) - "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God." Apostle is "one sent forth with a message." it was not his plan, his ambition. He recognized that God had called him, chosen him to do this.
Jesus said to his disciples: (John 15:16) "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last."
(2) - "Grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
(3) - "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing."
1. You are blessed in heavenly realms.
We are not waiting to be blessed. "You have been." These are spiritual blessings, ones that only heaven can offer. These are spiritual blessings, meaning they are of the Holy Spirit.
2. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Imagine the Holy Spirit at the assembly line when you received these blessings. I'll give him this, her that... No. Every one of God's children receives all the blessings that are available to man. If you are a child of God, you are lacking nothing spiritually.
3. These blessings are found in Christ.
In other words, when as a Christian, these blessings are recognized only when we live in obedience.
(4) "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight."
4. God chose us.
God sees you as one he has chosen. In fact, every Christian is chosen. Chosen to salvation. But we are not chosen because of what we have done. We are chosen in Christ. This reminds us that salvation does not begin with man, but in eternity past with God.
The Bible also teaches, however, that even though God has chosen us, we are responsible to choose God. John 6:44, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him." In v.40 He also says, "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life."
5. God chose us before the creation of the world.
CH Spurgeon used to say, "It's a good thing that God chose me before I was born, because he surely would not have afterwards."
This ought to reassure us of God's love for us. God choosing us means that the weakness of our faith will not cause our salvation to be taken from us. Our salvation lies in the fact of who God is, his plan & choice.
6. God chose us to be holy.
Holy means different. Something which is holy is different from ordinary things. This building is holy because its purpose is different from other buildings. The Sabbath is to be holy, different from other days. Thus, God chose man to be different from other men. The tendency of the church today is to play down the difference between the church and the world. God's choice for his chosen ones was more than living a decent, respectable life. Identifiable as a Christian at school, shop, office...everywhere. Here's the difference -- the Christian lives, works, behaves, not as any human law compels him to but as the law of Christ compels him to do.
7. God chose us to be blameless.
This is a sacrificial word. Under the Jewish law, an animal could be offered as a sacrifice only after close examination. If a single blemish was found, it would be rejected. It was an unfit offering to God.
Our whole life is to be blameless. Pleasure, sport, home, relationships, work.
This word does not mean that man must be respectable; it means that he must be perfect in order to be a fit offering to God.
(5) "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will"
In God's love for man, knowing that man could not be perfect, he planned an adoption.
8. Let me describe adoption for you under the Roman Law.
Under Roman law the Father of the family had absolute power over his children so long as he and they lived. He could sell them as a slave and kill them. This continues to be the case even when the son grows older. "I brought you into this world, I can take you out."
Under Roman Law, a child could not possess anything; all property of Father. Thus adoption was a very serious step. Serious to take a child from one family and place them in another.
The ritual was very impressive. There was a symbolic sale. Twice the real father sold his son, and twice he symbolically bought him back. After this, the adopting father had to go to a principal Roman Magistrate, plead his case, then the adoption was complete.
The person who had been adopted had all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family, and lost all rights in his old family. In the eyes of the law he was a new person. So new that all debts and obligations connected with his previous family were canceled out and abolished as if they had never existed.
That's what God has done for us. We were absolutely in the power of sin and of the world; and God, through Jesus, took us out of that power into His power; and that adoption cancels and wipes out the past and we are made new. We have passed from the family of the world and into he family of God.
What does God think of you? He chose you, blessing you with every blessing there is to offer. He adopted you, thus making you a completely new person. In heaven's eyes he sees you as one fit for the family of God and heaven. He sees you as holy and without blemish.
- Be reassured of God's love for you.
- Be overwhelmed with gratitude and a desire to be more committed.
- Make it our goal to live "holy and without blemish" knowing that God chose for us to live that way.