“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” (Ephesians 1:3).
Thanksgiving is a time of the year for us to stop and consider all of our blessings. During this time of year, we often think about how we have been blessed physically with family, our health and with material goods. However, how often do we reflect upon the way we have been spiritually blessed?
As the opening passage above indicates, when the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he begins by reminding them of all the spiritual blessings they had in Christ. It did them good and it does us good to take time to express “thanksgiving” for the spiritual blessings we have as Christians.
First, Paul mentions that God has chosen us to be adopted as His children (Ephesians 1:4-6). He states that God had “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…” (Ephesians 1:5). What does this mean? Does it mean that God only chose certain people to be saved and others have no chance? Certainly not! God predestined the plan, not the man. That is, God predetermined that all men would have the opportunity to be saved through Jesus Christ. The Gospel is for all (Mark 16:15-16). As Christians, it is good for us to thank God for the opportunity that has been given to us to have salvation through His Son.
Second, Paul states, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Not only have we been given the opportunity to have salvation, but it is God who redeemed us by paying the costly price of the blood of His own Son (cf. 1 Peter 1:18-19). God paid the price that we simply had no means with which to pay.
Moreover, not only do we have the opportunity for salvation, and can rejoice in our redemption, but God has also given us an inheritance. Paul writes, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). Not only did God spare us from an agonizing second death in Hell when He redeemed us through the blood of His Son, at the same time He makes us heirs of a Heavenly inheritance whose grandeur is almost beyond our comprehension (cf. 1 Peter 1:4).
Finally, Paul mentions another spiritual blessing which has been given to us: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you 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 (Ephesians 1:13-14). As Christians, we have also been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. What does this mean? While I am not altogether sure of everything which this encompasses, I believe it and know this sealing was for the purposes to “guarantee” “our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession”. What I do know is that having saved me, God wants to keep me saved. God is on my side! Nothing can separate me from His love (cf. Romans 8:35-39). This is great encouragement to motivate me to remain faithful to Him!
As we prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, let us remember to be thankful for all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Today, I rejoice in the opportunity to have salvation, for being redeemed by the blood of Christ, for my Heavenly inheritance, and for the sealing of the Holy Spirit!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).