Last week, if you remember, I said Ephesians 1:3-14 is one sentence in Greek. And I focused on verses 3 through 6. Now, I want to look at verses 7 through 10.
“In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (ESV).
What does it mean to redeem? Let me share a couple of definitions.
John Piper defines redemption as “release by payment” or “freedom by ransom.”
John Stott says, “Redemption means ‘deliverance by payment of a price;’ it was specifically applied to the ransoming of slaves.”
As the family of God, we’re chosen by God in Christ (vv. 3-6), but we’re also redeemed by God in Christ (vv. 7-10).
But what are we redeemed from? In this passage, we see two things we are redeemed from.
First, we’re redeemed from our guilt. In verse 7, Paul describes redemption as “the forgiveness of our trespasses” (ESV).
After all, “‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God’” (Rom. 3:10-11 ESV). And the wrath of God is released upon sinners. Unless one is redeemed by the blood of Christ. So, to be redeemed by God in Christ is to be forgiven of our trespasses.
This redemption comes according to the riches of God’s grace (v. 7). And this grace is not something God keeps to Himself. He has lavished this grace on us (v. 8). And He has revealed to us the mystery of His will (v. 9). And what is that mystery?
As Ephesians 3 makes clear, this mystery is the bringing together of Jews and Gentiles. God has redeemed a family through His Son, and this family consists of both Jews and Gentiles.
This is the plan of God. As verse 10 reads, “… a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (ESV).
Christ is the sum. He is the head. As the family of God, we’re submitted to Him.
Consider what Paul writes in Colossians: “For in him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (1:19-20 ESV).
So, there’s more to redemption than the removal of our guilt.
Our bodies are redeemed along with creation. We see in Ephesians 1:10 how God has reconciled all things in heaven and on earth to Himself through Christ.
As F.F. Bruce writes, “Since the liberty of the children of God is procured by the redemptive work of Christ, the release of creation from its bondage to decay is assured by that same redemptive work.”
There’s a future to redemption. One day, our bodies will be free of cancer, pain, and scars. One day, the groaning of creation will be silenced.
Romans 8:22-23 says, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (ESV).
In Christ, the defects are perfected. In Christ, evil thrones and rulers are overthrown. And one day, “… at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11 ESV).
Those who belong to the family of God are redeemed by God in Christ. We experience some of this redemption now. And one day, we’ll experience all of it.
But there’s even more beauty in this long sentence at the beginning of Ephesians. More to come next week.