Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10, ESV.
If there is a theme verse for the book of Ephesians, it is the doxology of verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” We bless (praise) God because the Father has blessed us in Christ the Son, with every good thing, and in the heavenly places.
God the Father blessed us in Christ the Son. Before the foundations were laid for this world, God chose us in Christ in order to make us blameless in the presence of the Father. The Father predestined us to be part of His family through Christ. This divine blessing toward us is how God accomplished His purpose, through an exhibition of His grace.
This act of gracious blessing was accomplished as Jesus, God the Son, shed His blood as the price of our redemption from the penalty and power of sin. Being redeemed, we no longer relate to God in our guilt but as those who have been forgiven. We can even say that we have a good standing in the heavenlies! This extravagant gift of freedom is how God, in His perfect wisdom, revealed His eternal plan to make all things new in Christ.
Paul spends the rest of this letter expounding upon the truth he introduces in these eight verses. We who have received this great gift by faith will spend the rest of our days, in this life and in the life to come, growing in our experiential understanding of just how wonderful this is.
It does not seem likely that the year 2020 will hold a place of pride in future history books. Between the pandemic scare, the social isolation, the racial injustice, and the unraveling of civility, we are living through dark days. Even so, none of these experiences change anything Paul writes in this letter about the blessings that are ours in Christ. Let us grieve for those who are suffering and fervently pray for an end to viruses, racism, and riots. And let our hope and eternal joy be settled in Christ.
I am praying that your eyes will be filled with the light of Christ, even in days filled with darkness. I am also praying that we will remain resolute in our efforts to bless (praise) God our Father.