Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Redemption, Plans and Promises

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.--Ephesians 1:7-14

He Paid the Price
The word, “redeem,” means to purchase and set free by paying a price. That is exactly what Jesus did for you and me. Before the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we were slaves to sin, (Romans 6:19.) But Jesus paid the price in blood, to purchase us. Once he purchased us, he then set us free, through his forgiveness. The word, “forgive,” means “to carry away,” and that’s exactly what Jesus came to do. (John 1:29) He has taken away our sins so that no accusation may stand against us.

He Laid the Way
For some time, it may have looked to those in this world like God had lost control. His perfect creation had fallen to sin and nothing was going quite as planned. It may have looked like the sacrificial system had been designed simply as a cover up for man’s sinful nature, (a back-up plan.) But the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ proved to us that God’s plan had really been in action from the beginning. God has now proven to anyone and everyone that he is bigger and more powerful than sin.

He Made a Promise
The final two verses of this passage lay out two very important ideas. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit and we are guaranteed our inheritance. These two verses also lay out a simple process of salvation and how a sinner becomes a saint:
First, he hears the gospel of his salvation. This is the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. When he hears the word, he believes, receiving salvation through faith, (Ephesians 2:8-9.) When he believes, he is sealed with the Holy Spirit, (which is important, because it speaks to the finality of his salvation.) The passage then goes on to explain to us that the Holy Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing our inheritance. In the KJV, it uses the word, “earnest,” rather than “deposit.” In Paul’s day, an earnest meant the down payment to guarantee the final purchase of some commodity or piece of property. (A definition that still holds true in the modern real estate market.) This seal is God’s promise, that our salvation is final. Once we are truly born again, we can not be snatched from God’s hand. Otherwise, we would get to keep his down payment and the Holy Spirit would have to accompany us to our fiery grave.
What a mighty God we serve!