I often hear people say, “I have been blessed”! They will say this not about their soul’s condition but rather their human condition. They often say I have been blessed in health, wealth, good looks or fame. It’s hard for man to conceive the blessings of God for they are far different than the blessings of the world.
Isaac had twin sons, one was named Esau and the other Jacob. Esau God hated and Jacob he loved (Rom 9:13). Those who know this story will recall that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal of stew and lentils (Gen 25:29-34). When Isaac was very old, he told eldest son Esau to go and hunt for game and prepare it for him to eat and he would bless him. However, Isaac’s wife Rebekah overheard the conversation and dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes and placed goat’s skin on his hands and neck (Esau was hairy), for Isaac was old and blind. Thus Jacob received his first father’s blessing and Esau received the lesser of the two blessings (Gen 25). Though he received the lesser blessing, Esau was was made rich and powerful and became a mighty nation. Jacob, though he received the best blessing, was a slave to his father-in-law Laban for 21 years, working to obtain two wives and cattle. Eventually, he had 12 sons and 1 daughter, and his name was changed from Jacob to Israel by an angel of God (a blessing). Yet, Jacob and his family were to be enslaved in Egypt for 430 years before they were to be freed by one named Moses. Even then, Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness and all died there except Joshua and Caleb. Eventually, God blessed Israel with the land of Canaan. They were given kings and became a mighty nation. Yet, they were placed under captivity of lesser nations time and time again because of their idolatry, even until the time Christ appeared.
Blessed is used in the beatitudes in Matt. 5 and Luke 6. Blessed as used in Matthew 5:3-11, gives the double idea of happy and what we commonly think of as blessed—privileged, favored. Those who possess the character or conditions that Jesus describes are happy and favored by God. This supreme “Blessing” is found 50 times in the New Testament. It is found in Matthew 11:6, where Jesus said, “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” In Matthew 16:17, Jesus declared, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Paul was to say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. . . (Eph. 1:3). Not all of God’s blessings are spiritual. God has bountifully blessed us with physical blessings as well. He is our Creator (Gen. 1:1) and Sustainer. He gives “us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with gladness” (Acts 14:17). “For in him we live, and move, and have our being. . .” (Acts 17:28). (See Psalm 65:9-13) for praise to God for His work in sustaining His creation.)
This verse teaches that “all spiritual blessings” are “in Christ.” Neither this verse nor any other verse teaches that all physical blessings are “in Christ.” The Scriptures teach that God’s physical blessings fall on the righteous and unrighteous (Matt. 5:45). The prosperity of the wicked has been a problem for the righteous to understand (Psa. 73); Yet, even these verses demonstrate that God’s physical blessings are not limited to those who are “in Christ.”
It is true that the wicked live, become old and are mighty in power (Job 21:7-13). Yet, the righteous are tried, persecuted, and killed for the cause of Christ (Ps 11:5 ff; Jam 1:12; 2 Tim 3:12; Lk 13:34,35). It is self evident that God has given mankind only two type of blessings and they contradict human reasoning. One would think that God would bless the righteousness here on earth as well as in heaven, but this is not so. God blesses the wicked on earth with carnal blessings and blesses the righteous with spiritual blessings. Yet, in the hereafter, the wicked shall be punished with fire and brimstone and the righteous with eternal rest with God (Ps 11:6 f; Rev 14:13). “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write:’Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit,”that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
How To Receive Spiritual Blessings
All of God’s spiritual blessings are made available to man through Jesus Christ. He is the “water of life” which so quenches man’s needs that he never thirsts again (Jn. 4:13). He is the “bread of life” which so fills a man that he never hungers again (Jn. 6:35). Every spiritual need that man has is completely satisfied in Christ.
Hinduism Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, do not have any spiritual blessings for man which are not available in Christ. I don’t have to read the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Rig- Vedas, or other so called “holy” books in order to receive additional blessings. I do not need the writings of Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen G. White, Reverend Moon, or any other false prophet claiming to have received a latter day revelation. If all of God’s spiritual blessings are available to me in Christ, I can be perfectly content knowing that I have all that God has for man when I have the revelation of Jesus Christ contained in the Holy Bible.
The person who is not in Christ does not participate in or share any of these spiritual blessings. Regardless of how good, honest, and sincere a man might be, unless he is in Christ, he does not share the spiritual blessings of God. All of God’s spiritual blessings are in Christ and none of them are outside of Christ. Unless you are “in Christ,” none of these spiritual blessings are available to you.
“He has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him” (Eph 1:4). ”Adoption as children” (Eph 1:5). God also adopted us as His children by Jesus Christ. As a child of God, I can call on God as my Father (Matt. 7:7-11). “He has made us accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6). We have “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7). He has “made known unto us the mystery of His will. ” He gathered together in one all things in Christ (Eph 1:10). “We have obtained an inheritance” (Eph 1:11).
The blessings which God has for us in Christ are available in the church. The church is the body of people for whom Jesus gave His life (Eph. 5:26), “that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). The spiritual blessings which God has for us in Christ are available to those who are in His church. Consequently, the church is the “body of Christ, the fullness of him that fills all in all” (Eph 1:23). The fullness of God’s blessings to man is in the church.
Inasmuch as being in Christ is important in order that one might inherit these spiritual blessings, we need to know how to get into Christ. In order to get into Christ, a man must hear the gospel preached, believe and confess Jesus is the Christ (Rom 10:10), repent and be baptized (immersed) in water (Acts 2:38). Paul wrote, “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).
So I leave you with two questions to ponder: “Have you been blessed”? If so, have you been blessed with the blessings of God or the blessings of the world?