“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise!” Sometimes I wonder if the writer of this hymn had Ephesians 1 in mind. If you were to read it in its entirety, you couldn’t help but share the sentiment that it calls for songs of loudest praise! Take a moment to read verses 3-6 of this chapter and have your heart tuned to sing His grace. It is there that Paul begins, in verse 3, by praising God. He uses the word “blessed” to attribute praise to God for what the Father did for the believers of the Ephesian church and for us. Seek to bless God the Father, with Paul, for three actions He took on our behalf:
Our Father Blessed Us In Christ
Have you ever considered how much you have been blessed by God, causing you to bless him? That is the play on words we see in verse 3. Yet the second use of the word “blessed” shifts from an adjective of praise to a past tense verb that means to “act kindly toward.” Literally, God, in the past, has acted kindly toward us in Jesus. It says our Father has, in kindness, multiplied spiritual blessings to us. But what are these spiritual blessings? They are anything of spiritual nourishment and value you can think of! In Jesus, you have redemption from a rebellious heart, the Spirit’s gifts and leading, the Scriptures to light your path, a church family to cheer you on the long and winding path of sanctification, hope for an eternity with that family, and the promise of a future in the presence our Trinitarian God.
Surely these spiritual blessings in Christ speak to our deep struggles here on earth. When we are sad, we can pray, knowing Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us. When we sin, we know we have a great high Priest who sympathizes with us in our weakness, yet without sin. When our bodies fail us in sickness, He has given us great promises of new, resurrected bodies in a future, glorified state. How can we not shout with Paul, blessed be our God and Father, for He has blessed us in Christ? And yet, Paul offers the main spiritual blessings for our praise – that we have been chosen and predestined in the following verses.
Our Father Chose Us In Christ
Not only did God bless us in Christ, but He chose us in Christ. Verse 4 says this choosing happened before the foundation of the world. We can be certain that before this world was formed, we were “chosen,” which in the original language literally means we were “selected” or “picked out” by God the Father. But it doesn’t stop there. We were picked out by God the Father for a purpose. You have a purpose in life and that is to “be holy and blameless before Him.” Matthew Henry rightly encourages us to “Observe here one great end and design of this choice: chosen-that we should be holy; not because he foresaw they would be holy, but because he determined to make them so.” And this is not a new purpose for the people of God. Leviticus 20:26 records God’s words to Moses, “You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” Dear friend, the God of the universe, our Father, has selected, picked out, and separated us from this world that we would be His and that we would be holy and blameless! The dictionary defines blameless as “innocent of wrongdoing.” I don’t know about you, but most of the time, I don’t feel innocent of wrongdoing. Is there ever a day that we do not commit some sort of sin? No. But we do know, because of Christ, one day before God Jesus will present us – His bride – without spot or wrinkle, totally holy, totally blameless. Jude 24 speaks to this, saying God is “able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” This truth is simply amazing.
Our Father Predestined Us Through Christ
God the Father is to be blessed, for He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, He has chosen us, and He has predestined us. The word, “predestined” in verse 5 means “predetermined, decided beforehand.” Once again, we’re taken back to this action that God the Father did before the foundation of the world. He predetermined and decided beforehand that you and I and all believers would be adopted into His family, through the work of Jesus, for His own reasons and for His own praise. But why, you might ask. Why me? “Here is also the rule and the fontal cause of God’s election,” says Matthew Henry, “it is according to the good pleasure of his will (verse 5), not for the sake of any thing in them foreseen, but because it was his sovereign will, and a thing highly pleasing to him.” Sit and think on that for a moment. God our Father decided beforehand that we would be His adopted daughters. Not because of any good in us, but simply because of His glorious grace. Chapter 2 of Ephesians continues that idea with the verse we use so often in witnessing – “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…”
Has not your heart been tuned to sing His praise? If not, read it again, and pray that the Spirit would teach you the sweetness and delight of God’s Word. Sing with wonder the hymn, “Come Praise and Glorify,” which was written with Ephesians 1 in mind. The first verse of this song goes, “Come praise and glorify our God, the Father of our Lord, in Christ He has in heav’nly realms, His blessings on us poured. For pure and blameless in His sight, He destined us to be, and now we’ve been adopted through His Son eternally.” I hope the song of your heart today is tuned to the theme of this great Bible chapter, for we are blessed in Christ, chosen in Christ, and predestined through Christ!
God, You are forever blessed! May my heart bless and praise You for Your great grace toward me in Jesus. Thank You for blessing me with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Thank You for choosing me to be holy and blameless before You. I bless You for predestining me to adoption in your family. Help these words that teach me what You did so long ago become an anchor for my mind and soul.
1 Peter 1:3-5
1 Thessalonians 3:11-13