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Ephesians III: Redeemed By His Blood - Ephesians 1:7-10

Paul began by blessing God for the blessings He gives us in Christ, but when he brings up just how desperate our circumstances without those blessings, it makes what God has done that much more wonderful. Apart from Jesus, you are enslaved and you need to be redeemed from this slavery, and that’s exactly what Jesus does, by buying us back with His own blood.

When Paul was writing, it was expected that if you were enslaved or kidnapped, your family would be the ones to redeem you. This is where predestination is such good news: even before you were part of God’s family, back when you were “sons of disobedience”, since God had chosen you in Christ before the foundation of the world, and predestined you for adoption as sons, He acts like a Father even before He is your Father, and Jesus redeems you as an older brother even before He is your older brother, because of the certainty of God’s eternal choice. God chose you in Christ, so Jesus redeemed you with His blood.

V. 7 further explains this blood-bought redemption as taking place through the forgiveness of our trespasses. Where redemption deals with oppression and slavery, forgiveness relates directly to sin. Paul ties the two ideas of slavery and sin together, because it is sin that enslaves us! In order to be redeemed out of slavery, our sin must be dealt with.

The good news is that Christ’s atoning blood propitiates God’s wrath, so that your sins against God might be forgiven, so that you can be set free. God’s justice demands atonement, so in His love, Christ offers Himself as the atoning sacrifice that redeems you, and God graciously forgives your sins on the basis of Christ’s blood.

That’s the theology of redemption; but Paul is pressing that theology into the service of doxology, of praise! Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for our trespasses have been forgiven and we have been redeemed from our slavery to sin and death! Thanks be to God!

The next phrases of vv. 7-8 remind us that this redemption was by no means anything we could have expected or demanded. This isn’t our birthright, for we are not sons of God by right, but only by gracious promise. God’s grace is not lavished on His beloved Son, which is what we would expect; what happens is that God gives His beloved Son so that He can lavish the riches of His grace on the rebellious trespassers who murdered His Son, so that we might become adopted sons! As the hymn puts it, “Who is a pardoning God like Thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?”

In v. 9, Paul introduces an idea that he will explain later in ch. 3: the mystery of the gospel. For now, though, he simply lists it as a reason for praise: God in His wisdom and insight has made known the mystery of His will, which was previously hidden for many generations, but, thanks be to God, now everyone knows God’s plan!

In particular, this mystery is that Gentiles are fellow heirs with Jews, sharing in the promise that God gave long ago to Abraham to bless the world through His offspring. Jew and Gentile are united to God through Christ, and united to one another in Christ, because God’s plan is to unite everything in Christ, now that the fullness of time has come. All that God is planning to do in and with the world has now been made known: God is summing up everything in Jesus.

And so by being united to Jesus, you are participating in God’s great plan. You have purpose and meaning, you are doing exactly what you were made to do, you are working with God, not against Him, and you are caught up in the central plotline of all of history. If you are part of Christ’s church, loving God, loving your family, and loving your neighbors, then you’re right where the action is, at least, the action that will echo into eternity.

And since you’ve been redeemed from a wasted and Christless life by the blood of God’s beloved Son, you’ve been given everything you need to live your life in light of God’s great plan. God has made Jesus the center of everything, and according to the riches of His grace, He’s made you one with Jesus. You are blessed in the Beloved, so let us hear and believe this good news, and bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 by CJ Bowen