In verse 3 it says: “Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.” This means that in Christ we have all the benefits of knowing God-
- Being chosen for salvation,
- Forgiveness, insight, the gifts of the Spirit, power to do God’s will,
- The hope of living forever with Christ.
Because we have an intimate relationship with Christ, we can enjoy these blessings now. “The heavenly realms” means that these blessings are eternal, not temporal. The blessings come from Christ’s spiritual realm, not the earthly realm of the goddess Artemis. Other references to the heavenly realms in this letter include 1:20, 2:6, and 3:10. Such passages reveal Christ in his victorious, exalted role as ruler of all.
Next let’s look at verse 4: Paul says that God “chose us” to emphasize that
Salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve it but because God is gracious and freely give us salvation. We did not influence God’s decision to save us; he saved us according to his plan. Thus, there is no way to take credit for our salvation or to allow room for pride. The mystery of salvation originated in the timeless mind of God long before we existed. It is hard to understand how God could accept us. But because of Christ, we are holy and blameless in his sight. God chose us, and when we belong to him through Jesus Christ, God looks at us as if we had never sinned. All we can do is express our thanks for his wonderful love.
Check out verse 5 God’s “unchanging plan” is another way of saying that salvation is God’s work and not our own doing. In his infinite love, god has adopted us as his own children. Through Jesus” sacrifice, he has brought us into his family and made us heirs along with Jesus (Romans 8:17). In Roman law, adopted children had the same rights and privileges as biological children, even if they had been slaves. Paul uses this term to show how strong our relationship to God is. Have you entered into this loving relationship with God?
In verse 7, it speaks of “Jesus blood”. That was an important first century way of speaking of Christ’ death. His death points to two wonderful truths: redemption and forgiveness. Redemption was the price paid to gain freedom for a slave (Leviticus 25: 47-54). Through his death, Jesus paid the price to release us from slavery to sin. Forgiveness was granted in Old Testament times on the basis of the shedding of animal’s blood. (Leviticus 17:11). Now we are forgiven on the basis of the shedding of Jesus’ blood-He died as the perfect and final sacrifice see Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:13, Colossians 1:20. Hebrews: 9:22, 1 Peter 1:19.
God showered his kindness on us-this is also called “God’s grace.” This is his voluntary and loving favor given to those he saves. We can’t earn salvation, nor do we deserve it. No religious, intellectual, or moral effort can gain it, because it comes only from God’s mercy and love. Without God’s grace no person can be saved. To receive it, we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, that the only God can save us, and that our only way to receive this loving favor is through faith in Christ.
Several years ago, I ditched my desk top computer and purchased a HP laptop computer that was significantly faster than my tortoise desktop computer. I use my computer primarily for word processing, a high tech term for typing. The software that I use for word processing is supposedly very powerful. I say "supposedly" because I have never read any of the pages in the manual that came with it; nor have I explored, looked into, invested time in taking classes to learn how some of the other programs or software works.
I know how to update my web page, I can make flyers, post to Facebook and LinkedIn, but that is about it. I know just enough to get me going but not enough to fully understand all that the software and thus the computer can do. The only way I am going to discover the full power of my computer and its software is by becoming more familiar with what it can do. The same can be said about my smart phone and my cable TV service. I admit, confess that technology is not my strong suit.
If we apply the same analogy to the Ephesians, we can begin to understand the content of Paul's prayer for them in Ephesians 1:15-23. His prayer is motivated by their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for all the saints. He has heard about their faith in the Lord Jesus; they have the computer. He has also heard about their love for all the saints; they are using the software. Yet they just don't know how powerful both of them really are. There sits this powerful machine, loaded with all sorts of information and capabilities, but much of it goes unused simply because they have not fully familiarized themselves with all it can do.
The same can be said about my American Express Card or the Capital One Venture card. Most of us use our credit cards to make purchases in exchange for using paper money. However, there are certain perks that come along with some of these major credit cards. Lets look at what it says about the Capital One Venture Card: Best overall credit card: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers the best rewards of pretty much all travel credit cards. You’ll earn 2 miles per $1 spent, for a full 2% rewards rate — one of the best in the business. It pays out in miles that are actually useful, unlike some other rewards programs.
Now, my American Express Card also touts the greatness and e effectiveness of their card. They have a points system that you can use to purchase airline tickets, secure hotel rooms, earn Plenty Points, that’s the newest craze, and a lot of other perks and offers. Unfortunately, I am not reaping the full benefits of the card, because I do not know how the membership points work, I don’t take full advantage of it. It’s just like the android phone and the HP computer. If you don’t know the full measure or extend of its usage, you go lacking. So what's in your wallet?
I read a story about another man's entrance into the computer age. When he first tried to start up his computer it didn't work. He checked all the plugs, double-checked all the switches, but there was no power. Finally, his son looked down at the surge protector into which the computer, monitor and printer were all plugged in. "Daddy, what is this switch for?" And with that the man's five-year-old son succeeded where his father had failed -- he turned the whole system on.
That is the essence of Paul's prayer in the middle of chapter one of Ephesians. We must make sure we are plugged into the very power of God by virtue of our faith in Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is to make sure that the switches are always turned on.