Ephesians 1:3-14 (ESV)
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[a] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[b] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[c] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[d] to the praise of his glory.
Prior to moving to Springfield over ten years ago now, our family lived in Hancock County on the far west side of Illinois. In late 2000 when we were expecting our first child, one of the radio stations in the county was sponsoring a contest. The first baby born in the new millennium—in the year 2001—would win an abundance of prizes. However, the radio station ran into a problem. Hancock County is a very small county and nearly a month into the year 2001, still no babies had been born! The radio station decided to change the rules of their contest. Instead of awarding the abundance of prizes to the first baby born in the new millennium, the radio station would award the abundance of prizes to the last baby born in the old millennium, that is, in 2000. And, guess what! Our oldest child was born on December 30, 2000, in Hancock County! We had won! The prizes were abundantly lavish—gift certificates and savings bonds and car seats and strollers and diapers galore! By absolutely no doing of our own, we had hit the jackpot! It was great!
In today’s reading from Ephesians, the author describes our relationship with Christ as having hit a spiritual jackpot! By absolutely no doing of our own, God in Christ Jesus has chosen us to be his own children, blessing us with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1:3). “In him,” the author continues, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us” (1:7-8). God’s love for us is a lavish love, a love that we don’t deserve and certainly can’t earn, a love that is given to us freely and abundantly, purely out of God’s choosing and not our own.
All one can do when one hits the jackpot and wins an unexpected prize is to rejoice in the gift and enjoy its many benefits. Such it is in our relationship with Christ. God wants nothing more for us than to dwell in the richness of God’s grace, enjoying all its benefits to their fullest. Thanks be to God for Christ who is our prize, both now and eternally. Nothing more is required.
For the lavishness of your grace, O God, showered upon us in Christ Jesus, we give you our thanks and praise. Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Busboom—Lead Pastor email@example.com