We Have Redemption
September 30, 2018
The world loves many things. But one thing that it really, really loves is the idea of redemption.
We see it in fiction, in for example movies and books and TV shows and video games with characters who make journeys of personal growth and transformation to find their redemption and happy ending. We see it in the real world, in for example moments in sports with athletes who come back from defeat and loss to achieve their redemption and victory. We see it in our own lives - in our families and workplaces and schools and relationships where people move through past mistakes and second chances to change for the better.
And on top of all of this, we redeem everything that we can. We redeem grocery coupons for weekly savings. We redeem credit card points for travel rewards. We redeem Chuck E Cheese tickets for awesome prizes. We redeem Starbucks stars for free sugar and caffeine. The idea of redemption is everywhere. It’s a great idea. Whoever came up with the idea of it is a genius.
But we who are in Christ have the greatest and most important redemption of all.
In the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul counts our blessings and praises our God. We have so many spiritual blessings in Christ. We have so many reasons to praise our God. Last week, we looked at how God our Father, the second person of the Trinity, has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We looked at how he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to holy and blameless. We looked at how he adopted us into his family.
Today, we turn our attention to the second person of the Trinity, to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, in him, we have redemption. We have a redemption through Jesus’ blood. Our sins have been forgiven because of him. His grace for us is rich and lavish.
May we learn today about the redemption that we have in Christ. And may we praise God for this spiritual blessing that is so central to everything that we have in Christ.
If you really want to understand the redemption that you have in Christ, you really need to start with its purpose. And it’s really simple. God redeemed us so that we can have communion with him. This is the big picture. Forgiveness and eternal life and the new heavens and the new earth are all great blessings. But the ultimate goal is not forgiveness. The ultimate point is not eternal life. The ultimate objective is not the new heavens and the new earth. All of these gospel truths are great. But they are utterly meaningless if we do not have the greatest spiritual blessing of all: communion with God himself. This is the purpose of redemption. The purpose of redemption is to be with God and have a restored relationship with him. Redemption is not just about getting out of jail. Redemption is also about getting into the party. It’s not just about being free. It’s about being with God. Jesus did not ultimately shed his blood for you so that you could be a better person. Jesus ultimately shed his blood for you so that you could be with him. This is the grand purpose of redemption. Praise the Lord!
Now this is how redemption works. Sin prevents a sinner from having communion with God. And sin requires a payment, a making of things right again, an atonement. And the price for that is suffering and death. Suffering of the punishment of God’s just wrath, and eternal death and separation from God in hell. This is the bad news. But it is the right news. It is the news that we deserve. And there is nothing that we can do in and of ourselves to fix this. But God the Father showed us grace. He loved us. He chose us to be saved. And he provided his Son Jesus Christ to be a substitute for us. Jesus paid for our sin. Jesus made things right again and atoned for us. And he did this by suffering and dying on our behalf. This is what Paul means when he says that we have redemption through Jesus’ blood. Blood is life. And Jesus shed his blood and lost his life for you. Jesus died for you. He died because of your sin.
Praise the Lord! Now there is no sin that belongs to you. There is no sin labeled as yours because Jesus took all your sin away. All of your sin - sins that you did in the past, sins that you are doing right now, and sins that you will do in the future - that you did yourself was removed from you and transferred onto Jesus. Therefore, your sins are not counted against you.
And praise the Lord! Now there is no wrath for you. And your sin is removed from your name. There is no wrath for you because Jesus took all the wrath. All the wrath that you deserved was poured out on Jesus. And justice was satisfied. Therefore, there is now no wrath for you.
This is awesome. Jesus redeemed us by removing our sin from us and putting it on himself. Jesus redeemed us by taking the wrath that we deserve.
But this is not enough. This only gets us out of jail. This doesn’t get us to the table. For that, we need perfect righteousness. But the redemption that we have in Christ has got that covered too. Jesus never sinned. Jesus perfectly obeyed the law of God. Jesus took all your sin. And you took all his righteousness. All your sin was transferred onto him. And all his righteousness was transferred onto you. Therefore, you are counted as righteous in the sight of God.
Redemption is therefore not just Jesus taking you out of something. Redemption is also Jesus bringing your into something. Redemption is not just about getting out of Egypt. It’s also about getting into the Promised Land.
Now everything that I’ve said so far about redemption can fall under the category of redemption accomplished. What I mean here is our redemption that is historical. It happened in the past. It happened once. It is finished. God removed our sin and put it on Christ. He satisfied justice for our sin by having Christ die in our place. And in place of the sin that we once had, he gave us Christ’s righteousness. All of this is the accomplishment of redemption. This is redemption accomplished.
But redemption overall must also be understood in the category of redemption applied. What I mean here is our redemption that is personal. It happens in our own lives. It happens to different people in different times and different places. It is ongoing.
This is how redemption is (or more precisely, was) applied to us. Jesus Christ gave us life and made us new again by the work of the Holy Spirit. We were spiritually dead. But God regenerated our hearts and gave us new life. God regenerated our hearts and gave us the gift of faith so that we would repent of our sins and believe in Christ. God united us with Christ and now the Holy Spirit dwells in us. All of this is the application of redemption. This is redemption applied.
This is really exciting and cool to think about. None of us have ever seen redemption accomplished. It happened in the past. It happened once and for all in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know everything about it because of the Bible. But none of us has seen redemption accomplished with our own eyes. But we can see redemption applied. We have seen it in our own lives. And we can see it happen right before our eyes when we evangelize and when non-believers repent of their sins and believe in Jesus. This is really exciting and cool. Praise the Lord!
But more than being exciting and cool, redemption is really humbling. And the reason is so simple. We don’t deserve it. Paul writes these words: “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….” God did not redeem us because we deserved it. God redeemed us because he is gracious to us. And his grace is rich and lavish. His grace is extravagant and inexhaustible. God did not hold back on you. His love for you is not meager and cheap. His love for you is rich and lavish. And we who are in Christ really feel that and are greatly humbled. We know how great our sin was. But we know that God’s grace is greater than our sin. Praise the Lord!
Brothers and sisters, I invite you, I ask you, I command you in the name of Jesus to believe in the glorious blessing of redemption - redemption accomplished and redemption applied.
Brothers and sisters, may you have comfort and assurance and joy from this gospel truth. There is nothing left to pay. All your sin has been objectively removed and dealt with and replaced by the righteousness of Christ. Stop trying to accomplish redemption on your own. It is not yours to accomplish. Be free from your distress and anxiety and fear. You are already out of Egypt. And it’s just a matter of time before you enter the Promised Land.
Brothers and sisters, may you know that you are of great worth to God. Remember, redemption is payment. And God did not redeem you with coupons or credit card points. God redeemed you with the costly blood and death of the Lamb that was slain. And God did not redeem you with tickets or stars. God redeemed you with the costly obedience and righteousness of the Lion of Judah. One drop of Jesus’ blood is worth more than all the money and wealth and riches in the entire universe. But Jesus did not shed a drop of blood. Jesus shed a ton of blood - for you. And one act of Jesus’ obedience is deserving of more exaltation than all the “good works” of every character in every movie and book and TV and video game and every victorious sports athlete and every awesome person you know. But Jesus did not just do one act of obedience. Jesus achieved a ton of righteousness - a lifetime of perfect righteousness - for you. You are of infinite worth to God.
And finally, brothers and sisters, met you have greater desire to praise the Lord and obey him out of thankfulness and joy as you wait for the Day of the Lord. If we are not our own, if we have been bought with a price, then let us glorify God in our bodies. Let us life for him. Let us not love sin - the very thing that required redemption - but instead let us love God.
Soli Deo Gloria
Summary of Sermon
In the beginning of Ephesians, Paul counts our blessings and praises our God. And one central spiritual blessing that we have in Christ is redemption.
God redeemed us so that we can have communion with him. This is the purpose of redemption.
Redemption is an atonement for sin. Because God is holy and just, there must be suffering, punishment, wrath and death. But God the Father showed mercy and grace to an elect people by providing a substitute. That substitute was his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus shed his blood and died for our sin and for our sake.
Two things happened with regards to our sin. First, sin was removed from us and transferred onto Jesus. Second wrath was lifted from us and redirected to Jesus. Our sins have therefore been credited to Christ. And the punishment that we deserve has been administered to Christ.
But redemption does not just get us out of Egypt. Redemption gets us into the Promised Land. Jesus’ righteousness was given to us. We are credited and clothed with his righteousness, not our own, and this is what really gets us into the party.
Redemption was accomplished. It is all historical. It all happened in the once and for all death and resurrection of Christ.
But redemption is also applied. It happens in the personal lives of individuals. It happens when the Holy Spirit regenerates people’s hearts and gives them repentance and faith in Christ.
This is exciting. We have not seen redemption accomplished (though we know everything about it in the Bible). But we do see redemption applied when people get saved. This is exciting to see.
But this is also humbling. We do not deserve to be redeemed. But God redeemed us because he is gracious to us. And his grace is rich and lavish. It is true that our sin is great. But God’s grace is even greater than our sin.
May we continue to believe in this wonderful spiritual blessing that we have in Christ.
Because we are redeemed, let us have comfort, assurance and joy, knowing that there is nothing for us to accomplish or apply. Because we are redeemed, let us know that we are of great worth to God. And because we are redeemed, let us have a greater desire to praise the Lord and obey him out of thankfulness as we wait for the return of our King.
Questions for Small Groups
Redemption is one of the most central spiritual blessings that we have in Christ. What does God’s redemption mean to you? What part or parts about redemption cause thankfulness and joy in your heart?
Redemption has been accomplished once in the once-and-for-all death and resurrection of Christ. But redemption is being applied over and over again in the personal lives of sinners by the work of the Holy Spirit. How might this exciting truth affect the way that we approach and do evangelism?
We do not deserve to be redeemed. But the grace of our God is rich and lavish. In what ways is this true in your own life? How might the richness and lavishness of God’s grace compel us toward greater hatred for sin and love for obedience to the Lord?