Thursday, January 29, 2015

Redemption, forgiveness, riches of grace. Interrogating Ephesians 1:7

Ephesians 1:3-10
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him 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.


1. In him. Who is him?
-- It could be either God the Father (the subject in Ephesians 1:3,4,5, and the independent clause in verse 6)
-- it could be Jesus, the beloved, the closest antecedent being "the beloved". But also in this verse we have "his blood," which seems to clarify semantically that this referee to Jesus. This is because we're never told about God the father having something like blood.
>> So I take the "in him" to mean "in Christ".


2. We have redemption. Who is we?
-- Paul along with the Ephesians Christians and those elsewhere.
-- we and us throughout...with a distinction among believers made in Ephesians 1:12,13 about "we who were first to believe" and "you also"
>>> in this section, "we" are the Ephesians 1:1 saints, who are faithful

3. Redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses. What is "redemption?"
-- This redemption must be the same as the forgiveness of our trespasses
-- This means commission of trespasses must create bondage from which we are redeemed, ransomed
-- Romans 6:18,20 -- slaves to sin is what you are before
-- Hebrews 9:15 -- a death occurred that bought the redemption
-- Matthew 20:28 -- The son of man came to pay a ransom
-- Galatians 1:4 -- Jesus gave himself to free us from this present evil age.
>>> redemption is the paying of the ransom, to buy us out of bondage to other powers


4. According to the riches of his grace. What does "according to" tell us?
-- The grace was the controlling motivation
-- the grace sought to forgive sins and redeem
-- the degree of forgiveness and redemption is as big as the riches. 
-- so the grace is as at least as effective at redeeming and at forgiving as our sins are at capturing us
-- Ephesians 3:18 -- God's love is so large even comprehending it takes God-given strength

4.1 What do we know about the riches of his grace?
-- Ephesians 2:7. The riches of his grace are on display through the way God shows love for us: making us alive with Christ, raising us with him, seating us with him in heavenly places 
-- Ephesians 3:16. The riches give us strength to have Christ dwell within, to trust God, to be rooted and grounded in love, to comprehend the enormity of the love of Christ, and to be filled with God's fullness.

4.2 what is the link between forgiveness and uniting all things to himself?
-- Ephesians 1:7-10. Grace to us in mighty magnitude poured onto us, and with it forgiveness and redemption, and it made us know God's plan to unite all things to him.

4.3 Why does God reveal the riches of his grace?
-- so we would know the purpose, and the plan, and the mediator of the plan, Jesus
-- Romans 2:4. So we would be lead to repentance.
-- Ephesians 3:8,9. Paul made apostle to Gentiles to illuminate the Riches and the plan
-- Ephesians 1:18. So we will know the hope, and have the hope; so the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened.
-- Proverbs 11:28. 1 Timothy 6:17. Worldly, corruptible Riches are something we falsely put hope in. (But God's wealth is trustworthy.)
> Riches are to help us know and trust God's goodness, and put our confidence and hope in Him.


5. This is the first of three statements about being "in him". How are they linked?
-- Ephesians 1:7 In him we Have redemption
-- Ephesians 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance
-- Ephesians 1:14 In him you also were sealed
>They all speak of realities not fully visible or to be more greatly completed later.


6. Is there any difference between redemption and forgiveness? 
...Colossians 1:14 seems to make them synonyms, or at least concurrent. 
-- Romans 3:24. The redemption is IN Jesus. The grace comes THROUGH the redemption. 
-- 1 Corinthians 1:30 Jesus is wisdom from God; and righteousness; and sanctification; and redemption
>> Redemption is escape and ransom from slavery. But we weren't unwilling slaves to sin and Satan; by our willing choices, we had had our ear pierced to stay in The Dominion of Darkness forever. We needed ransom AND we needed forgiveness. 


7. Do we have the full forgiveness and redemption now, or will it come later?
-- Ephesians 4:30 refers to the Holy Spirit sealing us for a day of redemption which seems to connect to Ephesians 1:13, the future day of full inheritance. So that seems like some sort of redemption is future.
-- Romans 8:23 talks about the future date of the redemption of our bodies. Is that redemption the same one discussed here?

8. Why mention blood here, and not some other way of explaining it?
-- Hebrews 9:12 Jesus' access to the heavenly Most Holy Place was due to him because he had his own blood to offer
-- Hebrews 9:14. Jesus' blood purifies our conscience so that we can serve God.
-- 1 John 1:7. Jesus' blood makes a way for us to have pure relationships.
-- 1 Pet. 1:18, 19: Jesus, the pre-existent, eternal one, who has now received glory has made us put our faith in God, and his mechanism was offering his own blood for paying the ransom of our sin
-- Rev. 5:9. Jesus' worth to conquer earth is demonstrated by making a people for himself through paying their ransom, which he did by his blood.
-- But in some other parts of the Bible, God redeems without sin sacrifice: 
---- 2 Samuel 7:23 God redeemed by mighty acts before the other nations
---- 1 Chronicles 17:21 God drove out other peoples to redeem Israel
---- Psalm 44:26 Redeem David by rescuing him from enemies
---- Psalm 130:7 Redemption by love
---- Romans 8:23 FUTURE redemption of our bodies, but clearly not by a bloody sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:26)
>> While redemption may come by other means, clearly God has chosen to redeem and ransom us from the power of sin by Jesus' bloody death. 


9. "Redemption" and "paying ransom" have in them ideas of buying release from a power. Does the power have the right to do so? 
-- If the power held us against propriety, it's ironic that we're predestined to be sons of God, but had to be redeemed from its power.
-- Romans 6:19. We had willingly chosen to do wrong and grow in sinfulness. See #6 -- we had pierced our ear to stay slaves forever.
>>> We individuals submitted ourselves as slaves to sin, and were held in its power.

10. Do we know anything else about Jesus' blood?
-- Mark 14:24: Jesus' blood is the blood of the covenant. And it is poured out for many, (1 John 2:2 -- the whole world)
-- Hebrews 9:12. Jesus' offered blood gave him the right to enter the heavenly holy of Holies.
-- Hebrews 9:14. Jesus' blood was offered without blemish. Jesus' blood purifies our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
-- Hebrews 10:4. Jesus' blood actually does TAKE AWAY sin.
-- 1 Peter 1:18-19. Jesus' blood paid the ransom price, and to free us from futile ways of our families.
-- 1 John 1:7. Jesus' blood cleanses us from all sin.
> Jesus' blood cleanses from sin, removes the sin, sets us free, gives Jesus access to the Holiest place, confirms the new covenant, and is given for EVERYBODY! 



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