What are spiritual blessings?
Question: "What are spiritual blessings?"
Answer: Ephesians 1:3 says that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. What are these spiritual blessings, and what do they do for us? Contrary to some beliefs, they are not some mysterious power or cosmic connection reserved for a select few. They are the key benefits of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The word “blessing” in Ephesians 1:3 is the Greek word eulogy, and it means “to speak well of.” Since God is the one acting in this verse, we can say that God has spoken good things about us, or pronounced good things for our benefit. The good things that God has decreed for us are probably beyond our ability to number, but we can outline a few by looking at the verses which follow the statement (Ephesians 1:4-13).
The first blessing listed is the election as saints. Ephesians 1:4 says that He has “chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God has chosen to make us holy and blameless, and all because of His love, His good pleasure and His grace (vv. 5-6). What a blessing, that “even when we were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5), God chose to extend His grace to us and offer us salvation. This is even more amazing when we realize that He made that decision before sin even entered into the world.
The second blessing listed is found in verse 5—our adoption as His children. Not only has God chosen us to be made holy, but He grants us full status as His children, with all the benefits thereof. John 1:12 says “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” When we believe the gospel, we receive full access to the Father, able to call out to Him as His children.
The third spiritual blessing is in verse 6, where we are made “accepted in the beloved.” The word is related to grace and gives the idea of making us graceful or favorable through Christ, the beloved of God. When we put on Christ, the Father sees His loveliness when He looks at us. The blood of Christ has taken away the guilt of our sins, and we stand before the Father as perfectly accepted.
This leads us right into the fourth blessing (Ephesians 1:7), the redemption through His blood. Redemption speaks of buying one's freedom, paying a ransom. The price for our sins, the payment to buy us out of eternal condemnation, was fully paid by the blood of Christ. In Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, but we become slaves to God. Since we are bought and paid for by His blood, we have an obligation to glorify God in our body and spirit (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Verse 7 also describes the fifth blessing, the forgiveness of sins. It is closely related to redemption, but looks at the other side of the coin. In paying the ransom for our sins, the debt of sin was canceled, and we were forgiven. We no longer have the burden of guilt for violating God's holy laws.
The sixth spiritual blessing listed is knowing the mystery of His will (Ephesians 1:8-10). God has given us wisdom and insight through His Word and has shown us His desire to bring all things together to glorify Christ. Since all of creation was made by Him and is for His good pleasure (Revelation 4:11), the consummation of His plan is when everything and everyone is brought in line to glorify Him. By aligning ourselves with Him by faith, we become part of His perfect plan and purpose.
Verse 11 says that another blessing is the inheritance that is given to us through Christ. What is included in that inheritance? “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The riches of glory, the presence of God, the eternal home – these don't even scratch the surface of all the blessings that belong to our inheritance.
Another blessing is found in Ephesians 1:13, which is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. When we become God's children, He places His mark of ownership on us, guaranteeing our eternal security. This is spoken of as the down-payment of our full redemption, to hold us until the day Christ brings us to Him.
The list could go on and on speaking of the privileges that are ours in Christ. We are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9); we are ambassadors bringing the message of reconciliation to a foreign land (2 Corinthians 5:20); and we are the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). We have the peace which passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) and the assurance that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).
How do we access all of these blessings? They are readily accessible to everyone who is in Christ Jesus. The way to be in Christ is to repent, or turn away from our sins (Acts 17:30), confessing to God that we are sinners (Proverbs 28:13; Romans 10:9). When we believe that Christ died to take our punishment and now lives to give us new life (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), He grants us forgiveness of sins and all the blessings that accompany that salvation. As His children, we are then expected to obey Him and keep His commands (Proverbs 8:32), which keeps us in right relationship to Him, resulting in His continued blessing on us. This work of maintaining our relationship with God keeps us in the place of abundant blessings (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Recommended Resources: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney and Logos Bible Software.
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