In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Eph. 1:7, 8
Blessed be God!
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
That is the keynote of this entire epistle to the Ephesians. It is the note of praise that should be struck from the heart and sound forth from the lips of the redeemed, even while they are in the midst of this world that lieth in darkness.
The note of grateful praise!
He, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, blessed them!
He blessed us!
With all spiritual blessings in heavenly places He hath blessed us in Christ!
And because He blesses us in His unfathomable grace, blessed us freely and sovereignly, even as He hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, we are able and willing to bless Him, to speak well of Him as He spoke well toward us by His almighty Word, to adore Him and glorify Him with thankful hearts in the midst of this world of sin and death!
These blessings, therefore, we must know.
We must consciously possess them, rejoice in them, behold their greatness and fullness, realize their riches, count them one by one, in order that we may behold the riches of His grace wherein He, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.
Count your blessings, name them one by one!
See what God has done!
And let the sight of the riches of His grace urge you to shout aloud with the voice of thanksgiving and praise:
Blessed be God!
We have redemption!
Redemption in Him, that is, in the Beloved, that is, in Christ Jesus our Lord!
The apostle here begins to exhibit the blessings in heavenly places in Christ which we possess, and which are the manifestation of the marvelous riches of God’s grace.
And where else should he begin than by that basis of all blessings, that source of all other benefits, without which there is no possibility of being blessed by the God of righteousness and truth: redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins?
Redemption implies two things. It means that one is delivered from captivity, that his prison doors are opened, that his shackles are cut, that his bonds are loosed and that he is set free. And it means that this liberation took place according to strictest justice. The law can condemn him no more. The ministers of the law can prosecute him no longer to cause him to return to prison. Redemption is no mere escape. Sometimes a prisoner gains his freedom through a cunning plot, by which he succeeds to deceive and elude the authorities; or again he boldly strikes out for liberty and gains it by mere force. He escapes. But before the law he is still worthy of imprisonment, and the representatives of justice will not rest until he is safely behind prison bars once more. He is not redeemed, though he gained his freedom. And he spends his life in fear and trembling, hiding in woods and caves lest he be discovered. But the redeemed is free, actually and legally free, openly and publicly free, the law can condemn him no more.
Such, indeed, is our redemption!
In prison we are, chained and shackled with bonds of sin and death. Slaves of sin, servants of the prince of darkness we are by nature. He is our Lord, sin is our mistress, death is our wages. These all have dominion over us. We cannot break their bonds. Neither have we the will or any desire to escape from their power and dominion. For, we are not bound from without, but from within, with spiritual, ethical bonds of darkness. Our mind is enslaved. Our will is in shackles. We agree with our bonds. We are at home in our prison. We refuse to be delivered. Willingly we serve our lord, the prince of this world. Darkness is the proper sphere in which we live and move. We would scorn him that would propose to deliver us. And we seek our own death and destruction!
Such is our unspeakable miserable condition!
And in this state of miserable bondage we are legally, according to strictest justice. We are convicts. We have been and always are tried by the Judge of heaven and earth. And we have been and always are found and declared guilty, worthy of this terrible and hopeless imprisonment. We cannot escape and we have no right to be delivered!
But we are redeemed!
He redeemed us! Redemption is one of the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ with which He blesses us, He, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, according to His unchangeable justice condemned us to our imprisonment in the bonds of sin and death, now redeemed us according to the riches of His grace! And He redeemed us! He did not merely effect our escape and deliver us by His power from death’s dominion, but He set us free according to strictest justice. We have received a right to freedom. No power can ever again lay legal hands upon us to claim us and lead us back into bondage. Sin cannot have dominion over us anymore. The devil cannot prosecute us. The law itself declares us free. . . .
He Himself paid the price of our redemption. For we are redeemed through His blood, the blood of the Beloved, Whose God and Father He is. Another way than through the blood of the Beloved there was not, there is not, there could never be. For that blood is the blood that was shed as He tasted death for us. And that death He tasted willingly, obediently, in love to the Father, being consumed by the zeal of Father’s House. It is the blood in the way of which He descended into hell’s darkest depths, through which He tasted all there ever could be tasted of the awful wrath and justice of God. And it is the blood of the Beloved, the Lamb of God, in Whom there is no guile; the blood of Him that was ordained from before the foundation of the world to stand at the head of the Church, in Whom we are chosen, with Whom we are reckoned, Who in every sense of the word was fully qualified to taste death for all whom the Father had given Him. . .
Redeemed through the precious blood of the Lamb!
We have that redemption!
We, who according to the immediate context, were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, whom He, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, predestinated unto the adoption of the children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,—we have that redemption!
We possess it even by faith in the Beloved.
We have it and rejoice in it even as we taste the forgiveness of sins!
O, indeed, we have that redemption also actually in our being delivered from the bondage of sin and death. For the law of the Spirit of life hath made us free from the law of sin and death. The prison doors are thrown open, the shackles are cut and we are set at liberty. Yet, the forgiveness of sins always remains the essence of our redemption, having which we experience the great joy of our legal freedom.
Our misdeeds, as the Dutch translates correctly.
They are those deeds, those thoughts, those desires, those words we speak and acts we perform, which are beside the criterion of God’s holy will, contrary to it, in conflict with it. Deeds of enmity against God, of wickedness and iniquity, of corruption and filth, and they are with us. They arise still from the foul fount of our old nature, the flesh. They still rise up against us. They condemn us. They always accuse us. They would deprive us of our freedom. . . .
But we have the redemption!
Even the forgiveness of our misdeeds!
They are forever put out of the way. And the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ considers us, and treats us, as if they never had been, nay, as if we ourselves had perfectly paid the price for them all.
Glorious blessing of redemption through His blood!
Even the forgiveness of sins!
Blessed be He!
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
For the glorious blessing of redemption, even the forgiveness of sins, is but a manifestation of the riches of His grace.
This spiritual benefit we have according to the riches of His grace, wherewith He hath abounded toward us. Of the riches of His grace we may judge by considering the riches of this blessing of redemption wherewith He blessed us in Christ.
How rich, then, is God in grace!
For, consider, from what He redeemed us according to this grace: from all the horrible power of darkness. There was a mountain of guilt which we could never remove, original guilt, actual guilt, guilt acquired by the sins of our heart, sinful inclinations, sinful desires, sinful thoughts; by the sins of our mouth, of our eyes, of our ears; by the sins of our actual walk. And altogether they made us damnable in the sight of God. Children of wrath we were. But the guilt is no more: we have the forgiveness of sins. There was a power of corruption from which we could never deliver ourselves: sin had dominion over us, over our hearts, our minds, our wills, and over every move we made. But we have redemption in His blood, and we are free. Sin hath no more dominion over us; we are under grace. We lay in the midst of death and there was no hope. Spiritual death, physical death, eternal death. And nowhere could there be found a way out. But we have been delivered even from the power and the fear of death. Death hath given up its victory. We have redemption in His blood.
All according to the riches of His grace!
Haw rich, then, is that grace!
Or, consider unto what He hath redeemed us according to the riches of His grace. For, we have been redeemed unto the glory of being children of light in eternal heavenly perfection. Redeemed He hath us, not in order that we should return unto a state of original righteousness and perfection; but in order that we might be clothed with the righteousness of God in Christ, a righteousness that makes us worthy of eternal life and glory; that we might be lifted up into the sphere of heavenly and eternal bliss and beauty and partake of the pleasures that are in His right hand forevermore; that we might become heirs of the incorruptible and undefilable inheritance that never fadeth away.
From the state of guilt into that of eternal righteousness!
From darkest death into most beauteous and glorious life!
From corruption into eternal incorruptibility!
From hell to heaven!
All according to the riches of His grace!
Or consider whom He hath thus redeemed according to the riches of His grace: pure grace, indeed, it was! For, mere, poor, wretched, damnable sinners we were, enemies of God in ourselves, that would never have returned to God, nor ever have asked Him to redeem us. Yet, He loved us while we were yet sinners.
Or, consider how He hath redeemed us: through the blood of the Beloved. For, so He loved us that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
But why say more?
Consider this wonder of redemption from whatever aspect you will, and always it becomes richer, greater, more marvelous.
O, indeed, He hath abounded toward us with His grace.
An overflowing fount of most wondrous riches is the grace of our God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Let the redeemed now say it!
Praised be His name!
For it is not only the riches of His grace that became manifest in the wonder of our redemption, but also His wisdom and prudence.
For in His grace he hath abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence. So, at least, we would like to read the text, though the last part of this verse might conceivably belong to the next verse.
Wisdom and prudence are closely related, yet they may be distinguished.
The last named virtue is rather that attribute of God’s mind according to which He perfectly and with infinite divine insight conceives of all things. The former is that divine virtue by which He is able to adapt all things to all other things and the whole to the highest purpose: the highest revelation of His own divine, glorious, covenant life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
By that wisdom and prudence redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins, was given a place, its own place, in the divine scheme of all things.
O, redemption is no afterthought of God. Salvation is no repair work. Thus it is with us, but never with the Lord our God. When we mar or spoil, or break our handiwork, we probably may repair it, though it will always remain imperfect and reveal the marks of its being spoiled. Or, we may, perhaps, attempt to make something else out of what we first marred. But all God’s work is perfect wisdom and prudence. Far be it from us to conceive of the work of the Most High, as if He was forced to repair His once perfect work that was destroyed and spoiled by the power of the devil and sin and death. His work is one, even as He is one. And the one purpose of all His work is the revelation of His own glory through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the realization of His eternal covenant and Kingdom in heavenly glory and perfection.
And to the attainment of that purpose all things are adapted.
Even the powers of darkness, even sin and death, even the devil and all his work have their own place in the divine scheme of all things.
It is, therefore, in wisdom and prudence that He hath abounded toward us with His grace!
Blessed, then, be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Now and forevermore!