Paul piles words upon words in an attempt to describe the amazing love and grace of God that gives us the privilege of being children of God.
— Ephesians 1.5-8 – He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,
To the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us.
Jesus quoted Psalm 22 as he hung in agony on the cross.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22.1)
Christians see a mirror of Jesus’ humiliation and pain on the cross in many of the verses of the Psalm.
In verse 22 the Psalm turns from agony to praise. The last verses of the Psalm picture God’s eternal purpose in allowing his Beloved Son to suffer and die.
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations. (Psalm 22.27-28)
We are recipients of Jesus’ suffering and victory which is pictured in Psalm 22. The words, “the ends of the earth” and “the families of the nation” apply to us and speak of our opportunity to worship the One True God.
The salvation history to which we belong was God’s plan all along. Paul notes that fact and breaks out in praise.
This work is “according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1.5-6).
Redemption and Forgiveness
“Redemption” (verse 7) describes a payment made to free a slave.
The Passover was the night when enslaved Hebrews were released from years of Egyptian slavery. The blood of a lamb was painted on the door posts and lintel of their doors, and their first-born sons were spared death.
Paul declares, “In him we have redemption through his blood” (verse 7). Freedom from sin is possible through the blood of Jesus.
Jesus made it clear to his opponents the nature of freedom he came to provide humanity.
He said, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8.34 and 36).
Jesus’ forgiveness releases us from the debt of our transgressions.
Sin operates like a debt that is owed to another. When we have been sinned against, we can develop resentments, react in kind to the sin, or absorb the hurt.
An “eye for an eye” reaction or the holding of a grudge reveals the “debt” aspect of sin.
Jesus took a different route. He absorbed the hurt of every sin that has ever been committed, while he hung for six hours on the cross.
While Jesus suffered, the Father and the Holy Spirit, felt the pain of what the third member of the Trinity experienced.
Truly, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5.19).
The motive behind God’s eternal plan of salvation is that it is “according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us” (verses 7-8).
Bridging the Horizons
How shall we respond to the grace of God that has been lavished on us?
(1) Prayer and praise fill the pages of the letter to the Ephesians. We can use the language of Ephesians to help us express prayers and praise to the Father.
Please take time to read Ephesians and turn the words of this letter into your expression of prayer and praise.
(2) We are adopted children of God. Our status as children should encourage us to approach God with the boldness and confidence of a child.
When we pray, we are not “beggars at the gate,” but children of the Most High.
(3) Redemption involves forgiveness and freedom from slavery to sin. We should take advantage of this magnificent gift and live in the abundant freedom Jesus died for us to have.
YouTube Video and Prayer
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube. It can be found today on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.