Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in him….Eph. 1:3, 4
Blessed be He that blessed us!
It cannot escape our attention that the same word is used twice: God blesses us, we bless Him!
Yet, there is a profound difference in meaning between the two uses of the word.
For, first of all, God’s blessing us and our blessing God are not mere reciprocal acts, so that the latter is a remuneration of the former, a returning of favors received, a reward of blessing He bestowed on us. God is God! We are always creature! God is the Giver; we are always the receivers! God is the ever overflowing Fountain of all good; we are always the thirsty ones that drink from that Fountain! This relation never ceases, can never be reversed. Never does the moment arrive when He receives from us anything that is not truly His. When we bless Him we only express that we have tasted how good He is. Our blessing of Him is only the expression of our consciousness of having been blessed by Him.
His blessing, then, is first, always first, eternally first!
Even as “herein is love,” not that we loved God, but that He loved us, so “herein is blessing,” not that we bless Him, but that He blesses us!
His blessing us is the eternally operating cause of our blessing Him.
For, indeed, His blessing, never ours, is causal, efficacious, divinely powerful and effective.
To bless is “to-speak well.” Such is the literal significance of the graphic word that is here twice used in the original. When God blesses us, He speaks well of us, concerning us, to us, over us; when we bless God, we speak well of Him, concerning Him, to Him. But His Word is a word of power. He speaks and it is done; He commands and it stands fast. His Word creates what it declares; it brings to pass what it expresses. But our word can only declare what already is, and what has become an object of our knowledge and experience.
His speaking precedes the thing; our speaking follows it. He speaks and what He speaks comes into being; we speak because we know that the thing is already.
He “speaks well” of us and to us, and as a result we are filled with all goodness.
We speak well of Him, because we taste that he is eternally good!
We speak because through His speech we know Him!
Blessed He that blessed us!
Even so, Amen!
And how richly He blessed us!
In how marvelous a way He lavished His goodness upon us!
How fully and completely He filled us with His glorious benefits!
For, He blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!
In Christ He blessed us. This indicates the wonderful way in which He manifested all His great goodness and made us recipients of it. Another way in which to reveal all His marvelous goodness to the highest possible degree there was not. For, Christ is the Firstborn of every creature and the First Begotten of the dead; He is the image of the invisible God, and it was the Father’s good pleasure that in Him all the fullness should dwell. And when we are told that He blessed us in Christ, it is plain that He blessed Christ first! He speaks well of Christ, to Christ, chiefly, centrally, as the Chief over His house, as the Son in whom He is well pleased, as the obedient Servant, as the Head of the body, the Church. He speaks His Word of blessing in the amazing wonder of the incarnation, in the deep way of His suffering, in the awful descent of His into hell, in His sojourn in Sheol; He reveals His Word of blessing in His glorious resurrection, in His blessed exaltation in the highest heavens, in the exceeding greatness of His power and authority over every name that is named. And He finished His Word of blessing when this glorified Christ received the promise of the Spirit, that He might be the quickening Spirit, the life-giving Head of His Church!
In Christ He hath blessed us!
And, therefore, these blessings with which He hath blessed us are all the spiritual blessings in heavenly places.
Spiritual these blessings are, because they are all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and are wrought by Him. Spiritual they are, too, because they are not natural, they do not change the essence of things, the essence of our being and of our relation to the world, but by them our spiritual-ethical nature is reversed and our relation to God is made perfect. They change our darkness into light, our love of the lie into love of the truth, our folly into wisdom, our ignorance into the knowledge of God, our guilt into perfect righteousness, our corruption into holiness, our unrest into peace, our sorrow into joy, our death into eternal life! They do not feed us with the bread that perisheth, but with the Bread of life; they d) not enrich us with treasures on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, but with incorruptible treasures in heaven. They are blessings of grace and mercy, of righteousness and peace, of holiness and the love of God, of wisdom and knowledge, of meekness and patience, of joy and light, of justification in the midst of sin, of victory in the midst of apparently overwhelming enemies, of a blessed hope in the midst of despair, of unspeakable rejoicings in the midst of suffering, of glorious life in the midst of devouring death!
Blessings in Christ, in heavenly places!
For, these blessings are in Christ. From God, through Christ, in the Spirit they constantly flow toward us. And Christ is in heavenly places, and is, therefore, Himself heavenly, raised far above the level of mundane, earthly relations. And the blessings are like their source. In heavenly places they are, from heavenly places they descend, heavenly they are. They are not merely spiritual in distinction from things natural and carnal, but they are also heavenly in distinction from the mere earthy. They do not merely restore but elevate; they do not repair what was broken and spoiled, but they raise to a higher level, the level of heavenly perfection. For, as far as Christ is higher than the first Adam, the heavenly blessings we receive from Him are higher than all the things of the earth.
And to be born again is to be born from above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, in heavenly places; and this rebirth is but the beginning of what will be perfected in the final resurrection and in the glory of the heavenly creation!
Blessed with all spiritual blessings!
For, in Him is the fullness of spiritual blessings. All the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth in Him bodily. No spiritual blessing is lacking. No blessing could be added. Over and above the spiritual blessings in Christ no blessing is conceivable. To be blessed in Christ is to be blessed fully, completely, perfectly.
And He hath blessed us in Him!
For, He caused Him to merit eternal righteousness for us, by His death and resurrection. In Him we are justified. In Him we have the adoption unto children. In Him we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. In Him we have a right to eternal life and to the eternal inheritance!
And He makes us partakers of these spiritual blessings!
For, it is He that makes us one plant with Him, in the likeness of His death and His resurrection. It is He, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that gives us the lively faith, whereby we become partakers of Him and of all His benefits.
In the blessed Christ He hath blessed us!
Blessed is He!
Yea, blessed be He alone!
For, He is the Fount of all these glorious blessings, and there is none beside Him! He alone is the Author of this great salvation! To Him, to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, be glory and thanksgiving forever!
To God Triune, blessed forever, be all the praise!
He is the Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Indeed, this relation of our Lord Jesus Christ to God Triune, has its deeper, its eternal cause in the Holy Trinity itself. For, the First Person of the divine family is the Father of the Second. And the Son, God of God, co-equal with the Father and the Son, is the express image of the Father.
But He is this in the divine nature.
Never could it be said that the First Person of the Trinity is the God of the Second Person. Yet, thus our text expresses the relation between Christ and the Father. For, in spite of the fact, that some would connect the words “our Lord Jesus Christ” only with “Father,” so that they would read: “the God who is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” we maintain that this is not the meaning, and that the text declares that the Father is also the God of Christ, our Lord. Besides, this is expressed more than once in Scripture. Christ Jesus our Lord, therefore, is not only the eternal Son, essentially divine, in relation to the First Person of the Holy Trinity, He is also the Holy Child Jesus and the Servant of the Lord, and the Triune God is His God and Father.
He is this in His human nature.
The Triune God is the God and Father of the Son in human nature!
He it is that ordained Him to be the Head of His Church and the Head over all things. He ordained Him to be the Firstborn of every creature and the First begotten of the dead. His good pleasure it was that in Him all the fullness should dwell. And He made Him, and perfected Him as the captain of our salvation, in the incarnation, through His suffering and death, in the way of His resurrection and exaltation at the right hand of God in heavenly places, and by fulfilling unto Him the promise of the Spirit.
Blessed be He, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
He it is that hath blessed us in Him!
And He did so freely, sovereignly, of His own good pleasure!
Even as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world!
Eternally He elected us! God’s election of His Church does not fall in time, does not belong to time, is not determined and limited by time, but is an eternal act of the eternal God. That He chose us “before the foundations of the world” does not refer to a certain moment preceding creation, as if the eternal One had ever been without this divine act of election. In eternity there is no time. For an eternal act there are no moments. “Before the foundation of the world,” therefore, can only express a logical relation in God’s own mind, a relation of order between election and the creation of the world. Election is first, the foundation of the world follows; the church is end, the world is means. Even as Christ is first, the Firstborn of every creature, and all things are made through Him and unto Him, first even in relation to the Church, so that the latter exists for Christ’s sake; so the Church is first in relation to the “foundation of the world,” and all things exist for her sake, and are adapted to her realization and perfection.
Eternally He hath chosen us, before the foundation of the world!
And even as this election is an eternal act, so it is strictly sovereign.
God’s election is never a selection of the best. Thus, indeed, men that do not fully grasp the truth that God is GOD would explain. God chose the best according to His foreknowledge. He chose whom He foresaw as believers, as obedient to the gospel, as persevering to the end. But the election of God is even before the foundation of the world, and all things are adapted to it! It is causal. It ordains the elect. That they are elect is solely due to an act of His sovereign will, and in no wise to any foreseen or foreknown goodness or act on our part.
And He chose us in Him, in Christ Jesus our Lord!
He ordained Christ, as the chief among the brethren, as the Head of the Church, in order that in Him all the fullness of the invisible God might dwell and be revealed. And in that Christ, in His sphere, He elected His Church, all His people, giving them to Christ, giving to each one of them his own place in Christ, so that the whole of them might show forth the fullness of the glorious virtues of the Godhead as it is in Christ, that God may be all in all!
He predestinated them to be made like unto the image of His Son, each in his own way and according to his own position “in Him”, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren!
And even as He chose us in Him, so He blesses us in Him!
Never without Him!
In Him we are juridically. And He is delivered for our transgressions, and raised for our justification. And by faith we know that we are in Him, and we are justified and have peace with God.
Even as He hath chosen us!
In Him we are organically. And He lives in us and dwells in us, and we are delivered and glorified, begotten again unto a lively hope!
Even as He hath chosen us, so He hath blessed us!
In Him! Freely, eternally, sovereignly!
Blessed be He!
He hath blessed us!
Let us now bless Him, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
For, such is His purpose!
He hath made all things for His own name’s sake: Christ, the Church, the world, all things! Indeed, all things are yours; but ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s!
He hath blessed us, that we might bless Him!
Not, indeed, as if our blessing of Him could at all be like His blessing us. He is God. We are creature. He is the Fount. We drink from Him. Nor, as if we could in any wise remunerate Him for the glorious blessings He hath bestowed upon us in eternal and sovereign love. The very thought that we can remunerate the all- and self-sufficient One is blasphemous! What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits bestowed on me? Nothing!
But I can take the cup of salvation from which I drink, and by which I taste that He is the blessed One!
And call upon His name!
And say that He is good!
The blessed One forever!