“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)
Ephesians 1:3-14 is one, continuous sentence in the Greek. It is a parallel passage to Romans 8:28-30. Praise is for God the Father who elects (vs. 4-6), God the Son who redeems (vs. 7-12), and God the Holy Spirit who seals (vs. 13-14).
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Paul reflects on the believers’ election from eternity, their forgiveness in the present, and their inheritance in the future. Note throughout the repetition of the phrases “in Christ” or “in Him” referring to the intimate union God has established between Christ and His people.”
Today, we continue our verse by verse, word for word, study of Ephesians by examining 1:3.
The word blessed (εὐλογητός; eulogetos) means to praise or to speak well of someone. The person receiving this praise is worthy of the commendation. We derive our English word eulogy from this Greek word.
Who is the church to praise, and who is worthy of such praise? None other than the God and Father. The word God (θεός; theos) refers to the transcendent and sovereign One, True God of heaven and earth. The word Father (πατήρ; pater) refers to God being our spiritual father in the faith and One who is intimately aware of us. Therefore, Paul emphasized that the Lord is both transcendent over the universe while also near to His children.
God is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 20:17). The nouns Lord Jesus Christ emphasize the biblical truth that the one and only source of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, is in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
It is the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Believers in Christ praise and bless God because the particular blessings we receive from God the Father through Jesus Christ alone. Believers don’t receive some blessings but every spiritual blessing God can, and does, give.
The phrase heavenly places is important for our notice. Heavenly places (ἐπουράνιος; epouranios) means that which comes from God. In this context, it is every spiritual blessing believers’ have in Christ. The phrase occurs five times in Ephesians (1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). In other words, believers are citizens of heaven even while they live and dwell on earth.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “In his providential grace, God has already given believers total blessing (Rom. 8:28; Col. 2:10; James 1:17; 2 Pet. 1:3). “Spiritual” does not refer to immaterial blessings as opposed to material ones, but rather to the work of God, who is the divine and spiritual source of all blessings. In the heavenly places (Lit., “in the heavenlies”) refers to the realm of God’s complete, heavenly domain, from which all his blessings come (cf. Eph. 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). God’s superabundant blessings belong only to believers who are his children, by faith in Christ, so that what he has is theirs—including his righteousness, resources, privilege, position, and power (cf. Rom. 8:16–17).”
Count you many blessings, name them one by one. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!