Welcome back to part 2 of our series on blessings in the Kingdom of God. Last week we saw how much God cares for us, which can be a sticking-point for people who see God as more of a judge than a loving Father.
We also saw how the Kingdom of God is not something that we strive toward or reach for, but in-fact the Kingdom comes to us, through Jesus Christ. If you haven’t yet watched the previous study, I would encourage you to see that study first as we will be continuing upon that foundation today.
In this study, we will be looking at blessings and how they come to us, and also in what measure they come to us – the reality is greater than what we often think.
Earning Blessings, or Being Blessed?
The first point of our study here today is going to be way in which blessings come, and this is an area of struggle for many people, as works and performance tend to be prevalent here. Many people are told that they must work for their blessings, and strive to earn favor from God. Even if they aren’t told directly, the idea of earning blessings is often heavily implied.
Such thoughts and ideas are burned into our very nature: do well and you are rewarded, do poorly and suffer the consequences.
We are often told the parable of the Talents in Sunday School as children, thought it doesn’t mean what we often think.
However, we need to answer the question of are we earning blessings, or being blessed? It almost seems like semantics but there is a large distinction between earning blessings, which implies some human activity and merit to obtain blessings, versus being blessed as a free gift of God through Jesus Christ.
This is a fundamental difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and it’s something that we need to consider. There are a lot of people who in-essence dancing on the fence, staggering between the wide-road of works and the narrow-path of grace, trying to marry two entirely different covenants.
Ephesians 1:2-7, lets us know with absolute certainty that Christ has brought about change. A change in relationship; our relationship with Him, and our relationship with each-other as a result of His completed work.
This change brought about by Jesus also gives to us a new spiritual identity and position, giving us access to all the blessings of God, which is the key focus of our study today. Let’s read these scriptures now:
“ 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace”
There’s much for us to see here in these verses, both about ourselves, and what God gives to us as a result of Jesus sacrifice.
A Position of Blessings
Notice in verse 2, we can see that both grace and peace are given to us, but how exactly are they given? Primarily we can see that both grace and peace come from God our Father, and it’s worth noting that as we saw last week, again the idea of God being our personal Father is mentioned.
God being our personal Father in heaven is an essential point which also speaks to our position in Christ. This is precisely why verse 2 here says that grace and peace comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Our Father God who loved us and gave Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Furthermore, our grace and peace comes from Jesus Christ, since we are clothed in His righteousness1, sanctified by Him2, and we live through the power of His Spirit which indwells us3.
Our position in Christ is our position of blessing, we are blessed because of Him and it is because of Him that blessings are ours today. We can see in verse 3 here that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.
I emphasized a few sections of this verse because they highlight to us a few key points: first, that God has blessed us. That is past tense. We are not trying to be blessed, striving to be blessed, or waiting to be blessed. We have already been blessed because God has blessed us in Christ.
Second, we can see to what degree and extend that we have been blessed. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. The word “spiritual” here can be a bit misleading. The verse is not saying that we will receive all of these things when we get to Heaven. It is indicating the source of our blessings as the Spirit.
In the original Greek text, “spiritual blessing” is pneumatikos, which in this context means having properties and characteristics belonging to the Spirit of God. So if you have the pneumatikos blessing of health, for example, it means that it is of the Spirit of God, and therefore does not depend on your exercising or dieting. The same with provision, and every other blessing. We can also see where that these blessings are not limited, because we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
The third thing we can see here in verse 3 is how these blessings come: in Christ.
Jesus, the Way into God’s Family
All of these blessings come as a result of Jesus Christ and our standing and position in Him. As the verses continue we can see more of our wonderful position given to us by Jesus Christ.
In verse 4, we can see that we are made holy and blameless before God in love. That “love” there is the divine love of God, demonstrated perfectly by Jesus and His sacrifice. His love is the solid, unshakable foundation for everything.
Verse 5 shows us that God has predestined us, not to the bondage of our works or to enslave us again to the old covenant, but that God has predestined us to adoption as sons. Romans 8:15 confirms this point as it mentions that God has given us the Spirit of sonship. Galatians 4:6 says God has sent His Spirit into our hearts by which we call “Abba!”, literally “Daddy!” to God.
God is not some distant, judge or formal acquaintance, but He is our Daddy God! This is a vital point because, this is our relationship with God, that He came to give us. And yes, this relationship comes with benefits. John 8:35 states that a servant does not abide in the house forever, but a son does.
This goes to the very heart of the matter of works versus grace when dealing with blessings, because we don’t take the time to meditate on what Jesus did, and how the New Covenant is superior to the old.
Many people are trying to get blessings from God through works and services, when in reality He has given you everything through Christ by bringing you into His kingdom and into His family as a dearly beloved son.
Look at verse 6, through the glory of His grace (not our works) we are accepted in the Beloved (that’s Christ)
Verse 7 through whom (Christ again) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His Grace.
Do you see it? Today we are accepted, not because we earned anything, but we are accepted in Christ, the beloved. We have redemption through His blood. Again, we didn’t earn it, He gave it to us. We have the forgiveness of sins, not because we earned it, but according to the richness of His grace.
It’s all a gift.
Christ Gives Us Every Blessing
Romans 8:32 sums this all up nicely and wraps it with a little bow:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
A lot of people are trying to get the second-half of this verse without understanding the first part. Many of us are trying to get things through our work. The Old Covenant way of operating was behave perfectly with absolute perfect obedience and be blessed, fail in even the smallest point and be cursed.
Many of us are still operating under that same mentality of trying to merit what God gives as a free gift.
This is why the first part of the verse is so important, because it puts our focus back onto Christ, and the Love of the Father in giving His Son. He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.
We must understand that first part, because the question of the verse depends on it… how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
You see, my dear friend, everything is given freely with Christ. It is all based upon His sacrifice and His finished work. It is indeed Christ who gives us every blessing.
The very point that Romans 8:32 is making is that because you have already been given Jesus Christ (the absolute greatest gift of all) then God certainly will not withhold any other gift, because they are all lesser than Christ Himself!
So let this truth encourage you and build you up in the faith of Christ and His finished work for you. You have already been blessed by God your Father, He has welcomed you into His Kingdom and Family, and you have been given the greatest gift of all, Christ Jesus. And as we have just read, everything else is also given with Him.
1 Isaiah 61:10, Galatians 3:27, Romans 4:5, Romans 5:1
2Hebrews 10:10, 1st Corinthians 6:11, 1st Peter 1:2, Ephesians 5:26
3Ephesians 3:16, 1st Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9, 1st Corinthians 6:19, Acts 2:38