Essay / Theology

Every Spiritual Blessing: From God, In Christ, By the Spirit

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Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:     ~Ephesians 1:3

After the opening greeting Paul here bursts into a glowing ascription of praise to God. He blesses God who has so infinitely blessed us (cf. II Cor. 1:3; I Peter 1:3).

He speaks of God as “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While it is evident from verse 2 that our Lord Jesus is Divine, it is clearly evident from verse 3 that He is also truly human, God is His God (cf. John 20:17). God is “the God” of Christ as a human person, and “the Father” of Christ as a Divine person (cf. John 5:18, 23).

In verse 3 the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul tells us that God “hath blessed” all believers “with every spiritual blessing.” The clear teaching is that God is not merely going to bestow every spiritual blessing upon us some time in the future, He has already done it (cf. I Cor. 3:21). All we have to do is simply to appropriate what God has already given. Every spiritual blessing has already been secured for the believer by the blood of Jesus Christ and is provided for every believer, and it is the believer’s part to learn about these blessings one by one, and as he learns about them claim them for Himself by simple faith in the Lord Jesus.

It is “in the heavenly places” that God hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing. This phrase, “heavenly places” or “heavenlies,” is found in this epistle five times in all. Here, and in verse 20; ch. 2:6; ch. 3:10; ch. 6:12. It does not mean, as it is so often interpreted to mean, merely heavenly experiences, but heavenly localities (see e.g. v. 20; ch. 3:10, where it is as clear as day that the meaning is heavenly localities).

It is in heaven that God has placed every spiritual blessing at our disposal, but we do not have to wait until we get to heaven to get the blessing. We can claim for ourselves here upon earth the blessings which God has put at our disposal in the heavenly places. We have access to heaven now (Heb. 10:19-22). Our present citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20, R. V.). That is where we really live. When Christ entered heaven He entered heaven as our Head and representative, and we entered with Him. We are now seated there in heaven in Him (ch. 2:4-6). Our treasures are there (Matt. 6:20, 21), our desires and affections are there (Col. 3:1,2), our hope is there (Col. 1:5), and our inheritance is there (I Peter 1:4).

The administrator of every spiritual blessing is the Holy Spirit, when we get Him we get all (cf. Matt 7:11 with Luke 11:13). But our Lord Jesus received the Holy Spirit for the Church and poured Him forth upon the Church by ascending into heaven (John 7:37-39; Eph. 4:8; Acts 2:33). As these spiritual blessings are bestowed in heaven and preserved for us in heaven they are absolutely secure (cf. Matt. 6:19, 20). These spiritual blessings are bestowed upon us “in Christ.” Separate from Christ, standing upon our own merits there is nothing for us: united with Christ by a living faith “in Christ,” “every spiritual blessing” is ours. All that is God’s is Christ’s (John 17:10, R. V.).

Torrey every spiritual blessing in christ

[This was written by R.A. Torrey for his regular column, “Daily Devotional Studies in the New Testament: For Individual Meditation and Family Worship,” published regularly in Biola’s magazine <em><a href=”http://www.biola.edu/kingsbusiness/”>The King’s Business</a></em> from 1915-1918. These comments on Ephesians have never been republished since their original appearance there in the <a href=”http://www.biola.edu/kingsbusiness/view/9/6/77″>June, 1918 issue</a>.]

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