Phil Cox Phil Cox

Every Spiritual Blessing

Every Spiritual Blessing
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Every spiritual blessing, Part 5

Predestined and included

12th February 2016

The list of spiritual blessings that every Christian has already been given, which we find in Ephesians 1, is just amazing. This week, we'll look at:

Ephesians 1v11-13a
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.

Paul begins this section by talking about the first generation of Christians, the first to believe. They - like us - were predestined to believe, predestined to be forgiven and adopted as God's children.

And then Paul tells us that what applied to him and his contemporaries also applies to us. You and I too were included. All the spiritual blessings that God give to the first Christians, He also gives to you and me. All the spiritual blessings Paul's been talking about are yours, just as much as they were theirs.

This is another theme that runs through this letter - there is no distinction between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians - we all receive the same grace, the same spiritual blessings. But let's stop for a moment and think about you as an individual believer, me as an individual believer, your church as an individual church. We've received the same spiritual blessings that Paul and his friends received. The moment we responded to the message of truth - the gospel of our salvation - the good news about the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross paying for our sins - we became children of God.

All this: God chose us before the universe was made; He chose to make us pure and blameless; He predestined us to be sons of God; He redeemed us from sin and death; He forgave our sins; He revealed His plan of salvation to us. All this is as true of you and me, and this church, as it is of any of God's people in the history of the world.

I really hopes this makes us stop and think. I know I don't deserve any of this. I know it's all from God: His mercy; His wisdom; His grace; His power; His plan.

And while we're here, let's stop to consider the impact of Paul's words when he says that God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. That means what it says; God works out everything, so that every event in history conforms to what He wants to happen. As William Hendricksen says in his commentary on this verse:

Not only did God make this plan that includes absolutely all things that ever take place in heaven, on earth and in hell; past, present, and even the future, pertaining to both believers and unbelievers, to angels and devils, to physical as well as spiritual energies and units of existence both large and small; he also wholly carries it out. His providence in time is as comprehensive as is decree from eternity.

And all this is for the praise of his glory.

Praise be to God!