What did you get for Christmas? If you’re like most, you’ll say an IPAD or IPhone, some clothes, something for the house or car, or whatever else was under your tree this year. A few people might say a car, or something even more impressive. According to Ephesians 1:3, however, the most impressive thing we’ve gotten that far surpasses anything else is Christ, and, through Him, a whole lot more.
“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.”
When we pull this verse apart, we see that what we’ve gotten is, specifically, [what?] “every spiritual blessing” [ where?] “in the heavenly places” [ how?] “in Christ.” Because we don’t typically talk like this these days, and because most of us have no idea what “spiritual blessings” or “heavenly places” are or what “in Christ” is, verses like this tend to fly right over our heads. This is unfortunate because the fact that this is in the Bible indicates that it is something God wants us to know.
“Spiritual blessings” are simple enough to comprehend. These are blessings that are not of a physical or material nature. According to The Complete Word Study New Testament (Zodhiates) “in the heavenly places” means “what pertains to or is in heaven.” And “in Christ” simply means because of Him, or as a benefit of belonging to Him. So what are the spiritual blessings that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us with? Culling through the remainder of the chapter answers this question:
*He chose us in Jesus before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
*He predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace,
*He made us accepted in the Beloved [Jesus],
*In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,
*In Him we have the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
*He made known to us the mystery of His will…that in the dispensation of the fullness of the time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him [Jesus],
*In Him we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory,
*In Him we trusted, after we heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation,
*We were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory,
*The hope of His calling,
*The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
*The exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come,
*He made us, who were dead in trespasses and sins, alive together with Christ,
*He raised us up together,
*He made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
To summarize, God chose us, predestined us to adoption, and made us accepted through Jesus. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and His grace. We know the mystery of His will, that all will be made one in Christ. We trusted in Him, have an inheritance, and the Holy Spirit. There is hope in His calling, riches of glory in His inheritance in us, and exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. He made us alive together with Christ, raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The list really is extensive and comprehensive, and it is an incredible itemization of the spiritual blessings we have in and through Christ!
So the next time someone asks you what you got for Christmas, remember the most important thing—the thing everyone who has accepted Christ, whether rich or poor, has, because of God’s great love for us—the best present ever: Christ Himself!
Dear Most Holy God,
Thank You for the great love You have for us. Thank You that in the person ofJesus Christ, Your Son, we have the things we really need, which matter for eternity. Amen.