Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:3-6

Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίοῦ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ καθὼς ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς ἐν αὐτῷ πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἠμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ. Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ, just as he selected us in him before founding the world for us to be holy and blameless before him in love predetermining us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ in him according to the desire of his will for the praise of his glorious grace that he blessed us in the one being loved.

Paul gives a blessing to the God and Father of Jesus Christ in verse 3, because of the gracious work that he had done in Paul and the receipients, which is mentioned in verse 6. The God of Jesus Christ is identified as the one who blessed Paul and the recipients, and he blessed them with every spiritual blessing in the sphere of the heavens through Christ. The use of the dative for spiritual blessing is a thing of possession, thus indicating that God gave them something to possess. The use of the dative for the latter is of agency, which indicates that God blessed them through Christ. God is the one who blessed them in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly sphere through Christ.

Paul continues, and he ties the blessing through Christ in with God’s choosing. The use of the conjunction καθὼς identifies an analogy or comparison. Paul is making a point about God’s blessing by referring to God’s choosing. Before we look at the comparison being made, let’s first look at God’s choosing so that we can fully understand what’s being said.

God chose Paul and the recipients in him–Christ. The dative ἐν αὐτῷ could be association or sphere. If it is association, then we would translate it “in association with him,” thus indicating that God chose Jesus and because we are associated with Jesus we were also chosen. If it is sphere, then we would translate it “in the sphere of him,” thus indicating that it is in Christ himself that we are chosen. Sphere best meets the idea of choosing: God chooses those in something, those who are in a particular realm, and that realm is Christ. And God chose them in the sphere of Christ before the laying of the foundation of the world. What did he choose Paul and his recipients for? He chose for them to be holy and blameless before him in love. He chose them to be holy and blameless in what? In love. The dative ἐν ἀγάπῃ is also of sphere; Paul and the recipients were chosen for the purpose that they would be holy and blameless in the realm of love.

God also predestined Paul and the recipients for adoption as children (literally, sons). The participle here is contemporaneous with the aorist verb ἐξελέξατο. God did not choose them and then predestine them; rather, God did both at the same time, and again, he did it through Jesus Christ. The genitive διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ reveals that God predestined us for himself in Jesus Christ, because it is spatial. They were predestined for adoption as God’s sons in Jesus Christ. This predestination is in accordance with the approval of the will of God. What for? For the purpose of the praise of God’s glorious grace. This grace was freely given to Paul and the recipients in the Beloved, in the sphere of the one being loved, that is in Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the one who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in the sphere of Christ, just as he chose us in Christ before the laying of the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in the sphere of love, he also contemporaneously predestined us for adoption as sons in Jesus Christ for him in accordance with the approval of his will for the praise of his glorious grace that he has freely given to us in the sphere of the one being loved.

Jesus Christ is essential when it comes to grace and God. God gives us his grace in Christ. We are adopted as God’s children in Christ. We are chosen as God’s in Christ. We are blessed in Christ. We are predestined in Christ. It is in the sphere of Christ that all of the spiritual blessings in heaven come from God. In the person of Jesus Christ is where God meets us and blesses us. We are blessed because we are in Christ. We ought to honor God for this blessing, as Paul did in the epistle.

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