Eph. 1:3   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 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.


While many of our translations say “Blessed be…God,” the understanding here is that God is “blessworthy.” In other words, this is a praise to God, and Paul is giving us the reasons that God is “blessworthy.” This is not some kind of apologetic for God, but is an invitation to the readers to join in praising and extolling the work of God. This is a model for prayer that helps us lift our eyes beyond ourselves and the things of this world, and to see God’s invitation to participate in the unfolding plan. 

God is “blessworthy” because of holiness. The unfolding of God’s plan is a revelation that all of humanity is invited to become “holy and blameless before him in love.” Only God can make us holy people, through holy love. At the same time, we are to actively participate through virtues in that holy love and a life of faith, thereby remaining saints throughout all of life. It is this synergistic activity, God and man combined, which results in a gift from God, through God, that transforms in holiness. For this we bless God, for we acknowledge the “blessworthiness” of the gift of holiness. 


The vision is of young girls with long dresses, long hair covered by a bonnet, and not a stitch of make-up. It’s a list of things that we don’t do because we are “holiness people” and somehow not thinking that this is anything that is “blessworthy” because it feels more like deprivation. Sadly, we have come to define holiness by what we don’t do, rather than what we embrace. Instead of praising God for the gift of holy transformation we drag our feet and think it is only something for a few individuals who have been called to this thing called “holiness.” But if this is the case, then we don’t truly understand holiness. 

Holiness is “blessworthy” because it is such a miracle of transformation. God is holy and desires that all of humanity become holy. By Christ’s assumption into human flesh, the possibility now exists for all of humanity to be made holy. If we think that we can embrace some kind of a Christian life in which we follow rules without participating with Christ, we are fooling ourselves. If we think that we can choose to live a Christian life without holiness, we are fooling ourselves even more. Christ came so that we could be sanctified and be made holy like him. This is God’s work — not our work. There is nothing about following a particular list of rules that will make me holy — but there is something important about my participation in becoming more like Christ. 

God provides the pathway in Christ and makes us holy. We continue to grow in holiness by our participation in Christ. The result may be a change in the way I dress because I choose to be more modest than I was in the past. I want people to see Christ, not me! I may become more selective about the activities that I engage in because I find it hard to participate in Christ in particular settings. God works, we participate, and what results is a synergy in which we are transformed to become more like Christ. And all of this is “blessworthy” because it is a miracle! 

It is not humble to say “I can’t be holy.” That is simply a denial of the “blessworthiness” of God’s gift for all of humanity. Bless God, and embrace the holiness of Christ which is generously placed before us. 


Lord, I bless and praise your name. I am grateful for your gift of holiness. Please, help me to live into that gift with all that I am. Amen. 


Popular posts from this blog

The Advantage of Sanctification

When Jesus Fails to Meet our Expectations

Is Christ Actually in the Church?