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Summary: In Christ we have been delivered from the shackles of sin, from enslavement to Satan, and from all the misery associated with such enslavement.

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By: Tom Lowe Date: 12/21/16

Title: The Son Redeemed Believers in the Historical Past (1:7-12)

Series: Paul's letter to the Ephesians

Ephesians 1:7-12 (NIV)

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Introduction

Ephesians chapter 1 contains one of the most amazing sentences ever penned in any language. It is like a waterfall pouring from the lips of Paul as he tries to express the wonderful privileges of being a Christian. Its great theme is God’s grace. The riches of this grace have been lavished on us in Christ. They lead us, at last, to live “for the praise of His Glory” (1:12).

But here Paul takes us to the epicenter of God’s plan and sets everything else He said in its ultimate context. God has lavished His grace on us in all wisdom and understanding (1:8). Why should that be needed? The answer is breathtaking: in Jesus Christ, God has made known “the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment” (9-10).

God plans to bring this fallen world, governed by apparently random and sometimes, chaotic events and disruptions in nature and human life, into a unified cosmos over which Jesus Christ will be King. In fact Christ’s reign has already begun. He has already ushered in the kingdom of God.

For the moment that kingdom seems small and undistinguished—like a mustard seed (Mark 4:31). But it will expand to fill the whole earth. The day will come, Paul believes, when every knee will bow before Christ and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11), either because they love Him or because they fear His power. On that day “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fatted calf together, and a little child shall lead them . . . the weaning child shall put his hand on the adders den . . . for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Commentary

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

“Redemption” and “the forgiveness of sins (trespasses)” are joined together in such a way as to suggest the closest possible relation, but they are not identical concepts. “Redemption” denotes a release brought about by the payment of a price. In every case, the conception is the delivering or the setting free of a man from a situation from which he himself was powerless to liberate himself, or from a penalty which he himself could never have paid. Men knew the wrongness of the life they were living; and also that they were powerless to do anything about it. They needed liberation. It was just that liberation that Jesus Christ brought. It is still true that He can liberate men from helpless slavery to the things that attract and disgust them at one and the same time. In simple terms, Jesus can still make bad men good.

But does this mean, then, that Christ has persuaded his Father to do something for us, contrary to the Father’s will, or perhaps His better judgment? Are we to envision the Son persuading the Father to give us a break? No! Paul is speaking all along about the plan of the Father! He has blessed us; he has chosen us, and in love he predestined us to be adopted sons; He has redeemed us; He has made known the mystery to us. This, says Paul, amounts to “the riches of His grace,” which He lavished upon us (1:8).

In Christ we have been delivered from the shackles of sin, from enslavement to Satan, and from all the misery associated with such enslavement. The ransom price, the means by which this release has been accomplished, is “his (i.e., Christ’s) blood”. This sacrificial term calls to mind the blood of animals offered to God in the Old Testament. Here the word represents the death of Christ in its character as a sacrifice for sin and is a reminder to us of the infinite price God paid for our redemption. Our deliverance was effected through the blood of Christ; that is, through Christ’s atoning death, which was “in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished upon us (1:8).”

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