11:55 am praise, thanksgiving

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).  The apostle Paul uses two different words for blessed in this passage.  The first word, blessed, comes from the Greek word, eulogetos, which is used of God only and means blessed or praise.  This is the expression of praise from the human heart that has been touched by God’s infinite goodness.  The second word, blessed, is from the Greek word, eulogia, meaning a benefit bestowed.  Paul has in mind all of the spiritual blessings that are in Christ. Our praise for God arises in answer to the spiritual blessings received from God.
Spiritual Blessings.
1.  All spiritual blessings are in heavenly places in Christ.  All means “without exception” or “every single one.”  Consequently, there are no spiritual blessings “outside” of Christ.  We experience temporal blessings outside of Christ.  The sunshine and the rain fall on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45).  However, we do not experience spiritual blessings outside of Christ.
2.  Who is “outside” of Christ and who is “in Christ?”  These questions are important.  Paul gives the answer in Eph. 2:12-13; 4:17-20 and Gal. 3:26-29 and Eph. 4:5).  To be “outside” of Christ is to be dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1); to walk according the course of this world in the lusts of the flesh (Eph. 2:2-3); to be children of disobedience to God; and to by custom and practice be the children of wrath.  Paul also describes those who are “outside” of Christ as hopeless and godless (without God in the world).  In contrast to this state, Paul describes those who are “in Christ.”  Those in Christ are children of God through faith and baptism into Christ.  They are in spiritual union with Christ and have been redeemed by His blood.  They walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.  They pursue righteousness and godliness.
3.  What are Some of these Spiritual blessings?
-Election, Eph. 1:5.  The people of God are the elect of God.  They are chosen by God “in Christ.”
-Forgiveness, Eph. 1:7.  The people of God have their sins washed away by the power of the blood of Christ.
-Redemption, Eph. 1:7.  The people of God belong to God by the atoning power of the blood of Christ.  They are blood-bought.
-Inheritance, heaven, Eph. 1:11, 18 and I Pet. 1:4.  The people of God are heaven-bound.
-Truth, Eph. 1:9, 13.  The people of God have the precious truth revealed from God.
-Sealed with the Holy Spirit, Eph. 1:13.  The people of God are authenticated and secured by the Holy Spirit.
-Wisdom, Eph. 1:17, The people of God have the disposition of wisdom from God.
-Hope, Eph. 1:18, The people of God are full of hope in contast to those “outside” of Christ who are hopeless.
-Power, Eph. 1:19, 3:20,  The people of God have the mighty power of God working in them.
-Spiritual Life, Eph. 2:1, The people of God are experiencing new, spiritual, life in Christ.
-God’s love, Eph. 2:4,  The people of God experience the great love of God.
-God’s mercy, Eph. 2:4,  The people of God are recipients of God’s mercy (pity, compassion).
-God’s grace, Eph. 2:5, 8-9, The people of God are saved by God’s grace.
-Peace, Eph. 2:14-15, The people of God have the peace that passeth understanding.
-Reconciliation, Eph. 2:16, The people of God are one with God.
-Access to the Father, Eph. 2:18, The people of God have access to the Father through Jesus Christ.
-New Identity, Eph. 2:19, The people of God are the saints (holy ones) of God.
-New Sense of Belonging, Eph. 2:19, The people of God are the household of God.  They are in God’s family.
-Indwelling of God Through the Spirit, Eph. 2:22, The people of God have the spiritual presence of God in their lives.
This list is not exhaustive, but it is representative of the great blessings that are “in Christ.”
4.  Heavenly Places.  The heavenly places are “the heavenlies.”  The center of God’s saving activities–spiritual realms–where God and Christ are functioning and where the Christian has his/her citizenship.  Phil. 3:20.
God is to be praised for all of the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon His children.  These blessings are only “in Christ.”  They are available to all who seek God and desire to know Him.  But, they belong to the redeemed.  Yes, Christians are truly blessed.

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