As I started diving into part 3 of the chapter, I realized just how deep prayer truly is and how lax I often am in my prayers. And sadly, I’ve realized just how much I take fore granted the sheer privilege God has bestowed upon me…to talk to Him freely and whenever I want.
Case in point. At the very end of last year, I purchased a monthly/weekly planner which I decided would be my 2014 prayer and scripture journal. My goal was so simple. At some point during each day, on the monthly part, I would write a scripture verse that spoke to me during the day, along with a few words to remind me what the scripture was about. And on the weekly section, I would write a small prayer to God each day. As of this writing, it is up to date, however, I quickly filled in the last 7 days earlier this morning because I hadn’t done it all week…and it’s been like that for each week. I cannot seem to get into the daily habit.
I have the riches of Christ at my fingertips…and I don’t grasp on to it! I’m going to work on changing that! Want to join me? Let’s dive into part 3 and do some exploring on Ephesians! Specifically, were going to look at the very beginning; Ephesians 1:1-14.
If you use cross references in your study, you will find that the book of Ephesians very much mirrors the book of Colossians, and to some extent, Philemon. That’s because it is said that Paul wrote these letters around the same time. Remember, these were all towns that Paul visited (Gentile towns) and Paul wrote a letter to each town. And as we read, we find that Paul wanted the Ephesians to once again love Jesus. It’s easy to fall out of love, isn’t it. And when we fall out of love, we get so distracted in our ways that we think there must be something better. The answer is simply to fall back in love.
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3 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. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 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, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Let’s look at some of the riches in Christ these verses offer, and the meaning behind them.
- Adoption: In addition to the “literal” meaning of bringing one into a family by other means than birth, God gives us a spiritual adoption with the following meaning:
Spiritual. An act of God’s grace by which he brings men into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption represents the new relations into which the believer is introduced by justification, and the privileges connected therewith, viz., an interest in God’s peculiar love (John 17:23; Rom. 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13), the possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Pet. 1:14; 2 John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15), present protection, consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 2 Cor. 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Heb. 12:5-11), and a future glorious inheritance (Rom. 8:17,23; James 2:5; Phil. 3:21). ~Easton’s Biblical Dictionary
- Redemption: the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom. (Easton’s Biblical Dictionary)
Jesus dying on the cross was our ransom! We were bought with His blood. God expected that payment and will never again want additional payments! Remember Jesus’ final words on the cross. That was our payment. When it was finished…it was finished!
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. ~John 19:30
- Forgiveness: First, the worldly definition as defined dictionary.com: cancel a debt. stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone.
And now, the biblical as defined by Easton’s Biblical Dictionary:
Forgiveness of sin
one of the constituent parts of justification. In pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law, and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the guilt of sin, or the sinner’s actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it. All sins are forgiven freely (Acts 5:31; 13:38; 1 John 1:6-9). The sinner is by this act of grace for ever freed from the guilt and penalty of his sins. This is the peculiar prerogative of God (Ps. 130:4; Mark 2:5). It is offered to all in the gospel.
- Sealed with the Holy Spirit: It’s right in the verse what this means…it “guarantees our inheritance” that God is storing up for us!
It is through these riches that we are free to approach God without hesitation. Praying to God is no different than having a face to face conversation with your best friend! We talk to people and pray to God! Friends, don’t take fore granted this amazing blessing God has given us! Pray to Him always and in doing so, I pray you not just receive, but feel all the riches in Christ that He wants to bestow upon you.
We have a few more sections yet to cover in this chapter. Next, we’ll look at the our unbelief and how faith and prayer go hand in hand. We’ll close this chapter with how prayer allows us to remain in Christ. And next week, we will start to look at why we face trials in our life, and how we can better approach them…so that we may feel the full love of our Lord.