Pray: Humbly ask God for wisdom. Ask Him to teach you as you read the following section of the Bible.
Read: Ephesians 1:1-6
Imagine the Church of Ephesus holding this letter in their hands for the first time, imagine questions they must have had when they first received it. What would cause the apostle Paul to write them this letter, especially during a time when sending a letter was a challenging task, and “messaging” was far from instant? (Not to mention that Paul wrote this letter while being locked up in prison.)
I know what you are thinking, and no, Paul was not writing them because he was bored in prison. Paul wrote them with a desire to see the Church of Ephesus continue to grow in their understanding of the Gospel, and to help unite them as they live on mission in their city. Within these first few lines Paul points us to the goodness of Jesus. Paul first tells us that God has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” (vs. 3) No one was short changed through the work of Christ. Ultimately through the blood of Jesus on the cross, every Christian has had spiritual blessing poured out upon them. Take time to realize the spiritual blessings God has lavished on us, and the enormous impact they have on how we live our lives.
Through the work of Jesus, we have received “every spiritual blessing” and have been specifically chosen by God for adoption. These first few lines are not the “fluff” we tend to write at the front of a long-winded email. No, they are the very heart of the message of the gospel; That because of Jesus we are no longer the enemies of God, we have been lovingly brought into His family through the redemptive work of Christ.
How amazing is it to think about the blessings that we have received through the work of Jesus? How powerful is it to think about God choosing sinners like you and I before the foundation of the world for adoption? Grace at its finest! Within these very first lines of his letter, Paul begins to fuel the Church of Ephesus’ admiration for Jesus, which flows into every part of the Christian life.
1. Why does Paul tell the Church of Ephesus, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?”
2. How does understanding that God has adopted us change the way we see ourselves? Does it challenge or change your view of God?
3. What does Paul say was the motive behind God’s adoption of sinners?
Memorize: Ephesians 1:3-4
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. 4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love.”