Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Ephesians 1:7 ?We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.?
In Paul?s extended praise of God we come to one of the key parts for us: thanksgiving for our redemption. In verses 3 through 6 Paul praises God for blessing us with real advantages in God?s dimension?the first of those advantages is that He chose us, then determined beforehand that we would become like Him and be adopted into His family?something he did out of the kindness of His heart and to His own benefit.
But how did that happen? What was it that made these things possible? That?s what we?re going to talk about today in verses 7 and 8. For us as humans, it is the most important thing. If we don?t grasp this, then we don?t grasp anything. What I?m talking about is the concept of redemption.
We have ?redemption in Him through His blood.? The word redemption (apolutrosis) means: ?a releasing effected by payment of ransom; redemption, deliverance, liberation procured by the payment of a ransom? (Thayer keyword 629). So we need to dive into that a little.
To be redeemed you have to be held by something, so you can be released from that thing. In order to affect that rescue a price must be paid. It?s like wanting to buy something on Amazon.com. The thing is held in one of the many Amazon warehouses located throughout the country. If I just pick out something I want, I cannot simply cause it to be delivered to me without some payment. If I have an Amazon gift card, I can redeem that card and then use that payment to redeem the object I want to buy. Only then will it be released from the warehouse and sent by drone to my house.
So you might say: ?Well, how am I held anywhere, and why do I need to be redeemed?? Glad you asked. While this might be review for some, it is important for us to look at.
Paul, in Romans 6, made this statement: Rom. 6:16 ?Don?t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey?either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness??
Back in the Garden of Eden, Eve decided to obey the serpent and disobey God in eating of the fruit of the tree that God told them not to eat of. She did something God would not do, think, or say. That is the definition of something the Bible calls ?sin.?
Isaiah the prophet, speaking for God, said this about the result of sin:
Is. 59:1 Indeed, the LORD?s hand is not too short to save,
and His ear is not too deaf to hear.
2 But your iniquities have built barriers
between you and your God,
and your sins have made Him hide His face from you
so that He does not listen.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood
and your fingers, with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies,
and your tongues mutter injustice.
We may want to be good, we may not want to sin even, but we cannot help it. We have become slaves to sin and unable to be with God. In fact, sin carries with it a punishment?something called the ?wrath of God.? It?s like Newton?s laws of motion: to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. Sin causes wrath. We deserve it and cannot escape it. God is going to remake this universe and the only things capable of living in it are beings that are like God?without sin (something the Bible calls ?righteousness?). By default we are not like Him and cannot be with Him.
So what do to? That?s where the redemption comes in. God sent Jesus to absorb the wrath meant for you.
1 Corinthians 5:21 ?He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.?
Is. 53:4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
6 We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the LORD has punished Him
for the iniquity of us all.
So God saw you on Amazon.com and wanted you. In order for Him to be able to welcome you into His family He had to pay a steep price, the price of the life of His own Son. God had to lay blame for your evil on Him. But because Jesus was not born in sin, was perfect and never sinned, He was able to take that wrath, turn death inside out, and come back from the dead.
So He lived the life you should have lived, suffered the death you should have suffered, so that He can give you the life He deserved.
How did that happen?
Paul tells us here in Ephesians that it was by ?His blood.? How does that work? God said in Lev. 17:11 ?For the life of a creature is in the blood.? God acquaints life with blood. In the Old Covenant, God required a blood sacrifice as a model for the washing away of sin. We see it most clearly in Exodus 12 and 13 with the Passover lamb. The Israelites took a lamb without spot or blemish, killed it, and then painted the blood on the doorposts of their homes. When the angel of death came over the land, he skipped the houses with the blood on the doors.
So Jesus allowed Himself to become THE Passover Lamb. He volunteered to be cursed by suffering death on a tree (Deut 21:23). Notice that it was a tree that was the agent of our downfall, but also a tree that was the agent of our salvation. When He gave up His life the soldiers thrust Him through and out poured His blood. God looked at that sacrifice and used it to redeem us from our slave master: sin.
What was the result? Paul goes on in verse 7: ?the forgiveness of our trespasses.?
The word ?trespasses? is a Greek word that means ?to fall beside something.? We see the purity of God?s character and when we don?t live up to it, it is like stumbling or falling near this perfection. The word ?forgiveness? is the Greek word: afesis which means: a letting go as if they had not done anything wrong. It would be as if you were guilty of murder but the court decided to wipe away the conviction as if the event never occurred. Of course, no human court can do that. But God can, and this is a great analogy of it:
It?s as if you are standing trial for murder and the judge finds you guilty. As he fires the gun to execute you, The judge comes down from the bench and stands in front of you while wearing your clothes and takes the bullet and dies for your guilt. You are now innocent because He took the blame and the punishment.
I love the picture of this in Leviticus 14:6-7. Leprosy, which is a picture of sin, has no natural cure, yet God called for a ceremony for cleansing. It includes two birds: one is killed. The live bird is dipped in the blood of the slain bird and then set free. Because we have been ?dipped? in the blood of Jesus, we too are set free in the open.
Being now innocent of all charges, we can be adopted into God?s family.
God did this, Paul says, ?according to the riches of His grace that He lavished upon us with all wisdom and understanding.?
- It was freely bestowed, not earned or deserved.
- It was given out of God?s abundance, which is infinite
- It was lavished on us, which means to do exceedingly more than is expected.
- God did it with full knowledge of what He was doing. The two Greek words mean ?intelligence? and ?insight.? God knew the right way to do this and He did it with full intention.