The Son Redeemed Believers in the Historical Past Part 1 of 3 (series: Lessons on Ephesians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

In him we have redemption through his blood

In him we have redemption through his blood

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians

By: Tom Lowe Date: 12/21/16

Lesson 3: The Son Redeemed Believers in the Historical Past (1:7-12)


Ephesians 1:7-12 (NIV)
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.


Introduction

Ephesians chapter 1 contains one of the most amazing sentences ever penned in any language. It is like a waterfall pouring from the lips of Paul as he tries to express the wonderful privileges of being a Christian. Its great theme is God’s grace. The riches of this grace have been lavished on us in Christ. They lead us, at last, to live “for the praise of His Glory” (1:12).

But here Paul takes us to the epicenter of God’s plan and sets everything else He said in its ultimate context. God has lavished His grace on us in all wisdom and understanding (1:8). Why should that be needed? The answer is breathtaking: in Jesus Christ, God has made known “the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment” (9-10).

God plans to bring this fallen world, governed by apparently random and sometimes, chaotic events and disruptions in nature and human life, into a unified cosmos over which Jesus Christ will be King. In fact, Christ’s reign has already begun. He has already ushered in the kingdom of God.

For the moment that kingdom seems small and undistinguished—like a mustard seed (Mark 4:31). But it will expand to fill the whole earth. The day will come, Paul believes, when every knee will bow before Christ and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11), either because they love Him or because they fear His power. On that day “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fatted calf together, and a little child shall lead them . . . the weaning child shall put his hand on the adders den . . . for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).


Commentary

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

“Redemption” and “the forgiveness of sins (trespasses)” are joined together in such a way as to suggest the closest possible relation, but they are not identical concepts. “Redemption” denotes a release brought about by the payment of a price. In every case, the conception is the delivering or the setting free of a man from a situation from which he himself was powerless to liberate himself, or from a penalty which he himself could never have paid. Men knew the wrongness of the life they were living; and also that they were powerless to do anything about it. They needed liberation. It was just that liberation that Jesus Christ brought. It is still true that He can liberate men from helpless slavery to the things that attract and disgust them at one and the same time. In simple terms, Jesus can still make bad men good.

But does this mean, then, that Christ has persuaded his Father to do something for us, contrary to the Father’s will, or perhaps His better judgment? Are we to envision the Son persuading the Father to give us a break? No! Paul is speaking all along about the plan of the Father! He has blessed us; he has chosen us, and in love he predestined us to be adopted sons; He has redeemed us; He has made known the mystery to us. This, says Paul, amounts to “the riches of His grace,” which He lavished upon us (1:8).

In Christ we have been delivered from the shackles of sin, from enslavement to Satan, and from all the misery associated with such enslavement. The ransom price, the means by which this release has been accomplished,

is “his (i.e., Christ’s) blood”. This sacrificial term calls to mind the blood of animals offered to God in the Old Testament. Here the word represents the death of Christ in its character as a sacrifice for sin and is a reminder to us of the infinite price God paid for our redemption. Our deliverance was effected through the blood of Christ; that is, through Christ’s atoning death, which was “in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished upon us (1:8).”

If there was one thing which men knew it was the sense of sin and the dread of God. Jesus changed all that. He taught men, not to hate, but to love God. Because Jesus came into the world, men, even in their sin, discovered God’s love.

“Redemption” is through His blood. Jesus said, “The son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). In the book of Leviticus, we read, “The life is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). Therefore, Jesus came to give His blood a ransom for many. The blood of Jesus was pure, holy, sinless, guileless, stainless—the blood that ran through the veins of Jesus was the blood of Jehovah God (Acts 20:28). The blood is the price Jesus paid for our redemption. The blood of Christ is more valuable than silver and gold. For one thing, there is not much of it. A limited supply increases the price of a substance, but that really is not the reason for its value. One drop of the blood of the holy Son of God can save every sinner on the topside of this earth, if that sinner will put his trust in the Savior

To the idea of “redemption,” Paul adds that of “the forgiveness of sins.” The image in the Greek word rendered by “sins” is that of a falling by the way, an offense, a trespass. Here the plural signifies the accumulation of sinful acts which were chargeable to us. “Forgiveness” means literally “a sending away (Psalm 103:11-12). By putting the phrase “forgiveness of sins” in grammatical opposition with the word “redemption,” Paul implies that forgiveness is the central feature of our redemption.

The result of the giving of the blood is “the forgiveness of sins.” In the Old Testament God thundered out (and He has not changed His mind), “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!” Again, through the prophet, God has said, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Through the New Testament writer, the Holy Ghost declares, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Through the beloved John, the Holy Spirit has given to us the definition of sin: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresses the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Therefore, according to the standard of Jehovah God, we are all supposed to be in hell; but God in His grace provided a way of escape. However, “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us . . .” (1 John 1:7).

“Forgiveness” was given in Old Testament times on the basis of the shedding of animal’s blood (Leviticus 17:11). Yet this could not take away sins—only Christ could execute that. The blood of animals covered sins, but forgiveness of sins and salvation had to wait for Christ’s death on the Cross. Now we are forgiven on the basis of the shedding of Jesus’ blood, because He died and was the perfect and final sacrifice (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:19). The writer to the Hebrews says it this way: “With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool” (Hebrews 10:6-13).

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