Summary: The issue for God is relationship! God has done all He can to make us right before Him.
- Can I ask you a probing question...
Q. Are these blessings listed here in the reading special to you?
- We use the phrase, “taken for granted” every now and again to express the fact that from time to time, we do take things for granted
- Whether that be a spouse, friends, parents, our job, our health, our country, or our God, we can accept the blessing as a normal part of life and forget that it is not so normal for other people
- For example, the lifestyle we live here in Echuca is vastly different from the lifestyle in, say, Somalia
- This cannot be more true than if we read & understand this passage & yet be unmoved by it
- Something IS terribly wrong if we are unmoved by this passage that has been described by William Barclay as a “lyrical song of praise”
- He says that Paul sees gift after gift and wonder after wonder from God pass before his eyes
- In Greek, verses 3-14 comprise the longest sentence in the Bible
- Perhaps he was so enraptured by the things God had done for men & women that he wouldn’t dare stop to take a breath
- It may come as a surprise to you that there is genuine disagreement that has gone down through the centuries between godly Christians on some aspects of these blessings
- And I don’t believe it will be resolved this side of the Lord’s coming
- However, I don’t think that this in any way changes the truth that these blessings are special & are intended to be special – on that all Christians agree
- These blessings have been given to us by God & are meant to instill in us an appreciation & sense of awe in how gracious God is & what He has done for us
- We notice in v. 3 that these blessings are said to be “spiritual”
- Spiritual blessings does not mean that they are spiritual as opposed to material
- What it means, is that these blessings from God are communicated & dispensed to us through His Spirit
- It is the Spirit of God who is the presence of God in our lives giving us assurance, victory, hope, strength & renewal
- Like the apostle Paul says in Php. 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”
1. God has redeemed us (v.7a)
- Redemption has the meaning of “buy back”, “to pay a ransom” etc.
- But I think it is best to describe it as being “set free”
- Captured soldiers (POW’s) in the 1st C. could be purchased back (or redeemed) from the conquering nation
- So they were “set free” from being prisoners of war
- Israel is said to have been redeemed out of Egypt
- In Deut. 7:8, it reads...
“...the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt”
- This, of course, speaks of their bondage – their slavery - in Egypt
- Israel was set free from their slavery & bondage in Egypt
Q. Now if we are said to have been “redeemed”, then what kind of bondage have we been released from?
Q. How have we been set free?
- The fact that Christians have been enslaved & persecuted for years means that the deliverance was not from a literal slavery or oppression