April 11, 2016
Salvation In Christ
Salvation In Christ
And now this morning we’re going to look at the two aspects of our salvation in Christ. The reason God put this passage in the Bible is twofold—To show us how He has saved us and secondly to provoke us to praise Him alone, to give Him all the glory and credit for saving us from our sin and eternal death. And that’s my intent here this morning, to simply enable you to see God’s grace in saving you, so that you will in turn worship and praise your Father for who He is and for what He alone has done. So let’s begin as we look at these two aspects of our salvation in Christ.
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.
The Parade Field
On two occasions Stephanie and I have had the privilege of watching two of our sons graduate from the Army’s Infantry Training program at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The Graduation Ceremony takes place at The Brave Rifles Parade Field. Now this is a unique Parade Field. You see over the years combat veterans have taken what they call “sacred soil” from every battle ground you could possibly imagine and sprinkled it there
Bunker Hill; Antietam; the beaches of Normandy; Korea; Vietnam; Iraq and Afghanistan, just name a few. Master Sgt. Jerry White spoke of the symbolic imagery behind the Field—”When soldiers graduate, they will walk across the soil where their forefathers’ fought, and many of them died.” One of the greatest honors in my life was when the commander invited us to join our soldiers on the Parade Field. I knew I was unworthy and yet I also knew I was welcome.
This is what it’s like to stand in the presence of our God. It’s the overpowering knowledge that you are unworthy and yet welcome, in fact more than welcome, you are home in the presence of your Father. So how is it that you and I have the privilege of walking on sacred ground in the presence of God? How is it that we are saved?
I. God the Son has Redeemed Us
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8a which he lavished upon us, a
How are we put in Christ?
Verse 7 begins with that critical phrase “In Him…”
How are we put in Christ?
We talked about this last Sunday—So here it is again.
We are put in Christ by God’s sovereign and saving grace. God the Father blessed us by choosing us so that we would then be able and willing to choose Christ as our Lord and Savior.
And that happens when you understand who Christ is and what He has done for you.
- He is both fully God and fully man.
- He lived a sinless life and by faith His righteousness becomes yours.
- He sacrificed Himself for your sins and by faith God forgives you of all your sins.
- He rose from the dead, defeating sin and death and by faith you are given the gift of eternal life.
At that moment you are placed in Christ, who is at the right hand of the Father, in the presence of God, and your Father sees you robed in the perfections of His Son.
In Christ, you are righteous, forgiven, and the recipient of eternal life.
Now then, read the beginning of verse 7 with me again—
“In Christ we have redemption…”That word “redemption” or APO-LOO-TROSIS in the Greek, was originally used to describe the act of buying back a slave. Again, this emphasizes the fact that we are not free.Prior to being saved we are sinners in bondage to sin.Chained to the wall until God enables us to trust in Christ for our redemption.
So what redemption means in its totality is this—You are freed from the power, the guilt and the penalty of sin.
It’s as we’re told in Colossians 1:13-14He (meaning God the Father) has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- The dark power of sin that once dominated your life,
- the guilt and shame that incessantly tells you—
“Your’ unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness”;
- the threat of spending an eternity in hell…
…you have been freed from all of these things by faith in Christ alone.
How are we redeemed?
Now then, how has this “redemption”, the freedom from the power, guilt and penalty of sin taken place? Look at verse 7 again—”In Him we have redemption through His blood…” Now we need to understand that when the Bible refers to the “blood” of Christ,it is talking about the violent and sacrificial death of Christ as an offering to God the Father for our sins.
I mean that’s fairly graphic language: “the blood”, pointing to the severity of our Lord’s death on the cross as an offering to appease and satisfy the wrath of God.
Look, you and I were and are incapable of securing our own redemption.There is no way in and of ourselves to break free from the power, guilt and penalty of sin.Think about it like this—If it were possible for us to stop sinning,to overcome our guilt and somehow avoid the judgment of God, then why did Jesus have to come and die for us?
Turn with me to Romans 3:23-25b.I just want us to see how absolutely necessary it was for Christ to die on the cross for our sins.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, (HOW?) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (free from, power, guilt, penalty of sin),whom God put forward as a propitiation”
(that means His sacrificial death satisfied God’s anger over our sin) (HOW?) by his blood, (By His violent and sacrificial death on the cross) to be received by faith.(You get that? ‘received by faith not earned by works) I love how R.C. Sproul has framed it—
He states—”The first act of redemption was God stooping to cover the shame of His creatures.”
From His birth our Lord was known as Immanuel which means “God with us.”God did not wait around for the impossible,
that is for spiritually dead sinners to come to Him. No, He came to us for a specific reason and this was known from the very beginning.
Joseph was told by an angel of the Lord that Mary’s child would be called Jesus “…for He will save His people from their sins.” God stooped down to us, to cover our sin, with the blood of Christ,
This should give us a new perspective of how costly our salvation is.
I Corinthians 6:19b-20
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. ”
And according to I Peter 1:19, that price was…
“…the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
The results of the atonement
Now then back to our text, Ephesians 1:7
“In him we have redemption (How?) through his blood, ”
(And what are the results? What did the blood of Christ purchase for us?)…
“…the forgiveness of our trespasses,…”
Now this word “trespasses” or PAR-AP-TOMA in the Greek refers to a violation of God’s standards.You name it we can all claim it—Lying, lust, hate, jealousy, dishonoring mum and dad, turning to a god of our imaginations instead of the God of Scripture, the list is endless; but we’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirts to prove it. We all have this in common, we are habitual line steppers, sinners through and through.
So why did Paul use this word “trespasses” instead of just calling it sin? Because he’s trying to give us a picture of what sin is looks like. Let me give you an example.
Have any of you here ever “trespassed” before? I know several of you have. And when you trespass your’ basically guilty of going someplace you not supposed to be.
Last year Steph and I went hiking somewhere north of Aztec, way out in the boonies. We had just finished doing some rock climbing and were almost to the car when out of nowhere a guy drives up in his truck and he asks us—
“What are you doing here?”
I’m thinking—”Here? You mean nowhere right?”
He then proceeded to explain to us in not so friendly terms that we were trespassing and we had best get on down the road.
To which I replied—
“Just how big a feller are you?” No I’m just kidding. You know we left, we weren’t supposed to be there. We were trespassing.
Folks, that’s where sin takes you.To places your’ not supposed to be. We’re all guilty of it, but here we see that through the blood of Christ we are forgiven of each and every instance, where we have departed from the old paths and went out on our own.I truly appreciate this definition of forgiveness I found in the Critical Commentary Series. It states, and I quote— (forgiveness) “…includes not only deliverance from sin’s penalty, but from its pollution and enslaving power; (furthermore it refers to) the reconciliation between the sinner and an offended God, and a satisfaction unto a just God.”
One of the reasons you are still so enamored and enslaved to sin, even as a Christian,is due to the fact that you have yet to understand the power of the cross.As a result you are like a prisoner.Your cell door has not merely been unlocked.It was ripped off the hinges by the power of the cross,and yet you find yourself standing around wondering when you’ll be free.
Turn with me real quick to Romans 6:6-7—
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
You are no longer a slave to THAT sin. It doesn’t own or define you. You have been set free by the blood of Christ. Your forgiveness is not contingent on your performance. And God doesn’t forgive you simply because He’s nice and understanding. Ours is not a cheap grace. Salvation is priceless because it cost Christ His blood, His life.
Why does God accept Christ’s sacrifice for our sins? (to show ‘the riches of His grace; saving grace)
Now why did God choose to redeem us in this fashion? Why didn’t God redeem us based upon our best efforts and best intentions? I mean let’s face it, that’s what most “professing” Christians actually believe about salvation. You repeat a prayer, hang out at a church from time to time and try to be more good than bad. That’s the predominate hope of eternal life in the modern church.
So why isn’t that good enough for God? Well for starters you and I, really aren’t that good. And try as we might, we’ll never be good enough,regardless of our best intentions. But as we read on in our text you’ll see that by redeeming and forgiving us through and by the blood of Christ,God was also revealing the splendor of His grace.
“7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us,”
Grace comes from the Greek word CHARIS and in this context it refers to His saving grace; specifically God’s act of redeeming and forgiving sinners who deserve nothing but His eternal wrath.
We’re told that this is done “according to the riches of His grace…” meaning that His saving grace is boundless, inexhaustible and infinite.
It’s remarkable to see the words Paul uses here to describe God’s grace and how He has saved us. Not only is He “rich” in grace but He has “lavished” this grace on us.
That word “lavished” means that God has poured out His grace to such an extent that it exceeds the boundaries of measurement. I can’t help but think of that classic line from Psalm 23—”You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
The old hymn that has for generations led God’s people in praise of Christ our Redeemer captures the heart of what we have just learned—
Redeemed how I love to proclaim it
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed through His infinite mercy
His child, and forever I am.
This is exactly what God’s Word, His Gospel and your redemption should provoke in you— A heart full of love and praise to Christ our Redeemer.
You are free from the power, the guilt and penalty of sin, all by grace through faith in Christ alone.
II. God the Son has Revealed the Mystery of God’s Will to Us.
8b “…in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In all wisdom and insight
That last phrase found there in verse 8 is actually a part of the beginning of verse 9 and so it reads—”…in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will…”. In other words, the mystery, that we’ll unpack here in a moment, imparts to us, the Redeemed in Christ, wisdom and insight. It’s a wisdom and an insight into something very specific, namely, the mystery of God’s will. Wisdom and insight are essentially synonymous terms and what it means is that we as God’s people have been given the ability to know the difference between right and wrong,with the additional blessing of having the will to do what is right.
What is He making known to us? (the mystery of His will)
So what is the mystery of God’s will? By the way this isn’t a hypothetical type of question or irrelevant. This is a mystery that every man and woman throughout the history of mankind has tried to solve.
It’s seen in questions such as—
- What is the meaning of life?
- What is my purpose in the grand scheme of the universe?
- What lies behind the mystery of death?
- Where are we all going in the end?
And by and large, the world’s answers have been wrong—
The Hindu confines himself to an endless curse of reincarnation.
The Buddhist pines for non-existence, the loss of self.
The Muslim is compelled to work for and even murder for paradise.
The Traditionalist appeases spirits and lives in fear of one curse after another.
The Atheist lives a self centered, self determined life, with no hope beyond the grave.
It is only the Redeemed, the chosen of God in Christ that have any wisdom or insight into God’s true will.
What is God’s plan? (it is summed up “in Christ)
So now let’s answer the mystery of God’s will. And we’ve already read it and as a child of God you already know it.
8b “…in all wisdom and insight
9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
There it is, God’s perfect and unchangeable will summed up in two words—
“…in Christ.” This is God’s will for you and me as Christians. Just as we discovered last Sunday as we studied verses 4-6— It was the will of God the Father to blessed us in Christ, How? He chose you before the foundation of the world. He predestined you to adopted and love as a son or daughter.
This gives meaning and purpose to your life here and now. You have been chosen and predestined by Him to be holy and blames, therefore your purpose is to give Him praise for His glorious grace. Mystery solved, there’s God’s perfect will for your life Christian.
We get all amped out about “Well, what’s God’s will for me in regards to a career, a future spouse, that car I’m thinking about buying.” And it’s not like those things are necessarily unimportant. But let’s get our priorities straight. What did Jesus preach in the Sermon on the Mount?
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So first things first— God has a will a purpose for your life. You can see it clearly back in verses 4-6 (Ep. Chapter1)
4b he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will, (What is God’s will for your life?)
6a to the praise of his glorious grace,
God’s overarching will for your life is to praise Him, to glorify Him for His saving grace.
What is the answer to the mystery? (to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth)
Now of course there’s more to His will, the mystery is further revealed in verse10. It’s all summed up “…in Christ”…
10 …as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
According to Galatians 4:4-6 this “fullness of time” has already begun.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
And lastly, this fullness of time will culminate on the Day of Judgment.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There’s the answer to the mystery. The answer to the question— “What lies beyond the shadow of death?” “Where are we all going?”
As we’re told in verse 10—
“…all things (will be united) in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Some will spend an eternity in the presence of their Father. Most, will spend an eternity enduring the wrath of a Holy God in Hell.
But make no mistake, ALL will be united in this one point, in the fullness of time—”every knee will bow, every tongue will confess—
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.
God the Son has redeemed us and He has revealed to us the mystery of God’s will. You have clearly seen the sovereign grace of God’s salvation in Christ alone.And now as the Redeemed in Christ, we willingly and joyfully have but one purpose in life—To glorify the God of our salvation. Some of you here are no believers. But you’ve heard the Gospel this morning. You’ve heard how Christ has redeemed us from the power, guilt and penalty of sin and you are aware of the judgment that is coming.
Repent and trust in Christ alone. And join us in praise of God now before that great and terrible day of judgment.
This could be the day we all sing united in Christ—
Redeemed how I love to proclaim it
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed through His infinite mercy
His child, and forever I am.