In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he speaks both of God being “Blessed” (the NIV’s “Praise be”) by our acceptance of his grace and purposes, and our receipt of a seven-fold blessing in return.
First, He blesses us with “every spiritual blessing,” salvation being uppermost in our minds but daily guidance, grace, the Holy Spirit’s intercession for us, etc. quickly follow as reasons for praise and thanksgiving.
Second, He chooses us as his own. To be sure, we need to respond to his offer of grace and mercy, but he instigated the offer and made all the provisions for the achieving of our redemption. Part of our response then is to strive to be holy – or set apart—considered blameless by the One who knows all things; not yet perfect but created anew in Him, becoming “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that (we) may declare the praises of him who called (us) out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Third, He adopts us as “…those who are led by the Holy Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 “It’s as if we were street kids with a criminal record, and God in his love not only paid our fines and cleared our names, but adopted us into his own family…”1 (See Galatians 4:5)
Fourth, He rescued or redeemed us. A spiritual concept with deep meaning. To Hebrew readers, the concept of redemption was heavily influenced by their covenant history with God and its subsequent sacrificial system. Greek readers would primarily have related redemption to freedom from slavery, which was so prevalent in their society; a release from bondage by a master who had legally acquired the rights to their services but set them free instead.
Fifth, He has informed, enlightened or, “…made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,…” Ephesians 1:9 All things before Christ being a shadow or type of what was to come. (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1) Christ Jesus, to whom we submit ourselves in our profession of faith, becoming the key to real life.
Sixth, He acquired us as an inheritance. “…we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,…” Romans 8:16,17 Could this have a double meaning as well? It is wonderful indeed that we have inherited God and his principles of saving grace and redemptive mercy, but beyond that, we are God’s inheritance – his posterity. Maybe we should ask ourselves: Do we give him as much reason to revel in his inheritance as we do in ours?
And seventh, God has sealed us; an unfamiliar term for many (See Ephesians 1:13,14) often thought to mean our salvation is ‘signed, sealed and delivered’, a done deal for eternity; which is certainly true. But in ancient times, a “seal” was often a sign of ownership, signifying property and possession. And elsewhere Paul explicitly references this same idea by stating, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 (See also Matthew 20:28) This seal or deposit manifesting itself through the Holy Spirit, his indwelling of us making it obvious (or at least he should and will if we allow) that something is different about us; that our hearts and minds belong to a being, a cause, an ideal other than the “world’s”. His designation as a deposit being no less significant, referring to a down payment or first installment of something even better to come. (2 Corinthians 1:22) The Greek word used here for deposit – arrabon – sometimes signifying an engagement, as in an engagement ring; the pledge and promise of a long and mutually pleasurable future together.
In response, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:23,24
1From Michael Green’s A Prayer Journey With The Apostle Paul, Zondervan Publishing
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