We sing a song which admonishes us to “count your many blessing; name them one by one.” Unfortunately, we too often limit ourselves the counting of physical blessings, such as our homes, cars, jobs, and so forth. Of course it is important to always thank God for the physical things we have been blessed since all is the Lord’s and we are simply allowed to use these things. But we often lose sight of the spiritual blessings that we have available to us in Christ. Many times, when we thank God, we simply say “thank you for every spiritual blessing” yet do not know and fully appreciate all the spiritual blessings we have. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). God says that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Not only have we been blessed with every spiritual blessing, but we also have been blessed abundantly, according to the scriptures. This evening I would like for us to count the abundant spiritual blessings we have in Christ.
Abundant Blessings In Christ
Abundant mercy and grace
God tells us that He has abundant mercy toward us. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” We must always be mindful of the fact that God shown us abundant mercy. God has not given to us what we deserve. In a very simple sense, this is the mercy of God: not giving us what we deserve to receive for our actions. Ephesians 2:1 tells us that all of us were dead in our sins. We deserve to remain in that condition: dead in our sins and separated from God. But not only do we deserve to be cut off from God, but we all deserve the outcome of Uzzah, Ananias and Sapphira, and Nadab and Abihu. God has every right to kill us when we violate His commands, as He has done towards others in the past. It is only by God’s mercy that the wrath of God does not consume each of us and the moment of our transgressions.
But the mercy of the Lord goes further than these concepts. Not only is the Lord’s mercy extended such that we do not receive what we deserve, but the Lord also is extending pardon in His mercy. “Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that He may have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). I am amazed that God would want to abundantly pardon us from our sins. Why would God do this? Why would God be so merciful to us? The next words of Isaiah tell us why: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8). It is interesting to see that Isaiah applied these words to the mercy and pardon of the Lord upon us. None of us would have acted with mercy toward someone else with the list of violations that we have against God. But God, who is abundant in mercy has pardoned us.
This leads us to the second concept which is the abundant grace of God. Grace in its simplest form is receiving something we do not deserve, like the pardon Isaiah has just described. Grace carries with it the idea of receiving a gift. We do not deserve what we receive, but it is given out of the compassion and goodness of the other person’s heart. “If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). As we have just mentioned, a gift is something that is not merited and not deserved. That is the essence of the gift that God has extended toward us. Instead of giving each of us the consequences of our actions, which is what we deserve, God has extended grace to us, though we did not deserve it, in the form of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. These concepts are linked together very closely in Ephesians 2:4-9. God is rich in mercy who has saved us by the immeasurable riches of His grace. We receive this gift of God through faith in Jesus.
“O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear you, and accomplished for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of everyone!” (Psalm 31:19). God’s goodness has been stored up for those who fear God and is worked in those who turn to God for refuge. The idea of goodness is a very broad concept which seems to simply indicate that the Lord is always desire to do good things toward His people. God is abundant in His goodness toward His people. What this means is that God has given us everything we need. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). Everything that you and I need for life and to be like God has been given to us. We can meet the demands that God has laid out for us. God did this for His own glory and because of His great goodness.
Jonah understood that this was the character of God. The love of God is so great that it leads God to act in goodness to His children. Jonah said, “He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity” (Jonah 4:2). Jonah knew that if He preached to Ninevah that God would not punish them because of these characteristics. God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness.
The psalms declare, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5). I do not believe that we fully appreciate the continually working of the providence of God in our lives. Too often we believe we attribute to luck, fortunate, and destiny that which ought to be attributed to the hand of God working in our lives through providential means. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Everything that exists is by the goodness of God. Why do we live? Why is there a universe? Why are there plants, animals, celestial bodies, and so forth? All of these things exist only because of God’s goodness. God does not need any of these things. What use will God find in all that He has made? All things created are for our benefit and come from God’s goodness. Therefore, in Psalm 107 the psalmist four separate times declares, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8,15,21,31). The repetition is for emphasis upon our minds that we need to remember and always give thanks for God’s goodness, for it is only through His goodness that we are sustained.
“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5). Noting that the power of the Lord is great abundance is very important in developing our faith. It is when we understand that God is great in power that we can begin to surrender our lives to God. When we face difficult circumstances we are able to let God have control when we understand that God has all power. But God’s power is not as the sort of power that we would find in a tyrannical dictator. God does not use His power to force His will upon others in a selfish fashion. Instead, God uses His power to help us.
This is the thrust of Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to His power that is at work within us.” The first point we must consider from Paul’s words is the immense power that is at God’s disposal. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask for, and even beyond what we can imagine. If we let those words sink in long enough, we can begin to feel what it means in regards to God’s power. God can do far beyond what we can even ask or think. There is nothing that we can think of that God cannot do and do it better than we can imagine. This is the greatness of God’s power. But the second point is just as important. It is not that we have an all-powerful God who refuses to use His power. Nor a God who has this immeasurable power but only uses it for selfish gain. God uses this power in our lives for our benefit. That is why Paul said, “according to His power that is at work within us.” The immense power that God has is being put to work in our lives.
This knowledge should create in us a great desire to pray for frequently and fervently. This is one of the ways God is able to work His power within us. The other way God works His power within us is through the word of God. This is the mechanism Peter described in 2 Peter 1:3 that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through a knowledge of Him who called us. How else can we get to know God except through what He has revealed to us through His apostles and prophets who wrote down what we have today in the scriptures. Have we tapped into the power of God? I am afraid that we are simply a 40 watt light bulb on top of a lampstand that can administer power as strong as the sun. We have not turn our lives over to the power of God. There is so much more available in Christ abundantly, yet we boil God down to religious requirements, such as attendance, giving, and Lord’s supper partaking. We have not begun an intimate relationship with the Father to that we can see the lovingkindness of God and see His power working in our lives.
Abundant joy in life
Being a disciple of Christ means that we ought to have a joy that those outside of Christ do not have. The Christian is to always be joyful because what each of us have in the Lord. Galatians 5:22 says that the fruit of the Spirit includes joy. The joy is to be abundant within us. Peter said, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Hi, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9). Paul commanded joy to be in our lives. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). We must remember that Paul gave that commands in the pits of his own despair, as he was imprisoned and suffering. Yet he said that we are to always rejoice. There is to always be an inexpressible joy that exists in the heart of the Christian. This is derived from the abundant life we have in Christ. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Yet how often this is not the case. While the fruit of the Spirit includes joy and we are commanded to rejoice with an inexpressible joy in all situations, the average American Christian has no joy. Joy is not found in serving the Lord. Joy is only found in selfish gain. Instead of joy, many who claim to be Christians are complainers, grumblers, and never can find any good or hope in any situation. To these people the outlook is always negative, the glass is always half empty, and if there is anything to grumble about then the murmuring will commence. This is not the life that God expects of us. What this attitude shows is that we have not put on the new self in Christ. We are still living to ourselves. We have not found the abundantly life that Christ promised to all who serve Him. We are still living in the boring physical life. And if all there is to life is what is in it for me and what I see in this physical world, then no wonder we complain, for we would have every right. But this attitude shows that this is exactly where are focus is. We are ungrateful for what God has done and instead are simply looking selfishly at ourselves.
What we need is the renewing of our minds, as Paul commanded us to undertake. Life is not about self, it is about God. The greatest joys in life are found in serving God. I have never experienced greater joy than helping those who were in need. I have never rejoiced more greatly than I have with someone who comes to obey Jesus. I can not think of any greater joy when I do not have to worry or feel anxious because I know God will take care of me, even though my financial ends are not meeting. The joy must be found in God and goes far beyond what we see in this physical world. If we are grumblers, complainers, and live life seeking the negative, then we have lost our focus and we are not living the abundant life in Christ.
Abundant entrance into heaven
One of the greatest joys that we have is hope of eternal life in heaven with the Lord. So said Peter, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). An entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord has been abundantly supplied to us. Every opportunity has been provided by the Lord so that we can have every advantage of entering into the kingdom of God. This statement by Peter really sums up all that God has done for us and considers the points we have made in this lesson. By God’s mercy and grace, God sent His Son into the world to become a sacrifice for our sins. God continues to show His lovingkindness and goodness toward us by providing every thing we need for life and godliness. In fact, the power of God is available to us and is working providential in the lives of the Christian. These are the things God has done to abundantly provided each of us an entrance into the kingdom of God.
Count all our spiritual blessings
What I hope that we see is that we have many things to be thankful for in regards to spiritual blessings. There is nothing lacking in our lives because God supplies every need. “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Every need can be met by the Lord. This includes our emotional needs, our spiritual needs, and our personal needs. Everything that we need will be satisfied by God. The only reason we have anything lacking in our lives is because we have not allowed God to fill the void. Too often we are trying to fill these voids in our lives and are coming up empty. My wife was talking to her friend who continues to be unhappy in her job because it is unfulfilling. I can tell you what a job is unfulfilling: it is not meant to fill our deeper needs. Work is just the means for survival. We will never have our deep needs met in physical ways. The yearning that each of us have is placed in us by God so that we will seek after Him.
Count all our physical blessings
What is amazing is that God has also promised to meet our physical needs also. If it was not enough for God to take care of every other need we have, God has also promised to take care of us physically. Paul said, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). God will take care of us as long as we realize that we have is from. Let us never put our trust in riches or in ourselves for our needs. God wants us to use the things He has given us in service to God. As we take time off for thanksgiving, let us be thankful to God for the things that truly matter in life. Let us also remember that God has provided all we have.