In light of Resurrection Sunday next week, I want to take this and next time to talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As we begin our time together this morning, I want to ask you a question.
Who did Jesus die for?
Some say, “He died for everyone.”
Others say, “He died for the elect.”
Those not wanting to address the issue say, “He died for both--the elect and the non-elect.”
Which is it?
It’s amazing at how many answers come to this question but Scripture teaches there is only one.
And to answer this question this morning, I would like to invite you to ake God’s Word and turn with me to Ephesians chapter 1.
Our text is verse 7-8a.
Ephesians 1:7-8a says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
Redemption is at the heart of the Word of God.
It is its theme.
Both the Old and New Testament reflect God’s redemption of man.
In Psalm 111:9, the psalmist says, “He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name.”
Psalm 130:7-8 says, “O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. 8 And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.”
In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Galatians 4:4-5 says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
As you can see this is a recurring theme which encompasses both the Old and New Testament.
As we look at Ephesians 1:7-8a we see this theme mentioned as one of the great spiritual blessings that has been given to God’s people.
I remind you that Paul is reflecting on how God has blessed us in verses 3-14.
He first chose us.
Second, He adopted us.
When did He do all of this? “Before the foundation of the world” (v.4).
And now we see these first two blessing carried out in “redemption.”
As we look at this wonderful subject this morning, we are going to see 4 features of our redemption.
Notice the first feature in verse 7.
He says, “in Him.”
These two words introduce us to the Redeemer.
THE REDEEMER (v.7a)
The Redeemer is Jesus Christ
“In Him” is a phrase that occurs throughout the book of Ephesians.
We find it in vv.4, 7, 9, 10, 13; 3:12; 4:21.
It is also a phrase that refers back to the “Beloved” in verse 6.
God “bestowed His grace on us in the Beloved.”
“Beloved” is a term used by God the Father of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
After Jesus was baptized by John, Matthew 3:17 says, “And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
At His transfiguration, we hear these same words recorded in Matthew 17:5. It says,
While Peter was speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’”
Paul referred to Jesus with this same term in Colossians 3:13-14 when he said, “For He rescued 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.”
As Paul uses this term (agapo) in Ephesians 1:6 it “indicates the One who is in the state of being loved by God” (MacArthur).
“Beloved” is a perfect participle in the Greek.
The perfect tense speaks of action completed in the past but having present results.
Kenneth Wuest says, “It speaks of the fact that God the Father has always loved God the Son with an absolute love which is a permanent attitude on His part” (Word Studies in the Greek NT, 39).
Jesus is Referred to as the Redeemer Elsewhere in Scripture
In Luke 2:38 when Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord, Anna “began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption in Jerusalem.”
In Galatians 2:20 when Paul speaks of being crucified with Christ he says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Notice also in verse 7:
THE RECIPIENTS (v.7b)
The Recipients Are the Elect
They are those who are “saints” and “faithful in Christ Jesus” (v.1).
They are those who have been “blessed...with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (v.3).
They are those whom God “chose” for Himself “before the foundation of the world” (v.4).
They are those who have been “predestined...to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (v.5).
Based on that context we can say with full assurance that...
Jesus Died for the Redemption of the Elect
Matt Slick, who is the founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry writes, “Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11,15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bear the sins of many (not all)” [http://www.carm.org/list/calvinism.htm].
Matthew 1:21 says that He came to “save His people from their sins.”
Who are “His people”? It could be a reference to the Jews because “salvation is from the Jews” (Jn.4:22). But I believe it has a specific reference to the elect—those chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph.1:4). To limit it to a nationality of people ignores what Paul said to the Gentiles in Acts 13:46-48.
He says to the Jews: “Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 "For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.' " 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”
Jesus came to save those who were “appointed to eternal life” before the world began.
What about those passages that say speak of Christ’s redemption being for the whole “world” or for “all”?
John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
1 John 2:1-2 says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
1 Timothy 2:3-6 says, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”
These three verses are speaking “of Christ’s work in general terms...and was to correct the false notion that salvation was for the Jews alone.
Such phrases as ‘the world,’ ‘all men,’ ‘all nations,’ and ‘every creature’ were used by the New Testament writers to emphatically correct this mistake.
These expressions are intended to show that Christ died for all men without distinction (i.e., He died for Jews and Gentiles alike), but they are not intended to indicate that Christ died for all men without exception (i.e., He did not die for the purpose of saving each and every lost sinner)” (David Steele, The Five Points of Calvinism, 50).
Charles Spurgeon said, “The Arminians say, 'Christ died for all men.' Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, 'No, certainly not.' We ask them the next question: Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer 'No.' They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, 'No; Christ has died that any man may be saved if ?' and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ's death; we say, 'No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.' We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ's death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.”
Scripture does speak of Christ’s saving work in definite terms and shows that it was intended to save a particular people, namely, those given to Him by the Father.
We already looked at Matthew 1:21 where Matthew says that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 20:28 says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 26:28 says, “For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
John 11:49-53 says, “But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish." 51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.”
Romans 8:32-34 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
Hebrews 2:17 says, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”
Hebrews 9:15 says, “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
Hebrews 9:27-28 says, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
David Steele writes, “Election itself saved no one; it only marked out particular sinners for salvation. Those chosen by the Father and given to the Son had to be redeemed if they were to be saved. In order to secure their redemption, Jesus Christ came into the world and took upon Himself human nature so that He might identify Himself with His people and act as their legal representative or substitute. Christ, acting on behalf of His people, kept God’s law perfectly and thereby worked out a perfect righteousness which is imputed or credited to them the moment they are brought to faith in Him. Through what He did, they are constituted righteous before God. They are also freed from all guilt and condemnation as the result of what Christ suffered for them. Through His substitutionary sacrifice, He endured the penalty of their sins and thus removed their guilt forever. Consequently, when His people are joined to Him by faith, they are credited with perfect righteousness and are freed from all guilt and condemnation. They are saved, not because of what they themselves have done or will do, but solely on the grounds of Christ’s redeeming work” (39).
Look again at Ephesians 1:7 where we see now:
THE REDEMPTION (v.7c)
It says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood.”
The Meaning of Redemption
“Redemption” Gr.apolutrosis, it literally means, “purchasing with a price” (Rienecker).
This word was used when paying the necessary ransom “to set free a prisoner of war, a captive, or a debtor who was sold into slavery” (Boles, K. L. (1993). Galatians & Ephesians. The College Press NIV commentary, Eph 1:7).
When Paul uses this term in Ephesians 1:7 he is referring to “paying the required ransom to God for the release of a person from bondage.
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid that price for every elect person enslaved by sin, buying them out of the slave market of iniquity (see notes on 2 Cor. 5:18, 19).
The price of redemption was death (cf. Lev. 17:11; Rom. 3:24, 25; Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev. 5:8–10) [MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (Eph 1:7)].
Kenneth Wuest says, “The story of redemption can be told in three Greek words; agoraz, "to buy in the slave market" (I Cor. 6:20, 7:23, 30, II Pet. 2:1, Rev. 5:9); the Lord Jesus bought us in the slave market of sin, the ransom price, His blood; we are his bondslaves; exagoraz, "to buy out of the slave market, to buy off, to buy for one's self" (Gal. 3:13, 4:5); the redeemed are the possession of the Lord Jesus forever, and will never be put up for sale in any slave market again; lutro "to liberate by payment of ransom" (Tit. 2:14, I Pet. 1:18); the redeemed are set free from the guilt and power of sin now, to be finally set free from the presence of sin at the Rapture” (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader, Eph 1:7).
The Price of Redemption
It was “through His blood.”
“The price of redemption is ‘His blood.’ It cost the blood of the Son of God to buy men back from the slave market of sin” (John MacArthur, Ephesians, 21).
Hebrews 9:11-14 says, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “ Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
These two verses speak of the manner by which our redemption was secured—it gives us the price of redemption.
When you hear the terms “the blood of Christ,” it is speaking of His death.
Romans 5:9-10 says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
We have seen the Redeemer, the recipients, and the redemption. Notice now:
THE REMISSION (vv.7d-8a)
Paul says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
Paul says that His redemption accomplished “the forgiveness of our trespasses.”
The Meaning of Forgiveness (v.7d)
“This redemption is defined as ‘the forgiveness of sins."
The word ‘forgiveness’ is aphesis from aphiemi, ‘to send from one's self, to send away, to bid go away or depart.’
The noun aphesis, used in relation to ‘sins,’ means ‘a release, the letting them go as if they had not been committed, thus, forgiveness, a remission of their penalty’ (Thayer).
Trench says that the image under lying the verb is that of releasing a prisoner (Isaiah 61:1), or letting go, as of a debt (Deut. 15:3)” (Wuest).
John MacArthur writes, “Israel's greatest holy day was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. On that day the high priest selected two unblemished sacrificial goats. One goat was killed, and his blood was sprinkled on the altar as a sacrifice. The high priest placed his hands on the head of the other goat, symbolically laying the sins of the people on the animal. The goat was then taken out deep into the wilderness, so far that it could never find its way back. In symbol the sins of the people went with the goat, never to return to them again (Lev. 16:7–10).
But that enactment, beautiful and meaningful as it was, did not actually remove the people's sins, as they well knew. It was but a picture of what only God Himself in Christ could do. As mentioned above, aphi i (from which forgiveness comes) basically means to send away. Used as a legal term it meant to repay or cancel a debt or to grant a pardon. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ actually took the sins of the world upon His own head, as it were, and carried them an infinite distance away from where they could never return. That is the extent of the forgiveness of our trespasses” (22).
Forgiveness is the results of the “redemption through His blood.”
Jesus alone forgives sin.
You sins are not taken away by some act you perform; they are forgiven as a result of the redemption of Christ.
It is clear in the NT that Jesus had the authority to forgive sin.
In Matthew 9:1-6, it says, “Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. 2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes." 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, and walk'? 6 "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—then He said* to the paralytic, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home." 7 And he got up and went home.”
In Acts 13:38-39 Paul said to the Jews, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.”
This was clearly the message of the early church.
After His resurrection, Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
In the OT, there is a passage that tells us:
God alone forgives sin
Isa.43:25 says, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”
This passage sounds like a contradiction with the others we read about Jesus forgiving sin.
There is no contradiction here—God alone forgives sin and Jesus is God the second member of the Trinity.
Jesus accomplished redemption for those chosen by God before the foundation of the world. As a result, they are forgiven of their “trespasses.”
The Meaning of Trespasses (v.7d)
“Trespasses” Gr.paraptoma, from parapipto. It means “to fall beside a person or thing, to slip aside.”
The noun form paraptoma means “to fall beside or near something; a laspe or deviation from truth and uprightness, a sin, a misdeed, a trespass” (Wuest).
Marvin Vincent says, “In classical Greek the verb is often used of intentional falling, as of throwing one's self upon an enemy; and this is the prevailing sense in biblical Greek, indicating reckless and willful sin (see 1 Chron. 5:25; 10:13; 2 Chron. 26:18; 29:6, 19; Ezek. 14:13; 18:26). It does not, therefore, imply palliation or excuse. It is a conscious violation of right, involving guilt, and occurs therefore, in connection with the mention of forgiveness (Rom. 4:25; 5:16; Col. 2:13; Eph. 2:1, 5)” [Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament].
Paul mentions this word again in 2:1 when he says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”
This word occurs 20 times in six different forms in the NT and is predominantly translated “transgression.”
The Decree of God’s Forgiveness (vv.7d-8a)
We have all of this “according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
Kenneth Wuest says, “This forgiveness is "according to the riches of His grace." The words "according to" are the translation of kata, a preposition which in its local meaning has the idea of "down."
The word "down" speaks of domination. The word "domination" speaks of control.
The degree of this forgiveness was controlled, dominated by the riches, (ploutos) wealth, abundance, plenitude of God's grace.
This forgiveness is therefore a complete, an unqualified, an unchanging one, since it is controlled by the plenitude of God's grace, and that plenitude is infinite in proportion” (41).
The idea of “lavished” (perisseuo) means, “to exceed a fixed number or measure, to be over and above a certain number or measure, to exist or be at hand in abundance” (Thayer).
“God’s grace—like His love, holiness, power, and all His other attributes—is boundless. It is far beyond our ability to comprehend or describe, yet we know it is according to the riches of His infinite grace that He provides forgiveness” (MacArthur, 24).
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”
The Redeemer is Jesus; the recipients are the elect, the redemption and remission was by His blood.
Have you experienced that redemption and remission that the Redeemer provides?
I want to invite you to turn to Him today.
Jesus is the only Redeemer that can save you from your sin.
Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
If you will repent of your sin and turn to Him He will save you and grant you forgiveness and eternal life.
What do you think of when you hear the question, “Who did Jesus die for?”
When Paul says, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood,” who are the “we?”
What does redemption and forgiveness have in common?