You have probably heard or read one. A eulogy is reserved for the dead to speak of their deeds in life. Those admirable traits and praiseworthy moments, if there are any, help us to remember the person for who they were. Some have said that life might be a little sweeter if we daily said the things that we typically reserve for funerals.
The apostle Paul thought so. In Ephesians 1:3-10, Paul wrote a eulogy to God. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:3a). The word “blessed” (makarioi), which means “happy,” was used in the beatitudes (Matt. 5:311), but it is not the word used in Ephesians 1:3. A different word is used, eulogeo, a word from which we get our English word “eulogy,” which means to speak well of or to celebrate with praises. Paul wishes to eulogize or to speak well of God. This is something that we read a lot in the books of poetry (Psa. 146:1-10).
Paul begins his eulogy to the living God praising Him for the blessings that He has shown us (Eph. 1:3-4). He speaks of all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, mentioning that we were blessed even before the foundation of the world (Psa. 90:1-2; Deut. 33:27). We are reminded to praise God because He adopted us (Eph. 1:5). This is a repeating theme for Paul (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5). We are grateful to God that He grafted us into a promise that we had no part in through natural birth but through spiritual birth. We should praise God because He extends grace (Eph. 1:6). We were bestowed this grace through the Beloved, speaking of Christ, once again highlighting the Son’s part in the eulogy. We should praise God because He redeems and forgives (Eph. 1:7-8a). This again is attributed to His grace that was “lavished on us” (1:8a). From this word we get our word “issue,” like the military issuing gear to a solder. With the prefix on this word it latterly reads “super-issued.” We have been given abundant grace to our redemption and forgiveness. How can we keep from praising Him? We should praise God because He has made known His will and all that was accomplished in Christ (1:8a-10). He didn’t have to, but He laid everything out and essentially says, “This is what I have done for you.” We should praise Him because we have received an inheritance (Eph. 1:11-12). We’re not just His children but children with an inheritance. Finally, we should praise Him because He sent the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). That act was done as a pledge and “with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession.” The work of the Holy Spirit in the early church was for our redemption.
It is clear that we are blessed beyond our own understanding. One day we will be able to eulogize Him face to face. Until then, let’s keep these in our hearts and minds.