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Sunday, April 27, 2014 pm            Ephesians Index

Studies IN Ephesians
BLESSINGS IN CHRIST – 3
Ephesians 1:7-10

                 Tonight we continue our study of the book of Ephesians.  Having introduced the book, we have begun noticing Paul’s description of the blessings in Christ.  In our last study we discussed how God has chosen us and predestined us to adoption as sons.  We addressed how we are chosen (and predestined) noting it is not a random involuntary selection, but a pattern to which one must conform to be saved.  Tonight, we examine some more blessings in Christ.

  I.                     In Him we have Redemption (7a)

a.       Redemption – to release or set free (LN 37.128), as in freedom from slavery or captivity, etc.   It is the paying of the ransom price demanded to achieve that freedom.

b.       Redemption has always been a principle that was important to God – He wanted Israel to understand the importance of redemption.

                                                   i.      When Israel was in bondage in Egypt, Moses was sent to deliver them.  After his first encounter with Pharaoh, which didn’t seem to go so well, Moses asks the Lord why He had brought trouble to the people of Israel. He answered, “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:6–7)
but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:8)

                                                 ii.      In the land, the firstborn were to be redeemed – Ex. 13:15 – as a reminder of the firstborn being spared from the angel of death in Egypt.  (Num. 3:48-49, 18:15-17) Of animals see Ex. 34:20

                                               iii.      Exodus 21:30 – under certain circumstances a life could be redeemed with money (such as an animal that killed someone else).

                                                iv.      Slaves, servants and property could be redeemed and various rules were implemented – Exodus 21:8, Leviticus 25:23-34 & chapter 27.

                                                  v.      Numerous psalms also dealt with redemption – including the nation of Israel being redeemed and His people – Psa. 107:2, 119:134, 130:8, 26:11, But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; Redeem me and be merciful to me.
Psa. 34:22, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

c.        We are slaves to sin – this is a frequent description of what sin does to us -
John 8:34, “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

Speaking of how the servant of the Lord  correcting those in opposition (error) Paul says the goal is, “and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:26, NKJV)

Romans 7:14 says, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” Throughout this chapter, Paul makes reference to being slaves of sin (Rom. 6:6, 17, 20, etc.)

d.       To be free from this bondage, Jesus paid the price through His blood (He redeemed us)
Matt. 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5-6),

Romans 3:23-25, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

1 Pet. 1:18-19, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (Rev. 5:9)

Col. 1:13-14, He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

 Hebrews 9:11-15 describes how Jesus entered heaven (the heavenly sanctuary) with His own blood “having obtained eternal redemption.”
Note: We sometimes describe God’s entire plan as “the scheme of redemption”. 

e.        How are we redeemed by His blood? Through obeying the gospel!
Romans 6:6 tells us that in baptism, “… our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Romans 6:16-18, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

 II.                    The forgiveness of sins (7b-8)

a.       The result of His redeeming blood – forgiveness of our sins (trespasses)

b.       The word “forgiveness” (ἄφεσις, aphesis) is from a word with the basic meaning of “to send off” such as hurling an object like a missile. (TDNT)
The word means to liberate (consider this in light of redemption), to pardon or to cancel a debt owed (BDAG)   To release from bondage or imprisonment. (Vine’s)
OF its use in our text it means the removal of (launching away) guilt resulting from wrongdoing (LN 40.8).
This is the same word for “remission” in Acts 2:38.

c.        The word sins here is (παράπτωμα, paraptoma) and is often translated trespasses or offenses (Matt. 6:14, 15; Rom. 4:25, 5:15-20).  It describes one who steps over a boundary or leaves the safe path – in this case God’s boundary and thus he is guilty of sin.
Ephesians 2:1 says, ““And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

d.       In Jesus, as we are redeemed our trespasses of His laws are hurled away.  This makes approaching God possible.   
We are told that it is the godly who can approach Him – (Psa. 24:3-5, Psa. 15, Matt. 5:8, etc.)
The ungodly will not stand in His presence - Habakkuk 1:13 says, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness...
Psalm 5:4 says, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.
AGAIN, it is the blood of Jesus that takes care of our sins so that we can approach Him.

e.        According to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us (7-8)
We have discussed the grace of God and will do so in more detail when we get to chapter 2.  The idea of the grace of God is that He bestows undeserved favor upon us – namely He is WILLING to save us.  We CANNOT earn our salvation, nor can we be righteous enough to not need His mercy, love and grace.  God’s grace is His part in our salvation. If it were not for His grace, there would be no hope.  Ephesians 2: 1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-9, 1 John 4:9-10).
He accepted that sacrifice! 
He revealed His will to us.
He blesses us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)
Vs. 8 tells us He made this grace “abound toward us” meaning it was not given sparingly, but with great abundance.

f.         In all wisdom and prudence -
The word “wisdom” (σοφία, sophia) is full understanding of knowledge and the ability to apply it to the best advantage.
“Prudence” (φρόνησις, phronesis) means to act with insight and understanding.
In this verse, I believe these qualities apply to God.  He is a God of wisdom (Luke 11:49, 1 Corinthians 1:21-24, 2:7, and Ephesians 3:10, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,”)
And He most certainly has demonstrated His prudence in bringing forth His will for our benefit.

 

 III.                  Having made known to us His will (9-10)

a.       Having made known to us - In vs. 9 we find that God revealed His wisdom and prudence to us so that we can properly respond to him.
We are not left to guess what God wants us to do.  He has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3);
Romans 1:17 tells us that within the gospel “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” 
We can obey the gospel because He tells us HOW to obey the gospel!

b.       The mystery of His will – more on this mystery in chapter 3 (i.e. salvation is for all).  But the point here is God tells us what we need to know.  And He did in His time!  Cf. 1 Cor. 2:6-13)

c.        According to His good pleasure – we often emphasize the wisdom of God as a product of His grace – He does His part.  Here we are reminded again (see vs. 5) that this is something God has joyfully chosen to do.  

d.       Which He purposed in Himself – it was ALL in God’s plan.  Our redemption is NO accident!  From time of man’s sin in the garden, and even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 3:10-11), God knew what was needed and He carried it out. 

e.        That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times – this expression is a lesson within itself and points to God’s control of this world.  Jesus came at the right time and God’s will was accomplished just as He planned it. 
He 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.” (1 Peter 1:20–21)
Galatians 4:3-5, “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 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.
Friends, do you a want a reason to accept the God of the Bible over the so-called gods of other faiths?  There it is! His planning and the execution of His plan is irrefutable.

f.         That He might gather together in one all things in Christ

                                                   i.      IN this expression we find Paul’s first mention of a theme that will be visited throughout this book – UNITY of the saints – both Jews and Gentiles! 
When Paul explains the “mystery” in chapter 3 He will emphasize God’s plan for the Gentiles.
In chapter 4 he calls for unity (4:1-6).  We will visit this in time.

                                                 ii.      Both which are in heaven and which are on earth – whether this means that in Christ, all of His beings (including the heavenly) will be brought together through Christ (when we consider that angels are our ministering spirits and thus created for our purposes) OR He is speaking of His will (the mystery) which was finally revealed (cf. 1 Pet. 1:12 – seems to indicate even the angels did not fully understand His will) – we know God’s will is accomplished. 

                                               iii.      In Him – friends it is in Christ Jesus! 

 

Truly, what blessings we enjoy in Christ Jesus because of the love of God.  May we consider these things and serve Him with greater appreciation for what He has done and with greater purpose in our lives.  More on His blessings in our next study.