Our second lesson will cover a hymn of praise that Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3-14. In the original Greek, these 12 verses are only one sentence! That's quite the sentence! At the very beginning of that sentence, in verse 3, we see one word show up 3 times: blessed/blessing.
If you were to trim away everything else from this very long sentence you would get “Blessed [be] God.” So how does Paul take such a simple sentence and stretch it into 12 verses? “Blessed be the God . . . who blessed us with every spiritual blessing,” and the rest of the hymn simply details what those blessings are by examining the blessings that God has given us from one member of the trinity to the next.
Paul is making a very clear connection here between praising God (blessed be God) and what God has done for us (who blessed us with every spiritual blessing). Our praise to God should flow from an understanding of all that went into our salvation. We often think of our salvation in very simplistic terms “God forgave me of my sins so now I can go to heaven and not hell.” That’s a great foundation! But we need to build on that foundation with a deeper, richer understanding of what God has done and is doing for us (cf. Hebrews 5:11-6:3).
Notice that these blessings are called "spiritual blessings." Often when we hear blessings, we think in terms of physical blessings. Too often spiritual blessings are thought of as second rate. But Paul got excited about what God had done for him in the unseen, spiritual realm. In this hymn of praise, Paul glories in the blessings of God the Father (vv 4-6), God the Son (vv 7-12), and God the Holy Spirit (vv 13-14). When was the last time you praised God for the spiritual blessings God has given you?
Food for Thought
Read through the rest of this passage and identify the blessings that Paul is thankful for.
Why is it that spiritual blessings are often thought of as “second rate?” How can we fix such wrong thinking?