Redeemed by Christ (Ephesians 1:7-10)


2012-04-29


Ephesians 1:7-10 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Redeemed in Christ | Ephesians 1:7-10

We have been speaking of the spiritual blessings of those who are in Christ found in verses 3-14. The past two weeks we have spoken of the blessings of being chosen by God before the foundation of the world and of being adopted into God’s family. Today we will look at the blessing of redemption in Christ and specifically two aspects of redemption –

-The payment of redemption

-The purpose of redemption

First, we’ll look at

  1. The payment of redemption

 

The verbs in verses 7 and 8 tell us two things about this thing called redemption – that if we are in Christ, we have it, and that God gave it to us.

As we said before, verses 3-14 are one long sentence so there is no period after verse 6, but rather a comma between “in the Beloved” in verse 6 and “in Him” in verse 7.

[Redemption is our possession in Christ]

Verse 7 tells us that if we are in Christ, redemption is our present possession. “In Him we have redemption.” The tense and mood of the verse tell us that redemption is something we currently possess as our own. We have redemption in Christ. Paul’s letter to the Colossians begins with the same affirmation, Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We know from other passages that redemption is not only our present possession but also our future hope. Eph 4:30 refers to a future day upon Christ’s return when redemption will be finalized. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 

 

[Redemption is something we have received from God in Christ]

Verses 7 and 8 tells us also from whom we received redemption. It says “according to the riches of his grace, which he [God the Father from verse 3] lavished  on us.” The mood and tense of the verb tell us that God lavished it on us in the past and that its effects continue into the present. The verb lavished can also be translated “made extremely rich.” God lavished redemption on us like rich parents lavish gifts on their children. The word lavished may have been used in conjunction with “the riches of his grace” to emphasize the nature of redemption as a gift of the grace of God.

But what is this redemption God has given us by his grace?

[Redemption is payment of a ransom price by Christ’s death]

The word translated “redemption” in verse 7 is defined as deliverance or freedom from captivity or slavery on the payment of a price, in a word a ransom. A ransom is a fee or price paid to set someone free from captivity, bondage or slavery of some kind.

In OT times, as we read earlier, God was said to have redeemed and ransomed Israel out of slavery in Egypt through the slaying of the Passover lamb and the application of its blood over the door post of their homes, which when seen by the death angel he passed over. The lamb’s life was the ransom paid for the redemption of the first born of each Israelite family. This, as we know, was to foreshadow the redeeming, ransoming work of Jesus, of whom Paul referred in his letter to the Corinthians when he wrote “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor. ??)

In modern times, we’re more familiar with a ransom paid to set someone free from the bondage of a kidnapping. We say that a ransom was the price paid for their release. Redemption from captivity by modern kidnapping is by the payment of a ransom price.

But we’re talking about more than money when it comes to the ransom paid to free us from captivity to sin. Jesus paid the ransom price with his own life. Verse 7 tells us it was “through his blood” we have redemption. The ransom price paid for our redemption was another human life, Jesus’ life through the shedding of his blood unto death on the cross.

[Redemption is forgiveness of sins]

Why did Christ have to forfeit his life as a ransom payment for our lives? We are told in the next phrase, “the forgiveness of trespasses…”

The word translated forgiveness here means pardon or cancellation of an obligation, a punishment, or guilt.

The word translated trespasses here means sins, which is disregard or violation of a known law. Sin is the deliberate crossing of a known line. It is what psychologist James Dobson called in children “deliberate disobedience” or “putting their big hairy toe over the line.” The sin of Adam was a deliberate crossing of a known line, deliberate disobedience. We have inherited from him the sin nature that makes us sinners. “As in Adam all die.” (1 Cor 15.22).

 

Jesus forfeited his life to pay the price of our pardon for sins, to cancel the debt we owe to God, to cancel the punishment we deserve for our sin, to pardon the guilt of our sin. But why was such drastic action required to pay the price of our redemption?

John Stott in his book The Cross of Christ deals extensively with what he calls the problem of forgiveness. The problem can be stated in the form of a question, “Why doesn’t God simply forgive our sins like we forgive each other’s sins?” As some of you know, there are other religions in which the gods or God simply forgives sins without the payment of a ransom price. No one has to die to accomplish forgiveness of sins.

But in Christianity, there are at least two reasons someone has to die. God, when he commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, warned that death would be the result if they disobeyed. He laid down the law and because God is just, he had to enforce that law. They had to die because they had broken God’s law.

The second reason, or perhaps another part of the first reason, is that God is holy. To him, sin is not just a personal foul like our sins against one another. It is what some call “cosmic rebellion.” When we sin against one another we hurt each other either individually or as a group. At most, we can hurt an entire church. However, sin against God is much more serious. Because he is both our creator and law-giver, our sin is a crime against the whole creation.

Sin against God is like the crime of treason against a state or nation. Treason is considered such a serious crime because it is a crime against the well-being of society as a whole. In a kingdom, betraying the king who is the government, threatens the well-being of the whole nation. In a republic, waging war against the government or joining with or offering assistance to enemies of the government threatens the well-being of the entire state or nation and is therefore a crime against every person in it. For example, if a person leaks military secrets to our enemies, they threaten the well-being of every person in the nation and thus commit treason.

Treason is a very serious crime in the U.S., and therefore the death penalty is the most common punishment.  http://www.criminallawyerdenton.com/article-treason.aspx  Because of his justice and holiness, God cannot simply pardon a person who commits what amounts to treason against God’s entire creation and its government, which is God himself. As with Adam and Eve the penalty for the crime of treason against God is death. God’s holiness exposes our sin. God’s wrath opposes our sin. And God cannot act contrary to his nature.

That leads to the question of how God can pardon our sins if they are so serious. How can God achieve satisfaction against sin? How can his wrath against sin be appeased? That is what we call the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, which is redemption through the blood of Christ.

Since a death penalty had to be paid to appease God’s wrath against sin, God in Christ, provided a way for the ransom to be paid by way of substitution, one life for another. God’s love offered sinners a way of escape by providing for the substitutionary death of Jesus to fulfill the demands of God’s law and to appease his wrath.

God could have demanded a personal atonement from each sinner, but sinners could never have paid the ransom price. One writer says it this way,

Sin against an infinite God must be paid infinitely. That is why payment for our sin must be infinite. There are only two options for infinite payment. Either a finite creature (man) must pay for his sin for an infinite amount of time, or an infinite being (Jesus) must pay for it once for all men for all time. There are no other options. A sin against an infinitely holy God requires and equally infinite satisfaction as payment, and even an eternity in hell will not dissipate God’s infinite, righteous wrath against sin. Only a divine being could withstand the infinite wrath of a holy God against our sin. It requires an equally infinite being as a substitute for mankind to satisfy God’s wrath. Jesus, as the God-man, fits the bill perfectly. http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-paid-penalty.html

Jesus, the God-man was our perfect substitute. As a man he should pay for our sins. As God he could pay for our sins.

Let’s look at a few other verses that affirm this doctrine.

Isaiah 53:6 tells us that our sins were laid on Christ  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  

John 1:29 and Heb 9.28 tell us that he bore our sins. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

…so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. 

 

Several other verses tell us that he gave his life for sinners.

(Mark 10:45 (ESV) For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Galatians 1:4 (ESV) who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

And Romans 3:23-25 tells us that Jesus’ substitutionarydeath paid the ransom price and that it is received by faith.“ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation [or appeasement of God’s wrath] by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Though we had much to say about the nature of redemption, the main point of this  passage is God’s purpose in redemption. God’s purpose was to unite all things in Christ.  Look at vv 8-10

  1. The purpose of redemption

8 …in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

The translation does not make it as clear as it could be. The main verbs are “he purposed” and “to unite.” God purposed to unite all things in Christ. The tense and mood tell us that God purposed something in the past with consequences that continue in the present and that purpose was to unite all things in Christ. And perhaps it would be more comprehensive to say that all things will be RE-united to God in Christ.

Col 1:16 reminds us that Christ participated in God’s perfect creation before the fall of man into sin. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things were created through him and for him. 

 

And Col 1:19-20 agrees with verse 10 that God has accomplished the reconciliation of all things to himself through Christ. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 

And that purpose was fulfilled at just the right time in history in Christ. In Mark 1:15 Jesus announced, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” And in Galatians 4:4-9 Paul wrote, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons…So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God… how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Through Jesus’ substitutionary death, God has redeemed his people – has paid the ransom price – once and for all to set us free from the things that held us in bondage, and that redemption will be finalized when Christ comes again to finally re-unite all things in heaven and earth to God.

What difference does this make to you today?

It tells you that sin is serious to God. It is like the crime of treason and demands the death penalty. It drives you to find a way of escape from the wrath of God and bondage to sin.

It tells you that you cannot pay the penalty yourself, but that God has provided a way for the price of my sin and your sin to be paid. It is by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, the only one who should and could pay the ransom price we owe to God. John 3:36 (ESV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

It tells you that God will finally triumph over evil. The death of Christ has paid the ransom price, and its effects are already experienced in our hearts by faith, but its final fulfillment will be seen when Christ returns for the redeemed and all his enemies are put under his feet. It gives you hope for an even better future.

 

 

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