You Have It All
Like so many before, a poor Irishman wanted to come to America. He saved every penny over the course of five years and finally had enough to buy his ticket on a ship bound for New York. Half-starved and with just pennies left to his name, he used his remaining funds for bread to eat on the ten-day voyage.
The day arrived and he boarded the boat, finding his room in the bowels of the ship. Daily he spent his days on the open deck, ate a bite of his stale bread at noon, and tried not to be too envious of the gourmet meals he saw others eat. His bread ran out on day three, and by day five he was in a bad way. Finally he stopped a porter on day six. “Sir, I need your help–I will do anything in order to get some food. Leftovers, even the remains of unfinished meals–I am starving.”
The porter was shocked and said, “Sir, are you a stowaway?”
“No!” was the man’s reply.
“Then, you do have a ticket of passage for this voyage?”
“Yes,” the man said, “but I spent everything I had on the ticket and only had enough money left for some stale bread, and now I have no food, no money and I am starving.”
“But sir,” the porter said, “didn’t you realize that all your meals are included with your passage? Eat as much as you like–you are not only entitled to three meals a day, but you can eat all day long on this cruise.”
We Christians are just like that man. We content ourselves on stale scraps, when Christ has already purchased and paid for everything we need and lots more. We have it all in Christ. Christians are truly blessed people.
Let me ask you today–where do you go when you struggle with your identity, life-purpose, self-worth or self-acceptance? When you experience difficulty or feel empty, where do you turn to fill up or feel good? Food, relationships, work, your job, your kids, your house, your hobby, more sleep, turn on the TV, play sports? What is it in your life that you turn to instead of Christ?
Our world tells us that identity, worth and meaning must be found in ourselves, or in what we do. God’s Word says exactly the opposite–we find our identity in God and what He has done for us. Every believer is complete in Christ and has the resources to glorify God and be blessed. And that is a big part of the message of Ephesians—open to chapter one.
Ephesians was written to make believers aware of their position in Christ, because this is the basis for their practice in life. Who you are determines how you live–live who you are, walk like what God already made you to be, Christian. In order to walk worthy as a Christian, you must have a clear concept of your standing in Christ. Ephesians 1 says you have it all.
Today, I am attempting to get back into FBC’s famous three-year study of Ephesians. This is how I plan to begin. For the next four weeks by way of review, I’ll exposit a large passage from each of the first four chapters that has already been taught. This will give us a broad look and bring us up to speed. After those four weeks of broad review, I’ll dig into the first two verses of Ephesians 5.
Today I plan on expositing Ephesians 1:3 to 14. You may wonder why I will tackle twelve verses today. Good question—1) because you have already studied the passage word for word, and 2) because these verses are actually one sentence in Greek and were meant to be seen as a whole. In fact, this prayer is actually the single longest sentence in the Greek New Testament. And because it is absolutely fascinating. So look with me at the forest before we examine each tree so you can see Paul’s emphasis and not miss God’s specific message to you.
In this run-on sentence Paul issues no commands, but through the use of the Greek indicative mood in these twelve verses there are some key facts that Paul is emphasizing. As I highlight the eight key verbs here, see if you can figure out what Paul is saying.
Verse 4, He chose, literally, He Himself selected us
Verse 6, He bestowed, literally, He actively favored us
Verse 7, we continually have the redemption
Verse 8, He lavished, or exceeded upon us
Verse 9, He purposed, literally He actively set forward
Verse 11, we obtained an inheritance, literally, we were appointed
Verse 13, you were sealed
Verse 14, which is a continual pledge
Do you get it? Do you see the main point? Hopefully it’s obvious! Paul is saying, “This is what GOD has done for you!” These are undeniable facts–if you’re a believer, these blessings are guaranteed. God has done them to you, and you currently enjoy them because of Him. You have it all.
And did you notice WHO gave you these blessings Christian? God the FATHER in verses 3 to 6, God the SON in verses 7 to 12, and God the HOLY SPIRIT in verses 13 to 14. The entire triune God is involved in blessing God’s true children–all three persons, all one in essence yet three in person have blessed each one of you in this room who are born again. All three persons, our great God has blessed you.
And did you notice why? Look at verses 6, 12 and 14. Verse 6, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Verse 12, “to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Verse 14, “who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” To the PRAISE OF HIS GLORY–He blessed you so you could put on display the most perfect, wonderful, desired being in existence—God.
The ultimate reason for everything that exists is the glory of His grace. That is why as God’s children we should do everything we do, even eating and drinking—to the glory of God. Feeling low today? Spending too much time on things that don’t matter? Are you battling again with insecurity or respect? Are you looking to other people or things to fill that hole in your heart? Then own today’s passage. You have it all. Let’s look first at . . .
The Blessings from God: Sovereign Sum
Read verse 3, “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.” Which word in verse 1 really stands out?—BLESSED. Blessed is the Greek word eulogia where we get the word “eulogy”. It is a compilation of two words—“well” and “to speak”, referring to a person who is favorably spoken of and thus praised.
At your funeral, someone will possibly speak a eulogy, or yougoogley–which means they’d be a yougoogilizer. Typically, they will speak well of you, give a message of commendation and talk about your good deeds.
Notice in verse 3, God is blessed. From Genesis to Revelation, God is declared as blessed. Genesis 14:20, “Blessed be God the most High.” Revelation 5:13, “Every created thing said… To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” Paul blesses or speaks well of God–why? The rest of verse 3 says, “He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” This is the foundational statement of the entire run on sentence–it is all about God being blessed and God blessing us.
James 1:17 says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” We bless God when we speak well of Him. God blesses us when He does good things for us. God lacks no goodness, so we can’t give goodness to Him. Yet as sinners we lack goodness, so God’s blessing is that of imparting goodness or His rightness, His righteousness, to us.
Notice in verse 3 the verb “has blessed” emphasizes that this blessing has already occurred–it has happened to you Christian. Our blessings are not merely promised, they are possessed. You do not need to ask for these blessings since they’ve already been given. In John 19:30 Jesus said, “It is finished.” Colossians 2:10, “And in Him you have been made complete.” 2 Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.”
Christian friend, we are given “every spiritual blessing.” Do you know what that means? Stop asking for what you already have. Stop asking for love–you have all you need, His love is shed abroad in our hearts. Just start showing it through dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Stop asking for peace–Jesus said, My peace I give you. Stop asking for joy–Jesus said, that your joy may be full. Stop asking for strength–you can do all things through Him. You merely need to live out what you already have.
You have every spiritual blessing, Christian–you are complete. Like a seedling, just water, feed and tend it and it’s going to grow. Apply the Word, prayer, dependence upon the Spirit, participate in your body, fellowship with other believers (and all the other means of grace) and you are going to grow–you can do it, because God has done it for you. The sum of it all is God has blessed you beyond measure.
But why do we so often struggle in our Christian life–any fellow strugglers? Every failure in our Christian life can be traced back to an identity crisis. We are not living in light of who we are and the blessings that God has already given to us.
When Israel was preparing to enter the Promised Land, God had demonstrated over and over again His great power on their behalf. But Moses warned them in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.” Israel’s failure later on is directly related to their forgetting what they had seen–the nation had a memory problem.
The Church does too, so the New Testament commands the Church to remember through the weekly practice of communion, the Lord’s Supper, so that we don’t forget what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are a forgetful people. The goal of these verses is to remind the Church in Ephesus and FBC to remember that every single one of you is complete in Christ and has all the resources you need to glorify God.
You ask, “Are you sure?” And I say, “How dare you doubt God’s Word”–in fact, because God knows we need to hear this so badly, Paul says it in three powerful ways, describing through the work of each person of the trinity, how God has given each of you all you need.
#1 The Blessings from God the Father: Sovereign Selection
The Bible teaches that God is sovereign. Like Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” And Psalm 135:6, “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps”. The Lord does as He pleases, only as He please and always as He pleases. And God the Father shows us His heart to bless us in verses 4 to 6 by describing His sovereign choosing us to holiness, predestining us for adoption and freely giving us His grace.
First God blesses us by choosing us to be holy
Read verse 4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” God has chosen us. “Choose” is the Greek word eklegw from which we get the word “elect”–to elect a candidate, literally, to pick out for oneself. God chose who would believe in Him and enter into a relationship with Him. Theologians call this the doctrine of election. And the point here is that God’s choosing was not based upon our goodness or our works in any way–it was not our choosing.
This is not telling us God looks ahead to see who will respond in faith. God doesn’t look ahead to see who’ll be good or work real hard, but for His own glory, out of an entire human race that is already headed headstrong to hell, God chooses some to be His children. Jesus says clearly in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” Second Thessalonians 2:13 says, “Because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation.” First John 4:19 says, “We love, [why] because He first loved us.”
It is like a giant magnet. Salvage yards use giant electromagnets to lift and sort scrap metal. When the magnet is turned on, a tremendous magnetic force draws all the ferrous containing iron metals that are near it, but it has no effect on other metals, such as aluminum or brass. God’s elective will irresistibly draws to Himself those whom He has predetermined to love and forgive.
What about man’s free will? Man does have a will, yet it is not as free as many suppose, since it is a will captive to sin and dead in sin. Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Now this is deep–ready? When you’re dead, you don’t choose, do you? People are able to choose God, only because God has made that choice possible. Like in John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Circle that word “draw”–it literally means to drag. Unless the Father drags us (the picture is kicking and screaming) to Himself, we are not going to come to Him.
You may think you choose Him, but it is He who awakened your heart so you were able and would even want to in the first place. No person receives Christ as Savior who has not been chosen by God. Again, speaking to the disciples–the future apostles, Jesus says this in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” In Romans 9, God chose Jacob and didn’t choose Esau.
God chose many of you and you have responded–some of you have yet to respond, but if you are chosen, you will. And listen, the Bible clearly describes every one of you as a defiant person justly headed toward eternal torment in hell for your rebellion. Therefore the question is not, why doesn’t God choose everyone? The profound question is, WHY DID GOD CHOOSE ANY OF US? The point here for us is not to question, but to express thanks and give praise.
You say, “If this is true, why pray?” Because prayer aligns your heart with a sovereign God. Then why share the Gospel? Because God chose you to be the messenger of the Gospel, and you’ll bring Him glory when you share, and you’ll be blessed when you share. And if God is sovereign, when you blow it, you are not responsible for someone going to hell. You preach to all and those elect will come (Spurgeon). And God not only chose us by Himself, but for Himself. His choosing was primarily for His own glory, not just our good.
Again, Paul’s emphasis in verse 4 is often lost. The focus is not to wonder how it works or who He has chosen, but rather to praise God. Christian, you didn’t want it, didn’t seek it–God had to drag you to Himself, yet he chose you by His amazing grace. And notice in verse 4 that God chose us before the foundation of the world–before any of us could have done anything good or bad He chose us. Why? Verse 4 says “to be holy and blameless.” This literally means to be without blemish or spot.
Paul is talking about our position, not our practice. Although our daily practice does fall short, a true Christian’s position can never fall short. Because of God’s choosing we are holy and blameless before God–we now have the righteous perfection of Christ and are secure. When you stand before God, why will He let you into heaven? Not because you were good, not because you chose Him, not because you lived religiously–but because he chose you and made you holy and blameless through the work of His Son on the cross, you have it all.
Second God blesses us by predestination for adoption
Look at verse 5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” God determines your eternity in order to adopt you as His child. Predestined means to mark out beforehand–to put a boundary around what is yours. Like a shepherd who made a pen around his sheep so it was clear which sheep belonged to him. Or the cattle that were branded to signify the owner, you and I are predestined.
God decides our eternity. Our final destination, heaven or hell, is decided by God not only before we get there, but before we were even born. Our ultimate destiny is in the hands of God. Let me put it more pointedly–from all eternity, before we even existed, God decided to save some members of the human race and to pass over the rest, allowing them to remain in their sin and rebellion and ultimately perish. God says in Proverbs 16:4, “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Wow, that’s heavy! Again the issue here is not to question God’s justice, but to celebrate His amazing graciousness to you and me.
For why did He determine our eternity? To adopt us–God loves adoption. Adoption means in Jesus Christ we have become sons and daughters of the living God. We are in His forever family. We have changed families.
The Bible tells us when we were lost we were children of the devil (I John 3:10), and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). But when God saves us, we get a new set of family relationships and a new set of affections which reflect the character of our heavenly Father. As children of God, we’re said to be children of wisdom (Matthew 11:19), children of obedience (I Peter 1:14), and children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
Obviously, Paul was familiar with adoption in Roman and Greek culture. In extreme cases, a man who had no son but needed an heir to his estate would actively seek out a young man willing to fulfill the obligations of a son (remember the story of Ben Hur?). The legal requirements would be worked out, and the adopted son would be brought into the family with all the rights, privileges and obligations of any true son by birth.
As Galatians 4:5 to 7 says, “that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” As Christians we have a new relationship of intimacy, trust and dependence. We cry out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6), which is an Aramaic term for “daddy”, a term of utmost intimacy and endearment. Through predestination, God turned you from His defiant enemy to His own intimate Abba Father child–amazing grace–you have it all.
Third God blesses us by lavishing us with grace
What is the reason God has done all this? Look at verse 6, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Some of you here have presents under the Christmas tree and you’ve never opened them. You didn’t even know they were there. And God has been excessive and elaborate in His present giving.
In the magnificent excellence of His glorious character, God has graced us with grace. He’s lavished the undeserving with His riches at Christ’s expense. God spontaneously extended unmerited favor to His children–freely bestowed, totally loving, abundantly kind, resulting in salvation upon guilt-laden sinners. He poured it on so there would be no doubt that His true children are beloved by Him. All you have to do is look under the tree (in His Word) to see just how many presents the Father has given you, to know how beloved you are to Him (that is part of the purpose of this passage). Are you seeing that today? Are you feeling that today? You have it all.
God not only receives great glory by saving us, but also by lavishing His great gifts that come with salvation upon us. And because our Father chose us and predestined us before any human being ever existed, He alone gets all the glory. Every true Christian is evidence that God is glorious and gracious, and that is why verse 6 reminds us it should result in our praise. Not only is God the Father blessing us but we also have . . .
#2 The Blessings from God the Son: Sovereign Salvation
Jesus Christ, God the Son, redeemed, forgave and revealed His will.
First Christ blesses us with redemption
Look at verse 7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood.” Through the work of Christ, all true Christians have redemption, speaking of the transition from slavery to freedom. The Bible teaches each of us is a captive of sin, death and Satan. All of them hold your unsaved friends and family in their deadly grip.
Just as a person could be released from jail by the payment of money, canceling out the certificate of debt against him, setting him free from the darkness of prison, into the light and freedom of day, and just as a slave in ancient times could be legally purchased by a generous man and set free–so God has paid the purchase price. What was it? Verse 7 says the blood of Christ releases sinners held captive by spiritual oppressors.
To the Hebrew mind, “blood” conveyed a violent death. Our redemption is not by money, but through the violent death of Christ as He paid the penalty for our sins. Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This was the ultimate price–the highest price imaginable. What could be of greater value than for Christ to give His life?
Once in a Viking city, for months they battled with trying to catch a petty thief who was making off with random items. It surprised everyone to discover it was the king’s 8-year-old son. The law demanded that any thief be brought to the square and whipped 100 times–but all knew that the young boy would die if this were to occur.
When the day for the punishment arrived all wondered what would happen–for the king to stop the punishment would violate the law and end his rule as king. But for him to allow the punishment would kill his 8-year-old son. They brought the child out, stripped him from the waste up, tied him to a pole, and as the whip was stretched out for the first lashing, the king shouted, “HOLD!” . . . while everyone gasped. Then what the king did shocked everyone. He stepped down off his platform, took off his shirt, walked up to his son, wrapped his own body completely around his son, and said, “Administer the punishment.”
That is what Jesus Christ did for you–but that is not all.
Second Christ blesses us with forgiveness
Verse 7b says, “The forgiveness of our trespasses”–as a result of His redemption, we have been forgiven, meaning to pardon or cancel a debt. God paid the debt against us for our sins. God cancels the just wrath we deserve for going against His perfect will. God pardons us for attacking His perfect character and marring His majestic glory by our choices to rebel and disobey.
So complete is God’s forgiveness that Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” And Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Through forgiveness, the broken relationship between us and God is restored. From rebellious, condemned enemy to close, intimate friend—WOW!
I know many of you believers here can become depressed about your shortcomings and sinful wrongs, sometimes even acting as if God still holds your sins against you. (I battle with this as well.) You do so because you have forgotten there is a difference between the continued need for cleansing and the need to accept our completed forgiveness of redemption.
Sure, it is healthy for us to confess, to agree with God about our sin. It is the need to get our feet washed as we walk in this dirty world. But as true Christians, we don’t need a bath again–we’re forgiven and were completely bathed at the cross. John MacArthur writes this, “Because God accepts every believer as He accepts His own Son, every believer ought to accept himself in the same way. We do not accept ourselves for what we are in ourselves any more than God accepts us for that reason. We accept ourselves as forgiven and as righteous because that is what God Himself declares us to be.
“To think otherwise is not a sign of humility but of arrogance, because to think otherwise is to put our own judgment above God’s Word and to belittle the redemption price paid for us by His own beloved Son. A Christian who denigrates himself and doubts full forgiveness denies the work of God and denigrates a child of God. If we matter to God, we certainly ought to matter to ourselves.”
What some of you need to do today is to write down those sins that are causing you to doubt God’s forgiveness–then in red ink, write across that list “F O R G I V E N”, or “NAILED to the CROSS”–reckon yourself dead.
Again, why did God do this? At the end of verse 7 and beginning of 8 it says, “according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished upon us.” This should knock you off your feet, because Paul intentionally didn’t say OUT OF the riches of His grace, as if God gave you a part of His grace, but ACCORDING to the WEALTH of ALL His grace. He redeemed and forgave you literally according to the extreme abundant exceeding excess of His grace TO US. God didn’t DRIP just the right amount of grace on you with His eye dropper from heaven. This verse says He turned on the fire hose and let you have ALL His grace. So redemption and forgiveness by grace . . .
Third Christ blesses us with wisdom and insight
Read the middle of verse 8, “In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him”. This complex section is shouting a profound and simple truth. In saving you, God not only restored your sight from blindness to 20/20, but as His child, He has also given you new glasses to see clearly.
Wisdom emphasizes the ability to understand ultimate things such as life and death, God and man, eternity and time–wisdom to understand the things of God–you can see. Christians are the only ones with this access. Insight emphasizes practical comprehension of the needs, problems, and principles of everyday living. How to practically live right–you have new glasses to see clearly.
God not only forgives us, but he also gives us all the necessary equipment to understand Him and to walk in the world in a way that is pleasing to Him. He generously gives us the wherewithal to understand His Word and to know how to obey it. Remember James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
You builders know how important plans are to building. Imagine being hired to build a home but you were not given any plans or specs. Then worse, you couldn’t see the plans or they were constantly fuzzy in your sight. Our God has blessed us with eyes to see clearly what His Word tells us to do in order to live a life of blessing and glory to God so ultimately all things will glorify Christ–you have it all. But there’s more . . .
Fourth Christ blesses us with inheritance
Read verse 11, “Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” We have an inheritance, we are IN THE WILL, we have a hope, we have a future where Christ rules over all and we are with Him. We’re on the winning team, we will take the championship, the trophy is ours and all the blessings promised will be fulfilled.
I know you’re cynical–we live in a world of broken promises. Politicians—“I did not have sex with that woman!” Advertisers—“There’s more for your life at Sears.” Captain of the Titanic—“God Himself couldn’t sink this ship.” Even your spouse, your parents, your children, your friends break promises–we live in a world of broken promises, many made with the best of intentions, but for whatever reason they’re broken.
God is very different–Hebrews 10:23 says, “He who promised is faithful.” As if salvation were not enough, God promises an inheritance, a possession passed on by virtue of our adoption. And Paul is hitting us with a strong point in the Greek. He says, “we have obtained [passive voice] an inheritance”–when something in the future was so certain it could not possibly fail to happen, the Greeks would often speak of it as if it had already occurred.
And what is our inheritance? GOD HIMSELF–Psalm 16:5 says, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance.” We inherit God, the greatest, most beautiful, most desired being in existence and all that comes with Him–eternal life, eternal love, eternal peace, eternal happiness, blessings beyond description. Like 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (And God keeps His promises.)
Remember, for the non-Christian, unsaved and unforgiven—this life is the only heaven they will know. For God’s called, saved, redeemed, adopted, forgiven children—this life is the only hell we will know. So when things go badly, when you struggle in this life, remember you have an inheritance that is guaranteed. How do we know it’s secure? Through . . .
#3 The Blessings from God the Spirit: Sovereign Security
Look at verses 13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” At the moment of your salvation you were sealed–not with Tupperware or plastic wrap, but with the Holy Spirit.
A seal was an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract or possession–even a tomb. The seal was usually made from hot wax, which was placed on the document and then impressed with a signet ring. It signified ownership and authority–if you mess with this which is sealed, then you have to answer to the author of the seal.
Stop being afraid, Christian–you are sealed by the Holy Spirit, which means to mess with you is to mess with God. Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? No one messes with God–He purchased you, He owns you . . .you can’t be touched.
When Matt was born, he had a small band on his leg that said he was a Mueller. It showed he belonged to Jean and me, and not to other parents. It meant he was going home with us. He was sealed.
Verse 14 adds that the Holy Spirit is given as a pledge of our inheritance. The pledge was a down payment which guaranteed more to come. A form of the word was used for an engagement ring. Typically, a woman can look at an engagement ring and know with confidence a day is coming when she will be married. What is the pledge for? Verse 14 says, “the redemption of God’s own possession.” The redemption here is different from the redemption in verse 7. This redemption is the believers’ ultimate, final release from the presence of sin.
Like Romans 8:23, “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Positionally we have been fully and finally redeemed. Practically we are still looking forward to the redemption from our fallenness and tendency to sin–a new perfect body.
We are God’s, yet we still look forward to the time when He fully and finally takes us as His own for all eternity. The Holy Spirit blesses us by being our pledge, our promise, that this entire run-on sentence, all these blessings are as good as given–it’s a certainty, it will happen, even though it’s still yet future. And what is it all for? The final phrase of verse 14 says, “to the praise of His glory.” We are blessed not for our own glory, but for God’s glory–to show Him off, to enjoy Him, to put His grace and heart to give on display, to show the world what He is like. It’s not about you, it’s all about Him.
Let’s pray, and as you do, with your heads down and eyes closed, allow me to challenge you with some final thoughts.
#1 Unbeliever, turn to Christ
Six times in these verses it says IN HIM, three times it says IN CHRIST. The only way these blessings will ever be yours is to be IN CHRIST. Verse 13 says this—“after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation”–having also believed.
You have just heard the message of truth, the good news of salvation, that God is the one who saves sinners. You can’t save yourself. You can’t be good enough, you can’t be religious enough. Even if you attend this church every week, give 10%, sing songs–that will not save you nor allow you to enter heaven. You have to believe in Christ, where you no longer trust yourself and no longer live for you. You have to depend on Christ who died on the cross, took your punishment, rose from the dead and lives today. You have to turn from your sin, your way, your ideas, and follow God’s Word, the Bible only. You will never be free, never know love, never have peace until you turn to Christ.
Do it today, turn to Him today, don’t delay. If He is working in your heart, you will. And if it is genuine, you will tell someone about it, you will want to come to church to be with God’s children, you will want to serve Him and share Him and show Him off.
#2 Christian, stop being afraid
You are secure. You are sealed. Your life may be a roller coaster, but in Christ you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You have eternity with God, an amazing inheritance, and such incredible blessings it must change the way you look at life. When you believe what we just studied, you will begin to live this truth that any day we are not in hell is a pretty good day.
How can we not be thankful? We are not in the land of the living on the way to the land of the dying, we are in the land of the dying on the way to the land of the living. Christian, this life is our only hell and compared to forever, this life is a very short time. Don’t be afraid, don’t forget what God has done for you–to do so is to say to God, “I don’t trust you to keep your Word.” To be afraid is to make Him look bad and not bring Him glory. Jesus is bringing about the conclusion of all things resulting in every knee bowing before Him as He rules this earth–you are on the winning side, don’t be afraid.
#3 Christian, start living who you are
You are so blessed, you have it all–you have everything you need. Don’t ask for more love, or joy or peace–you have all those things already. Just depend and obey. Say, “Lord, let me show them your love that you have shed abroad in my heart. Thank you for the peace I have in you.
Don’t obey in order to try to earn God’s favor anymore–remember you already have God’s favor and it is so vast, so gracious and so good, you will want to obey. God saved you to make you like His Son, so be like Him. Be a lavish servant who overdoes it. Be a generous giver, be a full-hearted, full-voiced worshiper—show Him off by living who you are.
#4 Christian, be amazed
To me, salvation was enough, but not to our great Triune God–He decided to bless us with every spiritual blessing. There are no commands in these verses, but the entire letter is built upon this single run-on sentence that should cause us to say, “WOW!” Be amazed that He would do all this at the cost of His violent death. Be amazed at His grace which He lavishes upon you.