“God…has blessed us…with every spiritual blessing” Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
Have you ever dreamed of coming into great wealth? Perhaps you have dreamed of an inheritance from a wealthy relative. Maybe you have wondered what it would be like to be one of the richest people in the world. On the other hand you may have refrained because it might make you dissatisfied with what you have. To be covetous is a disease of the soul and a cause of many sins in our lives.
Yet for all this the Bible tells us that God’s children are very wealthy. It seems God could not have given more to His children than He has already given them. Our verse for today lies near the beginning of a worship section of this letter and is a summary statement that is developed in vss. 4-14. The writer heaps one superlative on top of another as he writes about “the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Vss.7-8 (NIV). So this wealth is “riches, lavished” and “all”. He stretches language in order to try and make clear the generosity of God towards those who are His.
By this time you have read enough to know that I am not speaking of monetary riches. I am not suggesting that God is “lavishing” material wealth on His people. This is a great disappointment to those who have a covetous heart for what this world offers. However, I wish that all my readers would “covet” the truly best things. The best is far greater than the good.
Health, a paid off mortgage, good children, a faithful and loving spouse, these are among the genuinely good things in life. We all naturally desire to have these things. I see no sin in seeking these things for ourselves. Where the problem lies, it seems to me, is that if we do not possess the “good” things in life we become discontent and the best things in life seem trite or simply not enough.
Jesus speaks of the worth of spiritual things as “one pearl of great price” Matt. 13:46. He suggests we should be willing to part with everything we possess in this life in order to acquire the spiritual blessings. Jesus does not say to all of us that we must part with all we have of this world’s goods. However, if some of us have to part with everything we possess in order to receive the “pearl of great price” (spiritual blessings now and for eternity) Jesus says it is worth it.
Well, then, what are these spiritual things God gives His people? They are listed in the text around our verse for today. First Paul says that God chose us in Jesus before He spoke the worlds into existence. Next God predestined us in love to be adopted as children. Then we are to consider ourselves blessed with all grace and we are redeemed. Then God makes known His will to us concerning the conclusion of this world order. Moreover God gives us the Holy Spirit to confirm His good intentions toward us.
These are the wonderful things that we possess in this life as God’s people. Our business is to look at length on these riches mentioned above. Then we shall be more and more willing to lose whatever is “good” in this life, if necessary, in order to obtain what cannot be lost. As long as we spend our time worrying about what cannot be changed in, or obtained for, our lives, the less happy we shall be. If we have what we do not want or do not have what we do want and fuss over it we shall be miserable people.
A very wise saying by a preacher of long ago is this: “I looked to the Lord and the dove of peace flew into my heart. I looked at the dove and it flew away.” Our gaze must always be on Jesus and the amazing work He does in rescuing us from the guilt of our sin. We need to be meditating on the fact Jesus will finally take each one of us from the very presence of sin, now that He has broken its power over us.
Do you feel that Jesus has made you rich today? Can you be satisfied to lose whatever it takes of this world’s goods in order to gain what Jesus offers? Have you thought of yourself as being among the richest people in the world?
Jesus invites each one of us to see that truly we are poor and needy. He then calls on every one of us to come to Him and receive riches no thief in the world can remove from us. Of all the securities imaginable in this world, only the ones Jesus offers have an absolute guarantee for eternity. Come and receive. Jesus waits to bless you forever.