Saturday, 2 July 2016
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace… Ephesians 1:7
“In Him” means Christ who is “the Beloved” of the previous verse. It is through God’s Beloved Son that “we have redemption through His blood.” In the Greek, there is an article before “redemption.” It states “the redemption” and thus it sets the thought apart as the great act of redemption to which any other act (such as the redemption of Israel from Egypt) was only a type and shadow.
In other words, the promised Redeemer of Genesis 3:15 is realized in Christ. From that proclamation, every idea of redemption which is found in Scripture pointed to what Christ would do for us. This true redemption was realized “through His blood.” We now stand justified and free from sin’s penalty through the redemption that came by His work, and which culminated in the shedding of His blood (meaning His death) on the cross.
The term “redemption” comes from a root word which indicates the price paid to redeem a person, such as a prisoner of war. It signifies liberty from captivity, bondage, or imprisonment. We are born into sin and we are prisoners of sin, held in bondage by its power and are kept by the master of sin, the devil. This is confirmed by the devil’s words to Jesus in Luke 4 where he stated that “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” Sin is a firm bond and the devil is a cruel taskmaster. However, Jesus’ mission was to destroy this power. John notes this as the principle reason for His coming –
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
Jesus prevailed where Adam failed. What the devil gained through Adam’s disobedience, Jesus regained through His obedience. What God asks is that we simply believe this message, receive His gift, and place our trust in what Jesus has done for us. This is the “redemption through His blood.” This is the marvel of what God has done for us. In Him there is absolute victory and complete reconciliation with God the Father.
As a means of highlighting this thought, Paul next says that in Him we also have “forgiveness of sins.” This is a complementary thought to the previous clause. The word for “forgiveness” signifies the complete release of someone from an obligation or debt. Sin’s penalty is ended through the work of Christ for all who believe.
Charles Ellicott notes that the first clause, “redemption through His blood,” looks at the work of atonement from God’s perspective, while “the forgiveness of sins” looks at it from our side. In this he says they are “both being wrought by Him who is Son of God and Son of Man at once. Together they represent the whole truth.” Joseph Benson adds to the thought by saying, “By price and by power, are bought and delivered from the guilt and dominion of sin, the tyranny of Satan, and the final displeasure and wrath of God.”
Paul notes that all of this was, “according to the riches of His grace.” This is understood to mean the riches of the grace of God the Father. As noted in Ephesians 1:6, grace is an attribute of God and is a part of His divine nature. Therefore, the giving of Christ for our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins is an expression of who God truly is. We can see the infinite grace of God when we look to the cross of Christ.
Finally, this is another marvelous verse which points to the ending of the law for all who are in Christ Jesus. Logically, if we have redemption through Christ’s blood (meaning His atoning death), and this is complementary in thought to “the forgiveness of sins,” and as sin comes about through law, then the obvious deduction for us is that we are dead to the law; its power no longer has mastery over us. Paul explains this exactingly elsewhere in his writings.
Life application: As you go about your day, remind yourself of what you have received from God in the giving of His Son. Truly ponder this marvelous deed and think on what it signifies for you. There is an eternity of fellowship with God that lies ahead of us because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, we can see that the cross of Christ is the true redemption of which all others were only types and shadows. When the Passover lamb of Egypt was sacrificed, it only pointed to the true Passover Lamb who would come and die for us. When You brought Israel out from Egypt and through the Red Sea, it was a mere picture of what You would do for us. You redeemed us from the world of sin. Each thing of the past only looked forward to the great and true redemption wrought by Christ the Lord. How marvelous is the cross of Jesus Christ! Amen!