[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]”In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all thinks according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
Some people have taken this verse and abused it to teach a fatalism not found in the Bible. In fact, such an idea that God specifically saves only people He chooses seemingly at random strikes at the very heart of Christianity, which is based on the decision to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But I’ll not belabor that mistaken notion. Instead, let’s focus on the actual meaning of this verse.
Staying in the context of verse 12, we see a word indicating purpose. This reveals the purpose of the “predestination” that is shown. The indicator word is “that”.
There is a reason we have received an inheritance–a reason that we were “predestined” to these good things. The reason is so that “we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” (I realize that he means “we” as in the Apostles, but I have overwhelming confidence that every Christian receives the same spiritual blessings as these great men once did.)
What many see as a verse certifying their unique relationship with God, (showing how special they are that God would choose them and not others), is actually a verse all about Jesus and how special HE is.
Our exaltation is for His glory.
But what IS this exaltation and inheritance? The easy answer is to say, “Heaven”. Certainly that is true! But Paul did not say that we WILL obtain an inheritance. He said that we HAVE obtained it. Undoubtedly, this inheritance refers to the spiritual blessings mentioned in verse 3. We have received “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
We enjoy many blessings as Christians: prayer, forgiveness, atonement, unity, acceptance, and even our relationships with other Christians. That list is not meant to reveal everything we are blessed to have, but even if we were only allowed ONE of those, it would be a great blessing!
What else would you add to the list of spiritual qualities that we are free to enjoy as Christians? Perhaps this is the place to insert the fruit of the Spirit: love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Do we consider these blessings?
I don’t necessarily think of these as blessings. I especially don’t consider patience a blessing. That word implies pain of some kind, but even that can be seen as something we enjoy. We can know, for example, that as we endure and improve our patience with others and with situations, we will become stronger and happier people.
And besides, why is it that we sometimes assume that “blessing” means something that is purely for our pleasure? It is obviously NOT for our pleasure, according to Ephesians 1:12. Our blessings are for “the praise of His glory”. My spiritual blessings are designed to reveal the glory of God.Your spiritual blessings are designed to reveal the glory of God. Click To Tweet
When we begin to think of “blessings” in that framework, our Christianity will become less about us and more about how to exhibit these characteristics so that they fulfill their purpose. As a result, we will continue to be pleased and satisfied.
This mindset reveals truths about the spiritual realm and our role in it. Our blessings are responsibilities we carry. Our role is to show the magnificent wisdom of God by demonstrating this “new” life God created when He first made a Christian–the life that we continue to enjoy today.
After understanding this, the next logical question demands to be heard. That question is, “How do I live so that I express to the world what living in the spiritual realm looks like?”
The answers will be coming in future chapters of Paul’s great letter. Before we tackle those: What would you add to the list of spiritual blessings we enjoy? Comment below![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]