Summary: Looking at the doctrine of redemption, what that means to us as Christians and how we should live in light of being redeemed.
Cans, Coupons and Christians
Text: Ephesians 1:7 – 10
By: Ken McKinley
When Presidents leave office one of the last acts they usually perform are Presidential pardons. Sometimes people agree with the Presidential pardons, but I would dare say that most of the time, us regular folks don’t. Every once in-awhile the President gets it right and the right people will be set free (like President Bush’s clemency of Ramos and Compean), but again I would say that more often than not the pardons given by our Presidents cause a bit of a stir; and when we hear about them or read about them in the paper, you might feel slighted or even angry. Most of the people that a President will pardon are guilty as can be, and that is why sometimes we do get upset.
Now let me just tell you before we get too deep into this sermon, if the idea of pardoning guilty criminals bothers you, even in the slightest way, then our passage this morning might make you feel a little bit uncomfortable.
Now we’ve been talking about God’s love and the various ways that His love is shown to us, and displayed. Our text begins by saying that in Him, we have redemption. That word “redemption” is a word that we don’t use too much today. The meaning of it has been lost by most people today. It’s been replaced by words like “recycle” or “refund.”
When I was a kid we used to save our aluminum cans so that we could redeem them. I think we would get something like 10 or 15 cents a can – I don’t really remember; but I do remember that we would save every can we came across throughout the year, and at one point during the year (around November) we would take all those cans in and redeem them. In other words we would take them in and the scrap yard would buy them back from us.
In the Bible the idea of redemption came from ancient warfare. Captives were made slaves and put to work. Some of those captives however were important people in their homeland, and so the homeland would bargain with the country or kingdom that held them captive, and eventually a ransom would be paid. There are 3 Greek words in the New Testament that help us understand redemption.
The first one is agoradzoo. This word literally means to buy from the market. And it had to do with buying a slaves freedom from their owner. We see it being used in Revelation chapter 5:9 (read). So we can see that Christians are like slaves being bought at an auction block. We have been bought with a great price.
The next word is almost the same: exagoradzoo: It not only means to be bought but to be taken out of the slavery. We see this in Galatians 4:4-5 (read). That word “redeem” means to be bought out of slavery, bought away from our previous owner, and then set free. We have been bought with a great price and set free from the curse of the law. But this word we see in our text; the word “redemption” actually goes one step further. It is the Greek word Apolutrosis, and it not only means to be bought from our former master, and it not only means to be set free, but it’s talking about paying a ransom, a high price.
Turn with me to John 8:34-36 (read). Hebrews 9:12 says, “Not with the blood of goats and claves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place, once and for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
That is the same thing that Paul is saying here in our text.
“We have redemption through His blood…” then he goes on to say that we have been redeemed, that we have been bought back, away from our old master sin, but that we have forgiveness. You see redemption isn’t complete without pardon. Freedom without pardon is clemency. But a pardon is a declaration of “not guilty.” I mentioned the two border patrol agents Ramos and Compean. They were granted clemency, not pardon. In other words President Bush said in effect, “Time served.” But they still have a criminal record. A pardon wipes the record away. It gives the person who has been pardoned a clean slate.
I once heard someone say that if man’s greatest need in life was pleasure, then God would’ve sent an entertainer. If man’s greatest need was money, then God would’ve sent a financial consultant. If man’s greatest need would have been information, God would’ve sent a professor. But God in His infinite wisdom knew that man’s greatest need was forgiveness of sins, and so He sent a Savior. And in that Savior we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins – and look at the last part of vs. 7 “according to the riches of His grace.” What that means is that God gives in direct proportion to His wealth. He didn’t give just a little bit; no, He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus didn’t just prick His finger and spill a little drop or two of His blood. He endured savage beatings at the hands of Roman soldiers, He endured having a crown of thorns shoved down onto His brow, He endured being nailed to a cross.