November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022

Author: Pastor Bernard Ibrahim
November 23, 2022

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us in all wisdom, and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the council of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory."

Ephesians 1:3-11

As we think about giving thanks, (and we had our Thanksgiving service on Sunday night,) and we have opportunity to take time off of work and spend time with family, and really with the express purpose of giving thanks. And as believers, not just to other human beings, we have the privilege of giving thanks to God, the giver of good gifts.

This passage struck me when I've been thinking about giving gifts, giving thanks to God for those things which are eternal, those spiritual gifts that He gives to us. It's good to give God thanks for all the temporal blessings He's given us; all of those are to be enjoyed by us and He gives them to us for our enjoyment; but the spiritual, eternal gifts.

If we just walk through this passage, you will see that there are many, and they are rich and they are deep because this passage starts out with, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Then you'll notice he begins to delineate what he means by “blessed us” or “given us” every spiritual blessing. What are those? You can see the first one is listed in verse 4, and we're not going to be exhaustive in this passage, there are many implied. But just look at the ones that are explicit here, “Even as he chose us.” He elected us. Our election is a gift, a spiritual gift, an eternal gift, and a gift that we did not earn.

If you looked at the end of that verse, he gave us justification that we would be holy and blameless before him. Something we did not deserve, a gift that we could not gain. And it had to be given by God, who is holy and able to make us blameless who were sinful.

“That in love he predestined us for adoption.” He made us his children. Another gift that you can see is distinctive from all the other gifts of our salvation, our justification, our election. But he went beyond those gifts and gave to each one of us the privilege of calling him Father, and having Christ as our elder brother.

If you jump down to verse 7, He gave us redemption. Every believer knows that we were bought out of a state of slavery to sin, and he paid for our freedom with the blood of his son. And forgiveness. You see that, the forgiveness of our trespasses, a clear conscience and actual forgiveness between us the trespasser, those who have trespassed against God and against His law. He has forgiven us our sins and now we have a clear conscience. We are children with a clear and open relationship with our father.

Then verse 9. We don't think about this much, but the Lord has revealed to us this grand mystery of His will which you see here explained about how Christ, who is the fullness of all things, will unite all things both in heaven and earth. And we see even clearer in Revelation that everything will be put under his authority and Christ will be king of kings and Lord of Lords. This is our privilege, the Lord as our Father, as our giver of good gifts, brings us into his grand universal plan to put all things under his Son. This is an amazing revelation that we have, that we have been given the privilege to know what is going to be the end of this age and the beginning of eternity.

Then he finishes off this section with the gift of the Holy Spirit, that that promise that is our promise, which is the guarantee of our inheritance. You see it in verse 13. We're given the Holy Spirit, our helper, our comforter. That the Lord Jesus promised would be with us until we are with Christ in heaven.

And so hopefully this quick overview of these 8 or 9 spiritual gifts that the Lord has given and blessed every one of us, every believer can say they have been blessed by God the Father in these spiritual blessings, and it is a great place for us to start when we think about giving thanks to God during this time of thanksgiving. It is a good thing to give thanks to God and it is our privilege. It humbles us, and it enlivens us because it puts our perspective on the reality of what God actually has done and is doing for us his children.