[forthright] It's All About Christ

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 16:48:21 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

It's All About Christ
by Richard Mansel

Christ gives life, breath, and purpose to the
Christian. He is the Savior and sum total of our
existence. Ephesians 1:3-6 meticulously enumerates
the preeminence of Jesus and the extraordinary
blessings found in him.

Paul writes, "Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in
Christ" (Ephesians 1:3, NKJV). "Blessed," in some
form, is used three times in this verse for
emphasis. God is blessed and being in the church,
the body of his Son, subsequently blesses us
(Ephesians 1:22,23). We have all that we have
because of Christ.

We are "blessed with every spiritual blessing"
which means a continual flow of blessing coming to
the child of God. It is a perpetual pipeline of
goodness springing from God himself.

The children's song says, "The blessings come down
as the prayers go up." However, the prayers do not
earn the blessings. Prayer in the life of a
Christian cannot make God beholden to man. The
blessings are a consequence of salvation. Being a
saint, separated from the world in the kingdom of
God, we enjoy the richness of a God who daily
rains blessings down upon his children (Malachi
3:10; Psalm 23:5).

The word "spiritual" means, "pertaining to or
belonging to the Spirit."/1 Thus, "spiritual
blessings" signifies those which "properly pertain
to the life of the Spirit."/2 This perpetual
fountain of blessings is a natural extension of
being in Christ. It cannot be found anywhere else.
This wealth cannot be borrowed, purchased, or
stolen. It can only be found in the blessed life
of a Christian.

These spiritual blessings are "in the heavenly
places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). "Christ is
exalted to the heavenly realm, and thus those who
are 'in Him' belong to that heavenly realm."/3 And
they are here for us now. "These gracious gifts
are not simply future benefits but are a present
reality for us, since they have already been won
for us by God's saving action in Christ."/4

God took great delight in choosing us to be his
children (Ephesians 1:4). His love for his
children is overwhelming. We should all feel the
love and gentleness of an omnipotent father.

We were not chosen because we were worthy, but
because we were in Christ. Paul uses the phrase,
"in Him," over 160 times and 40 times in Ephesians
alone. God did the work to choose us; we just have
to be obedient and stay close to his side, always
bringing glory to Christ in the process (Ephesians
3:20,21).

Christians are "accepted in the Beloved" by "the
praise of the glory of His grace" (Ephesians 1:6).
"To say, then, that God's grace is truly glorious
means that it reflects his glory, his revealed
character, and is therefore worthy of our praise.
If God's choice of men and women to be his sons
and daughters arises from his grace, then the
final goal of this divine predestination is that
it might resound to the praise of that glorious
grace."/5

Being accepted in Christ is such a wonderful
blessing. He will never forsake us and will love
us perfectly forever (Hebrews 13:5; John 14:1-6).
Why would we ever consider being outside of this
family? Become a part today (Acts 2:37-47).
_______
1/ Peter O'Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians,
Pillar New Testament Commentary, ed. D.A. Carson
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 95.
2/ Ibid.
3/ F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to
Philemon, and to the Ephesians, New International
Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Ned
Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce and Gordon Fee (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984), 254.
4/ O'Brien, 97.
5/ Ibid., 104.

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