God’s eternal plan includes many heavenly blessings (Ephesians 1:3). These are Spiritual blessings not material blessings. It is the Spirit that controls man and the circumstances that surround him. A man may feel bad; he may be down, depressed and oppressed; but if his spirit is strong, he arises and conquers his feelings. Spiritual blessings are the very opposite of temporal blessings. They are the blessings of the inner man, the blessings of the immortal. But of all blessings, they are the most glorious and satisfying. They are the blessings that erase the loneliness, alienation, and man’s purposelessness. C. S. Lewis wrote, “I am beginning to feel that we need a preliminary act of submission, not only towards possible future afflictions but also towards possible future blessings. I know it sounds fantastic; but think it over. It seems to me that we often, almost sulkily, reject the good that God offers us because, at the moment, we expected some other good.”
The idea that hardship can actually be a blessing is a profoundly Christian insight seldom heard these days. Spiritual blessings are vastly superior to material blessings. They are permanent and perfect and eternal. They are of the very same nature as God Himself. Spiritual blessings are found only in Christ. While on a short-term mission trip, Pastor Jack Hinton was leading worship at a leper colony on the island of Tobago. A woman who had been facing away from the pulpit turned around. “It was the most hideous face I had ever seen,” Hinton said. “The woman’s nose and ears were entirely gone. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, ‘Can we sing Count Your Many Blessings?’” Overcome with emotion, Hinton left the service. He was followed by a team member who said, “I guess you’ll never be able to sing that song again.” “Yes I will,” he replied, “but I’ll never sing it the same way.”
One of God’s blessings is that He has chosen us to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4) but this is only as we are in Christ (Ephesians 1:4a). We are to live “before Him in love” forever (Ephesians 1:4b). The word “holy” means to be set apart and consecrated to God. The word “blameless” means to be free from sin, dirt, and filth; to be above reproach and without blemish; to be without fault and defilement. To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labor to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities
Some other blessings are: God has also adopted us as children (Ephesians 1:5-6). Once again this is possible only in Christ (Ephesians 1:5b). God has also redeemed us—forgiven our sins (Ephesians 1:7). We need not “sin that grace may abound.” We are sinners and need only to confess that grace may abound. God has given us wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:8). God has revealed the mystery of His will to us (Ephesians 1:9-10). God’s purpose is to gather all things together in heaven and earth (Ephesians 1:10b) and to put all under Christ (Ephesians 1:10c). God has given us an inheritance: He has made us the heritage of God (Ephesians 1:11-13). The inheritance is “That we should be,” that is, exist eternally (Ephesians 1:12a). And we should exist to His glory (Ephesians 1:12).
He has given us the seal of the Holy Spirit, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14a). Dr. Nancy Moore Clagworthy spent ten years researching people who lived together without being married. When she began her research, she was “convinced that living together apart from marriage was a good thing. Maybe better even than this whole stuffiness of marriage. Let’s just live together. Isn’t that more natural?” She wanted to prove that in a scientific way. She interviewed couples who were living together. She observed the development of hundreds of people as their lives unfolded. She found that living together without marriage is one of the worst things that can happen to anybody. Why? It is bad because you lose the context of safety.
One who makes it a rule to be content in every part and accident of life because it comes from God praises God in a much higher manner than one who has some set time for the singing of psalms. Have you ever gone for a walk when there was a full moon so bright that you cast a shadow as you walked along? But of course the moon has no light of its own. It shone, and it lit you up so brightly, because the sun was shining on it. It merely reflected the sun’s light. In the same way, we have no glory of our own, only such as is reflected from the light of Christ that shines upon us. That is what we live for: to bask in that radiance, to reflect it, to bring it to the world around us, not for our own sake but for the praise of his glory. Have you trusted in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make available to you the blessings of God’s eternal Plan? If not, pause and ask God to reveal the truth of His eternal plan that you might accept God’s gift of eternal life.