Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (verses 3-8)
In the original Greek text written by Paul, these verses are all part of one long, glorious, ongoing, run-on sentence which stretches all the way from verse three to fourteen before it is finally punctuated with a period. Paul piles phrase upon phrase, glory upon glory, to sketch out the surpassing greatness of our God, together with the lavish blessings he has poured out upon us.
Here are some of those blessings:
· “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” Talk about superlative. Talk about all-inclusive. Nothing is left out, “every” covering the whole territory fully. And when the territory is heaven itself, we know that the blessing is rich indeed.
· “he chose us” I’m taken back to the “first captain, second pick” days of my childhood in PE class, where I often got picked last. Rejection ached. But there’s none of that here. Indeed we’ve been in his sights, specially chosen, right off the top, before anything else in all creation came into being. Chosen indeed.
· “to be holy and blameless before him” What hope could I ever have, even for a fleeting moment, of being holy and blameless in the all-seeing perspective of Almighty God, from whom nothing is hidden? But he has chosen to bestow this on me as gift in Christ. What blessing.
· “adopted as his sons (and daughters!)” To be welcomed into his home would be unexpected enough, but to be actually adopted into his family is stunning. This is huge privilege, but even more basic is the profound reality of belonging. Thank you, Father.
· “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” Redemption means the price is paid, we’ve been bought back out of slavery, the debt is forever cleared. All our sin is forgiven, the slate wiped clean – we’re as white as snow. All through the sacrificial death of Jesus. Thank you, my Saviour.
· “the riches of God’s grace lavished on us” “Lavished” is an excessive word, brimming with warm generosity, nothing held back, yielding no cause for further want – everything is covered. Such is God’s grace. Unmerited in the first place, it is given with no holds barred, unsparingly. Amazing grace.
This is just a brief survey across the surface. There are a lifetime’s depths to be plumbed.
No wonder Paul starts this long sentence the way he does! We can’t help but join him in the exaltation:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Amen.
Reflect: Take one of the phrases above and take time to soak in it. Squeeze out its meaning. Give thanks.