¶ 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 (Eph. 1:3, NKJV, emphasis added).
The phrase, “heavenly places,” is unique to Ephesians. Paul uses it 5 times throughout the letter, highlighting its significance (Eph 1:3, 10; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). Our spiritual blessings are in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph. 1:3). God will bring together all things in the heavens in Christ (Eph. 1:10). We are raised up and sitted with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). Through the church, God makes known His manifold wisdom to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies (Eph. 3:10). Finally, we battle against the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).
“Heavenly places” is just one adjective in the Greek, epouraniois, from the root, epouranios, which literally means, “above the heaven.” It is “the place where God dwells w. [with] the beings and the things that pertain to him.” (A Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. επουρανιος) “Heavenly places” and “Christ” refer to the sphere, realm, or location in which “every spiritual blessing” exists. Hence, the meaning is, “every spiritual blessing located in the heavenly places,” “every spiritual blessing found in the realm of Christ,” or “the heavenly places where Christ is located.” The spiritual blessings we receive are heavenly, because they originated in the heavenlies in eternity past. Long before the creation of the material universe, the Triune God decided on our salvation in the heavenly realm. It was in this spiritual realm, not in the physical realm of this earth, where our salvation began—before the foundation of the world.
Further, these blessings are heavenly because heaven is where Christ is right now. Because Christ is in heaven, we too receive these heavenly blessings. The reason is that we are united with Christ spiritually. Every spiritual blessing is anchored in Christ. Because we are joined with Him in His death and resurrection, we therefore receive these blessings. His sacrificial, substitutionary, and satisfactory death becomes our payment for our sins. His righteousness becomes ours by virtue of God’s imputing it to us. Likewise, the heavenly blessings of our election, predestination, adoption, and redemption are all in the realm of Christ.
God has granted believers the spiritual blessings of salvation in Christ in the heavenly realm. In that realm, Christ is exalted in His resurrection and enthronement at God’s right hand (Eph. 1:20-23). In that sphere, believers share in His exaltation (Eph. 2:6).
In our next post, we will study the first of these spiritual blessings—the Blessing of Election.
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