Ephesians 1:3–6. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Apostacy is characteristic of the church of every age. Each generation of the people of God, and each individual member of each generation must give full resistance to that human trend. In offering such resistance it is well to take the lessons of history to heart. Apostacy never begins with open denial, always with placid silencing. Apostacy never begins with teachings about man and his salvation, but with teaching concerning God and His sovereign acts. Doctrines which most uniquely and specifically pertain to God are most obnoxious to man. Man just cannot fit them into his naturally perverted thinking. Deliberately, then, we meditate on God, and speak of Him.
The Eternal Fountainhead of Love
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sin has obscured God; removed Him out of man’s heart and mind. As predicted, Christ came into this world of sin and declared GOD—declared Him as His God and as our God for His sake. Psalm 89 makes Christ cry out in the joys of His greatest triumphs: Thou art My God! Hebrews 2 tells us it was Christ who declared God’s Name to His brethren. And it is Christ who daily intercedes: Behold, I and the children God has given Mel God becomes the first and great Object of all our praise once the bondage of sin is broken, once the blindness of sin is removed. Without this Christ we have no God to own, no God to know, no God to praise! But knowing Him can you keep silent?
Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the fulness of eternal love in the completeness of perfect action. We cannot fathom; nor can we comprehend. We can only adore. The very Being of love made the Father Father and made the Son Son for all eternity. In this love lies the motive to our redemption. This relation is the exceeding pattern for our blessed fellowship. This love expressed in the eternal, natural Fatherhood of God did not constrain Him to keep the only begotten to Himself. Rather, it impelled Him to freely give Him up for us all, even unto death, that we might have the adoption as sons. Who shall not praise Thee?
The Eternal Works of Love
This infinite love of God is active in different ways to manifest that one original relation—on different levels and to varying degrees. The greatest and noblest of these involves us. This is Singled out by the apostle for special mention. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chose us in Him.
According to Article 7, First Head of Doctrine, Canons of Dort, this work of God involved a double selection. From eternity He appointed Christ the Mediator and the foundation of salvation. Further, out of the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, He selected a certain number of persons to redemption.
Was ever a work pure love? Certainly His choosing of these stands out. It was pure love constrained Him; pure love fills and fits every part of this work. Before the children knew to do right or wrong, yes, before they were born. yes, before history began He had already chosen them in Christ. He chose us that we, totally depraved, should be holy and without blemish before Him; be before Him in love.
He chose us in Christ having foreordained us through Jesus Christ. This was the decisive work of God. He wrote us down to adoption as sons. His writing down of the names has the power of His love to effectuate what is written down. This foreordination was through His only begotten whom He appointed Mediator. Once again, love manifestly overflows. It is according to the good pleasure of His will. Who can keep silent?
The Historical Manifestations of Love
These eternal works of love have their inevitable counterparts of love in history. That which God determined before He laid the world’s foundations effectuates itself in history and experience. He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the believers in Christ. We were poor, lost sinners, hopelessly sunk in the mire of sin. Hell, with all its perdition yawned at our feet even while we were unaware of it. For we were children of wrath—just like all!
Out of the horrible depths of sin He lifted us up and set us in heavenly places. We are in this world still but, thank God, no longer of this world. We have been born from above. Foreordination, election do their proper work and bring all spiritual blessings: regeneration, repentance, faith. Our life is hid with Christ in God. And in this wholly new situation, which pertains according to the riches of His grace, He is ever blessing us with every spiritual blessing. Each one of us repeats the same happy refrain: My cup runneth over; goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life. In Christ we are in the heavenlies.
In Christ we are blessed with every spiritual blessing, even as He chose us in Christ. What tongue can remain silent?
He freely bestowed His grace upon us in the Beloved. Man, of his nature is very stubborn about refusing to admit his total unworthiness. Man refuses to let go any ground, every ground of boasting. According to common conception the power of God unto salvation is limited, both in personal experience and in actual fact, by the willingness of man. Not so! It is of grace. And grace is bestowed freely. It is bestowed on us in the Beloved. How can you restrain your lips from praise?
The Eternal Stream of Praise
Every design and purpose of God must stand. He would make His grace glorious. He has made His grace glorious. He seeks the praise of the glory of His grace. He has now and shall have eternally the praise of the glory of His grace. No other praise shall ever be heard. No other praise can ever mar the harmony of this song. They who have other ideas or words have no place in Christ in the heavenlies. They whose lips are silent on this have no place among the redeemed of all ages. This design, to the praise of the glory of His grace, characterizes each of those ordained unto adoption as sons, wholly and only. There is no question about being silent!
They answer. As Paul answered. With a great exclamation. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! We may circumscribe the word “Blessed” as “speaking well of.” The Father spoke well of us (even though there was nothing good to be said about us) to the Son, and so blessed us with all spiritual blessings. The Son spoke well of the Father (of whom there is only good to be said ) to us, and so blessed us. We heard with the hearing of the ear; we heard by the grace of God with the hearing of the soul. The response is as inevitable as spontaneous. We speak well of God, only and eternally. We seek a world in which He shall be blessed. Blessed be our God!