Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
I. CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH MANY BLESSINGS.
1. Christianity involves blessedness. The declaration of its truths is a gospel. It is the religion of the cross; yet it is far happier to bear Christ's cross than to wear the yoke of sin, and there is no other alternative. The way of the cross is itself the way of peace and highest happiness.
2. Christian blessedness is now enjoyed. "Hath blessed us" - literally, "did bless us." The gifts of the gospel are not all reserved for the future world. Indeed, if we enjoy none now, we are not likely to be able to appreciate any after death (1 Timothy 4:8). For
(1) Christ has already done all that is necessary to secure us the highest blessings; and
(2) many of the best blessings are already within our reach, and do not depend upon any change of state to be produced by death.
3. The Christian blessings are numerous and various. "Every spiritual blessing? If we have received some blessings there are more to follow. Already what we have had is beyond reckoning. All do not receive just the same kind of blessings. Each may look for fresh varieties.
II. THE CHRISTIAN BLESSINGS ARE SPIRITUAL AND HEAVENLY.
1. They are spiritual. This word describes them subjectively; it shows what they are in us. They are inward graces, not material possessions. We may receive temporal prosperity, and, if so, should ascribe it to the Source and Author of every good gift. But we may be denied it, and yet be none the less blessed of God. It is a mistake for any of us to look for specially Christian blessings in this category, or to be perplexed at not receiving them. The true Christian blessings are such things as peace and joy, light and love, purity and power.
2. They are heavenly. This word describes them objectively; it points to what they are in themselves and in relation to their Divine origin. Coming from God, they belong to "heavenly places." They are such things as the forgiveness of sins, and the sympathy and fellowship of Christ, the beatific vision vouchsafed to the pure in heart, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Because they are heavenly things they are not beyond our reach; for heaven is let down to earth now that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst, and we are lifted up to heaven when we have our treasure there, for there our heart is. But it is only the upward gaze that will discern true Christian blessings. Kirke White writes of "this low-thoughted world of darkling woe." The woe is so "darkling just because the world is so low-thoughted." We cannot find the stars by searching in the dust.
III. THESE BLESSINGS DESCEND UPON US FROM GOD THROUGH CHRIST.
1. The source of them is in God. Christianity has its origin in God. He conceived the first thought of it. He sent his Son to bring it to us.
2. The blessings come especially from God in his character of Father. God is revealed as Creator, King, Judge; from none of these Divine characteristics could we expect the blessings of mercy which as Christians we receive. They are given by a Father.
3. These blessings flow directly from God's relations with Christ. He is the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The blessings are given to us through Christ's great work of mediation.
4. It is through our relations with Christ that we enjoy the Christian blessings. They are "in Christ." He first receives them, and we have them by union with him. We must be "in Christ" ourselves in order that the blessings may be ours.
IV. THE ENJOYMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN BLESSINGS SHOULD INSPIRE OUR MOST HEARTFELT PRAISES. The whole verse is an utterance of thanksgiving. Surely it is fitting that we should bless God for such wonderful blessings to us. We cannot repay, but we can at least thank. "Where are the nine?" must often be the sad question that should shame our gross ingratitude. The essence of religious worship. Yet our age has forgotten to worship. We pray, begging favors for ourselves; we discuss truth, seeking light for ourselves; we work - let us hope sometimes unselfishly; but where is our worship, adoration, praising of God? See the grounds for thus blessing God
(1) in the richness of the blessings;
(2) in our total ill desert;
(3) in the greatness of God, and the consequent depth of his condescension in stooping to our low estate;
(4) in the cost of the blessings - the precious blood of Christ (ver. 7); and
(5) in the wonderful Divine love which inspired the whole work of redemption. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: