Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ephesians 1:3 — a few thoughts

My daily reading had me in Ephesians 1, a familiar and favorite passage. It seemed a good idea to share just a few thoughts with you from verse 3 —
Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ

Blessed! the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.... [DJP]
Thought the first: the threefold repetition of different words for "bless(ing)" should caution us against always assuming that every word has exactly the same meaning every time it's used. Here, the same author in the same breath uses the word in two senses. When applied to us (the second two uses) it means something like "to bestow a boon"; when applied to God, it means something like "to give praise and glory for bestowing boons."

Thought the second: every one of these blessings are the possession of every last genuine Christian, with no further distinction. Unlike Pentecostals and Deeper-Lifers, Paul never envisions a two-tier Christianity. To him, there are only two tiers, period: in Christ, outside of Christ. In Christ, one possesses every one of the spiritual blessings of which he speaks.

(I develop this a bit more in The World-Tilting Gospel. < /shameless plug >)

Thought the third: the blessings are expressly said to be spiritual. Paul knows full well that God has not, in this life, blessed us with every worldly blessing. Far from it (1 Corinthians 1:26-28).

But it is clear that the apostle's perspective is that, in being blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, our lot is far better from those who have been blessed with every worldly blessing outside of Christ.

Thought the fourth: note that Paul goes on to detail what he means by "every spiritual blessing." He means election, adoption, redemption, predestination. Those who kick at those Biblical truths are kicking at God's richest provisions for all His children.

Thought the fifth: Paul is, as we see in chapters 5 and 6, writing to husbands, wives, slaves, slave-owners, and children. And what does he write about, in writing to these people? Spiritual truths in the heavenlies. To be specific, he writes to children, to slaves, to ill-educated commoners, about election and predestination and God's plan for the ages. There is no sign that he would have had any patience with those who hold back those truths as too advanced, meaty, or deep for common Christians.

Thought the sixth: this blessed truth, which drives Paul to praise, is true of you and me if we are in Christ, period, without further qualification. If you are out of work, all this is true of you.  If you are in a rough marriage, all this is true of you. If you are in poor health, all this is true of you. If your kids are breaking your hearts, all this is true of you. Nothing on earth can alter or affect this truth.

But only if you are in Christ.

Are you?

If so... blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!


Sheldon Clowdus said...

As someone who is out of work (after having my pastoral position eliminated due to financial issues) this is a timely reminder for me. It is amazing how quickly we surrender the riches that Christ has obtained for us when the world's substitute riches desert us.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ indeed!

Robert said...

As you wrote in your comments on your other post today, it is enough to sit at Jesus's feet as His disciple and follow what His Word says. Indeed, blessed be God for providing such a display of His glory, mercy, grace, and love in our salvation!

Mark Patton said...

Great truths. A friend of mine is regularly doing Bible studies in our State Capitol for legislators and is focusing on Philippians. He noted while going through Paul's prayer in 1:9-11 that Paul's prayer concern for those believers where spiritual. Certainly God has concern for my physical situation, but He is far more concerned with my spiritual. What you have done today is remind us exactly how blessed that spiritual blessing is. I pray that I am constantly reminded of these blessings so that I can walk worthy of the calling I have been called to. Thanks.

Brad Williams said...

I started to email you this, but I thought someone else might want to know as well. How did you get the Greek font in the post?

DJP said...

Copied it from the Greek text in my Logos web page.

witness said...


The first chapter in Ephesians is the most marked up passage in my Bible... for good reason.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dan. Indeed such a lovely verse...and your thoughts are quite encouraging as well. :) Indeed, blessed be our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!! From Him and through Him and to him are all things - to Him be the glory forever, amen!

Scooter said...


You can get Greek and Hebrew fonts for your computer from the website.

Download them from this page.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Blessed, very blessed... and convicted. Of how much more attentive I am to my physical condition than my spiritual condition. Thanks for re-directing my focus back where it belongs.

And... when is the book coming out? And the Proverbs book? And was there another one, besides?


DJP said...

World-tilting Gospel is on-track for August, DV. The Proverbs book ran into a delay and, unfortunately, I have no date to give.

No third book yet, though I've made a tentative proposal.

Terry Rayburn said...

Amen, Dan!

"...this blessed truth, which drives Paul to praise, is true of you and me if we are in Christ, period, without further qualification."

And amen!

The "two-level" concept of spiritual blessings, whether "the second blessing" or "baptism of the holy spirit w/tongues" nonsense, continues to discourage huge numbers of believers (or often swell their heads if they think they've "got it").

That, combined with the false teaching that you're not really "believing for your blessings" if you don't have a Gulfstream G5, continues to be a millstone around the necks of way too many.

May we pray as Paul did for the saints at Ephesus that we would be

"...strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man", in order to

"COMPREHEND...the breadth and length and height and depth" of these great blessings, and His great love for us, from which they spring. (Eph. 3:16-18)

Robert said...

Wow...this only gets 11 comments because of all the eschatalogical talk going on in the other post? Crazy.

Pierre Saikaley said...

election, adoption, redemption, predestination

A lifetime couldn't exhaust the riches of truth & glory found in each one of these superb blessings.

Gives me great joy!

Excellent DJP.

The Bible Christian said...

Hey Dan

Thank You for this... I have been told many times in the past 10 years that this indeed means a second and third blessing... and people are just waiting to have there crisis in their life to get it. Andrew Naselli explains this brilliantly in his book Let Go and Let God about the Keswick Theology on LOGOS I'll be sending a link off to a few people Excellent!

DJP said...

Amen; the Naselli book is terrific, isn't it?

The Bible Christian said...

I was caught up with this theology, Until the doctrines of grace got a hold of me...Ephesians 1:11 Its just plain and simple: God's sovereignty!

Burrito34 said...

Wonderfully uplifting post. Thanks very much for sharing it with us.