Summary: Do you understand what it means to experience the riches of God's grace in Christ? In this passage we will see something of what God has given to us in Christ.
Ephesians: Our Identity In Christ
Christ: The Sum of All
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7-12)
The French writer Andre Maurois had said: "The universe is indifferent. Who created it? Why are we here on this puny mud-heap spinning in infinite space? I have not the slightest idea, and I am quite convinced that no one has the least idea." There are many others who agree with him. For some, all of life is meaningless. There is no purpose, no underlining goal for human history. So, for them, life is only what you make of it. For many, God is factored out of the equation, and when you factor Him out, life is random indeed. This is the philosophy of despair to which many unwittingly hold.
But what applies to history also applies to individuals. If there is no rhyme or reason in this universe, then our lives as individuals are essentially meaningless. This idea is the foundation for the pop philosophy of "you only go around once, so you'd better grab all the gusto you can get." With that kind of philosophy, no wonder so many people are depressed. If you do not believe in a life which is meaningful, and purposeful, there is an unconscious despair. The search for significance carried on by all of us is frustrated. And we are left empty.
It is to these kinds of philosophies that our text speaks. The opinion of the apostle Paul concerning those philosophies could be summed up in a word, "baloney!" Actually, that is not exactly what the apostle said. We shall examine that more closely in a moment. But that is very much what he might say, based on the truth revealed in Ephesians 1:7-12.
This text continues the unfolding of the truth concerning our identity in Christ. It is the key which unlocks an essential door in our search for meaning. And this passage continues to open our eyes to our significance in Christ, and the richness of His grace in our lives. As the light of this truth begins to dawn, we will begin to see the privileged position we hold in Christ. And as we begin to walk in this new identity in Christ, it will impact every area of our lives.
Do you understand what it means to experience the riches of God's grace in Christ? In this passage we will see something of what God has given to us in Christ.
A Redemptive Pardon
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us. (1:7-8a)
In Christ, God has given us a redemptive pardon. This is what it means when it says in Him we have redemption through His blood. The word for redemption comes from a Greek word which meant "to release from captivity." It was used in Roman times for the paying of a ransom to purchase a slave. By New Testament times the Roman Empire had as many as six million slaves. You can imagine what a business it was, the buying and selling of slaves. If someone was a slave and another person wanted him freed, that person would have to buy the slave in order to free him. This is what the word translated redemption has in view. It is the paying of a ransom for the purchase of freedom. And that is precisely what Christ did for us.
Our text indicates that Christ paid this price through His blood. His blood was the price of our redemption. It was a sacrifice which cost Him his life, but provided life for us.
I read an interesting story the other day which illustrates this. One day Max Walsh left the warm environment of a mountain lodge in the Austrian Alps. The weather was clement and "friendly." But, as can happen in high altitudes, the weather changed suddenly and dramatically. Max found himself in a blinding snowstorm. Losing all sense of direction, he finally succumbed to the elements and collapsed.