3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
- Paul wishes God the Father to be blessed, who has blessed us.
- Interestingly, the way this is worded, the Father is the God of Jesus Christ.
- Jesus is not simply my Lord or anyone’s Lord individually. He is our Lord.
- Notice this: it is the Father who has blessed us in Christ.
- The Father does not plan to bless us, He has blessed us. Whatever blessings Paul is about to spell out, they are already granted to us in full.
- We have been blessed in Christ. In other words, all of these blessings are packaged or hidden or contained in the gift of Christ to us.
- We are blessed with every spiritual blessing. There are not some blessings which are for the spiritual elite, but normal Christians have only the standard blessings. We have all been blessed with every spiritual blessing together.
- We are not promised future blessing, but are currently bestowed with every spiritual blessing in the now. We have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing.
- Our current blessing is in the heavenly places.
- God the Father chose us, not just me as an individual. It may be difficult to maintain community in a nation full of rugged individualists, but it is not primarily for us to choose whether or not to be a fellowship. God chose us together in Christ before the foundation of the cosmos.
- God chose us in Him. We are not chosen apart from Christ. We are gathered as a chosen people into Christ, and if someone is not in Christ, they are not part of the chosen.
- There is a similarity between the way He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, and the way he chose us in Christ. The Father chose us in Christ just the same way as He blessed us with every spiritual blessing. The same dynamic or animus was somehow at work.
- The world, or cosmos, had a founding. It did not exist forever before our time, it had an inception.
- God preexisted the cosmos. He was thinking, acting, deciding things, before the cosmos was founded.
- God knew we would come to exist before the foundation of the world.
- God knew that we would have a problem with unholiness and blame before the foundation of the world.
- Holiness and Blamelessness are things that are bestowed on the community of believers. No individual can claim holiness and blamelessness if the whole lot of us are not holy and blameless together. We are to become holy and blameless before Him. Holiness and blamelessness are community qualities.
- We are holy and blameless before Him. Others may not see it. We ourselves may not see it. What God counts holy and blameless we may not apprehend. But God has ordained that we should be holy and blameless in His eyes, and that is what is important.
- The particular local fellowship full of mature and immature believers, full of those who are successful and unsuccessful at their spiritual walk, are counted together as holy and blameless before Him.
- It is not by our choice or decision or initiative that we would be holy and blameless before Him. It is by His choice and His initiative, before the foundation of the world.
- God’s teleology for the universe, His end-purpose, was for our holiness and blamelessness. The creation of the universe itself is seen here as a minor backdrop to our redemption!
- How can it be that we have the power to bless God? What is the idea here?
- I think it means, that we praise or worship God. It is interesting that this is counted a blessing to Him. We have it in our power to bless God Himself. It is considered by various commentators, including F.F. Bruce and John Stott, to be a doxology, or praise. However, it is very interesting that this is the same word that Paul addresses to God as God apparently addresses to us. “Eulogetos” be the Father, who has “eulogia” us. We get the word “eulogy” from this. It means, to speak a good word over someone. So perhaps we have also been praised by God. Perhaps the immense value of the savior’s precious blood is His way of praising our value to the watching majesties of heaven. Nevertheless, God has spoken a good word over us, as Paul speaks a good word over God here. When we speak a good word, it is merely a word, but when God speaks a good word, it has such substance and power that it can create worlds and sustain life. So the difference in words is not the word, but who is speaking.
- Is the Father Jesus Christ’s God?
- Every English translation I’ve checked words it this way. If you think about it, Jesus treats it this way in the gospels. On the cross, He said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Perhaps the members of the trinity, each being God and yet retaining their own personal identity, consider each other to be God to one another. Yet there does seem to be the idea of a hierarchy of authority inherent in the very idea of “Father” and “Son”. Jesus does appear to be very subservient to the Father (John 5:19).
- What is the difference between a regular blessing and a spiritual blessing?
- I think that as humans we have this quite reversed. We think that earthly blessings, visible blessings, tangible blessings, are the real blessings. We even think that with the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit produces faith and love, we discount it as being mere doctrine or something. When the Spirit pours out compassionate merciful love on sinners, we think it is unimportant. We want spectacular obvious miracles. The book of Ephesians, not to mention 1 John and many others, exalts the importance of the spiritual. The balancing of justice on account of Jesus’ blood. Spiritual blessings are substantial blessings. Spiritual poverty is what keeps us unjoyful, blocked and unsatisfied regardless of our station. Spiritual blessings directly bring joy and contentment regardless of circumstance. Paul was obviously exploding with joy as he wrote this letter while chained to a Roman guard after years of imprisonment.
God has blessed us. There are not some elite among us who have more spiritual blessings than others. It doesn’t say that. God has blessed all of us with every spiritual blessing. All of us have all of them. We have great riches in the heavenly places. These spiritual blessings are in Christ. I think that Christ actually embodies our blessings. He stands on the throne of God a lamb as if slain – He is the great authority of the universe, who proudly wears His costly mercy for us. His heart beats with sacrificial love for us – a love made easily visible and manifest. His throne is a throne of mercy and grace, and so all that is His is ours regardless of how little we deserve it. He has earned it with His blood and He lavishes blessing according to His love and mercy and justice which has been satisfied with His very blood.
We are chosen in Him before the foundation of the cosmos. Before He created the world, He thought deeply about us. He loved us. The cosmos is merely a backdrop for us. The spiritual blessings are greater!
It is the whole lot of us that He intends to be holy and blameless. There cannot be a few mature and successful while others are struggling with unholiness and blame. As I always say, if there is a little drop of pee in your coffee, the whole cup is disgusting. If all are not holy and blameless, the whole lot of us together are unholy and blameful. Yet how can we expect to be a congregation where all are holy and blameless? Is it not that we all have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace? Paul does not go on in this context to describe a holiness and blamelessness born of our own behavior. He goes on to describe lavish grace at the cost of His blood. If we are to all be holy and blameless because of our holy and blameless behaviors, thoughts, and lifestyle, we could never get everyone on board with that. One person or a scant few people might maintain that veneer for a short time, but not the whole lot of us. I would be dependent upon my teenage son’s lifestyle in order to be part of a holy and blameless group – and that makes me want to be mean and controlling with him, not kind and patient and compassionate. No one measures up in themselves to real holiness and complete blamelessness. We are holy and blameless together through Christ’s blood. It is our common faith, our common partaking of the Lord’s table, that causes us to be holy and blameless together.
Furthermore, we are to be holy and blameless before Him. You may not be holy and blameless in my eyes, because I so clearly see your faults. I may not even see myself as holy and blameless because I know my own secrets. But we are not called to be holy and blameless in our own eyes. We are called to be holy and blameless before Him. So people may look at our little ragtag congregation, and all they see are our faults. We have a past. We are old. Some of us drink. Some of us struggle with porn or even perversion. We lack credentials. We have hurts and habits. We are not so fun. We are stuck in a rut somehow. We have bad music. Whatever. Probably it is all true. We’re not going to turn people away who need grace simply because they would soil us! Is the church really a place that says, your presence soils my group’s holiness, so we should kick you out? If we believe holiness and blamelessness is born of our own repentance and behavior, that would be the right attitude. But we are not defined as a group by these judgements. It could never work that way! In God’s eyes, we are all together holy and blameless, and that is what really counts. It is God’s perspective which is the true perspective, and His lavish grace is what is going to allow Him entrance into our midst to heal us and change us and keep us. He has made us, in one sweeping show of justice and mercy, holy and blameless before Him, and no other opinion really matters.