As we looked last week at the first three chapters of Ephesians, I hope you were inspired by the way the apostle Paul describes the Church. The Church is a holy people, the body and fullness of Christ, a building established on Scripture and Christ, a temple in which God lives. The Church communicates the wisdom and love of God to the powers-that-be and the people-that-need. The Church is a good gift from God—a blessing.
In these same chapters, Paul also speaks of another good gift that God gives his people: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit blesses us with Assurance, Relationship, and Power.
First, we can have Assurance of God’s plan. God’s plan has been unfolding since before creation. It was God’s plan to send Jesus to die on the cross to redeem and forgive us, and to make us holy in his sight. It was God’s plan that all who believe in that redemptive work should be adopted as his children. God’s plan is that, in the fullness of time, all of the blessings outlined in Ephesians 1:3-14 will be fully realized, and all things will be united under Christ.
In grace, God made known to us his mysterious plan, which he “set forth” or “purposed” in Christ. When we heard the gospel truth and believed in Jesus, we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us assurance of God’s plan, and because we have the Holy Spirit, we can be assured that we have been included in it. The Holy Spirit is a “deposit” guaranteeing that we will in fact inherit eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth.
The Spirit also gives us Relationship. We are, first of all, given relationship with God. As “the eyes of [our hearts] are enlightened,” we come to know God more and more. We increase in hope, we enjoy his present and future blessings, and we understand his power (1:17-23).
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that this relationship with God is given to both Jewish and Gentile followers of Christ. And, by the Spirit, we are reconciled not only to the Father but to one another.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (2:13-18).
By the Spirit, we are given relationship to God and with fellow believers.
Finally, the good gift of the Holy Spirit is a blessing of Power. It is impossible to imagine the extent of this power, which is “immeasurably great.” As Paul says, the power working in and through us is the same power that God “exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand” (1:19-20).
Just as God’s power raised Jesus to life, God raised us to life (2:4-5). The power of the Spirit gave insight to the apostles and prophets (3:4-5); this same power gives us insight into God’s redemptive plan (1:8-10). The power of the Spirit made Paul “a minister of the gospel” (3:7), and the Holy Spirit gives us gifts to be used for the edification of the Church and the spread of the gospel message today. God’s power gives us strength in our inner beings. It gives us faith and endurance and comfort. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in us to transform us for God’s glory (3:16-21).
I am thankful for the blessing of the Holy Spirit. As we see the heart of Paul in Ephesians 1-3, let’s join together in praying that we (as individuals and as the Church) would grow in Assurance of our salvation and in Relationship with God and each other. Let’s pray that we would have the Power of the Holy Spirit to grasp the amazing love of Christ that surpasses our own knowledge, and to be filled with all the fullness of God.