14th September 2020
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
If you are blessed with all spiritual blessings, it is only “in Christ” you are so blessed. If you were chosen before the foundation of the world, it was only “in Christ” that you were chosen. He is our covenant Head. What we are we are only in him. There is nothing in self; no fixedness there. All is fluctuating here below; all is uncertain as regards man. Certainty is with God; and the fixedness of God’s purposes is our grand, our only support. Thus the doctrine of election received into the heart diffuses a sacred blessedness over the whole truth of God, for it gives stability to it. It is not a dry doctrine which men may toss about from hand to hand like a tennis ball; it is not an article of a creed written down in church articles, or a theory to be argued by divines. Nor is it a mere loose, floating idea gathered from a few dim and doubtful passages of God’s word. It is no ignis fatuus, no meteor light dancing over morasses and swamps. It is a steady light set by the hand of God in the Scriptures, as he set of old lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth. It therefore diffuses its rays over the whole of God’s truth. For it is “in Christ” his people were chosen, and therefore election being in Christ, it is reflected with all the beams of the Sun of righteousness upon every gospel truth. There is not a single gospel truth, or a single spiritual blessing, which does not derive its blessedness from its connection with the Person and work of the Son of God; and what is true of all, is true of this, that the blessedness of election is because it is “in Christ.”
But some may say, “These things are hard to believe.” They are very hard to believe, for our unbelieving heart finds it very hard to believe anything that is for our good. We can believe Satan’s lies with great readiness; we can give an open, willing ear to anything which our evil heart suggests. But to believe God’s truths so as to enter into their beauty and blessedness, to feel their quickening power, and live under their cheering, invigorating influence, this is another matter. But where is the life of our religion when these things are taken away from it? Take, if you could take—God be praised it is beyond the reach of human hand!—but take away that solemn fact, that God has blessed the Church with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, where would there be room for any blessing to rest upon our soul? Why, any sweet promise that comes rolling into your breast, any lifting up of the light of God’s countenance in seasons of darkness and adversity, any liberty in prayer, any looking up and receiving out of Christ’s fulness; all hang upon this grand point, the blessings wherewith God hath already blessed us in Christ Jesus. So that all we have to do—and it is a great thing to do—God alone can enable us to do it—is to receive what God has been pleased so mercifully to give; and as he has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, to feel their power, to enjoy their sweetness, and to know for ourselves by the sealing of the Spirit that he has blessed us, even us, and that with life for evermore.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869