Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Ephesians 1:3
This verse, although divided with periods in the English, is actually one continuous thought which ends at the close of verse 12. In the thought, he begins with the words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The word “be” is inserted in the English for our clarity. And the word “blessed” is different than the word which is used in the beatitudes which is also translated as “blessed.” It is the word eulogétos, and it literally indicates, “worthy of praise.” It is where the term “eulogize,” or “eulogy” comes from. It is only used of God the Father and Christ (meaning God the Son). Thus it shows that the Godhead is worthy of all praise.
The term, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” in no way negates the deity of Christ. In fact, it highlights it. As there is One God and He is the Father of Christ, then it shows that there is more to the character of God than just being a monad. Rather, it shows that the two are one, but are yet different persons within the Godhead. The Spirit, although not mentioned here, is the third member of the Godhead.
His next words are “who has blessed us.” The “us” is not referring to the world at large, because the world at large has not been blessed with the spiritual blessings which he will next refer to. Nor is it specifically speaking of the Gentiles, because Paul uses the term “us,” and he is a Jew. Therefore, “us” must be referring to “the saints” mentioned in verse 1, of whom Paul includes himself. All saints, meaning believers in Christ, are included in the words of this epistle which Paul now sets forth for us.
It is the saints of the ages who have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” These spiritual blessings include peace with God, pardon from sin, redemption through the blood of Christ, adoption as sons of God, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, etc. These are those spiritual blessings that are unique to the follower of Jesus Christ.
The word “places” is not in the Greek, but is inserted for clarity by the translators. Rather, it says more literally, “in the heavenlies.” It can mean “heavenly places,” “heavenly things,” etc. The intent is that all that relates to heavenly matters (things related to or pertaining to heaven) is what the believer is endowed with. It is through the work of Christ that these things are made available, and are also guaranteed.
Paul will refer to these “heavenlies” five times in this epistle; in 1:3, 1:20, 2:6, 3:10, and 6:12. Nowhere else will he speak of such things using this particular form of the word. Thus, the letter of Ephesians is especially directed toward an understanding of the spiritual matters which lead to our heavenly inheritance because of our position “in Christ.”
From the moment that we call on Him, we are termed “in” Him, and the benefits to be derived from this exalted position will never be taken away. Paul will confirm this as he winds his way through the epistle. It is remarkable that the very tone of the entire epistle, that of “spiritual blessings,” is that which is highlighted at this introductory moment. His words will follow naturally and specifically from the words of this verse.
Life application: If you want to have a fuller understanding of our position in Christ, and the spiritual blessings which accompany that glorious state, stay tuned as we follow Paul’s thoughts through to the end of this marvelous letter.
O God, it is the most exciting thing to open Your word and to study it, finding the true intent of what You have revealed to us there. Help us to take each thing in context, to never manipulate the intent which You have set out for each verse, and to be careful stewards of this precious gift which You have bestowed us with. Grant us this so that we will never bring discredit upon Your word and thus upon You who have granted this word to us. Amen.