The Divine Eulogy

There are few businesses in this world that are as much a sure bet for success than the funeral business. Entering into this time proven profession guarantees a constant flow of transactions with little need for changing your business plan. There is someone somewhere mourning the loss of a loved one and providing comfort during this mourning is the only thing you need to get right. Funerals serve as a time for friends and families to pay their respects to the life and legacy of someone they love. One way that this respect is shown is when mourners verbally express the honour they wish to attribute to the deceased. These words of devotion comes in the form of a eulogy. People offer their praise in having the privilege to have known the deceased individual and often attribute kind words in an encomium for what they have accomplished in life. But while we associate eulogies with funerals, in reality, whenever we give praises to anyone for their accomplishments in their honour, we are giving a eulogy on their behalf. The difference is obviously that they are alive to accept (or reject) the praises sent their way. We see eulogies during award shows in the form of tributes to those who have lived a life worthy of praise. It also manifests itself every year we spend a moment remembering our dead who sacrifices their lives going to battle to defend our country. We hold ceremonies, sing songs, write poems and make films to praise them for their actions during times of trouble and to tell the story of their sacrifice on behalf of their country and those they love.

Paul’s Beatitudes

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)

There is One however who is to be praised and deserving of a divine eulogy. The apostle Paul recognizes this and at the beginning of this epistle to the Ephesians will express this praise to God in the following 14 verses. The opening content of the epistle is a release of an exuberant display of praises that bursts forth, not towards men, but toward God the Father. To offer up this blessing was to demonstrate an outpouring of gratitude in thankfulness for blessings that God had granted to these believers and to Paul himself. The great God Yahweh is a God of blessing who merits our praises and worship for giving unmerited favour towards sinners. The following verses are the actions of God towards His people and in return the proper response to this grace is for His people to worship! What is to follow is a declaration of divine blessings that are intricately linked to the Saviour. What blessings have we received because of the finished work of Jesus Christ[1]?  Paul expresses this dedication and revelation with an extensive 202-word sentence that would cause your writing professor to be aghast, but in this instance, believers turn to praise. The following verses are a full-orb definition of the term salvation. Paul here is going to express the full extent of the very plan and work of salvation to bring his readers to the glorious praise to our Almighty God.  He summarizes all the following blessings (4-14) in saying that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (v.3). Notice first in this expression that Paul is not hoping that his reader will bless Yahweh but that He is in fact blessed. The term “blessed” (εύλοϒητόϛ) is where we get our term “eulogy” and is defined as invoking praise upon another. He is praised for His work while believers are praised because of His work. The thrice repeated term “blessed” in v.3 certainly seems to demonstrate that Paul wants to really place emphasis on this term in an almost poetic fashion.  The substance of the blessing is a sweeping expression with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. These spiritual blessings include election, holiness, adoption, redemption, forgiveness, hope, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit. The heavenly places is an expression that will be used throughout Ephesians, but in this instance, it doesn’t seem to be focusing on the location of heaven as much as expressing the nature of the blessings of salvation. Election, sonship, redemption, or forgiveness were a part of Old Testament Israel’s blessings from Yahweh, but in the new age, the heavenly realm has infiltrated the world and in return has brought eternal blessings in a very real way. These New Covenant blessings are where the shadows and types under the former covenant were pointing to. We are a new creation in Christ to receive the blessings of the hope brought by the One who brought in this New Creation. Much like the blessed man in the beatitudes, Paul is shining forth the heavenly means by which a man or woman may know they are blessed, in contrast to the earthly. What we don’t want to miss and what will be the source of these blessings is that they are found in the Saviour, in Christ!

Divine Sonship

I take a moment to note that some have argued from this text that the expression God the Father of our Lord Jesus signifies that Jesus cannot be divine but a creation from the Father. Of course, this is false teaching that finds its root throughout history through a denial of the deity of the Lord Jesus. The sonship of the Lord Jesus is in question. It is true that the term “son of” without a modifier generally refers to a biological son. in this case, however, we are talking about a title. The title “son of” is used in a metaphorical sense (son of a bow, sons of thunder). It also takes on an indicative reference of who has trained an individual or a reference to your master (Son of the devil) or can even signify your trade (sons of the singers). the term “son of” can also determine the heir of a promise and it is not always biological. The Sons of Abraham were heirs by faith not by physical hereditary entitlement (Galatians 3:7). The expression son of God can refer to angels, Adam, Israel collectively, NT Covenant people and even David. These would probably be better seen as types and shadows of the fulfillment that is found in Christ. This expression in relation to Jesus, while referring to His deity, is used in various ways and it is linked with His Sonship to rule as the promised Davidic King (Luke 1:31-33, John 1:49 etc.). In other words, the Son of God title is really a Christological title often in the context of the heir of David and promised Messiah. It isn’t addressing whether He is divine but that He is the true Israel and the true faithful Son, yet His deity is affirmed throughout scripture (John 1:1; 1:14; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3; 10-12 etc.).  

Now we move to the actual essence of the eulogy…

[1] These blessings are varied since in his 2nd epistle to the Corinthians, Paul seems to focus upon God as the comforter during affliction (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) while Peter seems to focus upon God as the provider of the new birth (1 Peter 1:3-5).


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