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Summary: One of the richest and most overwhelming passages in the Bible is this discussion of the blessings which are ours now in Christ Jesus.

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By: Tom Lowe Date: 11/30/16

Title: A Sentence Begun in Eternity (1:3-6)

Series: Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

Ephesians 1:3-6 (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Introduction

[Paul is already teaching us to use the grammar of the gospel.] It is because we receive grace that we become faithful; because we are “in Christ” we can be “saints” even if we live in Ephesus. What follows, however, almost suggests that Paul cared very little about ordinary grammar! While verses 3-14 are broken down into five sentences in our translation, they are actually only one sentence in Greek—stretching to over 200 words— the longest sentence in the Word of God! They constitute a doxology, a poem of praise to God for all the blessings of the Gospel. There is a reason for this: Into these verses is woven the most thrilling account of spiritual blessings and provisions revealed in the Word of God. There is no place for a period in this account, because three persons are involved. They are inseparable, both in their being and in their activity as it relates to our salvation. Therefore, Ephesians 1:3-14 is one great sentence describing the one great provision made for hell-deserving sinners.

God is to be blessed because He has blessed us (3). “Bless” here means “to speak well” of someone. We speak well of the Lord (Blessed be…God) because in Christ, the Living Word, he has spoken well (blessed) us.

Dear reader, one of the richest and most overwhelming passages in the Bible is this discussion of the blessings which are ours now in Christ Jesus.

Commentary

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” It all begins in the mind of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the God who had revealed Himself uniquely to Jesus as Abba, Father, and had raised Him from the dead.

“…Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms…” The word “blessed” has in it the thought of happiness and joy. It says “Who has blessed us.” I can’t think of anything more wonderful than this. He is not speaking here of something that may be ours when we get to heaven but of something that is ours right now.

The phrase “the heavenly realms” does not refer to a physical reality but to a celestial region, a sphere of spiritual activities to which the believer has been lifted in Christ. This reality can be found in several places in Ephesians (1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). It refers not to the heaven of the future but to the new realm of spiritual realities, the heaven which lies even now within and around the Christian, the heaven into which believers have been brought in Christ. Believers do in reality belong to two worlds (Philippines 3:20). Temporally they belong to the earth; but spiritually their lives are linked with Christ’s, and they belong to the heavenly realm. The Gospel does not promise material blessings as its central benefit (although its power in a person’s life may create greater diligence and wisdom that will lead to such prosperity.) In fact, the blessings of the Gospel are for those who take up the cross and die daily (Luke 9:23); suffering with Christ is part of our inheritance in Christ: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).


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