The Sphere of His Blessings

heaven-2In earlier posts, we noted the Meaning of “Blessed,” the Subject of Spiritual Blessings, and the Object of Spiritual Blessings. Now, we look into the Sphere of these blessings.

¶ 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.heaven-1

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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Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.

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The Object of Spiritual Blessings

jesus-3In our previous post, The Subject of Spiritual Blessings, we learned that the blessings are not a reward for our religiosity.  Nobody earns it.  God gives it to us purely by divine grace.  In this post, we note:

The Object of Spiritual Blessings

¶ 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).

“Us” refers to both the author and his audience—Paul and the living “saints” in Ephesus—or the author and all the believing saints in general.  They are the objects of His love, favor, and spiritual blessings (See Mark 13:20; John 13:18; Acts 13:17; Eph. 1:4-14).

God does not promise you all material blessings.  God will provide all your needs, but not all your wants.  Yet He has given you all spiritual blessings!  Living in a materialistic culture, we should not judge believers according to their material prosperity or the lack of it.  We are to look at them as abounding in every spiritual blessing.  Every child of God is spiritually prosperous.  God has given you every spiritual blessing in Christ.  You are the object of His love and favor in Christ!

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.  However, should you use it as your sermon, this writer will not charge a fee, so long as you will share with him one-half of your honorarium. (Just kidding)

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.

The Subject of Spiritual Blessings (Ephesians 1:3)

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).jesus-2

“Blessed” (Gk. eulogesas from the root, eulogeo) here is an aorist participle, “having blessed us.” In the Greek, it acts as an adjective. It describes “God” as “blessing us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” The main verb is “chose” (Eph. 1:4). Thus, while God blessed us, He chose us. Put literally, “Blessing us, God chose us.”  Yet because the participle, “having blessed,” is in the nominative case, it then becomes the subject of the sentence.  Thus, the main thrust of this chapter is the apostle’s praise of God for all the spiritual blessings of salvation in Christ.

“Blessing” is from the Greek, eulogia, “the content of the act of blessing—‘blessing, benefit.’” (Louw-Nida) The Hebrew term for eulogia is berakah, “a benefit bestowed by God or Christ.(A Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. ευλογια) It is a gift of God. Nobody earns it. God does not give this benefit as a reward, but as His unmerited favor. Nobody deserves it.

When Pastor Melchor Mallorca was our guest speaker for the church anniversary, we gave him an honorarium and a gift. The honorarium was a reward for his work here. But the gift was a favor, a free gift given out of love—a love gift. One day, I asked brother Jimboy Eraga if he can still ride a jeep going to Opon at so late an hour. He said no. So I invited him to stay in my house. Two Pastors slept in my “Pastor’s Pension Haus” (PPH) that day. When Pastor Mallorca and Jimboy stayed in my house, it was a favor to them. I did not reward them.

God blessed us out of pure grace. Nothing in your life moved God to do it. God does not give it as a reward for your religiosity. His favor proceeds from the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Paul calls these blessings, “spiritual.” They come from God who is spirit. The Holy Spirit works out these blessings in the believer. They are spiritual in terms of quality, being spiritual and not physical blessings. In terms of location, these blessings are not earthly but heavenly, to be found only in Christ.

Have you experienced God’s favor of salvation in Christ? Then praise Him for the glory of His grace!

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.  However, should you use it as your sermon, this writer will not charge a fee, so long as you will share with him one-half of your honorarium. (Just kidding)

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.

Blessing God for His Blessings (Ephesians 1:3-4)

jesus-1Blessed 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).

If “grace and peace” is a word of benediction, “blessed be God” is a word of doxology. Paul is praising the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the spiritual blessings of salvation in Christ.  When Paul proclaims “grace and peace” to the Ephesians, he is blessing them. With his words, “blessed be God” here, he is blessing God. The blessed is here blessing the Blesser.

In the Greek, Ephesians 1:3-14 is only one sentence. Paul presents a Trinitarian blessing in this one long sentence. The first blessing is from the Father (Eph. 1:3-6, 8-12). He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. The second blessing is through the Son (Eph. 1:7, 11). In Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). The third blessing is with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). Having believed Christ, God sealed us with the Holy Spirit. He is the guarantee of our inheritance, until our ultimate redemption, “to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14).

The Meaning of Blessed

“Blessed” is from the Greek, eulogetos, where we get our word, “eulogize” (praise). The Septuagint (LXX) uses eulogetos for the Hebrew, barak, “kneel down” in the Qal stem and “adore with bended knees” in the Piel stem (See Gen. 9:26; Ex. 18:10; Ps. 28:6). (BDB) Eulogetos is from the root, eulogeo, “to speak well, of, to bless (thank), praise.” (Strong)

Back when I was a little boy in grade school, we had a neighbor and classmate whose name was Eulogeo. I didn’t know what his name meant then. But I know now. It means, “to praise, speak well of, bless, thank.” But I can’t think of something to praise and thank him for. One day, he let go of his doberman. The dog ran up to me and bit my right leg. He was a funny guy, Eulogeo, but he did a lot of bad things then.

Eulogetos pertains “to being worthy of praise or commendation – ‘one to be praised.’” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd ed.s. v. ευλογητος, in Bible Windows CD) The New Testament applies it only to God, describing His “intrinsic character.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures in Power Bible CD) In a profound benediction, Paul enumerates the reasons for this praise to God in Ephesians 1:1-14.

“Blessed” (eulogetos) is an adjective and should be translated and understood as such; hence, “Blessed is the God.” The indicative verb, “is,” therefore describes the innate character of God. Blessed is God. God is blessed. That’s how the Bible describes God.

How does your life describe God?” I did not ask, “How do you describe God?”  I asked, “How does your life describe God?” Does your life announce loudly that God is blessed? Do you live a life that’s kneeling down to God every day? Do you live a life that praises God? Starting today, live to bless God. For God is indeed blessed, and blessed is God!

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.  However, should you use it as your sermon, this writer will not charge a fee, so long as you will share with him one-half of your honorarium. (Just kidding)

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.