As we explored a couple months ago, the word “gospel” means good news, specifically good news sent from heaven. And this good news is a vast, deep well of incredible truths of God’s love manifested for us in Christ.
But for today let’s look at the opening of Ephesians chapter 1 and explore the beauty of the Gospel in past tense.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. Eph. 1:1-4
In verse 3 and 4 Paul uses the past-tense of blessed and chose. God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. This blessing is ours today. We aren’t waiting to be blessed, we possess it this very moment! Many well-meaning Christians pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to further come upon them, but in reality, the Spirit is already with us in full. A complete spiritual blessing from heaven is ours right now, even if we don’t necessarily “feel” it.
Another amazing truth contained in this passage is that our blessing began before God created the world. Think about that for a moment. God foreknew you and chose you to be in Him before He created the earth. And why did He do this? That we would be holy and blameless before Him.
The word holy is a big word for “set apart”. God chose us to be set apart for Him and His service, and Paul notes this in his opening sentence of this epistle with, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. Paul had been a super self-righteous Pharisee who was so zealous for God that He was killing Christians, and yet Christ literally stopped him on the road and redirected him. He had been set apart for the gospel, specifically to preach to the Gentiles.
So, as we consider our spiritual blessings, we must also consider what God has asked us to do with them. As we saw previously, we do not need to keep the law – that is clearly not what is being discussed. Instead, we are to humbly submit to God’s will. Paul had to submit to Christ and preach the gospel he once vehemently opposed to a people he hated. This required extreme humility, and I believe God asks nothing less of each of us.