The Heavenly Heights of Our Riches in Christ
Day: 8 | Plan: Christ Alone
Today’s Reading: Ephesians 1
Ephesians 1:3 (NIV) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Mount Everest is the earth’s highest mountain peak, straddling the borders of China and Nepal. For those strong and brave enough to climb it, the adventure takes a full 40 days to give the body time to adjust to the high altitude.
In my mind, Ephesians is like the Mount Everest of the Bible. Paul causes our minds to straddle heaven and earth as he raises us up to the highest peak, there unveiling the very purposes of God. And just as a beautiful panoramic mountaintop view can take our breath away and lift our soul into our Creator’s presence, Paul lifts us up into the heavenly realms and describes our riches in Christ.
Oh, how I wish we had 40 days to explore the heights of this epistle! Instead of an expedition, we only have time for a sprint.
The church at Ephesus faced many of the same challenges we face today. The culture was steeped in materialism and occult activity. Other religions were prominent and influential forces in the community. The sensual allure of the world was seeking to gain the allegiance of believers because of its prosperity and sexuality. And internal bickering was threatening the church because Jewish believers felt their historical heritage gave them an advantage.
Paul knew the opposition believers in Christ would be facing and his desire is for all believers to know and understand who we are in Christ, all that is available to us in Christ and the importance of oneness in the body of Christ as we face the struggles of life. Understanding all these things will result in a strong faith that produces confidence and boldness, out of which comes victory.
As we read Ephesians 1, Paul hardly takes a breath as He recites the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ:
- God chose us long before the world existed to be holy and blameless in His sight through Christ. (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9) From eternity He planned that we should be among those who would be His own.
- God settled His love on us and determined to adopt us as His children according to His fixed purpose. (Ephesians 1:5)
- Because of God’s kindness, He has freely bestowed His glorious grace on us. (Ephesians 1:6)
- In Christ we have been redeemed. That means we have been released from the blame or debt of sin we owe because of the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood paid the ransom for our sin. (Ephesians 1:7a; Romans 6:23; Revelation 5:9)
- In Christ, we have forgiveness of sin because of God’s extravagant grace. (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28)
- In Christ, God has revealed to us the knowledge of His great plan and purposes. (Ephesians 1:8-9) God’s plan of redemption includes any and all — Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free — who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
- We have been marked and sealed with the promised Holy Spirit and our eternal inheritance and our position in Christ is guaranteed and confirmed. (Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
As children of God and by His grace, we have been given an exalted position and purpose in Christ that is secure in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:4-6)
Our blessings in Christ are the richest, rarest and the most enduring blessings. And our salvation in Christ is God’s work from beginning to end. (John 6:44-45; John 15:16) We can sum up the first 14 verses of this chapter of Ephesians like this: God planned our redemption, Christ paid for it and the Holy Spirit confirms it.
Then, like a cherry on top, there is the glorious promise that not only is He our resurrected Savior but He is sovereign over all things and we are one with Him. We have a living connection with Christ and can live in the fullness of Christ because we are part of His body — the Church. (Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
No words can adequately describe the amazing truths in this chapter. It is truly a breathtaking description of who God says we are and all that is ours in Christ. As a result, our hearts should burst forth in praise, just like Paul. And our lives should call attention to the magnificent glory of God. (Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14)
Prayer: Lord God, I am overwhelmed by the spiritual blessings You have given me in Christ. I praise You for Your sovereign plan of salvation put into place before the world began. Thank You for the riches of Your grace and the blessings of redemption and forgiveness that You have given me and all who believe in Christ. Lord, thank You for lavishing Your love upon me and for blessing me with everything I need in Christ. Help me to live each day to the praise of Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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Paul wants us to understand all that is available to us in Christ. He knows it is only in Christ... Read More
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