The blessings we have in Christ are more than social niceties like saying “Gesundheit” after someone sneezes. Paul is describing how we have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing.” Often, when we hear of these blessings, we just smile and nod and utter a polite “Thanks,” as though someone has just blessed a sneezing fit. “Spiritual blessings” sounds fake, like a warranty for an appliance that expires the moment you open the package and use the machine. That warranty was never meant to benefit you, the customer. But God’s blessings are utterly real. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the one who mediates these blessings to us; he brings them to us and applies them to our lives.

This opening passage in Ephesians echoes Psalm 103, where God calls us to trust him as we walk in this fallen world. This psalm anticipates what we have been given through Christ, which is “every spiritual blessing.” Bless the Lord, oh my soul! Don’t forget a single one of those blessings! These blessings find their origin in him, and their bestowment upon us is entirely of God’s own initiative. It is he who blessed us, chose us, predestined us, lavished his grace on us, made known his purposes to us, and accomplishes all these things for us. The blessings of Psalm 103, which are specifically fulfilled through Jesus and described in Ephesians 1:3–14, are both wrought of God’s glory in his Son and bestowed through the gleaming mercy shown to us at the Cross.

Gloria Furman is the author of Alive in Him and several other books. She lives with her family in Dubai. Content taken from Alive in Him: How Being Embraced by the Love of Christ Changes Everything by Gloria Furman, ©2017. Scripture quotations within these excerpts are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,