Blessed in Christ: A Study in Ephesians 1

In this text, believers discover that we have been chosen for God's good pleasure and sealed to fulfill His divine purposes.

Vernell Ingle

March 1, 2024


Bible Study

Blessed in Christ (Eph. 1:1-14)

Editor’s Note: As part of the Pentecostal Charismatic Curriculum Commission (PCCC), Messenger Publishing participates in the development of new weekly lesson guides for use in small groups and church discipleship. This particular article has been excerpted and adapted for use from Unit 2 of the Winter 2016 adult curriculum. To view our curriculum, which is available for any age group, click here.


The book of Ephesians is considered by some to be the most profound book in the New Testament. It contains some of the most sublime yet insightful theology in all of the Bible. The opening chapter brings one into the eternal councils of God. It moves from eternity past, before the foundations of the earth were laid, to the final exaltation of Jesus Christ. One writer claimed that the entire biblical message is encompassed in this epistle.The wonderful thought throughout Ephesians is that the believer comes to understand that he/she is an integral part of God’s eternal scheme. Through God’s marvelous grace, the believer is brought into His family. Therefore, this epistle discusses the Christian’s purpose, blessings, and engagement in the world. As a result, the believer can experience unity within and a powerful witness without.

1) We Are Chosen In Christ For God’s Good Pleasure (vs. 1-10)

Yes we may have responded to God in faith at salvation but, Who approached who? We did not find the Lord, He came to us. The beauty of it all is that God has chosen us; it is God who saved us. We could not save ourselves. The blessed Trinity is clearly involved in our salvation. And, if it took something supernatural to save us, then it certainly takes something supernatural to keep us saved.

Someone once gave the prescription for spiritual depression: Go through the epistle of Ephesians and underline every time the preposition “in” is used for the believer. In so doing, one will discover, “in Him,” “in Christ,” “in the Beloved,” “in the heavenlies,” and the list goes on and on. There is no greater pick-me-up than to comprehend who one is in Christ and what the believer now possesses in Him. Paul attempted to enumerate these blessings in Ephesians 1. He got so carried away with identifying all of these spiritual blessings in Christ that he only attached a period at the end of verses 6, 12, and 14. You might say that Paul was on a roll. Nothing encourages and excites the believer any more than knowing all the blessings one has in Christ Jesus.

Question: How have you experienced the Lord’s blessings or received encouragement from Him?

In verse three, Paul blessed the Father. Why? Because it is from Him that all blessings flow. To bless the Father is to praise Him. This praise speaks of the Father’s reputation and speaks to His Person. In comprehending all of these blessings that one has in Him, one must first acknowledge that He is the source.

Then Paul used the full title of the Second Person of the Godhead, “the Lord Jesus Christ.” He is Lord because the Father has given Him dominion over all. He is Jesus because He became Man that all blessings may be secured for us. He is the Christ, Messiah, the “Anointed One” of God. It is through Jesus Christ that these wonderful blessings come to the believer.

First, these blessings are not earthly, they are heavenly. Second, these blessings are not material, they are spiritual. Thirdly, blessings are not temporal, they are eternal. The fact that the believer is “blessed,” past tense, means blessed from eternity past. And furthermore, these blessings come from heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This means that every blessing needed for spiritual prosperity has already been given to the Christian through Jesus Christ from all eternity.

In verse four, Paul underscored the fact of the divine initiative in salvation. God chose the Christian believer. The believer did not choose God. The term “chosen” means that God chose out of, for Himself. Peter also claimed in 1 Peter 2:9 that Christians are a “chosen generation.” It is the idea that God chose the believer in Christ with all the blessings and privileges that come attached. On this side of eternity it remains, “whosoever will.” On the other side of eternity where God dwells, the reality is, “you were chosen.”

Paul gave the reason for being chosen, so that the saint might be holy in an unholy world. That one might be set apart for God’s purpose. The believer is set apart from sin that he/she might reflect the image of Jesus Christ. It is important that the lost not only hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ but that they might also observe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The term “predestined” (proorisas) means to be marked out beforehand. The idea is not so much on the who as much as on the what. There is a divine, predetermined destiny and glory for all of those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. All believers are predestined to be children or sons /daughters (adopted) of God.

Verse five points out that one is not only chosen but adopted. No one is naturally born into the family of God. The amazing truth is that the believer was adopted according to His good pleasure. Such is the case with the natural adoption of children. The parents actually choose the child to become a legal part of the family. Why? Because the adoptive parents desire to do so, to bestow their favor on the child of their choice. So it is with our Father who has chosen the believer to bestow His favor by adoption into His family with all the accompanying blessings and privileges.

Many years ago my wife and I adopted a beautiful little girl from Guatemala. It was obvious the Lord opened the doors at the right time to do so. She was brought into our family after we had four sons. Through the years we did our best to continually assure her that she was an integral part of our family, every bit as much as her brothers. One of the ways we encouraged her was to remind her that we got to choose her.

Beginning in verse seven, Paul gives a series of concise statements in regard to the Christian’s redemption. Notably, the believer is redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible claims that without the shedding of blood there is no remission or forgiveness of sin. The blood of Jesus Christ met the demand of God, it satisfied His wrath/judgment against sin and its penalty. Therefore, through the blood of Christ the believer has been released from the slavery and penalty of sin. All of this was done in accordance with the richness of God’s grace. Grace is what one does not deserve and mercy restrains what one does deserve.

The term “wisdom” (sophia) refers to God’s objective insight which the believer receives through His Word. “Prudence” (phronesei) means understanding, through the Holy Spirit, to grasp the eternal riches of God’s Word. The mystery, mentioned in verse nine, is truth that was previously hidden, which is now revealed through the light of God’s Word. What does the Word reveal? First, the Word reveals God Himself. Second, the Word reveals His plan for the ages. Third, His Word reveals God’s plan for our lives. His will is no longer a mystery and the key to understanding this mystery is Jesus Christ

Question: How do we receive the wisdom of God?

Jesus is the complete revelation of God. Eventually Jesus will be made the Head of all things. And the saints will share in that glory as heirs and joint-heirs. This revelation of the mystery of God springs from His good pleasure. God delighted in providing this glorious redemption. God delights in revealing His will. In verse ten, God delights to turn all of creation over to His Son. It delights God that believers will have a part in the kingdom of Jesus. All of this is a result of the good pleasure of the Father. As difficult as it may seem for Christians to grasp, God delights in His children.

This mystery of God was not fully revealed until Christ came. Not even the prophets of old could ascertain this mystery. They could speak and write in prophetic utterance concerning this mystery, but it was not fully revealed until Jesus arrived on the scene. We have been blessed to have this great mystery of God revealed to us.

2) We Are Chosen And Sealed For A Divine Purpose (vs. 11-14)

All of our inheritance and blessings in Christ has been predetermined by the Godhead. Nothing can change His purpose and plan. It may seem like a long time in coming; generation after generation has looked and longed for the fulfillment. But we are not to despair of the promises of God. He has determined it, and it will come to pass!

Paul declared that in Christ the believer has obtained an inheritance. This is a reality because of the purpose of God. The purpose of God has been established from all eternity. The great purpose of God was to redeem man from the strangle hold of sin. This whole redemptive purpose was fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Therefore, the believer’s inheritance is tied to the fact that he/she is in Christ. In verse eleven, this inheritance speaks of being assigned a lot in relation to the administration of Jesus Christ. It is a lot assigned by a testament. This lot is received by grace, through faith at salvation. This allotment too has been purposed by God through all eternity. And it too is secured in Christ. It will be fulfilled when all things are brought under the headship of Jesus Christ.

The term “counsel” (boule) of His “will” (thelematos), emphasizes the sovereignty of God. Somewhere in eternity past, the counsel of the Godhead has determined the glory and administration of Jesus Christ. A part of this glory has to do with the Christian’s redemption. It is the believer’s inheritance, and it is his/her lot to share in His glory and administration.

In verse twelve, Paul stated the purpose of the believer receiving this allotment. It is for the praise of His glory.Christians are to model God’s grace in their lives. They are to model it because they are living testimonies of His grace.Therefore, Christians demonstrate to the world that they have placed their trust in God. Believers have turned their lives over to Him. Now the world witnesses the grace of God operating in their lives. God is honored as Christians display the family likeness.

In verse 13, Paul introduced the idea of being sealed by God. The moment that one believes on Jesus Christ and accepts Him as Savior and Lord, the convert is sealed. At salvation one receives the Holy Spirit indwelling. Romans8:16 claims, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” And here, in this Ephesian passage, it is the same Spirit that seals the saint.

Question: What does it mean to be sealed with the HolySpirit of promise? How are we sealed?

This sealing of the Spirit carries with it a two-fold idea. First, it speaks of ownership. The believer is marked by theSpirit of God, as God’s own unique possession. That is whatPeter means when he calls the church a “peculiar people,” in1 Peter 2:9. Christians now belong to God and are set apart for His purpose. Second, it is the idea of safe delivery. The Holy Spirit acts as God’s instrument of sealing the saint at salvation and this seal speaks of one’s safe delivery to his/her eternal destination. John 10:28 claims that nothing can tear us away from God’s grip, like a father grasping the hand of his child as they cross a busy intersection.

In verse 14, Paul added to this thought the idea of the Spirit being in “earnest.” This term means a pledge or deposit. The Holy Spirit is not only the believer’s seal; He is a guarantee from God. A guarantee of what? The saint’s eternal inheritance! This deposit acts as a down payment and a deposit of the promise that there is more to come. God has given the believer the deposit of His Spirit and lets the believer know there is infinitely more to come. If you were to think of all God’s blessings and think of all the richest spiritual experiences of your life and roll all of them into one big sublime event, it would still be only a small taste of what lies ahead.

Conclusion & Prayer

Ephesians chapter one tends to bring the issues of life into perspective. It gives the Christian an eternal view of things.In this fast-paced, exhausting, depressing, volatile, stressful, painful, unstable world of today, this chapter is a breath of fresh air. This chapter places the saint on the mountaintop, above the smog and din of this life. This chapter gives the believer a blessed preview of where he/she is headed. This chapter brings the Christian pilgrim up to the grassy highlands of God’s marvelous grace; it renews, it refreshes, it revives, it restores, and it reinvigorates. Visit this chapter often and be encouraged.

Gracious heavenly Father we remain in awe and are humbly grateful for all your blessings in Christ Jesus. May our lives continue to demonstrate to the world the richness of your grace. Amen.

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