I am in the family of God because it pleased the Father to do that, not because I earned it.
No, this was something that the Father did because it made Him happy to do so. And so here we are today to consider for a few moments the doctrine of redemption. When the apostle Paul speaks of redemption in Ephesians chapter 1, what does it really mean? Pastor Don Green will give you a proper definition today on the truth pulpit as we continue our series Secure in Christ Forever.
Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. You know earlier in this series, we were reminded that we as believers in Christ have been chosen by God from before the foundation of the world. We have also been adopted into God's family by His sovereign choice. But Don, this doctrine of redemption is also very important to appreciate, isn't it?
Well, it sure is, Bill. You know, my friend, the idea of redemption is a biblical concept that is taken from the realm of slavery. And it refers to the fact that we used to be slaves of sin before Christ paid the price to deliver us from sin at the cross of Calvary. And the doctrine of redemption shows us just how great the love and kindness of God is toward us who believe in Christ. Stay with us as we open God's Word.
Thanks, Don. And friend, let's join our teacher now as he continues to teach God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit. Last time, if you were not with us, we considered the biblical doctrine of adoption. It's an aspect of our salvation that God adopted us into His family. He severed the prior ties that we had with our Father the devil and brought us into His family so that we enjoy full status as one of His sons or daughters. God has brought us into His family a privilege, an opportunity, a status that we could never deserve, that we could never have earned. This was an act of sheer unmerited grace, of divine favor to His people to bring us into the very family of God, and we can rightfully call Him Father as a result.
That's a wonderful aspect of our salvation. And yet, there is more reason for us to honor God, to bless His name, to rejoice in His work in our hearts this morning. And I want you to look with me as we look at chapter 1 verse 3 in Ephesians, where the Apostle Paul said this. He said, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him, that is, in the Beloved, that is, in Christ, we have redemption through His blood.
The forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished on us. What I want you to see is the commonality, the undercurrents that underlie these doctrines of election and adoption and redemption, that every one of them, every aspect of what Paul is praising God for here in Ephesians chapter 1, presupposes a sheer act of mercy of God that you could never have earned on your own. You could not earn election, you could not earn adoption, and in the same way you could not earn redemption either. What is redemption? We've studied it a bit in the past when we looked at Titus chapter 2, but let me just give you a definition of the doctrine of redemption to set this straight in your mind and so that you'll have a sense of what we're talking about when we look at this passage in Ephesians. Redemption is the act of God in which He delivered us from sin based on the price which Christ paid with His blood.
I'll say that one more time in case you're taking notes. Redemption is the act of God in which He delivered us from sin based on the price which Christ paid with His blood. Redemption pictures a slave market where slaves are not able to buy their own freedom. They are destitute. They have no way of changing their status or changing the master to whom they belong. And then someone comes along and pays a price for them and makes them their own. Just like with election, I could not have influenced God's choice.
He made it before I was born. Just like with adoption, I can't demand entry into a family that is not my own. So with redemption, there is the underlying presupposition that you did not have the means to buy your own freedom from sin. You did not have what it took to be released from its power, to be released from its penalty, to be released from its presence. And so the whole nature of salvation as Paul unfolds it in these verses, these different pictures, these different doctrines that he enunciates, all presuppose something that you were utterly helpless and powerless to accomplish on your own. That is absolutely essential for you to have a right understanding of salvation. It wasn't that you and God worked together 50-50 to bring this result to pass. If you are in the family of God, if you have been redeemed from sin, it is because God sheerly, lovingly, out of His own loving gracious purpose toward you, said I will have you as my own.
That does a couple of things. One, it exalts the grace of God to the highest possible pinnacle in our thinking and it utterly humbles us to realize I contributed nothing to my salvation. I am in the family of God because it pleased the Father to do that, not because I earned it, not because I was somehow better than the guy standing next to me in line. No, this was something that the Father did because it made Him happy to do so.
It pleased Him, it advanced His glory. And so here we are today to consider for a few moments the doctrine of redemption. Well, how important is the doctrine of redemption? One writer put it this way, and I quote, he says, no word in the Christian vocabulary deserves to be held more precious than redeemer. For even more than Savior, the word redeemer reminds the child of God that His salvation has been purchased at a great and personal cost. The Lord has given Himself for our sins in order to deliver us from them, end quote. Redemption involves a price being paid.
That's the nature of what it means. It's the language of the slave market and a slave had to be purchased to be released. Well, when we talk about salvation from the perspective of redemption, we are acknowledging that a price was paid to rescue our souls, that there was a cost to someone to free us from the judgment and the separation and the eternal isolation and pain of eternal damnation that our sins had rightfully called down upon our head. In redemption, Scripture teaches us that it was the Lord Jesus Christ alone who paid that painful price for us to receive salvation. A price was paid.
That's what redemption means. A price was paid for your soul. The question is, what was that price?
Who paid that price? And as Paul continues on, what we see is we ask ourselves, how must I love this one who redeemed me? How precious must the one who paid such a price for my soul be to my heart?
How much he must be the singular pinnacle of my affections? How gladly I would abandon the world and leave it behind? How gladly would I forsake all of my sin for the sake of this one who paid such a supreme price for my soul? You see, beloved, when you really start to understand the multifaceted nature of the doctrine of salvation, you realize that you can't be the same. It's utterly absurd to think that somebody could enter into salvation and live a life that was completely unchanged from the life that they had lived before.
How could that be? How could you be delivered from sin and yet continue to live in it? How could you understand that Christ paid a price for your soul and yet live indifferently to him and have so many affections that are tangled up in the world and Christ somehow just kind of fades into the background?
That's ridiculous. That is the mark of an unconverted mind, an unconverted life to live that way. When you understand true salvation, you realize that there is only one object of your affection and you gladly give it to the Lord Jesus Christ because you say in your heart, he paid so great a price for me. 1 Corinthians 6 says, You were bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your body. And so when we study salvation together, verse by verse here through the book of Ephesians, one of the things that we should be seeing happening is that our affections for Christ are deepening. Our love and appreciation for the Father's plan expands exponentially. We love him more and more and more and our thoughts are captivated. Our mind is captured by the reality that what Scripture says about salvation is the most important thing in the universe. It is the most important thing to my soul. Here it is in the biblical doctrine of salvation is my eternal rest, my eternal comfort, my eternal security.
And so, for those of you that have been with us, I just invite you to look at the state of your heart, the affections of your soul and say is that what's happening to you because that certainly is the only possible result if we're understanding and appropriating it. We love Christ. We love him. That's why we proclaim his word. That's why we obey him. That's why we pursue the purity of his church.
It's because Christ is the singular object of our love and devotion. Let's look at two aspects of redemption as we find them here in verses 7 and 8. First of all, I want to show you the fact of redemption. The fact of redemption in verse 7. In him, we have redemption through his blood.
Now, before we get into talking about in a little more detail the nature of redemption, I want you to notice two things. First of all, it says in him, in the original language, it's in whom. It's referring back to the beloved, Christ the beloved who is the means by which God displayed this grace to us, but it says we have redemption.
That is a present tense verb. In contrast to the past actions where God chose us, where God adopted us or predestined us, I should say, to adoption, here in verse 7 we move into the present tense. We're talking about the ongoing possession of every believer in Christ is that we have this redemption as an ongoing, unbroken aspect of our spiritual condition. You don't fall in and out of redemption.
It doesn't start and stop and start and stop depending on whether you had your devotion or not. This is an ongoing, underlying, continually flowing reality in the life and the status of a believer. We have this. It belongs to us in Christ, and he will never take it away. Now, with that in mind, what is it that we have?
What is this precious gift that has been given to us? It says that we have redemption. A slave could be set free if someone paid the price for him, and the payment of that price was called redemption.
Stated differently, it was that redemption was the necessary expense to obtain freedom. You say, what did I need to be free from? I was going along just fine. I came and went as I saw fit. I believed what I wanted to be. I was free! So says the natural man.
I am free! Don't put the chains of God upon my soul. There's a man speaking out of ignorance who talks that way. You see, Scripture takes the picture of redemption and applies it to help us understand something about what our salvation means and what it is like. And it does it having said, he predestined us to adoption in the Beloved in whom we have redemption.
And so there's a continual flow of thought through here. He chose us to save us. We might be holy and blameless in him. He predestined us to adoption, and that adoption comes through Christ in whom we have redemption. There is this wonderful unbroken chain that is woven through these verses 3 through 14. And here, Beloved, is where I need to bring you face to face with your spiritual mirror.
Where you were in the past. And sadly, for those of you who are not Christians, I am describing your present in what I am about to describe. On your own, you could not possibly have been a member of God's family.
You could not have become part of his family. You belong to something else. Jesus said in John 8 34, Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And that was true of all of us before Christ. We were in sin, we were slaves of sin, we could not do anything but have sin as our Master.
That is by definition from Christ himself. Those who sin, either in false religion, or in spiritual pride and arrogance, or in loving the world, or in living a lascivious, drunken, immoral life, whatever the particular manifestation of it is, it all had a common root in sin, and Jesus said, Sin owned you. You were a slave to sin. It was your Master.
You could not get away. That is true of every single man, woman, or child who ever walked on the face of the earth. When Adam fell, he plunged the whole race into sin, and we were born into sin, and it could be no other way. Sin was our nature, it was our Master, it's what we loved, it's what we pursued, and we were spiritually indifferent and dead to anything else.
It owned us. That's why, looking back on your pre-Christian life, that's why it was so hard for you to break your sinful habits. It wasn't because you lacked sufficient willpower, because the power was sin over you, not you over the habit. You were a slave to it. It owns you. And some of you in your testimony can speak to particular manifestations of that drug, that alcohol, that conduct that just owns you.
You had to do it because you couldn't do anything else. You were a slave to sin. You belonged to something else, indeed. Scripture says you belonged to someone else. Scripture says in 1 John 3, verse 8, that the one who practices sin is of the devil.
There's a cannon shot to the pride of man as he pursues his spiritual destruction, claiming his autonomy, claiming his free will. Scripture says, no, no, you belong to the devil. You were a slave of sin. You belonged to the devil.
And again, I have to say this again. Those of you who are not Christians, and some of you know that I'm talking about you, you need to realize that I am describing your present biography from Scripture. You are a slave to sin. You are a slave to the devil. And while you stick your fingers in your ears and say, blah, blah, blah, I'm not going to listen, you're just plunging further and further into darkness and destruction. The slavery chains are just wrapping around you tighter and tighter as you stiffen your neck against the gospel. That's what's happening for those of you who don't know Christ. This is not to be trifled with.
A slave to sin, a slave to Satan, belonging to him. That's where we all were. We had no key to unlock the chain. We had no desire to unlock the chain. As I've said in the past, we would reach down and kiss the chain because we loved sin that much.
That is a horrific place for a man or a woman or a young person to be. That's why today's passage is such a basis for us to praise God and to honor Him and to rejoice in Him. Here we are in chains to foes that we could not see.
We cannot see the principle of sin. We cannot see Satan. But we see the effects of our bondage to our immoral thoughts and our immoral behavior as we look back on our pre-Christian life. And now in verse 7, into that spiritually dark place, the light shines. Into that place, the glorious Lord Jesus comes and asserts Himself. Into that dark condition, Christ appears and declares what He has done for us.
And what has He done? Verse 7, in Him we have redemption through His blood. Redemption? You mean that there is freedom from sin to be had?
You mean that these chains don't have to bind me indeed in Christ? They no longer hold me captive? I have been set free, the Christian says.
I have been purchased. I am no longer in that slave market. Christ has paid a price to deliver me so that I would be free to enter into the adopted family of God. You see, biblical salvation directly addresses the problem of your slavery to sin and to Satan. But before we get into it, let me say one more time, repetition is the key to learning, they say.
And for those of us that have spiritually dull hearing, we need to hear it yet again. In your slavery to sin and Satan, you could not buy your own release. You could not purchase your own freedom. The presupposition of the picture is that you were bound and helpless in your condition. And so you could not buy your way out through money, through good works, through religious rituals, through anything else, there was no way out of your condition. You were locked, you were bound, you were a slave.
We don't mind saying these things. We don't mind hearing these things corporately as a church because, here's the thing, it is only when you understand and embrace how desperately helpless your position was that you can ever begin to appropriately understand and respond to what Christ has done for you. If you don't understand that you were bound, you're not going to appreciate your freedom.
If you don't understand that you were bankrupt, not just a little bit in debt, you're not going to fully appreciate the price that was paid for your release. And so the key to understanding salvation, the key to understanding Christ and responding to him in the appropriate level of love is to realize how bad it was. Because when you understand how bad it was, then the one who came with the key and unlocked and said, come forth with me, becomes someone who is exceedingly sweet and precious to you. There's no other way around it. Someone who thinks they contributed to their salvation cannot possibly love Christ in the proper way. Because that view leaves you kind of doing a high five. We did it, Lord, together.
No, no, cut that hand off. Lord, you did it all for me. And I am a grateful follower as a result. The fact of our redemption is indeed great. But Pastor Don Green will add a look at the focus of redemption next time here on The Truth Pulpit as we continue our series, Secure in Christ Forever. Join us then.
Right now though, Don's here again with some closing words. You know, friend, we realize that you may not be close enough to our church to be able to join us as you would like to on any given Sunday. So let me invite you to join us on our live stream that you can find at our website. Sundays at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. And also we have a midweek service on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. We would love to have you join us in that way.
A lot of people do. You might as well be one more that join us for those special studies of God's Word and our church services on Sundays and Tuesdays. Here's Bill with some final information to help you find us. Just visit thetruthpulpit.com. Again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don teaches God's people God's Word in The Truth Pulpit.
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