What Spiritual Blessings Belong to God’s People in Christ? (Part 3)
This is the third part of a five-part blog series from Matthew Mitchell.
Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians (after he greets them, of course) with these words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1:3).
God’s blessings are not primarily material but spiritual, Paul says, and he tells the Ephesians (and all followers of Christ) that in Christ they have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. But what are those blessings? Paul describes at least five in Ephesians 1:3-14.
Blessing #3: Redemption and Forgiveness
Paul says in Ephesians 1:7 that “in him [in Christ] we have redemption through his blood.” Redemption refers to release from captivity. Because we have violated the commands of God—because we have defied the King of the universe—we are treasonous criminals awaiting execution. Our guilty sentence hangs over our head like an ominous rain cloud just waiting to open up and pour out God’s justice over our head. But Christ frees us from this guilt by purchasing our freedom.
The Son of God purchased our freedom by taking on flesh and then opening his veins and pouring out his blood as payment for all of our crimes. Notice that this payment is for our crimes, and not his own. That is because the Son of God obeyed his Father’s commands perfectly and fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law on our behalf. So his death is in our place. This is often called substitutionary atonement. Christ atoned for the sins of his people (that is, he covered over them with a sacrifice) by offering his life in place of theirs. The Lamb of God was slaughtered instead of his people. He was their substitute.
And because he stood in our place and was condemned to die on our behalf, we are now forgiven of every sin we ever have or ever will commit. Paul says that the “redemption through his blood” secures “the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph. 1:7). God did this because he delights in showing mercy to the undeserving. He did it, Paul says, “according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:8).
God lavishes grace upon us! We will never get to the end of his love for us. Praise God who has loved us with such a great love!