THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
Ephesians 1:3, The Study
"Blessed by the Father's gift of every spiritual blessing to every believer"

J. Deering, AncientPath.net


 

03 Praise be to the God and Father THE FATHER IS THE OBJECT OF PRAISE
                of our Lord Jesus Christ, THE FATHER OF THE CHRIST
                who has blessed us THE FATHER HAS BLESSED US
                                with every spiritual blessing  
                                in the heavenly places  
                                in Christ, THE FATHER  HAS BLESSED US IN CHRIST

 

COMMENTARY - "Blessed by the Father's Gift of Every Spiritual Blessing to Every Believer," 1:3

Note:
Because of the importance of understanding Paul's concept of "In Christ," please re-read the study on
Ephesians 1:1-2, under the heading of "The Faithful, who are at Ephesus."  The paragraphs in question begin with "One of Paul's major thrusts in the book concerns being "in" something."

(1:3)
Blessings be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

The Blessings (to God, from the Believer)

"BLESSING is a primary biblical emphasis, as reflected in the 516 uses of this and related words.  In the New Testament, the word "bless" often means "blessed, fortunate, or happy." The special characteristic of New Testament uses of "bless" and related words is close relationship to the religious joy people experience from being certain of salvation and thus of membership in the kingdom of God."  (Blessing; condensed from the Holman Bible Dictionary, Used by Permission)

Paul states that blessings are due to the Father as a result of His work in Christ Jesus on our behalf.  This is no small matter.  The Father is ultimately responsible for every good gift that has been given to us through His son.  We should be continually praising the Father, not only for the whole of creation, but for that special work that has been done on our behalf through the Son.

The God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Here, the Holy Spirit (through Paul) makes a clear statement that the God of Israel is the God and Father of Jesus Christ.  How important it is that the Ephesians, and we, understand that Jesus Christ does not represent any other god than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and thus the God of all
Israel.

Paul inserts this phrase into this verse to make sure that they, and we, understand that the blessings which flow from us to "The One, The I am, Elohim," the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who Has Blessed Us
The plural pronoun "us" written to the many to be read by the individual remembering that it was written to the group, of which I am a member.  Dr. Douglas B. MacCorkle states that part of the blessing that God gives to man is through the Holy Spirit's gifts.  He says,

"The emphasis appears to be on gifting the church and not on the individuals gifted ... these grace gifts are two fold: (1) Gifted men as gifts to the church, and (2) Gifts to men with which to properly function in their posts within the corporate structure."  (MacCorkle, Douglas B., God's Special Secret, 1993, MBM Books, Cocoa Beach, FL., p. 156-160)

He goes on to indicate that these gifts that are a blessing to the church both lay the foundation of the church and the building up of the superstructure, in order that the Body of Christ might grow up in service, grow up in stature, and grow up in spirituality.

The Spiritual Blessings
Paul wrote the following important words to the young pastor Timothy:

"For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but Godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."  (1 Timothy 4:8)

He was not, of course, demeaning the training of the body.  He was instead extending the meaning of the previous verse and putting the emphasis on Spiritual discipline rather than on physical.  The benefits of physical training help us to become physically strong, help fight off disease, and hopefully give us a better chance at long life.  The benefits of Spiritual training are permanent, extensive, and bring Godliness to us.

But this verse is not about Spiritual blessings that are the result of disciplining ourselves either Spiritually or physically.  It talks about Spiritual blessings that are given to us, free of charge, as a result of our being in Christ.

These blessings are superior in every way to any other kind of blessing.  They are eternal in nature.  They not only include the Future, but the present and past as well.  The blessings in Christ Jesus go to the very depth and fiber of our being for all time and eternity.  They are God decreed.  You will not feel them or experience them, you will not be able to modify them by your good or bad behavior, you will not be able to change their effects upon your destination through human merit of any kind (or lack of merit), and they come about only through the loving will of God the Father because of His love for you, in Christ.  Every one of these spiritual blessings is Centered in Jesus Christ.  These blessings make you complete, in Christ.

"and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;" (Colossians 2:10)

The Blessings (from God, to the Believer)
We have been blessed with "every spiritual blessing."  That would be quite a list of things.  We are not lacking in any one spiritual blessing.

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, compiled a list of thirty-three blessings that are unique to our position In Christ. A second version of this document with all of the bible verses expanded is available here, list of thirty-three blessings - Expanded.

Douglas B. MacCorkle [1]  offers his list of 11 direct blessings listed in the following verses:

  1. Chosen - 4

  2. Surety - 4

  3. Predestined - 5a

  4. Adopted - 5b

  5. Accepted - 6

  6. Redeemed - 7a

  7. Forgiven - 7b

  8. Informed - 8-9

  9. Christ as the Number One Head - 10

  10. Heirship - 11

  11. Sealing - 13

One of the very special items of praise to the Father should concern the fact that, if you are now or ever will be a believer in Christ Jesus, you have been chosen by Him (the Father).  Chosen in a very special way that is not fully revealed to us.  It is however revealed that the believer has been chosen before the foundations of the world to be a very special part of His kingdom and plan.

Another special item of praise would be that the Father has predestined you as well.  Over the years there has been a tremendous amount of "flap" over this doctrine.  We will pursue deeper meaning in the study of the next verse, but for now be content with knowing that God the Father has predestined you to a very special position in His kingdom, that of being conformed to the image of His son Jesus.

Redemption, forgiveness, knowledge of His will, your inheritance In Christ, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit upon your life are also great spiritual blessings that you should be praising Him for everyday.

Why are these items of blessing referenced here, and expanded in the following verses?  Paul evidently was deeply concerned that this new body of believers at Ephesus should keep their confidence about their calling of God.  Nothing fights off doubt and depression in the face of challenges than a dose of the truth concerning God's great love for us.  The early church was not without the danger of being led astray, or being lulled into apostasy.  Paul's ministry was to the young Gentile churches.  He writes to encourage and strengthen them to keep them from discouragement and weakness, especially in matters of doctrine.  We are no different than the Ephesians in this respect.  We need the assurances and reassurances of the Word of God to keep our spiritual lives in working order.  Thus, Paul's words to the Ephesians become very important words to us.

We should not be confused about our blessings.  Dr. John DeBrine says, "Spiritual happiness is not dependent upon circumstance." (Dr. John DeBrine, The Songtime Radio Ministry, Boston, MA)  How very true that is.  Our spiritual happiness is dependent upon what Christ has done for us at the cross.  It is dependent upon the efficiency of that work.  That means that since Jesus Christ is God then what He has accomplished for us is all that needs to be done.  It is efficient.  If all that needs to be done has been done, then why should I loose confidence or loose my spiritual well being.  When I worry or become depressed then I should consider the words of Paul:

Romans 8:38

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angles nor principalities, nor powers nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 4:21

"and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform."

Yet another set of verses that deal with these spiritual blessings is Romans 8:26-32.

(26)  And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words; (27)  and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (28)  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29)  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; (30)  and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (31)  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32)  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

The Heavenly Places
There are two specific areas involved in understanding God's Kingdom(s).

First is the Kingdom of God.  This kingdom grouping would include all who are willingly subject to God, in Heaven or on Earth.

Second is the Kingdom of Heaven.  This kingdom grouping would include the empires that God may have ordained on earth at any particular time.  The Kingdom of Heaven can again be broken into three groupings.

1.     There was the Theocratic Kingdom.  That was the time when earthly rule was exercised by divinely appointed leaders, judges, and patriarchs.

2.     There is the predicted Kingdom of Israel on the Earth.  That kingdom is predicted in the Old Testament, announced by John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles.  That kingdom was rejected by the leaders and elders of Israel (Matthew 16:21; 27:22-25) and was put on hold being replaced for a time with The Mystery of the Church.

3.     The final realization of this Kingdom, when Christ will sit on the king's throne and rule, will not happen until the millennium.  So in this verse we would be missing the point of the text if we tried to see these blessings as having taken place in one of these kingdoms.  Instead these blessings take place in the Heavenly (places).

Heaven can also be broken down into three revealed heavens.  The first and second heavens are not spoken of in the Scriptures, but the third is and thus makes place for the first and second.

1.    It is thought that the First Heaven must be a reference to those places in the atmosphere of Earth.  There are references in the Scriptures of the "fouls of heaven (Hosea 2:18)" and the "clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13)."

2.    The Second Heaven is thought to be the stellar heavens, the abode of the planets and the stars (Genesis 1:14-18).

3.    The Third Heaven then is the abode of God.  One purpose of the Church Age (the Mystery) is to populate the third heaven with individuals who choose to love God with their own will, through the Grace that is bestowed through belief in Jesus Christ.

Our text "the Heavenly" does not refer to the first, second, or third heaven physically, but instead, reflects the communion of the God head (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) that exists in the third heaven, and refers to the association of believers and Jesus Christ.  It exists anywhere there is communion between believers and Christ.  We could not really refer to it as a place, but as a sphere of relationship.  It extends from the third Heaven to the spirit of the believers.  Being "Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ," becomes a definition of a very special communion that does not exist in any other relationship.  These blessings take place as part of a dynamic fellowship between the believer and Jesus Christ.  That communion brings with it these very special eternal blessings.  This relationship is often spoken of as "The rich association of God, His institutions, and His people."  There in the Heavenly Places we find "the Kingdom of God," where all are willing subjects of the Eternal God.


Footnotes:

[1] Douglas B. MacCorkle, God's Special Secret, MacCorkle Bible Ministries, Inc., Cocoa Beach, Fl, 1993, (footnote 13, page 62)

 

THE VISUALIZED TEXT - "Blessed by the Father's Gift of Every Spiritual Blessing to Every Believer," 1:3

(1:3)
Blessing be
to (Praise be to)
     the God
and Father
         
of
               our Lord Jesus Christ,
          who
                has blessed us
                  
with every spiritual blessing
                   
in the heavenly places
                            
in Christ.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - "Blessed by the Father's Gift of Every Spiritual Blessing to Every Believer," 1:3

(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,"
1.    What does it mean to bless or be blessed?
        Def.: To honor as Holy.

2.    What are "Blessings?"
        In this verse it is Paul who praises God for the wonderful "blessings" that He has bestowed upon us. These blessings, or good gifts, reflect the holy character of God and His love toward those who believe.
3.    How does one "bless" God?
        Blessing God would be the act of proclaiming His holiness through word or deed. Telling Him and telling the world about His character brings Him great glory.
4.    What is the significance of the fact that we can bestow blessings upon God?
        It is a wonderful thing that we can bless or give blessings to God. His relationship to the believer is a family relationship. God loves to be loved by His children - It bring Him great joy.
5.    Why "Praise to the Father?"
        He is the One who deserves our praise even if He did nothing to or for us. However He has chosen to place upon His children ever spiritual blessing and for that Paul praises Him - and so he should.
6.    Why is "God, the Father," defined as "The Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ?"
        This is God the Father's official title or name. He is the Father in relationship to the Son; He, through His Holy Spirit, is the Father of His Son Jesus; and He is God - God of all, including His Son.
7.    Who has blessed us?
        Specifically God the Father.
8.    Who are the "us?"
        Specifically the believers in Ephesus (or in a larger sense the believers of the Asian church circuit). Generally we can apply these words to all believers by way of secondary application.
9.    How has He blessed us?
        According to this verse, believers are blessed by ALL spiritual blessings.
10.  How many Spiritual blessings were bestowed upon us?
        ALL (Chafer's list includes 33 known spiritual blessings)
11.  What are "Spiritual Blessings?"
        Blessings that come to us apart from our earthly existence. They are truths granted and proclaimed in the Heavenly sphere and are true whether we acknowledge them or not.
12.  Why "in Christ" and not "in Jesus?"
        The emphasis on Christ is an eternal emphasis. Pre-incarnate - Deity - God brought blessings rather than the emphasis of Christ's human activities.

BIBLE REFERENCE - "Blessed by the Father's Gift of Every Spiritual Blessing to Every Believer," 1:3

(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,"
    2 Corinthians 1:3 - Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ
    Ephesians 1:20; 2:6 - When the blessings took place
    Ephesians 3:10 - The Reason for the blessings
    Ephesians 6:12; Philippians 3:20 - Background on the reasons for the blessings


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2014-09-24 1754