The purpose of the Father is to glorify the Son, and bring us to the Son (Jhn 6:44). The purpose of the Son is to glorify the Father and bring us to the Father (Jn 14:6; Eph 2:16, 18; 1Pe 3:1; Rev 5:9).
His Special Blessings
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Here the Apostle Paul unfolds the blessing of believers according to the purpose of the Father, and therefore their highest blessings. In this great passage we learn the source of all our blessings, their character, the beginning of our blessings, and the end He has in view in so richly blessing us, and above all—that His purposes are accomplished through the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:11; 6:23; 1Co 15:57).
The source of all our blessings is found in the heart of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father has been perfectly revealed in Him. In His pathway through this world as Man, He manifested the infinite holiness and power of the Father, and the perfect grace and love of the Father. It is to the very heart of God the Father thus revealed that we are privileged to trace all our blessings.
Then we are instructed as to the character of our blessings. The Father has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavens in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The little word “all” tells us of the fullness of our blessings. Not a single blessing that Christ enjoyed as Man, has been kept back. We are blessed with “all” spiritual blessings.
However much the profession of Christianity may confer outward benefits upon men, it ever remains true that Christian blessings are spiritual and not material, as they were with the nation Israel (holy relationship with God expressed mostly via physical means—NC). Our blessings are none the less real because they have a spiritual character (holy relationship with God expressed mostly via spiritual means in Christ—NC). Son-ship, acceptance, growth—some of the blessings brought before us in the Word—are spiritual blessings beyond the reach of this world’s wealth, but secured through the Lord Jesus to the simplest believer in Him.
Further, the proper sphere of our blessings is not earth but heaven. We are blessed “in heavenly places.” On earth we may have little; in heaven we are richly blessed. All these spiritual and heavenly blessings are in connection with the risen Lord Jesus, not in any wise because of our connection with Adam. They are “in Christ.” The blessings of the Jews were temporal, on earth, and in the line of Abraham; Christian blessings are spiritual, heavenly, in the glorified Lord Jesus. Unlike earthly blessings they do not depend upon health, or wealth, or position, or education, or nationality. They are outside the whole range of things earthly (e.g. redemption is heavenly—NC), and will remain in all their fullness when this life in time is finished and our path on earth is closed.
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him” (Eph. 14; my personal understanding of God’s sovereign choice is that in God foreknowing prior to creation all who will decide to receive faith in Christ are those alone who were known and chosen unto eternal life; He already also knew who would not decide to receive faith and thus could not choose to ordain them unto eternal life—NC). Here we learn not only the source and character of our blessings as coming from the heart of our Father, but we find that they had their beginning “before the foundation of the world.” Then it was, in that far distant eternity, that we were chosen in Christ. This involves a sovereign choice entirely independent of all that we are in connection with Adam and this world, and that nothing that transpires in time can alter.
Moreover, we are permitted to see not only the beginning of our blessings before the foundation of the world, but also the great end the Father has in view when the world shall have passed away. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has chosen us in the Son before the foundation of the world that in the ages to come we may be “before Him” for the satisfaction of His heart—“that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
If it is the Father’s purpose to have a people before Him for all eternity, they must be in a condition that is absolutely suited to Him; and to be suited to Him they must be like Him (1Jo 4:17). Only that which is like God can suit God. Hence He will have us “holy and without blame” and “in love.”
This is really what the Father is, and what was perfectly manifested in Christ as Man. He was holy in character, irreproachable in conduct, and in nature, love (includes impeccability—NC). The Father, too, will have us before Him in a character that is perfectly holy, in conduct to which no blame can be attached, and with a nature that is love and can respond to love—the love of the Father (God’s “work in you” – Phil 2:13, keeps believers from desiring after the old man and therefore are ever “blameless” (1Co 1:8; 2Pe 3:14; Phl 2:15; 1Th 5:23; 2Pe 3:14). He is love, and love cannot be content without a response in the objects of love. The Father will surround Himself with those who, like Christ as Man, perfectly respond to His love, so that He can delight in us and we can delight in Him.
As faith receives these great truths, and looks on to the glorious end, it delights in all that has been revealed of the heart of the Father and of the efficacy of the work and Person of the Son. Such is the Father’s love, and such the virtue of the Son and His work on the Cross, that for all eternity we shall be before the Father’s face holy and blameless, and therefore in the full unhindered enjoyment of divine love (believers in this life are blameless and guiltless—NC).
As we are thus permitted to look into eternity and see the vast vista of blessing that lies before us, this passing world—that so often appears to us so great and important—becomes very insignificant, while Christianity, seen in its true character according to our Father, becomes exceedingly great and blessed.
“Having predestined us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5). There are moreover, special blessings to which believers are predestined. Predestination always seems to have in view these special blessings. According to sovereign choice (foreknowledge of those choosing Him—NC), believers have been predestined to the special place of son-ship. We are set in the same place of relationship with the Father as the Lord Jesus is as Man (1Jo 4:17), so that He can say, “My Father, and your Father” (Jn. 20:17). Angels are servants before Him; we are sons to Him.
This special place of relationship is “according to the good pleasure of His will.” Thus the blessing of verse 5 surpasses the blessing of verse 4 (as 4 speaks of being holy and blameless, but 5 shows why—to be “children”—NC). There it was sovereign choice that by grace makes us suited to Himself; here it is the Father’s good pleasure that predestinates believers to the relationship of children.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, through which He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). The way the Father has acted in predestinating us to this great position of blessing will redound “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” The riches of the Father’s grace set us before Himself in suitability to Himself; the glory of His grace brings us into relationship with Himself, having taken us into favor in His Beloved. If we are accepted in the Beloved, we are accepted as the Beloved—with all the delight with which the Beloved has been received into glory.
—Hamilton Smith (1862-1943)
Excerpt from MJS devotional 12/14:
“When the testing comes, does our faith prove true? Does our confidence in the Father become shaken and our hope prove uncertain? When the clouds have gathered and the thunder rolls and the lightning stabs the darkness and the roar of the storm is in our ears, can we keep our eyes and thoughts off the tempest and continue in the quiet and peace of the Father’s presence (Mat 8:24—NC)?
“When the enemy of right and wrong has thrown down the gauntlet and is trampling ruthlessly upon that which affects the honor of our Lord, and when he seems about to bring ruin upon that which our Father has purposed, can we refrain from rushing in to strive with him, and wait for Him ‘in quietness and confidence,’ with a true sense both of our weakness and of His faithfulness and strength? When we have no word from the Lord except to wait and everything seems to be at a standstill, does the certainty of hope remain undimmed?” -A.H.
Daily Devotional: http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/