Summary: Our redemption is one of the great themes of the Bible. It expresses our fallenness; it expresses God’s great love for us. To redeem, in the most simple of terms, is to buy something back. In a word, redemption is the theme of the Bible. When God
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. (ESV)
Our hymns include many songs, in which we rejoice in our redemption: “Redeemed how I love to proclaim it, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Redeemed by his infinite mercy, his child and forever I am.” Our redemption is one of the great themes of the Bible. It expresses our fallenness; it expresses God’s great love for us. To redeem, in the most simple of terms, is to buy something back.
In a word, redemption is the theme of the Bible. When God first made man, Adam belonged to God. But something happened: sin. And as a result of sin, Adam became estranged from God. God wanted Adam back. In the fullness of time, God redeemed Adam. And the story of Adam is the story of us all. When we first came into this world, we, in our innocence, belonged to God. But something happened; we sinned and became estranged from God. And in the fullness of time, God redeemed us. He bought us back to become his precious possession.
We see the theme of redemption throughout the pages of the Bible. We see it in the life’s story of Joseph. We see it in God’s deliverance of Israel from the land of Egypt. We see it in the laws that God gave to govern the people of Israel. We see it in the romance between Ruth and Boaz. Most of the time, in the Old Testament, redemption had to do with physical things. God redeemed his people from calamities encountered in life. It had to do mostly with property. But even in the Old Testament, there is seen a hint of redemption as being something more. God is seen as the Redeemer of Israel. Whenever Israel would get themselves into trouble, God would come to their rescue and deliver them. But Israel never just “got themselves in trouble”. Israel bought trouble with sin. As a nation, they traded their high and exalted position as God’s people for the momentary pleasure of sin. Just like Esau, she traded her birthright for a bowl of pottage. Sin was at the root of the problem.
In the New Testament, sin is still the root of the problem, but the problem is more severe than just an unpleasant circumstance in which we find ourselves. The stakes are eternal. Our eternal existence is in jeopardy. In the time that remains this evening, we want to unfold the passage of Ephesians 1:7-8 and explore the depths of God’s love for us in wanting to redeem us.
The first to words of our text describe for us the place where redemption may be found: in him; that is, in Christ. The concept of being in Christ is integral to the concept of redemption. Redemption is in Christ. If we are not in Christ, then we have not been redeemed. But, in Christ, we are redeemed.
Look at the first chapter of Ephesians for just a moment and notice how many times the expression “in him” or “in Christ” is found.
• He has blessed us in Christ (verse 3).
• He chose us before the foundation of the earth to be blameless in him (verse 4).
• In him we have redemption (verse 7).
• In him we have obtained an eternal inheritance (verse 11).
• In him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (verse 13).
In all, the expressions “in him” or “in Christ” are found 22 times in the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. Since redemption is “In Christ”, it would behoove us to know how one gets into Christ. The expression “in Christ” is found 84 times in the New Testament, but only three times is the expression “into Christ” found. It is no coincidence that two of the three times the expression “into Christ” is found it is in connection to baptism. Romans 6:3 states, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (ESV) and Galatians 3:27 tells us, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (ESV) So this much we know: that redemption is in Christ and we come into Christ through baptism.
Through His Blood.
When we go to the store to redeem a coupon, it doesn’t cost us very much; just the time of clipping the coupon from the paper or flyer that it appeared in. In fact, if you will examine a coupon, they usually have printed on them somewhere “Cash value 1/20 of one cent.” So, a coupon is basically worthless. Yet when we redeem the coupon we receive something of value; maybe 20 cents off or even a couple of dollars. That’s not such a bad deal. There are some people who are so good at clipping coupons and redeeming them, that they can get their entire grocery bill paid for by coupons.