In Lesson 2 last week, we dug a little deeper into Ephesians 1. We observed and marked every mention of the words: love, grace, and the Holy Spirit as well as the phrases: in heavenly places, according to, and those phrases that dealt with being in Christ. One of the first phrases referring to being in Christ is found in Ephesians 1:3. In this verse, Paul wrote;
“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.” Ephesians 1:3
In Christ, believers have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Can you imagine? What are some of the blessings believers receive? Paul reminded them of several found in Ephesians 1:3-14.
First, believers are chosen by God in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him. (Ephesians 1:4) Second, believers are predestined in love to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ according to God’s kind intention which He purposed to the praise of the glory of His grace. (Ephesians 1:5-6) Third, believers have redemption in Christ through His blood as well as forgiveness according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:7,8) Lastly, believers have an inheritance as those adopted by God according to His purpose. (Ephesians 1:11)
What an amazing list of blessings given by God to His children! We also discovered from marking the Holy Spirit this past week that believers are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit which has been given as a pledge of a believer’s inheritance. Peter wrote about this inheritance.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:3-5
Paul was sent by God to bring this message of salvation to the Gentiles. These Gentile believers, the recipients of this letter, initially heard the gospel of salvation when Paul first visited them. We read this encounter in Acts 19 in the Week 1 lesson. The blessings of salvation are for all believers in Christ. In fact, we also learned in the reading that all things related to salvation are summed up in Christ. (Ephesians 1:10)
The video lecture on Lesson 3 was given by Pete DeLacy. His focal passage was Ephesians 1:15-19. Mr. DeLacy instructed that Paul’s Gentile audience would’ve been raised on Greek philosophy. They would’ve studied men like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle who valued and loved wisdom. Paul prays on behalf of these Gentiles so schooled in the Greek mindset that they will know God. He wants them to know who they are in Christ. Mr. DeLacy also posed the question to the viewer, “Who are you in Christ?” as well as this question, “How do we obtain the wisdom to know God?.” Mr. DeLacy continued by stating that the knowledge of God can only be revealed through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus. He also shared that the English word hope used in these passages is the Greek word elpis. Mr. DeLacy stated that we often use hope when we mean wish or an uncertainty but those renderings are not Paul’s intent in scripture. Paul chose a word that means a confident expectation in something good. He continued by speaking about fear in connection with hope and the power of God. Mr. DeLacy concluded by encouraging the viewers to examine who they are in Christ, to consider their future, and in view of God’s grace to be confident in the hope given to them.
Please begin Week 3 in the study.