July 5. Ephesians 1:18. Blessed day 33: Inheritance (God’s).

Ephesians 1:3-18. 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…16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Paul is praying for us to know. To know God. Not just know about God. And not just know what God knows. But really know God and to know him through the spiritual blessings in the heavenly places that are ours in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 1:18 Paul is listing the spiritual blessings that allow us to know God now that the eyes of our heart have been enlightened. Right away he reminds us of our hope. The hope to which he has called you. But what exactly is this hope? What are we moving toward? How will this all end (or should we say begin?)? And here is the answer:
that you may know…what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints

It literally reads: “that you may know…the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in the holy ones.”

his inheritance

This phrase is a tad tricky but most scholars agree that Paul is talking about God’s inheritance here. Earlier we wrote about our inheritance in Christ. But what does God inherit? What do you get the God who has everything? There’s only one thing God doesn’t fully have yet, and that’s us. You and me. His people. His church. His family. His kids. His bride.

God will spend eternity enjoying you.

Let that sink in.

This is one of our craziest blessings in Christ. God’s reward is you and me. Most of us think we are going to have to sneak in the back door of Heaven or be relegated to the back row or something. But this is not the picture God is painting for us here. We are his reward. We are what he is looking forward to.

Maybe our revealing as the treasure of God will be a bit like this.

the wealth of the glory

More glory than you can every imagine. Glory upon glory. Honor upon honor. Heaped up. Poured out. This is the sight at the revelation of the children of God (us). When God inherits us, the manifest glory will blow our minds and hearts. It will literally perfect us, transforming us into the likeness of Jesus, on the spot.

The Trinity will spend eternity honoring, glorifying, applauding, and high-fiving each other over your salvation.

“You did it! You saved Brady!”

“No, YOU did it!”

“No YOU did it!”

“No, WE did it!”

Or something like that.

And then all that glory, like always, will spill over onto us. It is because we are God’s inheritance that his glory will explode and will be our inheritance to share with Jesus forever.

Romans 8:17. if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

that you may know

Do you know this amazing truth? That you are God’s inheritance and that he is yours? Do you know it? Do you think about it? Claim it? Trust it? Anticipate it? Is this your hope? God receives me and I receive him. Is this the God you know and worship? A God who would do whatever it takes to find you, save you, rescue you, and restore you? Is your God the one that wants nothing else but to receive you unto himself? Is your God the one that would give you your inheritance twice if that’s what it takes for him to have you back forever as his inheritance (Prodigal Son)? Can you imagine not only your enjoyment of God but also God’s enjoyment of you as a trophy of his glorious grace?

This is the whole point of our salvation, of our lives, of our union with Christ, of “to live is Christ” – we are united to God as his reward, his prize, his precious possession, his people. In the end it’s all about God. He gets both what he wants and what he deserves – you. Me. Us. His church. What grace.

Songs about God inheriting us are hard to find, so this will have to do (still a good one).

July 3. Ephesians 1:18. Blessed day 32: Hope.

Ephesians 1:3-18. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you… 

Where would any of us be without hope? Hope is what moves every human being. Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Without hope we would literally die. We need it like we need air to breathe. With enough hope we can withstand anything. It is truly one of the most powerful forces in the world.

Stop and think about it – everything you do every single day, every decision you make, is made from a place of hope. Whether big or little, in that decision you are hoping for something, some outcome. Hoping the lunch you ordered will taste as good as it looked on the menu board. Hoping she will say yes to a date on Friday night. Hoping you will pass the class or find success in the project you started. Hoping that marrying him will bring happiness. Hoping that this church won’t judge you and hurt you like the last one.

Holocaust survivor, psychologist, and author Viktor Frankl famously said “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how’.” That is the power of hope. Hope is also one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite words (he uses it over 50 times). It is one of the three graces, along with faith and love, that he speaks of so often together. Without hope there is not faith, and without faith there is not love – our entire lives hinge on hope. 

Star Wars: A New Hope. Hope launches revolutions and romance…and the gospel.  

And so here in Ephesians 1 after praying for the knowledge of God, and for a spirit of wisdom and revelation, and after declaring that the eyes of our heart have been enlightened, Paul tells us the result – that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you.

God has blessed us with knowledge, wisdom, revelation, and enlightenment so that we can know our hope. The hope that God himself has called us into. Our destiny. Our purpose. Our meaning. God doesn’t want us to wander aimlessly. He has no intention for us to ever live in the despair of hopelessness. No searching blindly. No scratching our heads. God may not tell us the details of our day to day lives in advance, but he has called us into a glorious and knowable hope. And it is a person.

Our hope is Christ. Our calling is Christ.

Colossians 1:27. Christ in you the hope of glory. 

Romans 1:6…you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 1:9. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The hope to which we have been called is the glorification of Christ Jesus by the Father as all things are brought under his rule and reign (1:9-10). This is our hope – his eternal glory and our eternal transformation into his love and holiness by that glory.

It is an objective hope: it is not founded in our subjective feelings, our own fleeting “hopes and dreams.” It is rooted in the historic fact of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. And your union with his objective life, death, and resurrection.

It is a certain hope: biblical hope is a life-changing certainty about the future. We may hope for a restful vacation, or hope that we get a pay raise, or hope for healing. But these are all uncertainties. Christ is certain. His return is certain. Your resurrection is certain. God’s promise is certain.

It is an eternal hope: hope is only hope if it lasts forever. Otherwise it is a hope that will run out. But the glory of our union with Christ is a forever hope. It will never run out. Never fade. Never grow dim. Never ever ever end. Because Jesus’ life is an indestructible life our hope is an indestructible hope.

It is a glorious hope: our hope transcends the suffering, trials, and tribulations of this life. It is a hope that takes us beyond anything merely earthly and connects everything earthly to the heavenly.

It is a knowable hope: this is Paul’s prayer – that we would know the hope to which we have been called. It is knowable because Christ Jesus is a knowable savior and our God is a knowable God. This Hope is not elusive or hidden or wishful thinking. It is waiting there for us to grab hold of and experience it’s life changing power.

“To live is Christ” is a calling into hope. The hope of our union with Christ’s life. His eternal, certain, glorious, and true life. Our hope in him makes life worth living. It makes all suffering endurable, it makes all failure transformable, and it makes all joy eternal. The great blessing of grace is that our hope is not in ourselves but in Jesus. The One who will never leave us or forsake us. Forever. What grace.

July 2. Ephesians 1:18. Blessed day 31: Enlightened.

Ephesians 1:3-18. 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… 16remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…

Ah enlightenment. It’s something every religion seeks (Buddha) and some even claim to have a monopoly on (Jesus). In our modern age it’s something that even non-religion offers. THE Enlightenment and modernity’s offer of knowledge and reason through science alone has had a huge influence on our society today telling us to break free from dogma, from religion, from faith.

If you think about it we’re all looking for enlightenment every day too. We all want to know. To see. To be #woke. To think freely. Fox News. Facebook and Instagram. A Ken Burns documentary. Self-discovery. Rehab. (Hopefully you can see the irony here)

Enlightenment from within the self or from outside of the self…from the Light?

We seek, and the world offers, enlightenment by what we can see with our physical eyes, or by what we discern within ourselves. This goes all the way back to the Garden. Adam and Eve “saw that the fruit was good” and “it was pleasant to the eye” and “it was desirable to make them wise” and so they took from the Tree of Knowledge. They failed to see with the eyes of their heart. The eyes of faith. They failed to trust God and his word of warning that to eat that fruit would bring about their death. To grasp for enlightenment by only what we see or feel will destroy us. Why? Because there is a reality that stretches far beyond what we can see and even beyond what we feel inside. A reality of Sin and Grace. Flesh and Spirit. Life and Death. A reality of Principalities, and Powers, and Authorities (we’ll get to these someday). A reality of the heart.

And so we need the eyes of our heart enlightened.

Look again at Ephesians 1:18 above. Notice that Paul has moved from petitioning (asking) God and he is back to stating the blessings that we already have from God. Having the eyes of your heart enlightened. Having. You have it. It is yours.

(Note: In the NIV it reads “I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened.” But this is not the best translation of the Greek. It is a participle: having. The words “I pray that” are added in the NIV).

And so Paul can pray in verses 15-17 for the knowledge of God and a spirit of wisdom and revelation confidently because we have already had our heart eyes enlightened by the Spirit of Christ through our union with Christ. He is our enlightenment. Not the news. Not social media. Not even our journey to a better self. It’s Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection.

This enlightenment isn’t in contrast to what we can see physically but it is far beyond it. We are able to see beyond what we can see with our eyes, because now we can see with our hearts. Our hearts are illuminated by Christ’s love. His life. His reality. His eternity. His truth.

The enlightenment of our hearts is what allows us to see and trust the spiritual blessings in heavenly places that have been granted to us in Christ. The heart is the seat of all desire, insight, thought and will. It is the deepest level of your being – your spirit. Before Christ your heart was darkened, deceived, and desperate for truth, any truth. You were ruled by pride and narcissism. You were controlled by Sin and the Flesh. Your desires and affections were only for yourself and not God and not others. Not really. Everything was an attempt to earn. To buy your way in. To find self-worth through self-promotion.

But not anymore. Now your heart has been changed. Your desires cleansed. Your affections re-directed. And this is the necessary first step before knowledge and wisdom and revelation. The gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and revelation from God are dangerous in the hands of one whose heart has not been enlightened.

Now you are able to see things as God sees them. Death becomes life. Temptation becomes grace. Desperation becomes satisfaction. Losing becomes winning. Last becomes first. Suffering becomes hope. Doubt becomes faith. Slave children rule the kingdom.

We no longer look for a change in our circumstances, this is earthly sight. We look for a change in our attitude through our circumstances, this is heavenly sight. Suffering is no longer an obstacle to overcome. It is an opportunity to share in the hope and faith of the Lord Jesus. People are no longer problems, they are potential. Sin is not just something to confess over and over. It is an opportunity to experience grace and resurrection power. This is the enlightenment of the heart. Our greatest desire is no longer for God’s physical blessings (#blessed) but his spiritual blessing – knowing him, loving him, trusting our union with Christ even in suffering and death.

“To live is Christ” is the enlightenment of the heart eyes. We have Christ’s sight now. His faith to see what cannot be seen. Faith to see beyond this life to the glory of the next. Faith to see within this life to the grace that is always present in Christ. Faith to see the crucified One who satisfies every longing of our hearts now and forevermore. What glorious grace. We are truly blessed.

An oldy but a goody

July 1. Ephesians 1:17. Blessed day 30: A Spirit of Revelation.

Ephesians 1:17. 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… 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…

The whole point of our life is to know God. Not know about God. Know God. Intimately. Personally. Relationally. The reason why God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing is so we can have our relationship with him restored. The reason for Christ himself, his incarnation, life, death, resurrection and glorification is so we can know God.

As we saw yesterday knowledge must be preceded by wisdom. And Christ is God’s wisdom. To try to know God apart from the gospel of Christ is death. To try to know God within the gospel of Christ is life. Because it is grace. To this end Paul prays for us to have a spirit of wisdom. Which of course comes from the Holy Spirit of wisdom. We don’t just want to know about God. And we don’t just want to know what God knows. We want to know God through his grace. That’s wisdom.

But how do we know God? Our relationship with God must be rooted in knowledge and knowledge must be rooted in truth. We want to know God truthfully. We want to worship him in spirit and in truth. But where does the truth of God come from? The answer is revelation.

And so as we look at Ephesians 1:17 we see that Paul also prays that we will have a spirit of revelation.

What this doesn’t mean

A spirit of revelation does not mean that you or I are the source of any revelation. The Holy Spirit God is the source. Never us.

It also does not mean that we should be looking for any sort of new unique revelation apart from the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel, the incarnation of Christ, his death and resurrection are the final revelation of God.

Hebrews 1:1-2. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

What this does mean

And so when Paul prays for us to have a spirit of revelation what is he talking about? What is being revealed? Paul’s answer in Ephesians is “the mystery.”

But the mystery for us is not a riddle to solve or a scavenger hunt to set off on. It’s not something that only the spiritually elite figure out, or something only for the gurus and the televangelists.

It’s Christ. It’s the gospel. It’s the church.

Remember how Paul described the revealed mystery in 1:9-10?

Ephesians 1:9-10. 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

And here’s how he will talk about it in 3:1-6:

Ephesians 3:1-6. For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ. 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

What this means for us

All of God’s final mysteries have already been revealed in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and his church. In our union with Christ (the Holy Spirit) we have the spirit of revelation allowing us to understand all of God’s mysterious will. His will to unite all things and all peoples in Christ through the Church.

Every Christian has this spirit. Every Christian has access to the revealed mysteries of God. There is no special knowledge. There are no degrees of understanding. No exclusivism in God’s revelation. If you are in Christ, you have received the revelation.

Gandalf the White revealed.

What does this mean on an everyday practical level?

It means that when you read the word of Christ, the gospel, the Bible, you can understand it as the wisdom of God revealing to you the knowledge of God by his grace through Jesus Christ. Someone without the Holy Spirit reads the Word and reads only law. Something to do. Or just another of many paths to God. But someone with the Spirit reads the Word and reads grace, and love, and hope, and trusts in it by faith. They read done not do. They read the revelation of Christ and they embrace it with everything that is in them. It is their life.

“To live is Christ” gives you the revelation you need to know God. And it gives you the wisdom you need to understand that revelation within the plan of God, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ and his Church. May the spirit of wisdom and revelation allow you to see the glories of God’s grace in your union with Christ in each and every situation you face day by day.

June 29. Ephesians 1:17. Blessed day 29: The Spirit of Wisdom.

Ephesians 1:17. 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… 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…

In Genesis 3 we find the story of Adam and Eve seeking knowledge. They eat from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They wanted to be fully alive. But rather than wanting to know God they wanted to know what God knows. There’s nothing wrong with the knowledge of good and evil. But what humanity needs even before knowledge is wisdom. Wisdom tells us how to use knowledge in order to find life and avoid death. For Adam and Eve wisdom was offered in the Tree of Life (see also Proverbs 3:18). They chose unwisely.

btw- the whole Bible is a book about wisdom. That is, the whole purpose of the Bible is to teach you how to live your best life. Of course the Bible also tells us that our best life is only lived within the Fear of the Lord. That is as we know God, relate to him, image him and live for his glory.

Yesterday we looked at Paul’s prayer for the saints in Ephesians 1. What does he petition God for? Knowledge. He prays that we would know God in a deeply intimate and personal way, and know him through the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus (1:3-14). But back up a few words – that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom. Paul prays for the Spirit of wisdom before he prays for knowledge.

Before we can know God, we must have wisdom. Just as we see in Genesis 3, to pursue knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. It is also true that to pursue God without the wisdom of Christ is dangerous. It is only through Jesus that we can know God and understand his nature, his character, and his deep desire to redeem, rescue, and adopt us as his own.

As wisdom, Christ alone shows us how to live. He gives us our best life – a spiritual life united to God’s own life. He allows us to relate to God, image God, and glorify God. In short, he is our tree of life (wisdom) that then allows us to pursue the knowledge of God within the life giving reality of grace rather than the deadly reality of good and evil works. Without Christ every pursuit of God will only end in death. Our knowledge of good and evil will only ever condemn us. But with Christ as our Wisdom every pursuit of the knowledge of God will end in grace filled living of the good life. God’s life.

And so Paul asks God to give us the Spirit of wisdom.

OK this is a bit tricky. Don’t we already have the Holy Spirit and his wisdom? In Ephesians 1:8 Paul said that we have been lavished with grace with all wisdom and insight. And in 1:13-14 he said that we already have the Holy Spirit.

So why is Paul asking for it all again?

I think the answer lies within our union with Christ. Yes, we have Christ. Yes, we have the Spirit. But yes we are still ourselves. We still have our human spirit which is influenced by indwelling sin. And this may be the spirit that Paul is talking about in Ephesians 1:17 (stay with me here). In Greek the word spirit is never capitalized. So Paul may be praying for the Spirit (Holy Spirit) of wisdom, or he may be praying for a spirit (human spirit) of wisdom. It’s very possible that Paul is praying that our human spirit would embrace the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, that is, the wisdom that is Christ. In other words you have Christ, you have the Spirit, you have wisdom, now let your own spirit truly embrace and be impacted by the Spirit of Wisdom so that you have a spirit of wisdom.

Why would this be necessary? Because even though we ALREADY have the Spirit and the wisdom and insight of Christ, we are NOT YET fully living from the Spirit and his wisdom and insight. We need to let God change our own spirit, causing us to rely on the wisdom of grace so as to grow in the knowledge of God. Just because we have it, doesn’t mean we’re using it. But we can. We can know God. And we can know God through a spirit of wisdom that comes from the Spirit of Wisdom and his death and resurrection.

“To live is Christ” means our spirit is joined with the Holy Spirit. But the transformation that the Spirit is bringing to our own spirit is a process. It’s a process that requires prayer and petition. The prayer isn’t for the Spirit of wisdom (we already have him). The prayer is for our own spirit to be conformed to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, so that we can pursue knowing God from the grace of eternal life. So that we want to know God, not just know what he knows. And that requires the wisdom that is Christ.

June 28. Ephesians 1:17-18. Blessed day 28: Knowledge.

Ephesians 1:17. 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… 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know…

We’ve moved from Paul listing our spiritual blessings (1:3-14) to Paul praying for the church in regards to these spiritual blessings (1:15-23). First he gives thanks for the believers (v16) and then he worships God (v17) and now we hear exactly what his prayer to God is for us – that you may know. He prays for the knowledge of God.

What Paul doesn’t pray for.

He doesn’t pray for blessings. Especially physical or earthly blessings. But he doesn’t even ask for spiritual blessings. Why not? BECAUSE WE ALREADY HAVE EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN CHRIST. There is no “second blessing.” There is nothing more spiritually to receive from God than what you already have. There is no more Jesus to gain. No more Holy Spirit to plead for. You have God. What more could we possibly ask for?

And yet this is how many of us pray every day. We ask God for the things that he has already blessed us with. Forgiveness. Holiness. Love. Purpose. Or our prayers are simply for the physical needs.

btw – Paul never prays a prayer for the physical needs of a Church. He does tell them that God will supply their needs. But he doesn’t teach us to pray for sickness cures, and jobs, and safety while traveling, or a hedge of protection.

What Paul does pray for.

OK so what is Paul asking for? The answer is (as we have already said) knowledge.

This may be in response to the Greek view of knowledge as the nearly unobtainable privilege of only the spiritually elite. In Greco-Roman philosophy only the very few would gain knowledge, the knowledge needed to propel them into the next life and union with the logos. But in Paul’s and the Apostle’s view Jesus IS the Logos. The knowledge. The wisdom. And he’s available to everyone. So to “gain knowledge” is simply to grow in your relationship with Christ.

The Titans get to know each other.

How do we know God?

Paul is talking about so much more than just knowing about God. Listing his attributes or spouting off theological arguments. He’s talking about a deeply personal and intimate relationship with God. Walking with God. Talking with God. Experiencing God.

But how do we do this?

Through our union with Christ. We know and experience God through trust in our blessings in Christ. We know God (1:17) by appropriating our spiritual blessings in the heavenly places (1:3-14).

If you are trying to know God in any other way than through the person of Jesus and your union with him, then you are on the wrong track. Jesus is the revelation of the Father, and our union with Jesus is our personal revelation of the Father. How do I know God’s love? The cross of Jesus. How do I know God’s power? The resurrection of Jesus. How do I know God? My union with Jesus.

Why do we need to know God?

This is the purpose of life – to know God. To have an intimate personal relationship with him. We can only do that through our union with Christ (who is God) by the Holy Spirit (who is also God) so that we can experience the love of the Father (also God). The beginning, middle and end of the Christian life is knowing God. That’s why this is the prayer Paul repeats over and over:

Colossians 1:9. And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

Philippians 1:9. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

Philemon 6. and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.

Why know God? Because it is our experience of God through Christ that produces both our happiness and our holiness. It is what brings God glory. To know God is to take more and more pleasure in him. Him. Not his stuff. Not his earthly blessings. But his spiritual blessings which reveal the real him. The more we trust our spiritual blessings in Christ the more we are satisfied with God alone. More and more the need for earthly blessings fades away (much like it did in Paul’s life). And the more we trust in our spiritual blessings in Christ the more we will find ourselves growing in the holiness of Christ-likeness.

“To live is Christ” is to know God. To have a deeply intimate relationship with him beyond mere facts and figures. It is to experience him through the spiritual blessings that are found in Christ alone. And in our blessed God find all of our satisfaction, happiness, and holiness forever.

June 27. Ephesians 1:17. Blessed day 27: Worship.

Ephesians 1:17. 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… 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,

Ephesians 1 is our master class on what it means to be blessed. Really blessed. Not #blessed. Not “one more great sunny day, thanks God #blessed” (under male model with chiseled chin in black and white photo that I just now saw on Instagram). No. We’re talking about our spiritual blessings, not physical blessings. Not prosperity gospel lite.

Ephesians 1:3-14 lists our spiritual blessings for us all the while repeating over and over (nearly 10 times) that these come from being IN CHRIST.

Then in verse 15 Paul transitions into a prayer. He starts by giving thanks for the Ephesians, for their faith and love. Then he introduces his intercessory prayer for them….but before he asks for anything he does something extremely important – he worships.
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory

All prayer (and all of life) must begin with this proper view of God. The truth is, we all struggle with the same inflated view of ourselves. We think of ourselves way more highly than we ought to think (even those of you that struggle with inferiority or low self-esteem the root of this is still an inflated view of the self). And so before we go to God in petition, let’s remember that our greatest blessing is WHO we are going to – the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ

Look back at Ephesians 1:3 above. Paul has already introduced us to God. The blessed God. And he has already called him the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It can seem a little bit strange to us as Christians to think of God being Jesus’ God. Jesus IS God, right? Right. But God is also Jesus’ God (“My God, My God” Jesus cried on the cross). How? Because Jesus is also human. And as a man he completely submitted himself to God the Father.

We pray to Jesus’ God. The God he prayed to. The God that we go to in prayer is the same God that chose, sent, sustained, resurrected, and glorified Jesus. The God that provided everything for Christ will do the same for you and for me. Our union with Christ, the God-man, necessitates that his God is also our God. What comfort. What hope. What grace!

The Father

Father is how Jesus taught us to pray to God. Abba. Dad. The address of intimacy. Jesus’ God is also his dad. We don’t stand in a long line waiting to see the King. We are the children of the king. We walk straight in. Climb into his lap. Put our heads on his shoulder. Pour out our hearts to his kind eyes and listening ears.

Our worship of God must include our recognition of him as our Father. We worship him because we receive our life and our nature from him. Apart from him we are nothing. Beyond this we receive every spiritual blessing from him. Everything that we receive from him is good. There is nothing given that we do not need, and nothing withheld that we do need (John Newton).

How to Dad

of glory

Jesus’ God is our God. Jesus’ father is our father. And our God is the Father of glory. He is not a dad that loves us but is poor and incapable. No. He is the infinite king of all glory. All that is glorious comes from him and all that is glorious returns to him. He is the source and goal of all that is good and powerful. All of our glorious blessings in Christ come from him. All of our pain and suffering in this life will be turned into glory at the revelation of Christ.

Again, this is the cure for the inflated view of ourselves that we live so much of our lives with. We are all glory addicts looking for our next fix. But God offers us a pure glory that will never end, never let us down, never disappoint, and never fall short. God’s glory has been revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ and his glory is imparted to us in the form of God’s glorious grace. The grace that rescued us out of our slavery and brought us home as adopted sons and daughters. The glorious grace that is both eternal and purely good.

“To live is Christ” is to have the same God and Father as Jesus. The God and Father that loved, chose, resurrected, glorified and blessed Christ is the same God and Father that has blessed you and me with all of Christ’s same heavenly blessings. This is the God and Father Jesus prayed to. The God and Father Jesus served. And the God and Father that poured his glory out into the life of Jesus. This is our God. This is our glorious Father. This is the One that we worship and adore.