The following outline is from the Reformation Study Bible, 2015 edition (p. 2090).
- II. Praise to God for Blessings in Christ (1:3-14)
- A. Elected by the Father (1:3-6)
- B. Redeemed by the Son (1:7-10)
- C. Sealed by the Spirit (1:11-14)
While Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence in the Greek, the ESV has helpfully broken it up into smaller sentences (though thankfully these are not nearly as short as in some modern versions). I’ll be going sentence by sentence.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.Eph. 1:3-4
Paul begins by blessing the Father. Oh that my own mind would reflect on what the Father has done such that I bless him! Even just thinking through the meaning of v.3-4 is praiseworthy enough! Let’s explore.
First, it says, “[the Father] has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”. How many “spiritual blessings”? All of them! Every last one. What is meant by “in the heavenly places”? The study note in the RSB is helpful here. We are together raised up in Christ, spiritually, and seated with him where he is (the heavenlies). How amazing! I am with Christ, spiritually present at all times.
Not only this, but the Father has blessed me with every spiritual blessing, why? Because “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” This predestination of God before the world was is the foundation of all those spiritual blessings. It was the will of God to bless me with those spiritual blessings since before time, in eternity past. How humbling! Before my birth, before I had opportunity to do either good of bad, God chose me to be united with Christ! Why? So that I “should be holy and blameless before him.”
Once again we return to what the will of God is: the sanctification of his people. His choosing of the elect is to the end that they should be “holy and blameless.” One day, Christ’s bride will join him at the wedding feast, clothed in pure white linen (see Revelation 19:6-8). Oh that I may be found ready and wearing a wedding garment when the time comes! (Matt. 22:1-14)