“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”
Paul is sure of something in his life that has not even happened yet. Our lives in Christ give us great hope that things will always turn for our good. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials, tribulations, persecution, or difficulties. Paul explains it like this, “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is no. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “More than Conquerors” is a Greek word that means a surpassing victory.
The love of Christ gives us a surpassing victory in all things we face in our lives (Romans 8:37).
There is something that I know about my life, things are about to turn. I am being given a surpassing victory and the way God has chosen to do it is through your prayers and the provision in the Holy Spirit.
God will use those things that look to imprison us to set the captives of sin free (to advance the Gospel) Philippians 1:12. Paul already knows why he is in prison and will testify to it. In verse 16 he says, “knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel.” You do not need to fear the path ahead if you know who goes with you and the provisions that have been made for you in Christ Jesus.
Are you sharing your salvation story to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ? How has God turned things for you in the past, how He has prospered you here and now in this season of your life even with what is happening in your life today? Do you have an expectation of God working all things together for your good, giving you a surpassing victory in Jesus’ name? God’s blessings are not limited by where you are at in life, if He did it for Paul in prison think what He might do in your life.
Paul says something that is subtle but it is also so profound.
“And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear” Philippians 1:14. The only way that you can share the Gospel without fear is if you see the love God has for you.
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
From the moment you were first able to walk, you probably heard a list of things to avoid doing. “Don’t touch that, don’t eat that, don’t go over there”.
What the Psalmist is saying in the Old Testament to God’s people living under the Law was to turn from evil. The Hebrew word that is used in Psalm 34:14 means to depart. In the Old Testament days when evil was present or the opportunity to do evil appeared, the instruction was to depart from it. This way you won’t be tempted by it. But we are living in a different time, “in the last days”. Jesus said in Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” What this means is the days will be filled with more and more evil. It seems departing from evil would become more difficult to do.
2 Timothy 3:1 says, “Remember this! There will be many troubles in the last days.”
In the Old Testament, the instruction was to depart from evil and to do good. But now, when you depart from evil one way, there is evil another way. There are many troubles everywhere. The good news is we have been equipped not to depart from evil but to fight back against evil (Ephesians 6:10-13). Thank God for this truth because you can only run for so long and you can only turn so much.
Consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in multiple places:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
Living in the Old Testament, saints didn’t have the Holy Spirit within them. The New Covenant had not yet been initiated because Christ still needed to die. Christ had to defeat sin and death and give us His victorious righteous life. Without Christ’s life, we were not clothed in His robes of righteousness, nor did we have the spiritual armor and weapons to fight against the spiritual forces of darkness. The Old Testament saints only strategy against evil was turn, depart, run away from it. But now we don’t run, we stand our ground. We are equipped for victory over evil.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
We all have weapons against the war on evil. We have swords, but we have to hold them, we have to use them to sharpen them. How do we do this? Ephesians 6:17 says, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” As we get into God’s Word, we are taking out our swords (Ephesians 6:17), we are ready not only to defend ourselves against the attacks from the enemy (the lies he tells us), but to fight back too. The armor of God in Ephesians 6:10–20 shows us that right believing in all that Jesus has done will always lead us to victory. It is your turn to stand your ground with God’s Word, and to actually move forward on the attack where you start to demolish strongholds the enemy has put in place in the lives of the people that you love.
I wanted to share another verse about the days we live in being evil and what is said for us living in those days:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
When you are led by His wisdom, the Lord can protect you from making unwise decisions. How do we live wise? The answer comes with the very next verse: “Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). You live wise (15) by making the most of every opportunity (16). “Make the Most” (exagorazō) was a metaphor of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death. Paul is simply saying to be careful to not fall into the trap of living under the bondage of the Law. Live free in the grace you have been given through the death of Jesus Christ. That is wise living. That is what it means to make the most of every opportunity. This is how you live a victorious life where you don’t have to run from evil, but you fight back against it equipped with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. This is what it means to put on the full armor of God, this is what it means to set captives free with the message of the Gospel, this is wise living. The key to reigning in life is to actively receive the abundant life.
We know the days are evil but we can make the most of this opportunity. There are many battles to be won. With God on our side how can we lose? Spend time in God’s Word, fill your mind with right believing as see yourself as you truly are, more than a conqueror in Christ.
“Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
We have the opportunity every day in our lives to boast about the victory Jesus has given us. We boast about different stuff all the time. Just look at bumper stickers, “my kids is an honor student”, “I ran 26.2 miles”, “I am an alumni of XYZ University”. Social media is full of places we have been, the food we ate, and things we have experienced that we are proud of and want to share with the world. There is something within us to want to share the wonderful things we have been a part of, and here Paul is saying we can and should boast in the greatest thing to ever happen to us, we are now reconciled to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What is crazy is God didn’t give this great gift to His best friends, God gave the gift that was the life of His son, to His enemies. Enemies? That’s strong language but it is what we were apart from Jesus,“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life” (Romans 5:10)!
That is why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, because this is what I did for you. When someone is persecuting you, causing you trouble, we have the Holy Spirit who gives us love, joy, peace, etc… This person who is not acting like a friend, but more like an enemy, I can pray for them, they are the perfect candidate for someone who needs Jesus. This is where miracles take place. God loves them too and wishes for them to have their lives forever changed by the Gospel.
So, we use to be enemies with God (Romans 5:10) but being reconciled to Him through Jesus, we are now friends of God and part of His family. We are friends and even family of the One who made the Universe.
We have now received the reconciliation. The word “received” means that this reconciliation is a gift that we receive by grace through Christ. Reconciliation is special in that it is not like most other gifts. Let’s say it is your birthday and your significant other buys you a lantern. A lantern is a practical yet fairly lame gift. Most people don’t ask for a lantern for their birthday, you might even question how well they know you or have been paying attention to you over the year. But if your power goes out you might be thankful for the lantern. Then when the power is restored, you put the lantern away, and then forget about it entirely until the power goes out again. Then you feel thankful again for the gift again.
This is different from what Paul means by receiving the gift of reconciliation. He means receiving it in such a way that what is in the package makes you rejoice all the time. And what is in the gift, is God reconciled. The gift of reconciliation is God offering us Himself so that we might rejoice in Him.
James 2:23 says: And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ‘And he was called the friend of God. In John 15:15 Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus made us righteous through His sacrifice on the cross and our faith in Him. We now are friends of God (John 15:15, James 2:23).
What we should be doing is name-dropping about who we are friends with. God is my friend. God is my Father. It changes our perspective on things. Paul is so confident in his relationship with God, that he says to other believers who gave to him to help him while in prison “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). I am friends with God, He has abundantly blessed and abundantly supplied me in Jesus.
“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.”
What is so special about Deborah is that not only is she known for her wisdom and courage, she is the only woman of the Old Testament who is known for her own faith and action, not because of her relationship to her husband or another man. Also, the only other person in the Bible who was said to be both prophet and judge was Samuel. Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible.
A lot of people believe that she was married to Lappidoth because of verse four. We don’t know this for sure, because in Hebrew, the same word is used for “woman” and “wife,”. She could be the woman of Lappidoth the place, however, no such place is known to exist either.
Another possibility is that Lappidoth is her husband, but not his real name. Lappidoth means torches. There is another person who is very close to her whose name means something very similar. “When Deborah felt that she had helped the people to return to God, she sent for Barak, the son of Abinoam.” Some say he was her husband, because “Barak,” means lightning, another name for “Lappidoth.” I think this is the most likely case.
God gives an option to Barak which is so interesting, the end will be victory no matter which option you chose because you are still going forward into what God is leading you to, but the victory option will change depending on which choice you will make here. The victory was already given, but the honor was up for grabs (Judges 4:6-9). There is a blessing I want to give you Barak and through you, it will bless the entire nation, but you have to receive it by faith. Because faith is what inherits the blessings of God. Barak has faith that victory has been given, but to go forward he says: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go” (Judges 4:8).
God gives the Israelites the victory and they are no longer oppressed. In the very next chapter, Deborah writes a praise song to the Lord. So, Deborah has an impressive resume of a judge, warrior, poet, and prophet as well as singer and songwriter.
We learn from this story that God has given you everything you need for success in Christ, go forward by faith.
Judges 5:12-13: “Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.”Here is the takeaway, start your morning off by singing God’s praises for the victory you have in your day because of Jesus Christ. Peace will fill your heart as it filled the land. You go out in your day in victory in Jesus’ name. Wake up, wake up and break out in song.
The last words of Judges chapter 5 say, “Then the land had peace forty years.”
Judges 5 is the life song Deborah and God’s people got to live. Judges chapter 5 is what a life of peace and experiencing God’s salvation looks like. In Christ, the life song that we live is one of peace and the salvation of the Lord too. Christ has given us the life song of peace with God forever. Salvation is ours whenever we need it. So, I will say it again, wake up and sing God’s praises.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Greek word for victory is “nikos” and it means exactly what the text says it means, “victory” plain and simple, or triumph. Victory is complete in Jesus, it isn’t partial, it’s not part-time.
When you study the Greek word for “gives” (didōmi) as in “gives us the victory”, there are two definitions that are appropriate to use for 1 Corinthians 15:57. The first definition is a gift. The second definition is to supply. And this verb gives is in the present active participle. What this means is that right now God is actively supplying you the victory in Jesus’ name, and it is a gift of His grace. Our part is to receive that victory by faith or to simply celebrate and praise Him for it, “thanks be to God!”
We often want to think that the victory depends on what we bring to the table. In our natural world that is often how things work. But here Paul is telling us as he is writing to the Corinthians that victory is already yours in Jesus. It’s not what you bring to the table that determines the victory, it is a gift of His grace. He is the one who supplies it to us.
The question to ask when you face a difficult time is: Are you fighting for victory, or are you fighting from victory?
When you see how you’re already standing on victory ground on the basis of Jesus’ finished work, you’ll stop worrying about how and when your victory will manifest. Settle it in your heart and mind that you already have the victory through Christ. As you do this, God’s rest and peace will rule in your heart, and you will receive your breakthrough!
The truth of 1 Corinthians 15:57 can be seen in other places in Scripture because Christ has overcome the world, you are an overcomer (1 John 5:4). Indeed, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). One of your most powerful weapons of warfare against the enemy is to worship the Lord and give Him thanks — even before you see the victory come to pass (Philippians 4:6-7).
What is the context around this verse of victory? If you look at the header of 1 Corinthians 15 it says, “The Resurrection of Christ”. Our victory is secure because of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is complete and our victory is secured. 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 talks about our Resurrection in Christ- this is why no matter what happens to us we have been given the victory.
So what should we do with this knowledge of Resurrection victory that we have in Jesus?
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
With the knowledge of the victory that you have in Christ- let that truth bring you to the place where nothing can move you off of it. Brothers and sisters who are loved by God, He has given you the victory, and so know that your work of the Lord is not in vain.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
There is a verse that is written that quotes something that Jesus said that if He wouldn’t have ever said it,
I don’t know that any of us would have ever thought about it before.
I really don’t think any of us would have believed it if we had thought it and Jesus hadn’t said it.
“Whoever believes in me”, the qualifier to be able to do the works of Jesus is that you are a believer in Jesus Christ. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the normal Christian life is a life partaking in and receiving miracles in Jesus’ name.
The promise is that you will do the works that Jesus did and in case you forgot some of the works of Jesus here a few highlights.
Jesus set the record for the world’s largest fish feast when He fed somewhere between 12-15,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves. I thought it was 5,000 He fed? According to John 6:10 the “men” numbered about 5,000. Including the “women and children” (Matthew 14:21), the crowd probably numbered somewhere closer to about 15,000 or more.
Jesus walked on water, no regular human could ever do that, except Peter did at Jesus’ command and with Jesus’ help. Jesus turned water into wine. He gave sight to the blind, He healed the sick and the lame, cast out demons, and He even raised the dead to life this is just to name a few.
Whatever the specific works are that Jesus has in mind for you to be a part of, what defines them is that they are pointers to Jesus which help people believe in Him. I have seen people come to faith in Jesus because a group of believers got together and built a ramp for the homeowner to be able to enter their home. To them, it was a miracle. They didn’t have the funds for a ramp and they couldn’t see a way with their new challenge of how they could even access their home. “I had about given up hope in God, hope in humanity, and then God sent me a group of people who were filled with the love of Christ. I saw God’s love for me was real and I received my miracle as I believed in Jesus.”
Miracles are a witness along with Jesus’ words that lead people to faith. That’s what His works do, and He is saying, that’s what our works through Him will do. “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do” — the works point people to faith.
“Whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing” and as impressive as it is to think about that, He doesn’t stop there, “and they will do even greater things than these”.
What could be greater than that? We get a clue from the text of what Jesus is talking about and this is moving from Old Covenant before the cross to New Testament after the cross. The first clue is the phrase at the end of verse 12, “because I am going to the Father.” We will be able to do these works because Jesus is going to the Father. And the other clue is the text of what Jesus said to His disciples after He was raised from the dead, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:21–23).
The Spirit in you will be the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ. The message you preach will be the message not of a promised ransom but a paid ransom, a complete payment, a finished propitiation. Your sin debt has been fully paid at the cross. Because Christ lives in you, you can do the work of Jesus. You can reveal God to the world.
And in the power of that absolutely new experience — the indwelling of the crucified and risen Christ — your works of love and your message of life in union with Christ, will point people to the glory of the risen Son of God, and you will be the instrument of their forgiveness on the basis of the finished work of Christ (John 20:23). This will be new. This will be greater than Jesus’ earthly miracles because this is what He came to accomplish by His death and resurrection. In the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ the greater works were made possible (John 14:12).
In John 6 after Jesus performed some more miracles, all but the 12 left Him from the crowd. Compare that to the Day of Pentecost when Peter preached and 3,000 were saved on that day alone and became a part of the Body of Christ. Jesus did great miracles throughout his ministry here on earth, but fewer people came to saving faith during His public ministry than they did in the first days of the early church when Jesus went to the Father. While Christ brought Lazarus back from the dead—we are to do the even greater work which is to bring people from spiritual death to life through the very message of the Gospel which we preach and proclaim. “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all (Acts 4:33).
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”“Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake” (Matthew 14:25).
The disciples didn’t know that walking on water was possible. They didn’t know a lot of the things were possible until they saw Jesus do them. So, Jesus walks on water and let’s see their response. “When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear” (Matthew 14:26).
Jesus is fully God and fully man. They had never seen a man be able to walk on water because there are principles and laws at play here. If you step out on the water, you will sink in. I think sometimes the disciples forgot that Jesus is fully God too. Only a spirit, something that is not weighed down by a physical body, could possibly walk on water. It must be a ghost. What would your response be if you thought you saw a ghost out on the water? It would probably be the same as the disciples, whose fear actually caused them to cry out loud. Fear and faith are opposite of each other. Their fear has caused them to not see the Lord who is in front of them. But the Word of God will instill faith to respond.
“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:27-28).
This story teaches us what looking to Jesus will do.“Come”, He said. It is His Word that gives us authority and power to do supernatural things. As we look to Jesus we will see miracles unfold in our lives and in other’s lives too.
It started well for Peter, he took the step of faith and walked on water, but then something happened to Peter.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30). The circumstances caused Peter to lose focus and fear came in. He calls out for Jesus to save him.
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
When we are looking to Jesus and miracles are unfolding, the wind and the waves will build, but I don’t want you to look at what is happening around you, but what is taking place within you. Do you sense His immense love for you? I want you to see Jesus who is reaching out to you, He’s got you. Receive His love and fear will not be able to sink you.
Something else took place in this scene with Peter and walking on the water that is key to knowing when it comes to salvation, and physical healing for people.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink.” We have fear interrupting faith. The text tells us the wind was active. Wind makes waves. If the water was perfectly calm with no waves would Peter have been able to walk on water? No. The wind has absolutely nothing to do with Peter’s ability to walk on water. I think we tend to take a paddleboard approach to life. The better your core strength and balance the better you will do. We might think of our life as we are on a paddleboard and as long as we can navigate away from any troubled waters we’ll do alright. But we don’t control the waves. What we do have control over is what we will focus on, the circumstances or the Lord. Will we fill our hearts and minds with His Word or will we drown in fear of the wind and the waves of life?
In the same way, when the winds of painful symptoms or bad medical reports come, remember that receiving your healing has nothing to do with how bad your symptoms are. It has everything to do with how Christ has already paid the price for your healing and health. It has everything to do with how Christ is right now, above every disease that can plague your body. Keep your eyes on Jesus and walk in His strength, healing, and life.
Don’t let the stormy winds and waves, and the challenges of life distract you. They have nothing to do with whether you walk victoriously over your circumstances or not. Just keep your eyes on Jesus—and receive your miracle!
“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down” (Matthew 14:32). How do you suppose that one gets into a boat that is in the water with big waves still happening all around them? We know that Jesus reached out his hand immediately and caught him. But verse thirty-two tells us they climbed into the boat, which means they both were out of the boat. Jesus and Peter must have walked right into the boat. Peter actually walked on water twice.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
One of the interesting personal discoveries I made was the more I read about how awesome Heaven is the more disconnected I felt to the world. In some ways, that’s a good thing, why treasure stuff on earth that won’t last? Why should I get worked up when someone has rear-ended me in the line to drop my kids off at school when no one was injured? There are many things that we could plug in here that we experience each day. When our minds are not on the things of the Earth, we are enabled to have the proper perspective of earthly matters. But the problem for me was that the more I read about Heaven, the more my excitement for my daily living seemed to be affected. I knew this wasn’t God’s desire for my life even living in a fallen world. There is so much that God does each day that is magnificent and should lead to our worship. I have never seen the same sunset. His creation is breath-taking, awe-inspiring. Each day offers us so much and then who knows what tomorrow holds? So, because excitement waned, I must have been missing something about my heavenly thoughts. This is where our text comes into play this morning. Get ready to be blessed by the Word!
Colossians 3:1-2 says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
There are some very crucial things here. First of all, this might seem like a no-brainer, but someone who does not believe in Jesus shouldn’t be dreaming about Heaven one day. Until they receive Jesus and the sacrifice that He made for them on the cross, Heaven will not be their reality. It would be foolish to think they will make it based on their good living. So, setting our minds on things above is for those who have been raised in Christ and all that means, including our eternal destination.
“Set your hearts on things above”, what does that cause you to think of? This is where I had mistakenly just thought about Heaven. It is great to look forward to where we are going but the idea of enjoying the pearly gates and streets of gold, etc… is not what this verse is referring to.
This phrase to “set our hearts on things above” is actually attached to the phrase that comes before it, “since, then, you have been raised with Christ.” The Greek word for “raised” is (synegeirō)- and it means: raise up together from mortal death to a new and blessed life dedicated to God.
This teaches us three things that in Christ you have been: 1) raised to new life 2) given a blessed life 3) and your life is dedicated to God. Your life is blessed and it is new and it is distinctly different from who you were before your salvation. Your new blessed life is dedicated to God, meaning it is a life of purpose. This is where excitement should come when we set our hearts on these things.
I can still think about Heaven and picture how wonderful it will be but I also can marvel at what wonderful things God has planned in advance for me to do on Earth (Ephesians 2:10).
As Colossians 3 becomes our daily experience the Kingdom’s reign of righteousness, joy, and peace (Romans 14:17) will be ours on Earth as it is in Heaven.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Normally what I do to help bring clarity to a text is to look at a verse’s context but in this instance all we have that comes before it is Paul’s address to the Ephesians. What this means is that the very first thing that Paul wants the Ephesians to know after his address to them is that God has blessed them in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ and then from this starting point, he will go on to explain what that means for them and for us.
Ephesians 1:3 tells us that there is not a single spiritual blessing that isn’t yours right now in Christ.
“Has blessed us”
It is a done deal, in Christ you are blessed. You didn’t earn your salvation it was a gift of His grace, in the same way, you don’t work for forgiveness, holiness, righteousness, peace, or any blessing. God who freely gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)? Everything we need for life and godliness has already been provided for you in Jesus (2 Peter 1:3).
“Blesses us” comes from the Greek word eulogeōwhich means to bestow blessing on, to be favored of God. In Christ this is what you are, you are immensely blessed. No matter what happens to you, the good, the bad, the ugly, God’s favor goes with you through your life. You have been blessed in your past, and you are being blessed now in your present, and your future contains His blessings over you.
Now when you put the “He has blessed us in the heavenly realms” together people can misinterpret this as being that my blessings are all waiting for me on the other side of eternity, in the heavenly realms. Maybe you have heard a pastor say, “just grin and bear whatever comes your way because you have an eternal reward waiting for you one day.” Is that what this means here? No, it’s not. Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” While it’s true that even the bad things we experience are working together for our good (Romans 8:28), and that we have God’s favor upon us even during momentary troubles, that is not the point of Ephesians 1:3.
The Word for heavenly realms “epouranios” is an adjective meaning existing in Heaven or things that take place in Heaven. The blessings that exist in Heaven belong to us now on Earth in Christ. This makes sense when you read later in the same letter to the Ephesians, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Ephesians 2:6 is describing your present position in Christ which reinforces the point that we are blessed with what takes place in Heaven “every spiritual blessing”.
The context of Ephesians 1:3 begins to shine as you work through the chapter. Paul doesn’t give a nice-sounding phrase, ”spiritual blessings” and then leaves us to figure out what those are. The rest of the chapter is all about what those spiritual blessings are and what they mean for us who are living on Earth. There are 15 spiritual blessings that Paul lists directly after Ephesians 1:3:
Blessing #1: Chosen Before the Foundation of the World (v.4)
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
The Lord’s Prayer is not a New Covenant prayer. When Jesus taught this prayer, His disciples lived under the dispensation of the Law. However, the first three petitions of this prayer remain for us today.
Petition #1 “‘Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name”
These first two words would have blown everyone away. In all the personal prayers that we find in the Old Testament, God is addressed in many different ways, but never as ‘our Father’.
In His prayer, Jesus revealed what would come for us who believe in Him. Through His death, adoption into the family of God, God would be forever known as our Father (Romans 8:15).
What we pray for first and foremost “hallowed be God’s name”. We should render or acknowledge God’s holy and special name as our Father. He is the One we venerate and honor. Before we utter a single word of what we need, we first acknowledge we are talking to our Heavenly Father who knows what we need before we even ask and He delights to give good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11).
Petition Number #2 “Your kingdom come,”
The word “kingdom” here means “reign.” The petition is the expression of a wish that God may “reign” everywhere; that His heavenly laws might take root here on earth; and especially that the Gospel of Christ may be advanced everywhere, until the world shall be filled with His glory.
So, we are recognizing God as our Father who delights to give us good
Petition Number #3 Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”
If we ask anything according to the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ or if it is that of what God wishes to be done by us…. the answer will be yes.
So, if the answer that God gives doesn’t make sense within the first part of the definition of His Will, then He must have something better in store for us that He wishes to be done by us. That’s why Paul would write to the Ephesians, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We give thanks to God in all things when we realize God’s purpose is to bless us and others in Christ.”
May the King’s reign come down in my household, in my neighborhood, and in my city. May God be glorified in the very things that I am praying for right now.
The first part of the Lord’s prayer which is (verses 9–10) has those three petitions;
hallowed be your name
your kingdom come
your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
These petitions do not change even when we move from Old Covenant to New Covenant that is enacted upon Christ’s death.
The second part of the Lord’s prayer (verses 11–13) has three petitions as well. The last three call attention to our needs and as you probably have guessed our needs changed with the cross.
Petition #4 “Give us today our daily bread”
We still have daily needs and we should daily “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (as this prayer taught us to do first), and all these things (that we need) shall be added to you. Jesus is the only manna or daily bread you need in any and every area of your life. And so we don’t have to ask God to give us His Son every day. God already gave us the bread of life. “For God so loved the world He gave His only Son” (John 3:16).
In John 6:35: Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Receiving our daily bread is done as you study the Bible and you feed on the person of Jesus.
When we partake of Communion, we are partaking of Jesus as the “bread of life.” The holy Communion is our “manna” today.
The holy Communion is God’s ordained way of reversing the curse brought about in the fall of man. Every time you partake of the holy Communion, you receive Jesus’ overcoming life, His royal life, His disease-free life.
Petition #5 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”
Now, it should really start to be clear about the great divide here between New Covenant and Old Covenant living and why this isn’t a New Covenant prayer that Jesus prayed. In the Old Covenant, this was the standard of the Law. Forgive so you could be forgiven. In the New Covenant, grace instructs us to forgive others because we are already forgiven.
Today all believers are already perfectly forgiven. God has already forgiven us of our sins when Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross. There is no more forgiveness that remains to be given. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness is in the past tense, it has already been done and since it was done for us we can then forgive others. We don’t need to pray for the forgiveness of sins, it is already ours in Jesus.
At this point, the disciples haven’t been taught to pray in Jesus’ name. The Lord’s prayer isn’t a prayer that asks for God’s blessings in Jesus’ name.
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24 NKJV).
Petition #6 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”
In the New Covenant, we have already been delivered from the evil one. Colossians 1:13-14: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
We walk in victory because the enemy has been defeated in the finished work of Jesus Christ.