Most of us, if we’re honest have either been in deep debt or are still in deep amounts of debt, seeing no way of possible escape. It is an overwhelming feeling. Imagine, on the day that you were born, due to no fault of your own, you learned that upon coming into this world, you inherited a huge amount of debt. An amount so large that there would be absolutely no way you could ever pay it back in this lifetime.
Now in a truer sense, we have all indeed been born into state of immense debt, not a monetary one but an immense debt of sin. Now, before you give up hope, let me just inform you that there is incredibly good news regarding this debt!
Ephesians 1:7-10 says “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Paul is speaking here of the wonderful doctrine of our Union with Christ. It is this union that brings redemption to us. Here in these verses, Paul seems to be providing us with a tremendous run on sentence, He can’t seem to emphasize enough that it is because of this mysterious union with Christ that we have this incredible gift and this tremendous hope!
Paul uses the phrase “in Him” or “in Christ” “in the Lord Jesus” roughly around 40 times in the book of Ephesians.
Union with Christ is not just A blessing that we receive in salvation, rather it is the best phrase to describe ALL of the blessings of Salvation! Right standing with God, our very identity is now In Him as believers.
This Union with Christ brings us the best and most freeing gift and that is redemption. We are redeemed through the shedding of Jesus’ blood. We have been forgiven of ALL of our sin. That huge unpayable debt has been paid in full! And it is according to the riches of His grace! It says here in the text, ‘He lavished the riches of His grace upon us (v.8) that is not just a little bit or a pinch, but in a generous and an extravagant way!
Kent Hughes gives us a helpful example of what this truly means in a story he tells in his excellent commentary on Ephesians.
In a city by the shore of a great lake lived a small boy who loved the water and sailing. So deep was his fascination that he, with the help of his Father, spent months making a beautiful model boat, which he began to sail at the water’s edge. One day a sudden gust of wind caught the tiny boat and carried it far into the lake and out of sight. Distraught, the boy returned home inconsolable. Day after day the little boy would walk the shore in search of his treasure, but always in vain. Then one day as he was walking through town he saw his beautiful boat- in a store window! He approached the store owner and announced that he was the owner of the boat, only to be told that it was not his, for the owner of the store had paid a local fisherman good money for the boat. If the boy wanted the boat, he would have to pay the price. And so the lad set himself to work doing anything and everything until finally he returned to the store with the money to purchase his boat. At last holding his treasured boat in his arms, he said with great joy, “You are twice mine now- because I made you, and because I bought you!”
In an even greater sense, how true this is of us. We have been made by the very hands that were pierced for our sin, we have been purchased back from the lost and drifting waves of sin through a great cost, the precious blood of Christ! And the object that He purchased by His blood was our very souls.
Shedding of blood indicates death in Scripture, and death is indeed the cost of sin. Throughout the Old Testament we see many blood sacrifices for sin, these were offered continually. But that blood could not cleanse from sin, it was never meant to. It was only symbolic and it was pointing towards an even greater and more permanent sacrifice, the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 10:1-10 is a great passage that goes into the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus.
The redemptive results are that we now have the true forgiveness of our trespasses and also the removal of our deserved condemnation. In Christ, our sins- past, present and future are forgiven! For His name’s sake. Our eternal redemption has been settled once and for all, However because of our nature to continually sin we need the daily cleansing that our redemption has provided in Christ. Scripture tells us that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Not only are we forgiven but we now experience true reconciliation. Look at verses 9-10 in Ephesians 1; “making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ. As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
We all as believers fail to remember who we are in Christ, we suffer from gospel amnesia. We would all do well to dwell in the truth of the gospel on a daily basis. Our sins continually condemn us, the voice of our conscience will always say, ‘there is no way that I can be forgiven of this sin….again… I’ve confessed this same sin repeatedly. But here is the good news of the gospel. I love this quote from Jack Miller, a man who was obsessed with the gospel, He said;
“Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”
What a vivid picture of the good news of the gospel!
To live daily in our new identity means that we will have to combat the accusations of our own hearts, the enemy of our souls and this world. The best way to counteract these things is to preach the gospel to yourself daily. Jerry Bridges in his wonderful book, “The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness” (one of my all-time favorite books!) says the following;
“This then is the gospel with which we need to become thoroughly familiar and that we need to preach to ourselves every day. Jesus by His death and shed blood completely satisfied the justice of God and the claims of His broken law. By His perfect obedience He positively fulfilled the requirements of the law. Thus in both it’s precepts and penalty, the law of God in it’s most exacting requirements was fulfilled by Jesus. And He did this in our place as our representative and our substitute. To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.”
Source: Think On These Things
Ron Reffet is a regular contributor to Believers Radio and his blog posts are redistributed here with permission.