What does it mean to be blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places?” (Ephesians 1:3)
In Chapter 3 of Salvation Belongs to Our God , “Salvation and God’s Covenant Blessing,” Christopher Wright discusses the covenantal dimension of biblical salvation. Israel’s relationship with God included both a) what God had done (chosen, called, redeemed) and b) what the people of Israel were to do in response (love, worship, obey). Starting in Genesis and focusing on the Abrahamic Covenant, what does it mean to be blessed? According to Wright, blessing is not “a heavenly cashbox of miracles” waiting to be opened; rather, blessing is creational and relational, missional and historical, covenantal and ethical, and multinational and Christological.
Blessing is creational and relational
- Blessing does not necessarily equate to prosperity but rather is constituted by fruitfulness, abundance, fullness, and Sabbath.
- God’s blessing means enjoying the good gifts of God’s creation in abundance.
- The promises of blessing to the patriarchs are a reassertion of God’s original intentions for man.
- Blessing is set within a relationship that attributes the enjoyed “good” things to the blessing of Yahweh.
- Despite circumstances (wandering, wrestling, blindness), the patriarchs were quick to acknowledge the Source of the blessing.
- The beautiful combination of the creational and the relational dimensions of blessing are found in Jacob’s blessing on Joseph. (Gen 49:24-26)
Blessing is missional and historical
- Blessing to Abraham is a command, a task, and a role. He must be a blessing. Abraham and his descendants will be the agent of the mission of God.
- Jesus is the savior through whom the blessing promises to Abraham become available to all nations!
- The Great Commission is an echo of the original Abrahamic Covenant: “Go… be a blessing… and all nations will be blessed.”
- “Be a blessing” is a command for Abraham as well as for all that follow; therefore, it is historical.
- Blessing is received from God and blessing is passed on to others: the history of the missio Dei.
- The history of blessing is nothing less than the history of salvation.
Blessing is covenantal and ethical
- God saves in order to establish relationship.
- God delivers people and gives them real freedom.
- Salvation in the OT ultimately points to the fullness of salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross and experienced by those who lived B.C. or A.D.
- The blessing of covenantal salvation = fruit.
- The Law was given to the Israelites after God had saved them, after He delivered them from Egypt. Obedience was to be a response to their salvation.
- Obedience is the means of living within the sphere of blessing and enjoying salvation – never the means of earning or deserving it.
Blessing is multinational and Christological
- “All nations” is affirmed five times in Genesis – to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- God’s intention is that nations will self-consciously share in the blessing of Abraham through deliberate appropriation of it for themselves.
- They will know the God of Abraham. Salvation and blessing are found in Him alone.
- Jesus is the incarnation of the God of Abraham, the fulfillment of the missio Dei.
- Gentiles – proof that God’s people Israel had been expanded!
- If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants and heirs according to the promises to him.