SALVATION IN EPHESIANS

#7 REDEMPTION

Ephesians 1:7: 'in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace ...'

'Redemption' is defined simply as freedom obtained by the payment of a price.

This verse teaches us:

The present and permanent nature of redemption. Paul states 'we have redemption'. It is something we possess. It is not only something God has done for us in the past. It is our present and permanent possession. We have redemption.

The specific location or context of redemption. It is 'in him', that is, in Christ. The redemption of which the New Testament speaks has a specific and deliberately limited context: it is a redemption that is given, found, applied and enjoyed only in Jesus Christ. The person who has received Jesus Christ as Lord and God, has, in that act of repentance and faith, also received redemption. The person who has Jesus Christ, also has redemption. The person who has not received Jesus Christ, who has not believed that Jesus Christ is Lord, cannot have this redemption. It is as simple as that.

The specific meaning of redemption. It is 'the forgiveness of sins'. We will be looking further at the meaning of 'forgiveness of sins' next week. In terms of redemption: when we are redeemed in the Christian sense, all debts and bondage incurred by our sin is removed, and we are restored to a permanent debt-free status in the presence of God. This is clearly anticipted in the symbolism of the Year of Jubilee described in detail in Leviticus 25. There, a physical 'redemption' occurred every fiftieth year: all debts were cancelled; all property forfeited because of debt was restored to its owner; all personal enslavement incurred because of debt was reversed and freedom restored. Redemption is also anticipated and symbolised in the historic event ot the exodus from Egypt, in which God redeemed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. From that point forward God was known the the Redeemer. Thus, in the spiritual redemption the believer has in Christ, we are set free, firstly, from the spiritual debt incurred by our sins, and secondly, from enslavement to the law of sin and death, in which we were held in a state of guilt and condemnation. [This spiritual liberation is taught at length in Paul's letters to the Galatians and the Romans.]

The specific means by which this spiritual redemption is obtained and enabled. It is obtained and enabled only 'through his blood'. Because 'the wages of sin is death' [Romans 6:23], and because 'without the shedding of blood there is no remission' [Hebrews 9:22 KJV], death is the price by which spiritual redemption is obtained and enabled. Christ, in his death, paid the penalty which God's justice required. Redemption is not God ignoring our sins; it is not God saying 'it doesn't matter'. Rather, redemption is God, in strict affirmation and application of his justice, applying that justice to the sinless Christ who died as our substitute. We are redeemed because Christ paid the price of redemption. [See Romans 3:21-26 for Paul's statement about this.] The fact that Christ's blood was shed to purchase this redemption for us, is a clear indication that there is no other way, no other means, by which we can be liberated from sin's guilt and condemnation. It also affirms the utter security of this redemption.

The measure of redemption. It is 'in accordance with the riches of God's grace which he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding'. Last week we looked at these words in relation to 'grace'. This week they instruct us about the size of the redemption we have in Christ: it is the same size as his grace. That is the meaning of 'in accordance with'. How big is redemption? How sufficient for our needs? How comprehensive? How inclusive? It has the same superabundant, immeasurable, incomparable characteristics as God's grace. Is is sufficient to set me free from all guilt and all condemnation? Is it able to penetrate even to my hidden or unknown sins, so that even those no longer condemn me? Yes. Because its measure is the grace of God.

It is no wonder that Jesus said 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you'! [John 14:27] Here, in this redemption that is 'in him' and 'through his blood' there is perfect peace.

 Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2007, 2017