Blessings of the Believer
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
The book of Ephesians was written by Paul from a Roman prison around AD 61-63. He was imprisoned three times for preaching the Gospel. Paul briefly visited Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-21), and spent three years in the city during his third missionary journey (Acts 20:31). This book is a letter written to the Ephesian believers and the churches in the area of Ephesus.
Ephesians 1:1-2: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul was an apostle (sent one) of Jesus Christ. He was chosen by God to serve Him. The term “saints” simply means holy ones or those set apart by God. This is a term used of all true believers to describe their position in Christ.
How are we blessed as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ?
1. God chose us. Ephesians 1:4: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
God chose each believer to be the recipient of His grace before the first star was hung in space or before the first land mass was formed. He chose us to be separated unto Himself to live holy lives without blame. Lives that are set apart and unblemished from the effects of sin.
2. God adopted us. Ephesians 1:5-6: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Many adopted children struggle with their personal identity and situation because of the actions of their birth parents and adopted parents. While speaking to a particularly distraught teenager in this situation, I reminded him, “Your parents chose you. My parents got stuck with me.” The teen responded cheerfully, “I never thought of it that way.” I walked away thinking, “My poor parents, if they had only known what they were getting into.”
Being adopted into God’s family gives us a special position. Adoption means sonship (legally made a son) with all of the rights and privileges of an adult heir. This is the good pleasure of God’s will - what is good or beneficial.
3. God redeemed us. Ephesians 1:7-8: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”
Hosea, the prophet, married a woman named Gomer. She was very immoral and represented how the nation of Israel acted towards God. She often cheated on her husband and broke his heart. Her third child, Lo-ammi (means not my people), is believed to be fathered by someone other than Hosea. Hosea pleaded with his wife in the same fashion that God pleaded with His people to be faithful to Him alone. Eventually Gomer’s addictions destroyed her marriage. She ran off with different lovers until her money and beauty began to fade, and she amassed a sizable debt that she could not pay. At that time if people could not pay their debts, their possessions were taken and they were sold into slavery. When Gomer was sold at the slave auction, her estranged husband, Hosea, came to purchase her back and to restore her as his wife.
The word “redemption” means to purchase from the slave market. God purchased us out of the slave market of sin. He is buying back His own possession (Ephesians 1:14). We are forgiven and given a complete pardon. God deals with us as sons, not as enemies.
4. God placed us in the church. Ephesians 1:9-10: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”
“Mystery” indicates something that was formerly unknown. Now Gentiles could be saved and become a part of Christ’s body, the church. We are chosen adopted, and redeemed.