THE PURCHASED POSSESSION
© 1997 by Mark Beaird
Text: Ephesians 1:11-14
In the eternal plan of God our salvation consists of more than the forgiveness of our sins so that when we die we will go to heaven. The plan of God includes everything from the saving of our souls to what Paul calls "the redemption of the purchased possession." What God has in mind is spectacular -- complete and final redemption! Not only did God plan to redeem our souls from the curse of sin, but He is also going to redeem our bodies from the curse of man's fall.
Paul said it this way in Romans 8:23 "...but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies."
The rapture of the church is that event which will bring about complete and final deliverance for the child of God. The rapture is that supernatural event that will take place when Christ returns for all born-again believers. We do not know the day or the hour, but we know that Christ will appear in the clouds and cause all the saints of God, living and dead, to be caught up -- literally snatched away -- from this world to meet Him in the heavens.
In his book End Times, Clyne W. Buxton explains, "The rapture is not just the wistful thinking of weary followers. It is a paramount doctrine of the Bible, for the hope of the return of Christ pervades the New Testament. The coming of the Lord is called the blessed hope (Titus 2:13), the purifying hope (I John 3:2,3), and the comforting hope (see I Thessalonians 4:18, KJV)." (Buxton, 53-54)
The rapture is the beginning of the bringing together of God's eternal plan of redemption for man and all of creation. As we look into this passage, we can see that
there are several reasons for our anticipation of this blessed event.
I. WE KNOW THAT WE WERE PREDESTINED FOR THE PURPOSE OF REDEMPTION (v. 11-12).
A. Our redemption was not an afterthought of God.
God the Father knew before He created man that man would sin and become a fallen creation. He also knew that there would come a day when He would offer mankind the gift of redemption. This gift came through Jesus Christ. This was His purpose for coming to earth.
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (italics added)
One translation renders that last verse, Galations 4:5, as follows: "God sent him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children." (God's Word Series, italics added)
It was God's preordained plan or predestined plan to redeem all mankind. Predestination is simply this: God predestined or pre-planned that all who would believe would be saved.
B. The eternal plan of God's redemption called for our salvation (or deliverance).
I Peter 1:3-5 and vv. 20-21
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotton us again to a lively hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(vv. 20-21) He (Christ) indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."
Salvation is mankind's destiny! But we must choose to follow God's plan.
II. WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN SEALED FOR THE PURPOSE OF REDEMPTION (v. 13).
A. The Holy Spirit seals those who have "trusted" and "believed" in Christ.
The thirteenth verse in the New Revised Standard Version says that we "were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit..."
This "seal" is a distinguishing mark upon a person's life and character.
"...for Paul this coming of the Spirit produced in the person concerned something recognizable, and its absence in a Christian was noticeable (Ac. 10:47, 19:2). It was this difference in the character of the person which was the seal of the Spirit -- the marks in human life produced by the coming of the Spirit." (Mitton, 61)
II Timothy 2:19 speaks of that "seal,"
"Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.'"