By Andrew Bonar
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
There are many wonderful things in this epistle. Sometimes we are told to look up to the ‘heavenly places;’ sometimes to look back, past eternity; and again we are told to look far forward, into the ‘ages to come.’ Men used to come to Ephesus to see the great temple of Diana. If we read this epistle to Ephesus, the Holy Spirit opening our eyes, we will see things more wonderful. We will not have read many verses till we have to stand still and wonder. Let us see in this verse :
1. Christ in the heavenly places. – This is another name for the right hand of God. Christ’s work is all done, and so the Father has said, ‘Sit down’ in the place of glory and honour. His reward is begun. The Father has poured upon Him the oil of joy above His fellows. ‘Thou hast made Him most blessed for ever.’
2. The Father gives to Christ all manner of blessing.- The blessings first come to Christ, and from Him they come to us. We get them ‘in Christ.’ ‘The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand.’ We must go to Christ for everything. ‘All things are delivered unto Me.’ The devil claims the world, but he is a usurper. Christ says, ‘All things are delivered unto Me by my Father.’ ‘He has received gifts for men.’ There is a great supply of gifts, but they are all in Christ.
3.The Father gives all manner of blessing to Christ’s people. – Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings,’ etc. Has every believer got them? We look round, and we see some very poor believers of whom we hope there is grace in them. Can we say of them that they have been blessed with all spiritual blessings? The Israelites got a grant from God of the whole land, even as far as to the Euphrates. But they did not take possession of it all as they were warranted to do. God has given us a grant of all these blessings, but He does not say we have taken advantage of them all. Believers are often contented with just the main things, but they don’t go on to all. How many stand still and say, ‘we have got a great deal of joy.’ Very good, but you must go on to more. You have got the thirtyfold, but you might go on to the sixty and a hundredfold. You are warranted to expect a very great deal. All that Christ has we have a grant of, and we may go and knock and say, ‘I have come for all spiritual blessings,’ and the Lord will say, ‘You have done well to come. I wondered when you would come for them.’
When you find in reading the Bible any blessing Christ has to give, put your finger on it and say, ‘That is a gift for men, a gift for me. I may go and ask for it.’ How many things have we left unsought?
4.The nature of these blessings. – They are ‘spiritual blessings.’ God has not blessed us with strength so that we are never to be weak, – with health, so that we are never to be sick, – with riches, so that we are never to know poverty. Not at all.
He hath blessed us with spiritual blessings. We begin with forgiveness. We must have guilt taken away before we can handle any of these other blessings. Then we get the blessing of adoption. We get into the Father’s presence and we stand there in love, He loving us, and we loving Him. We have a seat in the heavenly places waiting for us, but even now it is ours by right and privilege. Whatever grace we read about, that belongs to us as believers. Have you spoken about it to your Father? Whatever the Spirit can give, you may ask for. Listen to Paul’s words in the eighth of Romans, ‘Who is he that condemneth?’ Look at the robe I have got by going for it ! Who will condemn me? ‘Nay, I am “more than conqueror !”‘ He is waving his palm as well as wearing his white robe. Can you say this? You say ‘I contrive to keep the enemy back.’ But you should be ‘more than conqueror.’ I don’t wonder that Peter says we ought to have more grace than we have. ‘Add to your faith,’ etc. Why do we not get it? Suppose one of Jacob’s sons had come back from Egypt with only a small sackful of corn, and his father says to him, ‘Is that all you have got?’ ‘Yes, all.’ ‘Had he no more to give? Did he grudge it?’ ‘No, but that was all I asked for.’ Another of Jacob’s sons comes with full sacks of corn. He needs six asses to carry them. ‘How did you get them all?’ ‘Just as my brother here got his little sackful. I asked for them.’ A good old Puritan says, ‘Each tribe got only one blessing, but every believer may get every spiritual blessing.’
5.Every blessing comes out of Christ to us. – We come and have fellowship with Christ, and while we are holding fellowship with Him, He is dropping grace for grace into our heart. Have you not often come away from fellowship with Him finding that every grace was enlivened? It is a very humbling subject this. Why have we not taken possession of the whole land when we have a grant of it? How few of these spiritual blessings we really have ! To think that God is so liberal and generous, and we have often such hard thoughts about Him, as if He were not dealing kindly with us ! Do we prize these blessings much? The subject is very encouraging too. If we do in earnest desire to have these blessings they are all ‘in Christ.’ ‘Our life is hid (deposited) with Christ in God,’ and if we would go and knock at the treasury door we would get what is waiting for us. Prayer and communion will lead us to appropriate these spiritual blessings.
Transcribed from Reminiscences of Andrew A.Bonar D.D. first published
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