THE PLAN AND WORK OF THE TRIUNE GOD
Ephesians 1:3 to 14
We have already dealt with verses Ephesians 1:3 to 6 which reveal the work of the Father in the plan of the God-head. Now we turn our attention to verses Ephesians 1:7 to 12, which make plain to us how the SON realized the Father’s good pleasure.
REDEMPTION IN HIM
Ephesians 1:7. “In whom we have redemption through His blood:”
“In Christ” alone is redemption planned, never apart from Him, and God’s grace made manifest in the forgiveness of sins is only experienced on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.
The redemption of the sinner is not through the life and love of Christ displayed in, His earthly walk, but through of His Cross. Peace with God cannot be found in any other remedy. This truth, is the very foundation of the gospel of saving grace, and the touch-stone of the Christian faith. There are at least 120 passages of Scripture that state that Christ died for our sins. From Genesis to Revelation the truth is plain that, “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). Not that the sacrifices offered up before Christ died could in themselves provide a full satisfaction or an atonement for sin, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and Of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). They simply provided a ‘covering’ for sin until a full and final redemption was accomplished by the blood of Christ. The sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament, were, representative; and pointed to the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. When by obedience to God the offering of a sacrifice was made in the Old Testament, atonement was made for the errors of the people and sin was ‘covered’. But how infinitely greater is the redemption in Christ Jesus! He does not cover our sins. He puts them away, and we can thank God that our redemption is through HIS blood.
The whole human family is born by natural birth into the first Adam, and is under the sentence of death. (Romans 5:12). Sin and death are universal facts. “By the offense of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation”. But we thank God that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”. (Romans 5:20). Just as death came through Adam; so life came through Jesus Christ. “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17. We were sold under sin; under the sentence of death. But Christ redeemed us; literally loosed us”. He set us free by paying the price. The price of our redemption was His own blood which He shed when He died in our stead, He became sin for us; He who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21. Many passages could be quoted in continuance of this glorious theme. In summing up, Romans 5:8 and 9 should not be forgotten. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” And the Divine purpose of our redemption as applied to conduct is equally clear in Titus 2:14, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous: of good works.”
We could not redeem ourselves, But He has redeemed us. We could not make our own peace; but He has made peace for us by the blood of His cross. Only by the preaching of the cross can man be saved. To them that perish this is foolishness; but to them that believe its message of redemption, the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Therefore with the Apostle Paul, we present Christ crucified, as the only hope of salvation for poor lost sinners; that their faith “should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God”. (I Corinthians 2:5)
When we come to the study of Ephesians 1:14, which speaks of “the redemption of the purchased possession” and Ephesians 4:30, “sealed unto the day of redemption”, we see a future phase of our deliverance, the consummation of the work begun. Redemption through His blood is a redemption for the soul; but a day will come when God will do for our bodies what He has done for our souls. That will be the redemption of the body, when the body of humiliation shall be changed into the body of His glory. (Philippians 3:20). That will be the day of redemption.
Ephesians 1:7. “The forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His Grace”.
The psalmist cries in Psalm 32:1, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” One of the first blessings of grace is the consciousness that redemption in His blood has brought the forgiveness of sin. What a glorious message! For when God forgives our sin, our responsibility for it ceases. The guilt then is no longer ours, therefore, we are freed from any penalty that had been incurred. “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ.” (Romans 8:1). Who can fathom the grace of our God?
Ephesians 1:8. “Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.” “Abounded”, that is, made to overflow. This grace has not been stinted and confined; but has been liberally manifested to us in all wisdom and prudence. There is a wide design running through the whole plan, all of God’s plans are a display of His wisdom. His purpose for us in Christ Jesus was not an afterthought; although a secret hid in His own heart from before age times. “Prudence” is wisdom in action or application. God prudently chose the proper time for the revelation and manifestation of His Divine purpose and grace. It was not until Israel as a nation was set aside that the secret that was in His heart, or “the mystery of His will” was made known. How students of God’s Word need to know this! Israel was out of the way with the close of Acts and then Paul proclaimed “the dispensation of the mystery”. Ephesians 3:9.
Ephesians 1:9. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.”
It has pleased God to make known in Christ the mystery of His will, this is the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret from former generations; and is according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Read; reread; study; believe; preach Colossians 1:24 to 18. The revelation of the “untraceable riches (Ephesians 3:8) was given to the Apostle Paul. Having made known this mystery, our desire should be to fulfill Ephesians 3:9, and “make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery.” The “mystery” is not something mysterious, something not known. It is not a riddle; but a revelation. We do not need a key to an open door: all we have to do is to step inside and invite others to follow. Oh, let us enjoy and appreciate the riches of His grace and glory, by understanding our blessed position in Him and appropriating the truth of the mystery which completes the word of God. (Colossians 1:25).
Ephesians 1:10. “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather in one all things in Christ, both which are in. heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.”
The word translated “gather together”, means to bring things under one head. According to the economy of God, all things are to be headed up in Jesus Christ, in heaven and, on earth. The Word of God is progressive. While some talk of “going back to Jesus” the Bible makes it plain that we are “going on to and with the risen Christ”. One day the Church, which is His Body will be completed, and join the Head in the glory. This will be making the “perfect man . . . the stature of the fulness of Christ”. (Ephesians 4:13). And Ephesians 2:7 will be fulfilled and we shall be made the display of His grace in glory. The earth. also is waiting for its deliverance from the thralldom of sin. (Romans 8:22) “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,” and this deliverance will come when He who now occupies the Father’s throne receives His own throne and reigns in righteousness, at which time all things will be put in subjection under His feet. Then the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. He will be Lord in heaven and on earth. When Christ came the first time it was “the fulness of time” (Galatians 4:4). When He comes again it will be the dispensation of times’ fulness.
Ephesians 1:11. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”
We who are so undeserving, who were one time outcasts; we were dead in sin but now the recipients of His love, mercy and grace, we have been given an inheritance. What an inheritance! Those who are “in Christ” are called of God to share the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”. Where He is there we shall be, for the Body must be with the Head to be to the praise of His Glory. Only the ages to come will disclose, in full, the unsearchable riches of the glory of our inheritance in Him. Only then will be brought out in all its splendor, the eternal purpose of our God and the counsel of His own will. It is all “in Him”. We have been blessed “in Him”, chosen “in Him”, accepted “in Him”, redeemed “in Him. Now we have an inheritance “in Him”. Apart from Christ all shall dwell in the darkness of death, without hope, without blessing, redemption or glory.
Ephesians 1:12. “That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
The “we” in this verse refers to believing Jews, while the “ye” in Ephesians 1:13, has reference to believing Gentiles, and “our” in Ephesians 1:14 to Jew and Gentile together. The second chapter enters more fully into the uniting of these two in the making of the one New Man. That second chapter shows how both are reconciled unto God in the one Body. We must wait until we reach that part of the epistle for a fuller exposition.
As in Ephesians 1:6, so again all the praise and glory must go to the only One to whom praise is due. For such wonderful and gracious provision made in the planning of our redemption in Christ Jesus, let us lift our hearts again to God and say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3