Eph 1:3,4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him.
We start this message with a most wonderful passage. One that should be an encouragement to all who claim the name of Jesus. God, who is the very God of the universe, the creator of all that is, has (past tense) blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings.
In Eph. 1:20 we see that the Father has raised the Son to sit at His right hand in the heavenly places; then in Eph. 2:6, we who are in Him (Christ) are also raised to sit in the heavenly places and here in verse 3, we are being blessed with ALL spiritual blessings. God chose us to bless us with the blessings which are to be found only in heaven. There are certain things which a man can discover for himself; but there are others which are beyond his obtaining. A man by himself can acquire a certain skill, can achieve a certain position, can amass a certain amount of this world’s goods; but by himself he can never attain to goodness or to peace of mind. God chose us to give us those things which he alone can give. All that Christ has in our nature gained by being raised into the heavenly places is thus brought within our reach. ‘All things are ours,’(1Cor. 3:21-23) and it is only our weak faith, our vague beliefs, our want of full surrender to the Holy Spirit’s energy, and the consequent weakness of our union with Christ, that hinders our full enjoyment of them.
I’ve heard preachers make the statement; “God has so much more for you” or something similar. Unfortunately, while this may have worked for the sermon, it was not scriptural. We ‘have’ all that God has for us, we just need to possess it. Just as God said to Joshua—Arise, be of good courage; walk in and possess your possessions. It’s all yours. I’ve given it to you. Now go and experience it—that’s what we have here.
Notice also, these spiritual blessings are given to us “in Christ”— All of them without exception are the purchase of his blood, the fruit of his intercession, and the gifts of his grace. They are all treasured up in him; and when He is given to us, they are made over to us, as the ore in the mine. They were all given to Him, in the first instance, as our head and representative, and can be possessed by us only as we are found in him. Are we chosen? it is “in him.” Are we predestinated to the adoption of children? it is “in him.” Are we accepted? it is “in him.” Are we forgiven? it is “in him.” Are we brought into one body? it is “in him.” Have we obtained an inheritance? it is “in him.” Are we “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, as the earnest of that inheritance?” it is “in him.” Are we blessed with all spiritual blessings? it is “in him,” and in him alone.
And this was all done before the very foundation of the world. Why? “That we should be holy and without blame before him”. Back before the foundation of the world, before there ever was a human race, before there ever was a world. Away back somewhere in eternity in the counsel chamber of the living God, He saw you and He chose you to be holy. [NOTE: It does not say He chose you to be saved. Don’t read that in there and put words in there that are not there.] He chose every believer to be holy. When? Before the foundation of the world. Now that’s something to shout about. Hallelujah!
Eph. 1: 5,6 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Allow me to change the wording here. May I?—Having determined that we shall be adopted into His family as His sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. He determined that we who put our trust in the Saviour would be His sons. It’s a question of adoption into the family of God as the sons of God. This is a relationship; this is a position. In love He determined to adopt us into His family, not as servants, not as angels, but as His sons.
You remember in Rom 8:14-17 we have a new relationship—For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, where by we cry, Abba, Father. . . . And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. In verse 29 of the same chapter, we have where God has determined that we shall be—conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
In Heb 2:9-10—But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God, should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Then He talks about those who are sanctified. Heb 2:11—For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
That He might bring many sons unto glory He became the captain of their salvation through His suffering. You see, this is God’s purpose. Even the Apostle John speaks of this in 1Jn 3:1-2 when he said—Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Adopted into the family of God as sons! Imagine! I wonder if we people who profess to love Him, profess to know Him, if it ever really dawns on our consciousness that we are the sons of one who is called—God. He has determined to adopt us into His family as sons, according to the good pleasure of His will—not according to the good pleasure of my will, but according to the good pleasure of His will. It’s the will of an omnipotent, sovereign God who picks up sinners, rebels, renegades, the ungodly, and He transforms them into saints. He forgives their sins; He blesses them with every spiritual blessing; He chooses them to be holy and then determines that they shall stand in His presence as His sons. My friend, what a picture! What a blessing!
Has it ever dawned on you, that you can say, “I have been adopted into the family of God as one of His sons to stand before God, holy and without blame; that I’m one of those whom God has blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies?” And He does it not because I want Him to, but He does it because He wants to. He chose, He blessed, He determined that we should be His sons.
We have been brought into the family of God, an eternal family where death doesn’t even cast a shadow, into a family that’s eternal, into a family that’s beyond the understanding of angelic beings, into a family where we stand before Him holy and without blame as the sons of God. It’s according to His good pleasure. It’s according to His will.
Oh, Christian friend, let us no longer live like paupers. Let us live here wherever you may be, wherever you may work, as the children of One who is God.
And it isn’t anything we have done or would like to do, but it’s according to His will and good pleasure that every sinner who puts his trust in the Saviour stands in His presence as His child. Get down in the presence of God. Cry out, “Abba, Father. I wonder and marvel that I’m Your son, Your child, eternally Yours because I’ve taken Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Saviour.”
Finally, lets look at the final word of the passage where it says that God accepted us “in the beloved”. Well, how else could He accept us? You know, this is a wonderful thing. What can you and I do just to be in Him. I love those verses in Joh 14:1-31 when our Saviour said in verse 20—As my Father is in me, I am in you, and you are in me. You have this also in Joh 17:1-26. Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we are in the One who is so pleasing to the Father? In fact, I would say that Jesus Christ is the only man who ever lived on the face of the earth of whom the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” You find this in Mat 3:1-17; Mat 17:1-27 when He was baptized by John in the River Jordan and when He was transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration in 17:5—This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!
Where does God see you? Where does God see me? In One in whom He is well pleased. We are accepted in the Beloved. All that Jesus is before God, that’s where you and I stand. All that I need to stand before God, I find in Him. You remember, Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 1:30 when he said—But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
Now I say this very humbly, we are accepted in all that Jesus is before God. Isn’t this an amazing thing? Sit down calmly and analyze this. Meditate upon it. Think of a Holy God, a righteous God, an omnipotent God. How can you and I stand before Him? There is only one place a man or a woman can stand acceptable to God and that is in Jesus Christ, the One who put away all our sins, having burst the bands of the tomb and defeated man’s greatest enemy.
When you and I put our trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour, we stand before God in all the merit, in all the beauty, in all the righteousness of the Son of God, accepted in the Beloved. You know very well that Jesus Christ can come into the presence of His Father, acceptable. Nothing can in any way hinder His coming to the presence of His Father who is holy, who is righteous, who is love.
And you and I can come with that same confidence, with that same boldness. Why? Because God has accepted us in the Beloved. He hasn’t accepted us in some religious rite. He hasn’t accepted us in some works that we do. He hasn’t accepted us because we’re religious. No, we’re accepted in the Beloved.
Here is a union that is perfect, that is eternal. All that Christ is before God is what we are. I say, there is enough truth here for you and me for the rest of our days to glorify God continually. There is enough truth here for you and me to dedicate ourselves and all that we are to God. How else can we stand? What else can give us hope? How else can we have peace with God if we are not accepted in the Beloved?
And again I repeat, God has confidence in just one man, that’s the Man Christ Jesus. God has absolutely no confidence in any flesh, neither yours nor mine—neither religious flesh nor good flesh nor bad flesh nor any kind of flesh. God has no confidence in the flesh. And Jesus could say, “I do always the things that please Him.”
And unless we are in Christ Jesus, we are not acceptable to God.
You say, “You’re making it very, very narrow.” Yes, I am, because once I see what God is, that He is righteous and that He is holy, that God cannot deny His own character when it comes to the question of sin, then I know that sin must be punished. Jesus, His Son, came and bore your sin and my sin and took it away. He has made us accepted in the Beloved. It is not that I have accepted God in the Beloved. He has accepted me in the Beloved. The action is on God’s part. He accepts us in all the merit and beauty and righteousness of Christ. Remember, Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” And unless we are in Christ Jesus, there is no standing before God.