Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Blessing Of Redemption

We're studying the 'spiritual blessings' of Ephesians 1:3-14. So far we've studied Paul's emphasis on the Father (election, God's eternal decrees, why Romans 8:28 is true). The Father planned our salvation. We've also seen that the Father gave these people he chose to the Son (here).

Now we will look more at the specific 'spiritual blessings' that flow out of the cross of Christ. Paul shifts his emphasis from the Father's plan before creation, to what the Son accomplished in real time - a specific day in history when he died on the cross. What the Father planned before time, the Son accomplished at the cross!

The Blessing of Redemption
Paul writes, “In him we have redemption through his blood” (1:7). Redemption is a key Bible word that speaks of purchasing, releasing from prison, paying a ransom. The Old Testament background for this is the Exodus, where God redeemed Israel from captivity in Egypt (Ex 6:6; 15:13; Deut 7:8). God also redeemed Israel from exile in Babylon (Isaiah 35:9-10; 51:11) [Mounce]. This served as a physical picture of the redemption Christ would accomplish for us on the cross (“through his blood”).

Jesus himself understood his mission in these terms, that he came to die for the sins of his people and purchase their redemption from sin. He said, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many," (Mark 10:45).

The apostles understood Christ's work in these terms as well. Peter wrote:
Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, [19] but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19, ESV
Scripture also describes our redemption as something not merely made possible, but actually accomplished at the cross:
He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12
At the cross Jesus was not merely setting a good example or showing what love looks like (though he was doing both of these things); he was accomplishing something! Something happened on the cross that changes everything for God’s people. HE REDEEMED US WITH HIS BLOOD!

...and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] whom God put forward as a propitiation 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. Romans 3:24-25
The result of our redemption in Christ is that we belong to God. He has purchased us out of slavery to sin, and now we serve him:

• who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:14
• You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20

The Forgiveness of Sins
Paul continues in Ephesians one, adding to redemption, “the forgiveness of our trespasses” (1:7). Paul ‘equates’ redemption with forgiveness here (Stott), “for the deliverance in question is a rescue from the just judgment of God upon our sins.” Because of the redemption in Christ’s blood – his saving work on the cross where he took upon himself our sin and curse (2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13) – because of this we can be justly forgiven of all our sins!

Rich Grace
This redemption/forgiveness was “according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight” (1:7-8). This redemption and forgiveness comes to us ‘according to’ God’s overflowing generosity of free grace! “The words chosen” (riches, lavished) “have connotations of wealth and extravagance” (O’Brien). God has poured out costly love and grace on the people he set his affections upon before the foundation of the world. Look at the cross and see the costly love and grace of God!

This grace was also full of ‘all wisdom and insight.’ The cross displays these attributes of God and showcases his glory!

Praise God for the Father's plan before time, and the Son's accomplishment at the cross!
Repent of sin and believe on Christ; in him there is redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins!

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