"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." (Ephesians 1:3-4, ESV)
Do you ever read a Bible verse and think, “Does that really apply to me?” I mean am I really blessed with every spiritual blessing? Did God really choose me to be holy and blameless?
Aren’t there times when we don’t feel blessed or holy? Maybe you were off for the holidays and are having a hard time readjusting to work or school. You no longer feel #blessed — it’s more like #stressed. Or the blessing of giving has turned into the guilt of overspending. Or maybe you’re worrying about next month’s rent or the taxes you know will need to be paid, or the medical issue begging for attention. So, when Paul mentions feeling blessed you feel, well, stressed.
What could Paul possibly mean with these two emphatic state- ments about being blessed and blameless? When I was younger, I wrestled with these types of passages until I noticed the qualify- ing phrases “in Christ,” “in him” and “before him.”
While God certainly can bless us here on earth, the real blessing is the one “in Christ” and specifically its “spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Having the Holy Spirit living in us and guiding us truly is a blessing. We can trust that He is working out the stressful situations in our lives for good, as he promises in Romans 8:28. That spiritual blessing helps us move our eyes off of our problems here on earth and onto the ultimate Problem-solver in the heavenly places.
And what about being “holy and blameless before him”?
The New Living Translation explains it this way … Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
God knew us before he even created the world. And he knew that we would need the salvation of Christ’s death on the cross. Through that sacrifice, we have been chosen “in Christ” and when God looks upon us, he does so through the blood of Christ so we can be “holy and without fault in his eyes.”
To me, Paul’s letter culminates in Ephesians 2:8-10. As verse 10 (NLT) says … For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Now that’s a blessing!
Cyndie Claypool de Neve
Senior Creative Director