¡°MARVELOUS REDEDMPTION¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: Ephesians 1:3-9 April 27, 2014
1) The legal meaning of redemption: ¡°Redemption¡± in the Bible comes from six Greek terms taken from Roman legal system. 1) Dikaioo referred to legal acquittal of charges and is used of a sinner's being vindicated and declared righteous. 2) Aphiemi means to send away and is used to indicate payment of a debt or granting a pardon or forgiveness. 3) Huiothesia referred to a legal process of adoption of a child Paul used in God's adoption of us into his family. 4) Katallasso means two legally disputing parties in court. Another term, 5) Agorazo, refers to buying or purchasing, such as Christ purchased us with a high price. Finally, 6)Lutroo, means to release from captivity or bondage, it is used frequently in the Bible as redemption.
2) The biblical meaning of redemption: During the New Testament time, the Roman Empire had as many as six million slaves; buying or selling slaves was a major business. If a person wanted to free a slave, he could buy that slave for a price, own him, then grant him freedom through a legal procedure. Lutroo was used for freeing of a slave. That is precisely the idea carried in the New Testament on redemption: Christ paid the price with his death on the cross to free us from the slavery of sin. This is so because every human being born since the Great Fall has come into the world enslaved to sin, under total bondage to a nature that is corrupt, evil, and separated from God. No one is spiritually free of sin and its consequence or penalty which is death.
IT ALL BEGAN FROM THE REDEEMER: (Ephesians 1:3)
1) God, the author of redemption: ¡°Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.¡± (1:3) God is the one who initiated the idea, provided the means and accomplished the purpose of redemption of sinful men. The idea of redeeming sinful men came from the heart of God because of his immeasurable love to us. Among all the attributed, love is the ultimate supreme quality of God over all other attributes. Without love, God would be a super power, a mean judge and an executioner all in one. Later in 2:4, Paul said: ¡°But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions and sin.¡±
2) Christ, the means of redemption: ¡°Who (God) has blessed us...with every spiritual blessing in Christ.¡± (1:3) In John 3:16, we read: ¡°For God so loved the world and he gave his only begotten Son.¡± Jesus Christ is the means God used to achieve his plan of redemption. God had the idea of love, he provided the means to show his love in redemption. There is no other way God may be happy to accept the work of redemption from anyone else.
IT WAS ALL FOR THE REDEEMED:
1) We were chosen by God: ¡°For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.¡± (1:4) In our efforts to reach people for salvation, we may mistaken the truth as people choose to believe Jesus as their Savior. But the Bible says it clearly it is not people chose to accept the gift of God, but God has chosen all of us way back even before the creation of the world. The plan of redemption was never a made-up scheme when man failed God in sin, God always has the plan to save us from sin.
2) We become children of God: ¡°He predestined us to be adopted as children through Jesus Christ.¡± (1:5) The practice of adoption was popular in Roman Empire. Usually a rich and powerful family loved to adopt people of great talents for the benefit of the family and their future. So, to be adopted didn't convey the idea of being abandoned like orphans. On the contrary it was being ¡°selected¡± to join a famous family for a high and noble purpose. Again, the means of our adoption was Christ, without Christ, none of this is possible. Think of the precious and honorable status in redemption: we were not just saved from our sins and freed of the penalty of sin, we were given the supreme status to be children in God's family. Later in 2:19, Paul said: ¡°Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household (family).¡±
THE HIGH PRICE OF REDEMPTION:
1) The ultimate price of redemption: ¡°In Him, we have redemption through his blood.¡± (1:7) The price of redemption is the blood of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. God paid the price with blood of his Son to buy us back from the slavery of sin. Shedding of blood is a metonymy for death, which is the penalty of sin. The death Christ was the substitute for our death we deserve. Jesus declared that his ¡°blood was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin,¡± (Matt 26:28) when he instituted the Lord's Supper before his death. If the price of forgiving a sin for a man at a time is the life of an animal, how much it might take to forgive all the sins of all men in all time since the beginning of the world? This takes the life of the Son of God to pay for all the debt or penalty for the world. No one may pay anything to redeem himself from one of his sins except through the blood of God's eternal Son.
2) The universality of redemption: ¡°When John saw the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders singing, ¡°Worthy art Thou to take the book and to break the seals; for Thou was slain and did purchased for God with thy blood, men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.¡± (Rev. 5:8-10) The redemption paid with the blood of Jesus Christ has effectively sealed the deal for all the people of the world in ancient, present and future times. There is no need or possibility of any other redemption for the remission of all sins of all men.
THE WONDERFUL RESULTS OF REDEMPTION:
1) The forgiveness of our sins: ¡°In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.¡± (1:7) The primary result of redemption for the believers is the forgiveness of sin, one of the central truth of salvation both in the Old and the New Testaments. It is also the dearest truth to those who have experienced the blessing. Forgiveness in Jesus is undeserved, but it is free and it is complete. Those who have believed in Jesus have freedom from sin now and through eternity. In Christ our sins¡ªpast, present and future¡ªare forgiven. (1 John 2:12) Because man will continue to sin, we need the continued forgiveness and cleansing from redemption until we see God.
2) The gift of spiritual wisdom: ¡°God lavished on us with all understanding and wisdom.¡± (1:8) The second result of redemption for the believers is his being given wisdom and insight. Sophia, wisdom, emphasizes understanding of spiritual things such as life and death, God and man, sin and righteousness, heaven and hell, eternity and time and all the thing concerning God. Insight, phronesis, on the other hand, emphasizes understanding of practical problems and needs, comprehension of principles of everyday life. It is spiritual insight in the handling of daily life. God not only forgives us, taking away the sin that corrupts and distorts our lives, but he also gives us all the necessary equipment to understand him and to walk through the world day by day in a way that reflects his will and pleasing to him. He generously gives his word and the know how to follow it. Many people in this world may have insights in things of the world, but only God's children have the spiritual wisdom to see things beyond worldly insight. We can see heaven while others can't.
PROPER RESPONSE OF THE REDEEMED: (Romans 6:1-4)
1) We can't continue living in sin: ¡°What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increasing? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?¡± (Rom. 6:1-2) This is an old problem we all face everyday in our life here on earth, even we already have been redeemed: Can we go on to live in sin, hoping God's grace will increase to forgive us? The power of sin is with us everyday of our life. We need to recognize that we are in constant struggle to fight sin and its power. This is not because the power of God is weak, but our fresh and blood body is weak. (Matt 26:41) We can't take it for granted but to be alert of sin and its power in all things we do. Paul mourned the weakness of his body of death in his struggle against sin, (Rom 7) how much more we need to be careful not to fall back to the old life of sin.
2) Live a new life for the glory of God: ¡°We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.¡± (Rom 1:4) Educators summed up the theory that students wearing uniform are less likely to be reckless in their behavior inside or outside of the school. The uniform puts the name of the school and its honor on the students to curb them from behaving on their lower nature. If we are aware of the glory of God on us as the uniform on the students, we may be more apt to live our life like children of God. The purpose of God in our redemption is more than to save us from eternal loss, but also to bear witness for the goodness of God. (Acts 1:8)
1) For the already redeemed: There are at least two things we need to do: a) Be very thankful to God for the sacrifice he made to provide us redemption. This is a very important step we need to take everyday: Never forget what God has paid to redeem us from our sin and the penalty of it. b) Our spiritual life and death all hang on God's love and grace to redeem us. How much should we do or give to show God we are very thankful by living a life that will bring glory and honor to Him?
2) For all the to-be redeemed: Not one thing you may achieve in this world may help you get to heaven after your life on earth is done. Many had tried and failed in history. You need to remember that you have a soul and you are responsible for your own eternal destiny. God has done it all for all of us in providing the path of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. It is up to you to make your own decision.