Redemption Ephesians 1:7-8 By Phillip G. Kayser 9-24-2019
Please turn in your Bible's to Ephesians 1 for our communion meditation. I want to read a passage that captures the heart of the Gospel in the word “redemption.” It is Ephesians 1:7-8.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence... (Eph. 1:7-8).
The first thing we learn about salvation is that we need it. We need forgiveness. We need grace, and not just a little grace, but as he words it here, "the riches of His grace." We need redemption. The Greek word for “redemption” means to purchase a slave out of a slave market. And because most people don’t think of themselves as slaves, they don’t think that they need redemption. The Pharisees denied that they were enslaved, and they could not appreciate the Gospel. But when you realize that by nature we were all slaves to sin, we come to love our savior more and more. Years ago I read the true account of a beautiful young girl who was being auctioned off as a slave. And there was a man with a bad reputation bidding for her. Another slave owner kept bidding her price higher and higher until the cruel man gave up. Once he gained possession of the girl he told her that she was free to go where she wanted - that he had purchased not because he needed a slave, but because he didn't want that other man to get her. She stood stunned for a moment and then fell to the ground in tears saying that she wanted to serve such a kind master as he was. Her admiration of this man was captured by both her understanding of His kind intentions, but also because of the cruelty she had already experienced and the stuff she would have experienced apart from the redemption. She knew the value of her redemption. It is not until we understand our need that we fully appreciate the Gospel. In Luke 7:47 Jesus said that the one who is forgiven little will love little, but the one who is forgiven much loves much. If we know little of the law we will know little of the Gospel. J. Gresham Machen (the great theologian from the previous century) said that the crying need of the hour in America is not more preaching of the Gospel, but more preaching of the law. Legalism flourishes where people do not know the depth of the law’s claims and how far short they fall. But those who know how hopelessly short they fall of God’s standards are prepared to really appreciate the Gospel. So the first point is our need.
Second, the purchaser of our redemption is Jesus. There is no other Redeemer. We tend to look to man to rescue us from our problems, but Christ alone is sufficient. Verse 7 says, "In Him we have redemption…" And the “Him” refers to the Beloved of verse 6. The One whom the Father loved through all eternity is the one who is set before our eyes as worthy of our love. It was the Beloved One who purchased you. As you come to communion, tell Him that He is your beloved. Use this feast to express your love for Him.
The third thing that we see is the objects of redemption or the "we" of that verse. Christ’s purpose in coming into the world was to redeem us to Himself to the glory of the Father. And it is amazing to me that Titus says that we are redeemed to be His own special people. Contrast that with Jacob’s sons in the Old Testament. Most of them were so messed up that they looked anything but special. In fact, Jacob basically cursed two of his sons. He didn’t like them, but God called each one of those twelves sons His own special people. Each one was represented by a precious stone on the shoulders of the High Priest. Amazing redemption. It has nothing to do with what we deserve. It has to do with the generosity and the loveliness of our Savior.
Fourth, the fact of redemption: "In Him we have redemption…" It doesn’t say that we hope for it, or that we contribute to it, or that we ask the saints to contribute to it. We have it. It is an accomplished fact. On the cross Jesus cried out "tetelestai", which was a financial ledger term that meant that the debt had been paid in full. Satan will try to convince you that you need to do something to deserve forgiveness: perhaps you need to cringe, or feel miserable for two or three hours, or beat up on yourself. But you need to remind yourself that it is a done deal.
Fifth, the price of redemption is in the next words "in His blood." The blood of Christ is at the very heart of Christianity and nothing but the blood is sufficient. To remove the blood from our speech, our worship and what we glory in is to substitute a false religion. If you think that you can contribute something, you are contributing what is bloodless, and it can accomplish nothing. God’s justice requires death, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Every communion we glory in the fact that He shed His blood for us. Our redemption came at incredible cost.
Sixth: the results are "the forgiveness of sins…" and everything else that flows from a restored relationship. When Satan accuses you and tries get you discouraged about your sins, don’t deny that you are a sinner. Tell Satan, “Of course I am a sinner; but I am a forgiven sinner.” You may have sinned this past week. Claim His forgiveness and receive of His assurance in this meal.
And lastly, the sufficiency of redemption is found in the words, "according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us." We aren’t just redeemed from sin and then left to fend for ourselves. God gives us riches, and He gives them abundantly. This meal is His pledge that He is a good master who will provide everything you need for life and godliness. Take comfort in this pledge.
Let’s come to the Lord’s Table rejoicing that we have been purchased from a harsh task master into the liberty of service to the gracious Master who has adopted us as sons and daughters. Let us gladly and joyfully fall down like that slave girl and say, “I want to serve a kind master like you.” Let’s pray.