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Powerfully Good Words

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

Are you confused about 'blessings'? Are they things or thoughts, words or works? In this verse, 'praise', 'blessed' and 'blessing' all come from the same Greek root word from which we derive 'eulogy'. Simply put, a blessing is a 'well word' or 'good word'. We can use it to praise God, but also to describe God's words spoken over us - 'blessings'. Of course, when God speaks He always acts, and so the words of blessing become synonymous with God's amazingly kind actions towards us because God's words have great power.

It should be obvious that we should speak well of God, because of who He is and what He has done: and we certainly owe Him praise. But just to be mechanically religious is not what God wants: He is looking for grateful hearts which overflow with thankfulness (2 Corinthians 4:15). So, Paul instructs the Ephesian believers that they must declare how good the Lord has been - as a response to understanding that He has already given to us every spiritual blessing (that is the blessing which results from the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ).

What are these blessings? Firstly, God has declared us 'not guilty' as we repent of our sin and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus (Romans 5:9). Then, God has pronounced a personal welcome into His Kingdom (John 3:16), a place in His family (John 1:12) and a home in heaven (Luke 23:43)! Even though we do not yet experience a sinless paradise, God's Word assures us that one day we will be with Him for ever (Hebrews 10:14). And in the meantime, we have the power of God to strengthen faith and weaken cares; the liberty of forgiveness, and peace with God. Romans 8:32 says "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"

Is your life full of informed and heartfelt praise? This apostolic command is powerful talking from God - and it is personal for you. What is preventing your praise? Self-obsession, refusal to trust the Lord, listening to Satan's lies and complaining against God top the list. And yet, praising God for His loving truth is the antidote to the disease of self-centredness (Psalm 42:5,11). Praise is an obedient response to the facts of God's grace and mercy towards us in Christ. As we praise the Lord we recognise ourselves as sinners saved by grace, and Jesus as our Saviour. After that, evangelistic testimony is just an extension of the overflow from a grateful heart to a love-starved world. Now it's your turn. Thank Him in private, and then don't forget to praise Him in public! It's not just personal piety; the workplace desperately needs news of Somebody who keeps His Word and will do all that He says!

Father God. I am amazed that You should have spoken Your love into my life, and provided me with every good thing according to Your Word. Forgive me for expressing so little gratitude to You and so even less praise in public. Please show me even more clearly how much You have loved me, through the death of Jesus, and how much of Your grace and peace You want to give me – so that I can be all You want me to be in a sin-sick world. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams