Ephesians 1:3
Full minds overflow in long sentences. The sentence which begins with the third verse runs on continuously to the fourteenth, marked all the way by many rich and happy turns of expression. The apostle pours forth his thoughts with a splendid exuberance, which dazzles common readers, but is kindling to congenial minds. The whole passage is "a magnificent anthem," in which the ideas "suggest each other by a law of powerful association." It takes up the spirit of the psalmist, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy Name" (Psalm 103.).

I. THE BLESSINGS ARE TRACED UP TO THE FATHER AS THEIR SOURCE. It is he who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. It is a mistake to represent the Father as a harsh creditor, who has no point of contact with his debtor except at the moment when the bond is being discharged; or to represent the Son as the tender and compassionate Redeemer, who prevails with his Father to grant a salvation he is unwilling to bestow. The true source of salvation is in the Father's heart, and the mission of the Son was to execute the loving will of the Father who is in heaven. The atonement was the effect, not the cause, of Divine love. Jesus did not die on the cross that God might be induced to love us, but because he did love us. The cross could not originate Divine love, which is an eternal perfection of the Divine nature, seeking an object on which to exhaust its riches. But the cross was the mode in which, for reasons known to himself and partially discernible to us, it was expedient and necessary that his love should be expressed. But then the same God who exacted the atonement has also provided it; and therefore we may glorify the love of the Father; for "herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins."

II. BUT IF THE FOUNTAIN OF ALL OUR BLESSINGS IS IN THE FATHER'S HEART, THEY FLOW DOWNWARD TO US IN THE CHANNEL OF CHRIST'S MEDIATION. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our covenant God. God, being his Father, becomes our Father; for "we are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). The blessings flow first from the Father to Christ, and then from Christ to us. Jesus said to Mary, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God" (John 20:17); not, says Augustine, "I ascend to our Father and our God," but first mine, then yours, as if to indicate the distinction between his own essential sonship and their derivative sonship by adoption. But it is a distinguished part of the Christian's privilege that not only "he is Christ's," but "Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:23), according to the prayer of Jesus himself, "All mine are thine, and thine are mine;" for it was an idea near to the apostle's heart that Christ and the Church are one - one Head and one body - and that Christ in the Church and the Church in Christ are God's possession. Therefore we can understand the grandeur of the conception that all God's blessings descend to us in Jesus Christ.

III. THEY ARE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS. There is no allusion to earthly blessings - riches, honors, beauty, pleasures - as if New Testament believers had ascended to a higher platform than that held by Old Testament saints. God "has provided some better thing for us." The spiritual blessings include all that is involved in the Father's electing love, the Son's satisfaction for sin, and the Holy Spirit's application of redemption. We thus see the relation of believers to the three Persons of the blessed Trinity. It is "all spiritual blessings," but they are so linked together in the Divine order that if you have one you have all: "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Christ's ministry began with words of blessing, in the eight beatitudes of his first sermon; his gospel brings with it fullness of blessing (Romans 15:29); and the final glorification of the saints is accentuated in the glorious words of the Judge, "Come, ye blessed of my Father."

IV. THESE BLESSINGS CONNECT US WITH HEAVES. They are spiritual blessings in heavenly places. The reason is that Jesus Christ, as our Forerunner, has gone within the veil, with the anchor of our hope in his hands, to fasten it upon the "two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie" - the promise and the oath of God, so that we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us (Hebrews 6:18-20). His forerunnership is identified with his representative position as the Head of all true believers; and his presence in heaven is not only a sublime guarantee of spiritual blessings accruing to us while on earth, but a pledge that "where he is we shall be also." Thus we can understand why our hope should be laid up "in heaven" with its "many mansions" (Colossians 1:5); why our hearts ought to be there in supreme aspiration (Colossians 3:2); why our citizenship should be on high (Philippians 3:20); and why we should identify the scene of our future blessedness with all that is spiritually aspiring on earth.

V. THE RECIPIENTS OF THESE BLESSINGS, "Us" emphatically - Jewish and Gentile believers, with special reference to those who loved Christ, and maintained their integrity in the great focus or center of Grecian vice and Eastern fanaticism, to which the Epistle was addressed. There is no depth of iniquity to which God's mercy and grace cannot descend. - T.C.







Blessed he the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
Observe well, that the same word is used in reference to our wish towards God and God's act towards us: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us." It is a very striking thing that our poor pebble stones of wishes should be valued so much that the same word should be used in reference to them as in reference to the priceless diamonds of grace which the Lord hath bestowed upon us. We bless God because He blesses us. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits." Now, it is easy to understand how the Father of mercies, from whom every good and perfect gift proceeds, really blesses us; but how can we be said to bless Him? — and what is the distinction between that and praising Him? For there is such a distinction, since we read, "All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord, and Thy saints shall bless Thee." Praise rises even from lifeless objects, as they display the power and wisdom of their Creator; but intelligence, will, and intent are needful for blessing God. Praise is the manifestation of our inward reverence and esteem: it adores and magnifies; but in blessing God we think well of Him, and wish well to Him, and desire that others may do the same. In blessing God there is the desire to do good to God even as He doth to us, if it were possible for us to do so. We fail in the power wherewith to accomplish such a desire, but it is well that it is in our hearts. When we wish other men to love and serve the Lord, and do Him homage, we are blessing Him. When we desire to love Him more ourselves, and feel our hearts burn with aspirations after fellowship with Him, we are blessing Him. When we are zealous to make known the truth of the gospel which glorifies God, and to make known His Son in whom especially He is revealed, we are blessing God.

I. Here we have, first of all, GOD THE FATHER VIEWED ARIGHT. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

1. When the Divine Father is viewed aright He becomes the object of our gratitude, not of our dread. Instead of trembling before Him as before an austere judge, we rejoice in Him as a tender Father.

2. Next, if we would view the Father aright we must regard Him as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful title. It is blessed to view God as the God of Abraham, but how much more as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus, after His resurrection, called Him "My Father, and your Father: My God, and your God."

3. The text title is "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," which may respect the double filiation of Christ. First, as to His Godhead: there is that mysterious sonship which we cannot understand, but which is nevertheless clearly revealed. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as Jesus is God. And then there is that second sonship which belongs to Christ as man, in which again He is said to be the Son of God. "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." The Father thrice said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Even as Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh because of his love to Joseph. even so the great Father lays His mighty hand in benediction upon all His chosen, and blesses the very least believer as He blesses His Son Jesus.

II. We come, secondly, to notice THE BLESSING WHICH COMES FROM THE FATHER AS VIEWED BY FAITH. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."

1. The blessing of God even the Father has fallen from all eternity upon all who are in Christ, and that in the most copious manner, for the one blessing includes "all spiritual blessings." This is a very pleasant thing to me, because there can be no blessing like that of God. "I wet," said one of old, "whom He blesseth is blessed." Satan may curse you; you may already be suffering the curse of the Fall; but, if God blesses you, what of all this? The blessing of God maketh rich, safe, happy.

2. I would call your attention very particularly to the fact that it is here stated that God has already given the blessing. Strictly speaking, I suppose it should be read, "God blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus"; and He continues still to do the same. Like as when the Lord blessed Abraham He gave him the land of Canaan, so has He given to you all covenant blessings.

3. These blessings are ours personally, for He hath blessed us. It is not upon the clouds that the blessing falls, but upon individuals. "He loved me, and gave Himself for me." The Lord hath said to His people, "Ye are the blessed of the Lord and your offspring with you." Personal appropriation is the main thing that we need; all else lies ready to our hand.

4. Furthermore, note well that our heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Spiritual blessings are heavenly things; they come from heaven, they lead to heaven, they are of a heavenly nature, and are such as are enjoyed in heaven itself. It is a wonderful thing that, even here on earth, the saints enjoy and experience heavenly blessings; for a new nature is a heavenly thing, and love, and joy in God, and rest, and safety, and acceptance in the Beloved are all heavenly things. When God made the covenant with Abraham which gave to him the land of Canaan, Abraham had not yet a foot of land that he could call his own, and when he died he only possessed a cave for burial; but yet, in truth, according to the decrees of heaven, the land of Canaan belonged to Abraham and his seed; forbad not the Lord said, "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates"? They had the title deeds of it, though for a while the Canaanites held it as tenants upon lease. Now, all the spiritual blessings which belong to the heavenly estate at this moment are the property of the heirs of heaven, and God hath said to each one el them, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. A good heart must be ready, on consideration of God's benefits, to break forth into praise. St. Paul cannot speak or think of them, but his heart and mouth glorify God.

2. Every Christian heart is to magnify God, in that He has been the God of Christ our Lord.

3. The sense and knowledge of God blessing us is that which makes Him bless us again.

4. God blesses all His children, and bestows on them many gifts.

5. The faithful ones and sanctified are they who are blessed of the Father.

6. Spiritual blessings make the regenerate man thankful.

7. All our blessings are given us in the heavens.

(1)There they are first framed.

(2)From thence they come to us.

(3)There the consummation of them is reserved.

(4)How secure, then, they are.

(5)This should stir up our hearts heavenward.

(6)A great ground of patience.

8. God deals liberally with His children, giving them all kinds of spiritual blessings.

(1)Good things conferred;

(2)evil things warded off;

(3)election, predestination, etc.

9. We come to be blessed in and through Christ our Lord.

(1)To Christ, then, we must give praise for all we have received.

(2)We must strive to attain closer communion with Christ.

(Paul Bayne.)

I. The apostle begins with BLESSING; three times in the one verse does he use the same word: God is the blessed one who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. Our condition as fallen creatures is cursed; the vengeance of a violated law is suspended over us; and the original malady, spreading like a poison through all the members of our race, and through all the fountains of our being, hath laid us under the law of the curse; so that death must feed upon us, and sin and Satan have triumphed over us, because we are cursed. He that created alone can deliver. The blessing of the Creator was pronounced over us at the beginning (Genesis 1:28), and the stability of the new creation stands only in the blessing of God (1 Peter 1:5). How beautiful and natural is this word of the apostle: "Blessed be the God who has blessed us"! He is the ocean source from which all blessings flow, and the ocean home to which all holy and blessed creatures must return with their songs of gratitude and praise. He is the Blessed God, because He is the universal Blesser.

II. THE NAME OF GOD is here contrasted with the Old Testament name, which is "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"; but in this name there is no paternity. He is their God, and they are His people; their Creator, King, and Preserver, whom they are bound to worship and obey. But His name in relation to the Gentile Church is "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

III. BUT WHAT ARE THOSE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS WITH WHICH HE HAS BLESSED US? These are the gifts and graces, and manifold operations of the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:11; Romans 15:29; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 3:8, 9; Acts 3:16); they are in Christ as their centre, and descend to us from the heavenly regions or abodes. All our glories are concentrated there.

(W. Graham, D. D.)

You will observe that the word "places" is printed in italics. It has no existence in the original, and, as the margin suggests, we may read either "heavenly places" or "heavenly things"; and "heavenly things" seems to be, upon the whole, the better rendering here. And the word "heavenly" probably has reference more to character than to locality. He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things; that it to say, spiritual heavenly blessings, as contrasted with the earthly and temporal blessings. He hath blessed us with all these spiritual heavenly blessings — with all of them. Now, friends, there are some earthly temporal blessings with which God does not bless. Do not let us grumble, or be unthankful at all; but I suppose that every man feels that there is something in his temporal lot that gives him dissatisfaction. He knows that God has some good gift in this world that He has not bestowed upon him. He would like a little more bodily health and strength; he would like a little more money — everybody would, or nearly everybody I have met with, when he is honest; and this and that we should like to have. this and that that we do not possess, and more of this and that that we do possess. But no; God will not give us all the temporal and earthly blessings, and undoubtedly for very good reasons, for He knows, and every man of common sense also knows, that it would be the easiest thing in the world to spoil him utterly by giving him a very large amount of this world's good. So He does not bless us with all temporal blessings; but when it comes to the spiritual blessings there is no need of His dealing scantily and carefully here — no need of His withholding any one of them; and He does not withhold any one of them, but He has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings. There is not one of these that can do us any harm; there is not one of these but must do us good. And so God gives them all, and with a right royally liberal hand.

(H. S. Brown.)

There is a story of an American scholar of high character and strong mind who finally became eminent, that in early life he went with his bride to a remote and unattractive part of the country to enter on his profession, both of them leaving behind great social advantages, a brilliant group of friends, charming homes, beautiful scenery, and fine libraries. Both of them were homesick. One calamity after another fell upon them — ill-health, loss of eyesight, the death of a child, poverty. Some months of discouragement and depression had passed, and the courage, patience, and cheerfulness of the delicately bred and desolate young mother were nearly gone. One evening, after a peculiarly hard day, the husband called his wife into his darkened room, where he was lying with his eyes bandaged, and said to her, as she sat down by him dejected and complaining, "My dear, suppose we try together to make out a complete list of our mercies." They went about it; it lengthened a good deal beyond their expectations; and the result was what everybody sees it must have been. In that family, and in a somewhat wider circle, it has become a maxim repeated in trying times, "Let's count our blessings."

The disciple — the true believer — stands to Christ in the relation of at once a faithful subject and a younger brother. But God above is the God and Father of Jesus Christ. This relation is also indissoluble. He is God's Christ. He is the Father's Eternal Son. We are not called on to deal with God, in the first instance, as the absolute Jehovah, or to approach to Him in any case in our own right or name. But coming to Christ, as sinners yet in faith, and then through Him to God — our prayers, our praises, our whole service ascends to His Father and to ours, to His God and to ours. That this is not a mere idea, or one that has no practical significance, might be shown from the most familiar experiences in life. Do you not consider that the relatives of those who are related to you are from this very circumstance rendered accessible at all times, and more particularly when any emergency arises, and you need their help? Nay, suppose you could claim with the sovereign a connection of only a very distant sort, through some one intermediate between you width whom you are more nearly connected, and that you desired for some purpose to engage the sovereign's interest in your behalf, would not the fact of such a connection at once embolden you in your errand, and form a prevailing motive on the part of the sovereign to admit you into his presence, and grant your request? In like manner (to illustrate things Divine by things human), when you are animated with the spirit of praise or the spirit of prayer — when you either come with your offering to God or would secure from God the desire of your hearts — then the fact that He is the God and Father of your Lord Jesus Christ must both encourage you, and must move towards you the Divine regards, and render you acceptable. Your prayers, your praises, are accepted in the Beloved.

(W. Alves, M. A.)

The expression "with all spiritual blessings" would be better translated "with all spiritual blessing" — this word being in the singular in the original. The idea is a comprehensive one; it being evidently intended not merely to indicate a diversity or multiplicity of blessings which, as believers, we receive from God, but also to denote the totality of such blessings in a single word. It is "the blessing" of the covenant of grace in all its parts — salvation from its origin to its consummation, for which Paul here blesses God, in the name of each true believer. The various privileges, honours, and possessions, of a spiritual nature which God confers on us in Christ, all hang together — one is not without the rest — and all together make up one blessing. He who has received a part may be sure of the whole. There are two senses in which the term "spiritual" may be understood, as descriptive of the nature of the blessing. It may either be taken as referring to that department of our being which is undoubtedly chiefly affected by the blessings of salvation, namely, our spirit or soul; or it may be taken as referring to the source or origin of these blessings, namely, that Holy Spirit of God, who takes of the things that are Christ's, and bestows them on us. In the former of these senses the blessings of salvation would be extolled on the ground that they do not principally or mainly refer to the body and its necessities and wants, which are of a lower and more earthly character, but to the soul or spirit, which is the nobler pair of us, and whose wants and necessities are of a vastly higher order. This is indeed true. But the word spiritual generally describes that which is produced by the Spirit of God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." It leads our minds to that blessed Divine agent as the author of a gracious work in the soul of each redeemed sinner, when He comes and takes up His abode there, and produces all the peaceable fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God. In this view, which is the true meaning of the passage, we are not called on to make any distinction between our souls and bodies, as if the blessings of salvation affected the former only, and not at all the latter. The "blessing" is spiritual because it comes from, and is applied by, the Holy Spirit of God; and we are blessed just as we are, and in whatever may we live and move and have our being. We are brought body as well as soul under the blessing. We are justified, sanctified, glorified, soul, body, and spirit. The body participates in the redemption of Christ. It also will at last become a spiritual body — adapted to, and fitted for, the exercises of a perfected soul. Even now it is the temple of the Holy Ghost; and, as affected directly or indirectly by His indwelling presence, it is less or more a spiritual body. Everything is here included, whether it relate to that nobler and higher part — the soul, or to that gross and earthly tabernacle, that body — provided only it come from the Spirit of God, whose nature is holy, and whose work must also be holy.

(W. Alves, M. A.)

I. THE FIRST BLESSING IS DELIVERANCE FROM THE DEADLY CURSE WHICH SIN ENTAILS. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus." The sentence of eternal death is removed from every one who accepts Christ, in faith, as an atoning Saviour. Such an one is no longer under the law to be eternally punished, but under grace he is a forgiven man.

II. OF THIS LIFE CHRIST IS THE SINGLE SOURCE. Paul addresses the Church at Rome as "alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord." The Master said, "Because I live ye shall live also." At the very acme of his assurance the great apostle could say no more than "It is not I, but Christ that liveth in me." If the nurseryman inserts the graft of a golden pippin into an apple tree, that graft might say truly, It is not I that live, but the whole tree liveth in me; the trunk itself is pledged to send me sustaining sap. The reason why so many of our Church members are such poor, stunted, sapless creatures is that they are trying to keep alive out of Christ.

III. SO DIVINE A THING IS THIS LIFE OF HOLINESS IN ITS ORIGIN, THAT IT IS DESCRIBED AS A NEW CREATION. Man can construct out of materials at his hand; God alone can create out of nothing. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature." And this word "new" signifies also what is fresh, and unimpaired, and unworn, like a bright garment from its maker's hands.

IV. A FOURTH BLESSING IS "ACCEPTANCE IN THE BELOVED." If we are received into favour, it is solely for Christ's sake.

V. PEACE IS THE FIFTH BLESSING IN THIS CASKET OF JEWELS. The peace of God which passeth comprehension shall guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. Happiness beyond the reach of outside disturbance is assured to the believer, and harmony with God.

VI. THE NEXT BLESSING IS FULNESS OF SPIRITUAL SUPPLY. Paul writes to his Colossian brethren, "Ye are complete in Him. Dean Alford's reading is a happy one — Ye are filled full in Christ." This is the pleroma, the inexhaustible reservoir which no giving doth impoverish. Why need I hunger when in my Father's house and in my Saviour's heart are such wealth beyond a whole universe to drain?

VII. AFTER REVIEWING ALL THESE PRICELESS BLESSINGS, THE EXULTANT BELIEVER SHOUTS — "Thanks be unto God who always causeth us to triumph in Christ!" This is the believer's battle cry and paean of victory.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

There is a blessing from God in the health of our bodies and in the comforts of our homes, in the bounty of the seasons and the variety of our pleasures; but believers in Christ tenderly and adoringly acknowledge far other blessings than these. Our earthly blessings are but the shadows of blessings. Corruption and vanity attach to them all. They cannot abide with us. They comfort us, much as the gourd did Jonah: but there is a worm at the root of them all. They win upon our hearts, we are held by them, as in a delicious snare; but while we dream of delights and delights, the withering season has already commenced, and the hour hastens which will see us stript and broken hearted. Our Heavenly Father's blessings in Christ Jesus will never wither, nor leave us. Has Christ a "glorious body"? has He an incorruptible kingdom? will He reign in life and glory forever? His blessedness and ours are the same. "The glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given them" The kingdom of the Incarnation is a universality. It includes "all things."

(John Pulsford.)

The key word of this Epistle. Found nowhere else in Scripture. It stands in four different connections; and in all the four it denotes a place; an ideal locality; a sphere of action, experience, and discovery; a stage, a platform, or arena, on which different movements are going on, and different scenes of interest are enacted.

I. In the heavenlies you have A BLESSED HOME; a home in which you are greatly blessed, and bless Him who blesses you. The blessings are the Spirit's. And they are in Christ.

1. He has chosen you to be the objects of His eternal, sovereign, pure, and holy love.

2. He has predestinated or appointed you unto the adoption of children to Himself.

3. You are accepted in the Beloved.

4. You have redemption.

5. You become members of the great family of all the faithful in heaven and on earth.

6. You obtain an inheritance in Christ.

7. You have a present seal and earnest of the inheritance; a foretaste of future glory.

II. A SEAT OF LOFTY EMINENCE (See Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6).

1. God quickens you together with Christ.

2. He raises you up together.

3. As the result of His thus quickening you together with Christ, and raising you up together, God makes you sit together at His own right hand.

III. A THEATRE, OR PLACE OF EXHIBITION (See Ephesians 3:10). The holy inmates of heaven see, as it were, a dramatic movement, illustrating the manifold wisdom of God. What can this movement mean, but the history of the Church? Not its outer history of events merely, but its inmost history of spiritual experiences.

IV. A FIELD OF BATTLE (See Ephesians 6:12). Paradise was once "the heavenlies." The eyes of the pure angels were riveted on that spot. With interest wound up to the highest pitch, they watched the experiment of the garden. But alas! the eyes of fallen angels also were attracted thither. Satan sought and found an entrance into the heavenlies; disguised probably as an angel of light. He came; and paradise was gone. The heavenlies, however, were again set up on the earth. This world was still to have in it what might furnish a platform, on which a refuge might be provided for the weary, needing to be blessed; on which a tower might be reared, rising and raising them to the very throne of God. Holy angels look on and sympathise, and rejoice to see the manifold wisdom of God. But the heavenlies now are not, any more than the heavenlies before the Fall, secure from the invasion of the spoiler and the foe.APPLICATION:

1. Consider what is your position in the heavenlies in respect of privilege and duty. A very high and a very holy life. Alongside of the risen Christ — seeing things from His point of view, judging by His standard, your heart as His heart. Your home with Him in God.

2. Consider your position with reference to the other spiritual intelligences who take an interest in you and in your experience. On the one hand, is it not an animating and spirit stirring thought that you live your spiritual life as forming part of that great Divine drama by means of which, through the Church, the holy principalities and powers have male known to them in the heavenlies the manifold wisdom of God? Nor is the effect of this high thought diminished by the fact that over against these benevolent and sympathising onlookers from above, coming up from below, frown the pit, a dark host is mustered by the prince of darkness; crowding all earthly scenes and circles, and invading even the heavenly places themselves. Be not unduly afraid of them. But be not ignorant of their devices. Especially remember always their double character.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but, let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and it would at once draw to itself the most invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no underlying blessings; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day; and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find in every hour some spiritual blessings hitherto unrecognized; only the iron in God's sand is gold.

(Holmes.)

How little of the sea can a child carry in his hand! As little do I take away of my great sea, the boundless love of Christ. I am pained with wondering at new opened treasures in Christ. Our best things have a worm in them; our joys, besides God, in the inner half are but woes and sorrows. Christ, Christ is that which our love and desires can sleep sweetly and rest safely upon. Christ hath made me content with a borrowed fireside, and it casteth as much heat as my own. How sweet is the wind that bloweth out of the airth where Christ is. Every day we may see some new thing in Christ: His love hath neither brim nor bottom. Oh that I had help to praise Him.

(Rutherford.)

Going to church is like going shopping: you generally get what you go for: no more, no less. A woman will go into a store with a hundred thousand dollars worth of goods all around her, buy a paper of pins, and walk out; that is all she came for. I have seen the storehouse of God's grace packed from cellar to ceiling, and I have seen men go in and gather up an expression of the preacher and go home. Let us take a broader view of these things.

(S. Jones.)

I. THE ORIGIN of the great system, and all the blessings of the economy of redemption.

1. It is the office of the Father to devise the plan.

2. It is His prerogative to provide the means.

3. It is His province to select the objects of deliverance.

4. It belongs to Him to determine the benefits to be conferred, their nature and extent, and the degree in which every one, who is a saved object of the Redeemer's work; shall enjoy the blessing of that work.

5. It is the part of the Father to receive the highest and ultimate glory of the plan.

II. THE DESIGN of this part of the heavenly economy.

1. To impress on us the entirely heavenly origin of the whole system of Christianity.

2. He impress on us the fact, that the blessings of this great redemption cannot be enjoyed as the reward of human merit.

3. To show us that this scheme cannot be frustrated by human opposition or indifference.

(W. Orme.)

The union of believers and Christ is —

I. IDEAL. The Divine mind in eternity made the destiny one.

II. LEGAL. Their debts and merits are common property.

III. VITAL. The connection with Christ supplies the power of a holy life.

IV. MORAL. In mind and heart, character and conduct, Christians are like Christ.

(James Stalker, M. A.)

When Paul wrote this Epistle, five and twenty or thirty years had passed by since Christ appeared to him near Damascus. They had been very wonderful years. None of them had been wasted. It is evident from his Epistles that his religious thought was constantly extending its control from one region of truth to another, as well as constantly securing a firmer hold of the truth which he had already mastered; and with the growth of his religious knowledge there was a corresponding growth of his religious life.

1. He attributes to Christ the whole development of his spiritual life. The larger knowledge of God and of the ways of God, which came to him from year to year, had come from Christ; and he felt sure that whatever fresh discoveries of God might come to him would also come from Christ. Faith, hope, joy, peace, patience, courage, zeal, love for God, love for men — he had found them all in Christ.

2. He defines the blessings with which God has blessed us in Christ as "spiritual" blessings. He does not intend simply to distinguish them from material, physical, or intellectual blessings; he means to attribute them to the Spirit of God. Those who are "in Christ" receive the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Whatever perfection of righteousness, whatever depth of peace, whatever intensity of joy, whatever fulness of Divine knowledge reveal the power of the Spirit of God in the spiritual life of man, "every spiritual blessing" has been made ours in Christ.

3. These blessings have been conferred upon us "in heavenly places" in Christ. To the apostle the visible order of human life was merely temporary, and was soon to pass away. Cities, empires, the solid earth itself, sun and stars, had for him no enduring reality. But the blessings which God has conferred upon us in Christ have their place among unseen and eternal things.

4. These blessings were ordained for the elect before the creation of the universe. The elect are those who are "in Christ"; being in Him they enter into the possession of those eternal blessings which before the foundation of the world it was God's purpose to confer upon all Christians.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

Blessings given in, and obtained by Christ, for all true believers. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God," etc. (Ephesians 1:1, 12, 13, 15).

I.The Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 14; John 16:7-11).

II.Remission of their sins (Ephesians 1:7).

III.Reconciliation with God (Romans 5:10).

IV.Access to God (Ephesians 2:18; 1 Peter 3:18).

V.Adoption of sons (Ephesians 1:5; John 1:12).

VI.The ministers and ordinances of the gospel (Ephesians 4:7-12; 1 Corinthians 3:1).

VII.Supplies of grace (Philippians 4:19).

VIII.The conversion of curses into blessings (Romans 5:3; 1 Peter 1:6, 7; 2 Corinthians 4:1).

IX.Victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:1). X. Heaven (Romans 6).

(H. Foster, M. A.)

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