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Count Your Blessings

Part 22

HOW MANY BLESSINGS DO WE HAVE?

There must be many more blessings than those included here. Maybe one way to find them all is to check out the entire vocabulary of the Bible. This study has followed a particular path through the Bible and has covered the blessings on that path. There may even be more blessings on this path. Sometimes an adverbial expression is used - e.g. “in kindness” (Eph 2:7), “in confidence” (Eph 3:12) which we have omitted but which maybe should have been included as a blessing itself. An example of a blessing on a different path is: “a place in the Father's house” (John 14:2). There must be many more.

WHY HAS GOD GIVEN US THESE BLESSINGS?

The answer is because God loves us and he wants us to have them.

But God commends his own love to us, because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Rom 5:8]

This is how love is evident: not in that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as a propitiation for our sins. [1 John 4:10]

Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the upper-heavenly places in Christ, according to how he chose us in him before the overthrow of the world, for us to be holy and without blemish in his presence in love, having appointed us beforehand for adoption through Jesus Christ to him, according to the good pleasure of his will, [Eph 1:3-5]

The blessings we have counted are God's gift to man. They are free of charge to us, but to God they are priceless in the sense of being extremely valuable. The price God paid was enormous. Having announced the work of the Son beforeh┬Čand, God sent His Son, Who came to do God's will:

Then I said, “Behold, I have come. In the scroll of the book it stands written concerning me, I delight to do your will, O God of mine, And your law is in my inner parts.” [Ps 40:7-8]

What was God's will which the Son obeyed? Something terrible:

Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God to be misappropriation, yet he emptied himself, having taken on the status of a servant, having come in the appearance of men, and having been found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to the extent of death, and the death of the cross at that, [Phil 2:5-2:8]

He who underwent these terrible things was Himself equal with God, and was also Himself without sin (Heb 4:15). Yet the Son undergoes it all willingly for us, saying

I delight to do your will,
O God of mine, [Ps 40:8]

See how much the Son loves us, even though we are sinners, in that He willingly underwent so much despising and a humiliating death at our hands.

The Old Testament teaches the principle of sacrifice for sins. In the New Testament we learn that Christ was a once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin:

And by this will we have been sanctified, we who are so through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. [Heb 10:10]

Isaiah 53 tells of the same events:

He was despised and repudiated by men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with affliction,
While we were like a person
  hiding his face from him;
He was despised,
And we did not esteem him.
Surely he has borne our ailments
And taken the weight of our sorrows,
But we considered him stricken,
Struck by God and afflicted.
He was wounded for our transgressions;
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The punishment for our peace was on him,
And by his weals
Our healing came. [Isa 53:3-5]

Because he did no violence,
And there was no deceit in his mouth. [Isa 53:9]

He poured out his being to death,
And he was counted with the transgressors,
And he bore the sins of many,
And he pleaded for the transgressors. [Isa 53:12]

However, do not sit despondently contemplating His lot, for He has been raised up from the dead and is alive. This too was announced beforehand, both in type (the firstfruits at the Passover - Leviticus 23) and directly:

He will see the result of his inward toil;
He will be satisfied.
...
That is why I will apportion him among the great,
[Isa 53:11-12]

That is why my heart is glad,
And my mind rejoices;
My flesh also dwells in security.
For you will not leave my being in the grave,
Nor will you allow your holy one to see decay.
You have made the way of life known to me.
There is an abundance of joys in your presence,
And there are pleasant things in perpetuity
  at your right hand. [Ps 16:9-11]

The New Testament reminds us of the firstfruit:

But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep. [1 Cor 15:20]

In view of the fact that the Lord is risen from the dead, it is appropriate to give the sequel to the quotation from Philippians above:

which is why God has also greatly exalted him and has granted him a name above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in the upper-heavens and on earth and underground, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father. [Phil 2:9-11]

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