David, praising God, states, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Psalm 68:19). Have you ever stopped to ponder the many and varied benefits that come from the bountiful hand of Jehovah? In fact, James informs us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Some of these are gifts bestowed upon all. “For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). These physical blessings that we enjoy we often take for granted and fail to be thankful to our bountiful Father for these things. When we begin to realize that the very air that we breathe is a blessing from above, we will be more inclined to be thankful.
However, there are other blessings with which the Lord daily loads us. These blessings are those described by Paul as “spiritual blessings” when he writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3). Notice that, unlike the physical blessing which are sent on the just and the unjust, these “spiritual blessings” are available only “in Christ.” We are told in Romans 6:3-4 and also in Galatians 3:26 that we enter Christ through baptism. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are baptized with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). And again, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26). There is no other way to get into Christ. One is either baptized into Jesus Christ,” or he is not “in Christ Jesus” where Paul tells us “all spiritual blessings” abide (Eph. 1:7). This also means that unless one has been baptized into Jesus Christ, he cannot enjoy any of the spiritual blessings which are located therein.
The same thing that puts one into Jesus Christ also puts one into the church of Christ. By virtue of obeying the gospel plan of salvation, which includes “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), one is added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:41, 47). Another way of stating it is found in I Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Putting all of these statements together, we learn: (1) All spiritual blessings are in Christ. (2) To get into Christ, one must be baptized into Him. (3) When we are baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, we are also entering the church or body of Christ. (4) Therefore, one gets into Christ and into the church by one act: baptism. (5) Unless one is in Christ and therefore in His church, he has absolutely none of these spiritual blessings that God loads us with daily.
What are these blessings? They are so numerous that we could never name them all. However, we can give a sampling of these blessings that should cause us to greatly desire to be in Christ where they can be received. First, the very fact that God permits us to be in His family is a blessing far beyond our ability to contemplate the greatness thereof. John informs us of this marvelous privilege when he writes, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:1-2). See also Romans 8:14-17. Just think, if we are “in Christ” we are “children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” What a privilege!
Another daily benefit we have in Christ is our right to address God as “Father” in our prayers and know that He both hears and answers our prayers (Matt. 6:6; I John 3:22; 5:14-15). Peter informs us that “the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers” (I Pet. 3:12). This fantastic privilege of being able to talk to the great God of the universe and have Him listen and answer our prayers is not available to the sinner. Peter completed his statement by saying “but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” And, remember we were informed in John 9:31 that “we know that God heareth not sinners.” With such a great privilege and with such marvelous promises attached to it, it is no wonder that Paul urges, “Pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17). Do you use this marvelous benefit daily? James speaks a word of warning when he tells us, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 3:2b) “Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?” is an important question.
—Paul M. Wilmoth January 18, 1944 – April 5, 2021