Home > Uncategorized > The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians (Part 7 of 155)

The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians (Part 7 of 155)

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ephesians 1.7-1.8a: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.

In yesterday’s verse, and the previous day’s, Paul talked about how we have been adopted as God’s children, a grace which was prepared for us before the world was ever begun, and which has been freely given to us in God’s beloved Son, Jesus. Today’s verse tells us about the foundational truth of Christianity that is a consequence of our unity with Jesus as such children of God: “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses…”

Because of the death of God’s innocent Son, us guilty sinners are free, are redeemed and forgiven. So finally we have gotten to the source of it all, the ultimate act of God himself on our behalf, which is becoming a man and suffering and dying for us (and being raised–but this is not the focus yet). Without this, all the grace and love we might talk about are just concepts, ideas about how God acts towards us, rather than a realities we can see, truths we can know by faith about what our world is really like, what our God is really like. With this, we know the riches of his grace, its comprehensiveness and depth, as well as its closeness, how he lavished it upon us, becoming as close to us as he could ever be, in being one of us and taking on all that we cannot ourselves handle.

We live in a moral universe, which only means what we all believe deep down to be true: that there is an ultimate accounting for the things we have done, and that God will “put the world to rights” in the end. If we think there will not be justice somehow in the end, we are fooling ourselves. Sometimes it scares me, and saddens me, to think about how so many apparently do not believe this, or only believe it about others and do not seem to see its ramifications for themselves. Because we do not see justice now, we assume it will not take place ever–we sell God short in terms of the story we think he’s capable of writing for our world.

The first thing a Christian learns is that justice, for the individual, is to be feared rather than desired, for we all come up short. Our self-righteousness dissolves as we realize we are no better than they, “those people,” who had treated us so unfairly. We have nothing to stand on; only ourselves to offer.

But the beautiful truth of this passage is that, in Christ, we have been forgiven by God. The wicked things we have done are no longer on us now–he took on the consequences. It is mind-boggling, how this one event has been tied to so many other events. When I walk out the door and face the world (and even before this), I will have thoughts, I will say things, I will do things that need to be forgiven by God. But I can be assured that these sad events are all wrapped together, bundled together and linked to this central sad event in history, linked to the sufferings of this central person in history, who is now, by grace, my redeemer and friend, and the absolute center of my existence, the point of it all.

Tomorrow’s verse is as follows:

1.8b-1.9: With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ…

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