Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who blesses us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ . . .Ephesians 1:3
We will now unpack this complicated sentence piece by piece. I want to show you how to do it. So in future you can do this for yourself and don’t need my help. I would recommend that you look carefully at the notes I have given you with the propositional analysis (See Bible Gem 605). Then my suggestion is for you to put together both ends of the translation continuum. Look at the flow of the sentence in its entirety while also looking at how the translations which have divided it into many sentences have translated it. See Gem 601, 602 and 603. Go with the best of both worlds.
Paul starts this sentence with an anthem of praise. Why? Because he is caught up in thankfulness for the spiritual blessings that we have IN CHRIST. I like how Eugene Peterson has expressed it in the Message version.
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him.”Ephesians 1:3 MSG
There are a number of things to note about this portion. Firstly, what we the mean when we say “Bless God.” We human beings can’t bestow a blessing on God in the same way He bestows a blessing on us. It is the greater who blesses the lesser. So in that sense we can’t bless God. But God is blessed when His people praise Him for His blessings to them. Yes indeed, what blessings He showers on us! Yes indeed it is God who grants the blessings. In fact all spiritual blessings are from God. There is no other source.
And yes He takes us to the high places (the heavenlies) when He blesses us. But we must realise the source of those blessings is also heavenly. That is closer to what Paul is meaning here. All good gifts come from above, from the maker of heaven and earth. Paul stresses this fact a number of times.
God the Father is the source of all blessing. There is no other source. But Paul makes it clear He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. All spiritual blessings are distributed by the Holy Spirit because we are IN CHRIST. Being “in Christ” is what makes it all possible. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies, in Christ. It is not meant to read in the heavenlies in Christ. The element “in Christ” is not a qualifier of the spiritual blessings, nor where they are, but rather a key to why we are recipients of such blessings in the first place. It is because we are in Christ, in the beloved, adopted into Him that we qualify at all. Paul will spell this out in more detail as the sentence progresses. Hang on to your hat.
Paul gets excited and it all comes tumbling out, thought upon thought, when he considers the spiritual blessings that are his (read ours) when we are in the Beloved. His mind runs away with him as he considers the blessings we have in Christ and His purposes for us. We just have to keep the source straight.
Ponder these things in your heart like Mary did. Enough for today after some “hard days” of propositional analysis. Ha ha. We will continue unpacking this long sentence in the following Gems.
Too many of us have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience.Charles Banning
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.Anon
You are heir to the entire universe—what a difference that should make!! Let it sink in.Ian Vail
Life on earth is just the first letter of the first sentence in the first chapter of the great story God is writing with your life.Max Lucado