Friday October 5, 2018
EPH 1:1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
EPH 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
EPH 1:3 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
God is to be praised. He has bestowed on his people “in Christ” every spiritual blessing.
Whatever earthly or material blessing we possess at any given time, all of the spiritual blessings given to us are from one source, God the Father, and every one of them are unchangeable and eternally secure. Not one of them can be lost.
Material blessings come and go, but these blessings remain. They are guarded and maintained by the power of God.
All who are in Christ possess all of them, meaning that no believer possesses more or less of them than any other believer.
“has blessed” - eulogeo (aorist active participle). Aorist refers to the Father blessing every believer before the foundation of the world (vs. 4).
The active voice, as the sentence reveals, shows that only God the Father is the source of these amazing blessings. No person, organization, government, or situation can provide them.
People, organizations, and governments promise blessing and happiness, but they are all liars, no matter how well-meaning they are.
God the Father is the only source of blessing. Material blessing is ultimately meaningless without His spiritual blessings.
That is not to say that material blessings are not from God. He is the Creator of them all. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He promised Israel material blessings, and they are promised more in the future, but why is Israel not currently the client nation of God on earth?
PSA 50:7 "Hear, O My people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you;
I am God, your God.
PSA 50:8 "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices,
And your burnt offerings are continually before Me.
PSA 50:9 "I shall take no young bull out of your house,
Nor male goats out of your folds.
So many of the people had abandoned life under the Mosaic Law and they were bringing sacrifices to God without attaching any meaning of atonement or humility before God. This is a problem commonly mentioned in the writings and prophets.
The people saw the beast offered as some kind of payment to God. You broke God’s law and you paid Him off with an animal, which had a monetary value. They did not understand, nor care to, that the animal represented something priceless; Someone priceless.
Does God want your cattle?
PSA 50:10 "For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
PSA 50:11 "I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
PSA 50:12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
PSA 50:13 "Shall I eat the flesh of bulls,
Or drink the blood of male goats?
What is material without spiritual? In this special case, the material, the bull, can have great meaning when associated with the spiritual. Without the spiritual, without understanding, its sacrifice is meaningless.
What is under the sun is meaningless without transcendence (heaven touching the earth).
I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
Christ said that He was the bread of life come from heaven. “Under the sun” was Solomon’s chasing what was horizontal while ignoring the vertical.
Take this same thought to our own passage and imagine what life is with God’s election compared to life without it. Imagine what a way of life is with God’s predestination and without it. Imagine what a position in life is with God’s adoption and without it.
I could have the most envied life among men, the way of life most desired by the world, and the position in life most lusted for by mankind, in which all of it is filled with every desired material or personal gratification instantly attained, and I could still have nothing. The lilies of the field are more beautiful than Solomon.
What is material without the spiritual? The material is not the blessing it should be without God’s spiritual blessings. A state may give me millions of dollars because I picked a number and I may conclude that the state blessed me, and in a way, I am right, but if I don’t have life from the source of God the Father, then all I have is objects that I use in ways that they were not meant to be used. Sure, I have some good times, but I am not blessed with them. If I use the money to try and buy happiness or peace, when such things only come from God in grace, then I am using materialism in a way that it was never meant to be used.
PSA 50:14 "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High;
PSA 50:15 And call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."
One cannot be thankful to God for His person without receiving and understanding His spiritual blessings.
So, I don’t bring the animal? Yes, you bring the animal in obedience, but you also understand why the animal and you thank God for His redemption.
If I am thankful for material things only then I am thankful for an earthly life and not a spiritual life. A spiritual life includes the proper use of earthly things, but if earthly things are the center of my life, then I only see God as a courier of things outside of Himself.
God loves matter. He made it. Yet, matter is not a part of Him. It is outside Him as His creation. However, election, love, justice, fortitude, grace, goodness, holiness, etc. (spiritual blessings) are all a part of Him.
The material is all temporary, while the spiritual is eternal, again, because it is a part of Him.
COL 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
COL 3:2 Set your mind on the things above [blessings in the heavenlies], not on the things that are on earth.
COL 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
COL 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.