Amplified: In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven.. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: It is through the Son, at the cost of his own blood, that we are redeemed, freely forgiven through that full and generous grace (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: in Whom we are having our redemption through His blood, the putting away of our trespasses according to the wealth of His grace
Young's Literal: in whom we have the redemption through his blood, the remission of the trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
IN HIM WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD: en o echomen (1PPAI) ten apolutrosin dia tou haimatos autou:
- Take a moment and scan through these verses that relate to redemption - Man's problem = Ps 49:7, 8, Ps 49:8NIV, Jacob in Ge 48:16 (see Angel of the LORD) Job 19:25, 33:23, 24; Ps 19:14, 130:7; Da 9:24, 25, 26; Isa 41:14, 43:14, 44:6,24; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7,26; 54:5, 8; 59:20;21, 60:16; 63:16, Zech 9:11; 10:8, 13:1,7; Mt 20:28; 26:28; Mk 10:45, 14:24; Acts 20:28; Ro 3:24; 1Cor 1:30; Col 1:14; 1Ti 2:6; Titus 2:14; Heb 9:12, 13, 14, 15, 22; 10:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12; 1Pe 1:18,19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jn 2:2; 4:10; Rev 5:9; 14:4)
EPHESIANS 1-3 EPHESIANS 4-6 Spiritual Wealth Spiritual Walk The Position
of the Believer
of the Believer
Privilege Practice Doctrine Duty Doctrinal Practical Revelation Responsibility Christian Blessings Christian Behavior Belief Behavior Privileges
of the Believer
of the Believer
Know your resources
Live in the light of your resources
by faith in Christ
Work of Christ Walk of the Christian We
of the Christian
In Him - In Christ, or in union with Christ (see The New Covenant and Oneness with Jesus Christ and Covenant Oneness Notes), we have or more literally "are having" this blessing. It is not merely in a blessing that exist as a future possession (it will be that also as discussed below and see He 9:12-note), but it is ours by virtue of our faith in Christ. The redemption is "in Christ" not only as the source but also as the sphere in which they (and we) live (we have obtained redemption [through the payment to set the captives free] in Him, in Christ, and we now and forever live in the "atmosphere" of the light, truth and power of that same eternal redemption [He 9:12-note]. It's as if the "redemption" Christ has provided is now the "air" in which we as believers live and breath and have our being, if that helps you understand the picture of "in Him".)
You may want to read that spiritual blessing again. What is in view with this statement is something which the reader possesses right now. The Redeemer and His redemption of Israel had been long expected by the Jews (especially the believing remnant like Anna the Prophetess, one of the - Lk 2:38, and a Jewish leader Joseph of Arimathea, Mk 15:43, cp Lk 23:51 - where "kingdom of God" of course implies a king, "The King", Lk 24:21) and has now been accomplished in the almighty, glorious Cross! Think of that! Our guilt is removed, utterly gone! Forever! No more condemnation for those who are safe in the Beloved ("no condemnation" Ro 8:1 and "no separation" in Christ Ro 8:39). As discussed more below (click) there are other passages that view (in an eschatological sense - eschatos = "last things", so in prophetic sense) redemption as also have a future fulfillment.
For example Jesus used "redemption" in this future sense declaring...
"But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28)
Comment: When all the signs given in the Olivet discourse are just beginning to be fulfilled, then Christ says His coming is very near. Although we cannot know the date, we can be sure that He is coming very soon (See Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming). As explained below there is a sense in which our salvation is not yet complete. Glorification describes the culmination of salvation and it will transpire in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye in connection with the second coming of Christ. Maranatha! (See similar futuristic aspect of redemption in Ro 8:23-note below, also alluded to in Eph 4:30-note)
By some accounts there were 60 million slaves in the ancient Roman Empire in Paul's day and these individuals created in the image of God were treated like chattel (like a piece of furniture or a prize cow, mere property, not as precious human souls!), bought and sold like any other commodity or property. In a similar way in the spiritual realm all men are born slaves in Adam, (Ro 5:12-note), slaves to Statues (Law, Ro 7:3, 4, 5, 6-note), Sin (Jn 8:34, "under [the power of, like a crushing weight from which we cannot escape in our power] sin" Ro 3:9-note, Self (flesh), Satan (Ep 2:2-note, Acts 26:18, 1Jn 3:7, 8, 9, 10) and the System (this present evil world system, Ga 1:4KJV, Lk 4:6, 1Jn 5:19, 1Jn 2:15, 16, 17-note , Jas 4:4-note ).
Paul explained our former state of bondage to these cruel masters writing...
Of the Law It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law (James comments "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."). (Galatians 5:1, 2, 3) (See also discussion of the Law as it applies to believers)
Of Sin- Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin (literally "the Sin"), but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin (literally "the Sin") reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin (literally "the Sin") as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin (literally "the Sin") shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (Ro 6:11, 12, 13, 14-See notes Ro 6:11; 12; 13; 14)
Of Satan - For He delivered (rescued - see rhuomai) us from the domain (exousia) of darkness (nothing less than the kingdom of Satan, in which we were all once captive slaves - Eph 2:1, 2, 3 -see notes Ep 2:1; 2:2; 2:3), and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Literally - the kingdom of the Son of His love), 14 in Whom we have redemption (apolutrosis), the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:13, 14-see notes Col 1:13; 14)
Of this evil world system - (Jesus) Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age (world = aion), according to the will of our God and Father...6:14 But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world (kosmos) has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 1:4, 6:14)
And yet now in Christ and through the efficacious work accomplished by His blood shed on the Cross almost 2000 years ago, we have truly been set free, for as Jesus triumphantly declared...
Comment: Freedom given by Christ and in Christ is the only true freedom. Delivered from the shackles and the bondage of sin, believers now are free to do what they ought (contrast "the things that you please" Gal 5:17) what God created them to do [Ep 2:10-note], and they are no longer in shackles to their evil desires [that come from the fallen flesh that once ruled when we were in Adam]. The unsaved man or woman indulges in sin [Ep 2:3-note] and has no power to resist it. Sin like a cruel "king" rules and controls the unbeliever's mind and heart and as a result his body (our body is neutral and be used for good or bad, Sin always using it for bad or evil.) Sin from birth has bound the unbeliever in "spiritual shackles" much worse than shackles of iron. Christ's offer of redemption through His blood is the offer to come into a glorious freedom from such bondage, and into a potentially abundant life (Jn 10:10) that His indwelling Spirit both empowers and wills in the heart of the one redeemed so that they now can live life in a godly, holy way that pleases the Holy God [cp 2Cor 5:9, cp Col 1:9, 10, Php 2:13, Eph 5:10 [context = Ep 5:6, 7, 8, 9], Eph 6:6, 1Th 4:1, Heb 13:20, 21, He 11:6, ]
So as we come this verse we move in this great passage from the choosing and predestining work of the Father, to the redemptive work of the Son in salvation. We see how the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, moves to accomplish what the Father decided upon. The act of deciding was the Father's the accomplishment of which is the Son's.
Have (2192) (echo) means to have or possess objects or property. The present tense indicates durative action and could be paraphrased “in Whom we are continually having redemption” or "we have and are still having it". In Christ now redemption is our present and our continual possession. Redemption is an abiding fact, past, present and future as explained below.
In the Greek text the definite article "the" (ten apolutrosin = the redemption) states emphatically that is not just any redemption but "the" great redemption, "the" final, full redemption accomplished by Christ on the Cross, not other redemptions such as the "shadows" in the OT (Col 2:17, Heb 10:1, see the Kinsman Redeemer in Ruth, the blood of the Passover Lamb redeeming Israel from slavery in Egypt - Ex 6:6, Ex 12:1-18).
John Eadie - The apostle now specifies some fruits of that grace-illustrates echaritosen. From a recital of past acts of God toward us, he comes now to our present blessing. Redemption stands out to his mind as the deliverance-so unique in its nature and so well known, that it has the article prefixed. It is enshrined in solitary eminence. The idea fills the Old Testament, for the blessing which the Levitical ritual embodied and symbolized was redemption-deliverance from evil by means of sacrifice. Leviticus 1:4; Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 4:26; Leviticus 17:11. Blood was the medium of expiation and of exemption from penalty....The human race need deliverance, and they cannot, either by price or by conquest, effect their own liberation, for the penal evil which sin has entailed upon them fetters and subdues them. But redemption is not an immediate act of sovereign prerogative; it is represented as the result of a process which involved and necessitated the death of Christ. The means of deliverance, or the price paid, was the blood of Christ- dia tou haimatos autos; as in Acts 20:28, where we have periepoesato, and 1 Corinthians 6:20, where we have, under a different aspect, egorasthete and similarly in Galatians 3:13. Blood is the material of expiation. The death of Jesus was one of blood, for it was a violent death; and that blood-the blood of a sinless man, on whom the Divine law had no claim, and could have none-was poured out as a vicarious offering. The atonement was indispensable to remission of sin-it was to lutron-the price of infinite value. Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 9:22. The law of God must be maintained in its purity ere guilty man can be pardoned. The universal Governor glorifies His law, and by the same act enables Himself to forgive its transgressors....The dia (through) points to the instrumental connection which the death of Christ has with our redemption, but en (in) to the method in which that redemption becomes ours. Romans 3:24. Dia regards the means of provision, en the mode of reception-in Christ the Beloved, in loving, confiding union with Him as the one sphere-a thought vitally pervading the paragraph and the entire epistle. For how can we have safety if we are out of the Saviour? Romans 8:1; Romans 8:33. (Commentary on Ephesians)
Redemption (629) (apolutrosis [word study] from apo = marker of dissociation or separation + lutroo = to redeem <> from lutron = ransom <> from lúo = loosen what is bound, loose any person tied or fastened) is the payment of a price to ransom (lutron = money for a ransom = ransom or price paid for a slave who is then set free), to release (of someone from the power of someone else), to buy back or to deliver one from a situation from which one is powerless to liberate themselves from or for which the penalty was so costly that they could never hope to pay the ransom price. In other words, the idea of redemption is deliverance or release by payment of a ransom.
The Father planned it—Ep 1:4-6
The Son paid for it—Ep 1:7-12
The Spirit applied it—Ep 1:13-14.
Apolutrosis - 10x in 10v - Luke 21:28; Ro 3:24; 8:23; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7, 14; 4:30; Col 1:14; Heb 9:15; 11:35. NAS = redemption(9), release(1).
Henrietta Mears - Redemption is the most glorious work of God. It is greater far than His work of creation. He spoke a word and worlds were formed, but it cost Him the life of His beloved Son to redeem the world.
- Chart on Kinsman-Redeemer (Goel)
Have you ever pawned anything? If so, how useful was the item you pawned? Obviously it was no longer of any use. But when you paid the money to redeem the item back, it was restored to its usefulness. Every man born is sold into slavery to Sin and in this natural state (in Adam) was useless to God for the purposes He designed us to fulfill. Jesus' blood paid the necessary redemption price to restore us to usefulness. There is no way by which sinners in Adam can achieve the sense of fulfillment that they long to experience. Sure, non-believers can achieve a lot of things, but they don't satisfy the deepest inner needs of man. There is no sense of usefulness and there is within such a one a kind of subtle, haunting reminder of the truth that this is all going to disappear some day.
Redemption means to set a prisoner free, figuratively referring to the release of sinners from power of Sin or our old Adamic nature by the payment of the only ransom price acceptable to God, the precious Blood of His dearly Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus was qualified to be our Redeemer according to the Old Testament law of the Kinsman-Redeemer (see related discussion of Kinsman Redeemer - the Goel; see also discussion of Goel in the book of Ruth) because He met all three qualifications of the Goel...
(1) He had to be related to the one needing the redemption (see Hebrews 2:14-15-note - "Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.", see also He 2:17-note),
(2) He had to be able to pay the price (1Pe 1:18, 19-note = "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
(3) He had to be willing to pay the ransom price (Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." cp 2Co 8:9, Jn 10:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, Luke 22:42 )
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise
Our Daily Bread has a devotional on the Old Testament story of Ruth's redemption by Boaz which is a picture of the NT believer's redemption by their "greater Boaz", Christ Jesus...
During the American Revolution, the British Crown offered General Joseph Reed a bribe. He replied at an August 11, 1778, meeting of the Continental Congress by saying,
"I am not worth purchasing, but such as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do it."
Boaz was rich enough to take Ruth as his wife. As a close relative of Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, Boaz paid the price out of duty, but apparently he also loved Ruth. The Old Testament redeemer had to be a near relative, be willing, and be able to pay the price. Although love for the redeemed was not a requirement, it sometimes motivated the redeemer. More important, God Himself redeemed Israel because He loved the people.
Roman law added an obligation to the rules of redemption: The redeemed had to repay the ransom price. Redeemed people were in debt to their redeemer until they cleared the liability. Like Joseph Reed, we were not worthy of being purchased, but God loved us so deeply that He bought us with His Son's life. And we can only repay the Redeemer by offering our own lives in return. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The redemption of a sinner is only possible by payment of the ransom price, the blood of Christ. Peter writes that believers
"were not redeemed (lutroo) with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile (a lifestyle that is without purpose, unfruitful, and useless) way of life inherited (contrast with our inheritance in ) from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." (1Pe 1:18,19-note, cf 1Cor 6:20-note; Rev 5:9-note)
Jesus explained to His disciples that
"even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom (lutron = the ransom price) for many." (Mk 10:45 cf Mt 20:28)
Paul gives us an interesting "definition" if you will of "redemption" writing that in Christ
"we have redemption (apolutrosis), the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:14-note)
Christ's Blood shed for me for the forgiveness of sins. His death for my life. Redemption results in the forgiveness of sins. Christ was lifted up on the cross that we might be lifted out of our sin.
Apolutrosis was used was used in secular Greek as a technical term for money paid to buy back and set free prisoners of war or to emancipate (= to liberate a person from subjection or domination, to free from restraint, control, or the power of another) slaves from their masters. In the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, apolutrosis was used of for the release of prisoners by the payment of a price (Josephus, Antiquities, 12:27).
Eadie - (Apolutrosis means) not only man's deliverance from all evil-from sin, Satan, and death-but his entrance into all the good which a redeeming God has provided-peace, joy, and life-a title to heaven and preparation for it.
Apolutrosis would have been a very meaningful term to the first century reader as there were by some accounts up to 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire! Many of these slaves became Christians and fellowshipped in the local assemblies. A slave could purchase his own freedom, if he could collect sufficient funds or his master could sell him to someone who would pay the price and set him free. Redemption was a precious thing in Paul's day.
Jesus answering the unbelieving Jews who claimed never to have been enslaved to anyone (which of course was incorrect historically)
"answered them" declaring "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin." (Jn 8:34)
Believers have been ransomed, bought out of slavery to sin, like the redemption of a bondservant by a kinsman-redeemer (Lev 25:49).
And Can It Be That I Should Gain?
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth and followed thee
-- Charles Wesley (play)
Before redemption we were held captive by Satan to do his will and were enslaved to our old sin nature inherited from Adam. As noted above a Roman or Grecian slave could be freed with the payment of money, but no amount of money can set an enslaved sinner free.
Barclay writes that apolutrosis conveys
"In every case the conception (of) the delivering of a man from a situation from which he was powerless to liberate himself or from a penalty which he himself could never have paid." He goes on to relate that the Roman philosopher Seneca who tutored and advised Nero was "full of this kind of feeling of helpless frustration. Men, he said, were overwhelmingly conscious of their inefficiency in necessary things. He said of himself that he was a homo non tolerabilis, a man not to be tolerated. Men, he said with a kind of despair, love their vices and hate them at the same time. What men need, he cried, is a hand let down to lift them up. The highest thinkers in the pagan world knew that they were in the grip of something from which they were helpless to deliver themselves. They needed liberation. It was just that liberation which Jesus Christ brought. It is still true that he can liberate men from helpless slavery to the things which attract and disgust them at one and the same time." (Ephesians 1 Commentary)
Paul explains that in regard to our salvation we can never boast about anything but the Lord for
"by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (apolutrosis)" (1Cor 1:30)
Paul explains that the Holy Spirit
Comment: This is a reference to the "future" redemption of our bodies.
Later in the same letter he makes another reference to our future redemption, admonishing the saints not to
Comment: Here Paul refers to that future day when our bodies are glorified, that day when final redemption is realized. It is worth noting therefore that Christ's death on the cross has purchased not only present but final liberation. This is good news beloved.
In Romans 8:23 (see note) Paul again refers to our future redemption writing
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit (in other words, the first fruits is the presence of the indwelling Spirit, technically being the genitive of apposition), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly (see word study on apekdechomai = present tense pictures us continually, as our lifestyle, awaiting the return of Jesus with a sense of great expectation and anticipation - used 3 times in Romans 8! Ro 8:19, 25-See notes Ro 8:19, 25) for the redemption (apolutrosis) of our body.
"Future" redemption is that day when all believers receive their resurrected glorified body and enter into the joy of that final deliverance from the "ills that the flesh is heir to". In short, this sure hope refers to the final and complete deliverance of our earthly bodies not just from the power of sin (explained in Romans) but from the presence of sin and even the pleasure of sin and the resultant tension (flesh warring against the Spirit) which we constantly feel as long as we are in these mortal bodies. In sum, believers have redemption through His blood as our present possession but we eagerly await the final culmination of this redemption of our bodies, when Jesus returns and resurrects all believers changing them in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Note also in this great passage in Every believer has the first fruit (The first portion of the harvest was regarded both as a first installment and as a pledge of the final delivery of the greater harvest!) which is the indwelling Holy Spirit (compare to the Spirit as the "pledge" of our inheritance - Ep 1:14-note). When we as believers experience the Holy Spirit enabling or empowering us to turn from darkness to light, from iniquity to obedience, love, worship, and service to the most High God, we have a foretaste of the future completed and perfected renewal He will work in us at the resurrection. Every time we see Him working His righteousness in and through us, we yearn all the more to be freed of our remaining sin and spiritual weakness. Because of our divinely-bestowed sensitivity to sin, we ourselves groan within ourselves over the dreadful curse of sin that is still manifested by our remaining humanness, and the many times we stumble in our thoughts, words or deeds. But glory to God, this condition won't last for long!
The writer of Hebrews explained Jesus
is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption (apolutrosis) of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Heb 9:15-note)
One of the effects of the apolutrosis procured by the death of Christ was to redeem all those who had believed in God under the Old Covenant. After Christ died, they saw what had only before been a promise - it was a certain promise, a guaranteed promise, but until the Messiah’s atoning death, it was an unfulfilled promise. The point is that Christ’s atoning death was retroactive. Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) also pictured symbolically what Christ’s atonement did actually, for Yom Kippur was "retroactive". When the high priest sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat, the unintentional sins of the people were covered for the previous year.
I Gave My Life for Thee
Frances Ridley Havergal
(Her first hymn!)
I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed;
That thou might ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead.
I gave, I gave, My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?
Through (1223) (dia) is a marker of instrument by which something is accomplished. In other words it was by means of Christ's blood ransom that He bought for Himself fallen man to set him free from his sin, his guilt and his condemnation.
Blood (129) (haima) refers to blood as the basis of life or what constitutes the life of an individual (see Lev 17:11). Blood is the basic component of a living organism. The shedding of Christ's blood (death) was the penalty price for sin. What was foreshadowed in the Levitical system was realized at the Cross when the Son of God laid down his life in death and ransomed men from sin. His precious blood paid the ransom price for our redemption (Cf 1Pe 1:18, 19-notes; Rev 1:5-note Rev 5:9-note, Ro 3:24-note; Ro 3:25-note)
Note that "the blood" of Christ means more that just the death of Christ. It refers to a particular aspect of that death, as a sacrifice, a death having a definite efficacy. The Old Testament foreshadowed this sacrifice in the blood of the victims offered under the OT Law, not for redemption but for purposes of purification and as a temporary covering of sins committed (looking forward toward and awaiting the full atonement made possible by the shedding of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, Who takes away completely the sin of the world, a truth that becomes efficacious only for those who believe upon Him). In Christ's own words...
this is My blood of the covenant (the new covenant, prophesied in the OT in Jer 31:31-33), which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Mt 26:28)
Thus Christ's blood denotes the ratification of a brand new relationship between God and man (see studies on covenant - New Covenant in the Old Testament, Why the New is Better, Abrahamic vs Old vs New)
Paul also makes reference to Christ's blood in reference to the church as he warns the Ephesian elders to...
Be on guard (present imperative - continually being cautious, attentive, in a state of readiness to learn of future danger, need, or error, and to respond appropriately. Paul repeated this call to self-examination to Timothy when his young son in the faith served as pastor of the Ephesian congregation.) for yourselves (look after your own spiritual health first!) and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)
In this letter to the Ephesian Gentiles Paul writes of the efficacy of Christ's blood to restore unity between Jew and Gentile explaining that...
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off (Gentiles) have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:13-note)
In Hebrews we see the efficacy of Christ's blood in opening access to the very throne of God...
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place (God's throne room in heaven!) by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh (Hebrews 10:19, 20-note)
In Colossians Paul explains the efficacy of Christ's blood in reconciliation writing that...
it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him (Christ) to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Col 1:19, 20-notes)
Expositor's Greek Testament goes on to add that
in the NT the blood of Christ is used with reference to the ethical power of Christ's death in purifying or in overcoming (1Peter 1:19, 1John 1:7, Rev 12:11). But its special use ins with reference to justification (Rev 5:9), the position of non-condemnation (Hebrews 12:24), the cleansing of the conscience (Heb 9:14), the making of peace between God and the world (Col 1:20), the manifestation of the righteousness of God in the passing over of sins (Ro 3;25), the remission of sins (Heb 9:22).
Matthew records Jesus' declaration that...
the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mt 20:28, cf parallel verse in Mark 10:45)
Comment: Observe that the word "for" means "in the place of", Christ clearly interpreting the meaning of His sacrifice as a substitution for sinners. Service and salvation, not power and prestige, were His goals.
Paul affirms that...
there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for (again this preposition speaks of and equates with substitution, on behalf of, in our place) all, the testimony borne at the proper time. (1Timothy 2:5, 6)
The writer of Hebrews adds that Christ functioned as mankind's High Priest but unlike the Jewish high priests of the OT, Christ entered through perfect tabernacle not made with hands, not of this creation...
and not through the blood of goats and calves (like the Jewish high priest, when he entered the Holy of holies, to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat covering the Ark of the Covenant), but through His own blood, He entered the holy place (equates with the Holy of holies) once for all (for all time), having obtained eternal redemption. (in marked contrast to the Jewish high priest who entered the Holy of holies only once per year on the Day of Atonement). 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 (there was a specified role for the OT shadows that prefigured and were fulfilled in Christ, the perfect Lamb of God), 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? (Hebrews 9:12-14)
When was this price of blood that effected our redemption paid? On the Cross when Jesus declared "It is finished" (John 19:30-see notes) which is the Greek verb "Tetelestai" which translated means Paid in Full!
When someone had a debt in ancient times and it was paid off, they would write "Tetelestai" on that certificate which means 'Paid in Full', the exact words Jesus declared in His moment of ultimate triumph over Satan and Sin! Tetelestai was used by various people in everyday life in those days. Receipts for taxes found in the the secular Greek writings have written across them this single Greek word "Tetelestai"! (A good document to have when the auditor comes, especially the "Divine Auditor"!) When a Roman citizen was convicted of a crime, the law of that day slammed him in prison, prepared a "Certificate of Debt" that listed all the crimes he was convicted of on it and nailed the certificate to his cell door for all to see. It remained nailed there so all would be assured that he served his full sentence, and "paid in full" the penalty for his crimes. When Jesus, dying for us on that awful Cross, announced His great victory cry with the Greek word "Tetelestai", it would have resonated with many watching this spectacle for it was a very familiar phrase. Tetelestai was the same word that the authorities stamped across the Certificate of Debt after a criminal had completed his prison term. It literally meant that he had "Paid in Full" for all his crimes. Then the criminal was given the certificate which he could produce to show that his debts and obligations had been "paid in full." He could never be a victim of "double jeopardy" or paying for the same crime twice.
See related resource -
In a similar way, when an artist completed a picture or a writer finished his manuscript, he might say “It is finished!” When the servant completed the task the master had assigned to him, he would declare "It is finished" when the master returned (cp Jn 4:34 with Jesus prayer to His Father in Jn 17:4, where accomplished is the a verb related to tetelestai!)
The death of Jesus on the Cross “completes the picture” (cf the truth in Ephesians 1:9; 10 - notes) that God had been painting since before the foundation of the world, the story that He had written from all eternity. It had been predestined, predetermined in the mind and heart of the Father. Because of the Cross, now we can look back and begin to understand all of the Old Testament rituals and ceremonies which pointed to this one day in time and eternity when the price of redemption for lost, helpless, hopeless and enslaved mankind was "Paid in Full"! Glory to God! Hallelujah!
Nor Silver Nor Gold
by James Gray
Click to play
Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my redemption,
Nor riches of earth could have saved my poor soul;
The blood of the cross is my only foundation,
The death of my Savior now maketh me whole.
I am redeemed, but not with silver,
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price, the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.
Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my redemption,
The guilt on my conscience too heavy had grown;
The blood of the cross is my only foundation,
The death of my Savior could only atone.
Since Christ paid for us what is our relationship to Him? Scripture makes it quite clear not only "who" we are in Christ but because of our position "in Christ" it emphasizes "whose" we are...
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1Corinthians 6:19, 20)
You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (1Corinthians 7:23)
Who (Christ) gave Himself for (= substitution) us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14-note)
Comment: Observe our present purpose
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1Pe 2:9-note)
Comment: Observe our present purpose as "light in the Lord" as Paul describes us in Eph 5:8- note)
THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR TRESPASSES: ten aphesin ton paraptomaton:
- Exodus 34:7; Psalms 32:1,2; 86:5; 130:4; Isaiah 43:25; 55:6,7; Jeremiah 31:34; Daniel 9:9,19; Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18; Luke 1:77; 7:40, 41, 42,47, 48, 49, 50; 24:47; John 20:23; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 10:43; 13:38,39; Ro 4:6, 7, 8, 9; Colossians 2:13; Hebrews 10:17,18; 1John 1:7, 8, 9; 2:12)
Expositor's Greek Testament (W Robertson Nicoll) writes regarding the redemption above that in this context it is
a redemption not from the power and pollution of sin, but from its guilt, its condemnation, its penalty, as made plain by the defining clause which follows, identifying it with the forgiveness of sins.
In context, forgiveness is directly linked with redemption. Although remission (forgiveness) rests on redemption they are each distinct spiritual blessings. Redemption means being freed from sin's power so that it no longer rules over us, whereas forgiveness means God "wipes the slate clean" (the bearing away of all of our "shortcomings") so that our sins no longer hang over us like the glistening blade of a guillotine ready to drop at any moment. Thank You Jesus!
Eadie - But the blessing here is remission. And it is full, all past sin being blotted out, and provision being made that future guilt shall also be remitted. Permanent dwelling in Christ (en o) secures continued forgiveness. That forgiveness also is free, because it is the result of His sacrifice- dia haimatos; and it is irreversible, since it is God that justifies, and who shall impeach His equity? or shall He revoke His own sentence of absolution?
Forgiveness (859) (aphesis from apo = from + hiemi = put in motion, send) (Click word study of aphesis) literally depicts a sending away or a putting apart. The root meaning of forgiveness is to put away an offense. The express idea is one of letting go of sin.
Aphesis is release from something which binds, from the chain which fetters (Luke 4:18) or the debt or tribute which oppresses (Esther 2:18 - LXE = he made a release to those who were under his dominion). It frees from the opheilema, from debt, as at the Year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25:31; Leviticus 27:24. It is, therefore, the remission of that which is due to us on account of offences, so that our liability to punishment is cancelled.
In secular Greek literature, the related word aphiemi was used to indicate the sending away of an object or a person and came to include the release of someone from the obligation of marriage, or debt, or even a religious vow. In its final form this word group came to embrace the principle of release from punishment for some wrongdoing. Aphesis was also used in medical language of the relaxation of disease.
Aphesis - 17x in 16v -
Matt 26:28; Mark 1:4; 3:29; Luke 1:77; 3:3; 4:18; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:22; 10:18. NAS = forgiveness(15), free*(1), release(1)
In fifteen occurrences aphesis expresses forgiveness (often "remission" in KJV) of sins and is rendered "free" and "release" in its other two occurrences (in Lk 4:18 "...PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES..."). The preaching of the early church always linked forgiveness with Jesus. He alone is able...
to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31).
The death and resurrection of Jesus put the promises of the OT prophets in perspective, for
all the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:43).
David had personally experienced the depth of God's forgiveness and wrote
John the Baptist recognized the Lamb Who was to be the "scapegoat" crying out as "he saw Jesus coming to him...
Comment: In the OT, the question was "Where is the Lamb?" Ge 22:7, in the NT the answer is "Behold the Lamb!" Jn 1:29 and throughout eternity the declaration will be "Worthy is the Lamb!" Rev 5:9-note.
No written accusation stands against us because our sins have been taken away! Sin made us poor, but grace makes us rich.
Forgiveness pictures the act of freeing and liberating one from something that confines.
Aphesis was used in secular Greek as a legal term that meant to repay or cancel a debt or to grant a pardon. Through the shedding of His 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 (This "substance" [cp Col 2:16, 17-note] being the fulfillment of the OT shadow in the annual feast, the Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur], when the scapegoat would take the sins into the desert = Lev 16:21). That is the extent of the forgiveness of our trespasses in the New Covenant (cp the extent of God's forgiveness as pictured in Ps 103:12, Mic 7:19, Isa 38:17, 43:23, Je 31:34, Acts 3:19 - see more detailed discussion below).
Every time we celebrate the Lord's supper we should recall Jesus' words
this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness (aphesis) of sins. (Mt 26:28)
Comment: 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.
Peter reminds us of the litmus test that
"Of (Messiah) all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness (aphesis) of sins" (Acts 10:43)
Regarding aphesis Vine adds that it
"primarily denotes a dismissal or release....Eleven times it is followed by “of sins,” once by “of trespasses.” Both this and the corresponding verb aphiemi, to send away, signify, firstly, the remission of the punishment due to sins and the deliverance of the sinner from the penalty divinely, and therefore righteously, imposed; secondly, the complete removal of the cause of offense or the ground of the vicarious and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. Here the forgiveness defines the redemption."
This act of sending away of our trespasses and sins brings to mind the Old Testament ritual carried out once each year on the Day of Atonement when the high priest sent the scapegoat into the wilderness (read about it in Leviticus 16). The high priest would first kill one of the two goats and sprinkle its blood before God on the mercy seat in the Holy of holies (where the glory of the Lord dwelt and where only the high priest could enter and then only on this one special day each year). The high priest would confess Israel’s sins over the live goat, and would have this goat taken into the wilderness to be lost. What a wonderful picture of God's incomparable, unmerited forgiveness of all of our trespasses and sins! Christ, the Lamb of God, was also the "Scapegoat", Who died to carry away our sins, so that they might never again be seen! Hallelujah! (see this same principle beautifully pictured in the following Old Testament passages...
Ps 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Comment: Think about this incredible statement - this figure describes the limitless scope of God's forgiving grace for one can travel east or west forever without coming to its end. Not true if one travels to the north or south, where a specific end point is reached - either the north pole or the south pole
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. 19 He will again have compassion on us. He will tread (KJV = subdue = pictures God conquering them in our personal lives even as one conquers a people or nation and this glorious result being effected by the compelling love of His compassion) our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.
Isaiah 38:17 "Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is Thou who hast kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back."
Comment: When God forgives our sins, He puts them behind His back. This is a figurative way of teaching that God does not see our sins any more
Isaiah 43:25 "I, even I, am the One Who wipes out (KJV = blotteth out - Hebrew "machah" = stroke or rub, erase, abolish, blot out, destroy, wipe out) your (He is speaking to faithless Israel but the principle applies to all forgiven sinners) transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. (Do you really believe Him? Then live in the light of His incredible forgiveness!)
Comment: The Septuagint - LXX translates the Hebrew verb "machah" with the Greek verb exaleipho from ek = out + aleipho = wipe which literally is to wash or smear completely, causing something to cease by obliterating it, here and in a parallel use in Acts 3:19 figuratively picturing the wiping away or blotting out of sins, Luke recording Peter's charge to the Jewish audience to "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, [exaleipho] in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you" - Acts 3:19, 20
Isaiah 44:22 "I have wiped out (machah) translated by apaleipo = expunged, blotted out) your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."
Comment: As a person can’t see what is ahead because it is blocked by a “thick cloud,” so God obliterated the sins of those He redeemed so that He would no longer see them. Notice that God had provided for redemption, even before the cross, but ultimately based on it alone. The OT believers looked forward to the Cross, whereas NT believers look back to it. For those who turn from sin and return to Him, there is redemption. The Lord calls on His people to repent so they may receive the promised redemption.
In summary, forgiveness effects a "release" of the one forgiven from a moral obligation to the one who forgives. Believers were once dead in our trespasses and sins (Ep 2:1-note) but God even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (Ep 2:4, 5-notes), Through the shedding of His blood Christ took the sins of world upon Himself and carried them an infinite distance away with no return possible. We are believers in His shed blood are the eternal benefactors of the riches of His grace.
FORGIVENESS AND UNFORGIVENESS
- List of links related to forgiveness/unforgiveness
- Multiple illustrations and quotes related to forgiveness/unforgiveness
- Exposition of "Forgiveness" in Ephesians 4:32
- Exposition of "Forgiveness" in Colossians 3:13
- Exposition of "Forgiveness" in Matthew 6:12 and Matthew 6:14-15
Trespasses (3900) (paraptoma [word study] from para = aside + pipto= fall) is literally a falling aside and figuratively describes a deviation from living according to God's Will as revealed in the Word as the right way to live. The basic idea conveyed is that of stumbling, of falling or of taking a false step so as to lose one's footing. A lapse or misdeed.
Paraptoma conveys the idea of a false step and so is translated a transgression. The idea behind transgressions (transgress in English means to to go beyond or overstep a limit or boundary and is from Latin trans- across + gradi = to step) is that we have crossed a line, challenging God's boundaries. In comparison, the idea behind sins (hamartia 266) is that we have missed a mark, the perfect standard of God.
Eadie - The word (paraptoma), therefore, signifies here that series and succession of individual sinful acts with which every man is chargeable, or the actual and numerous results and manifestations of our sinful condition.
Paraptoma - 19x in 17v - Matt 6:14f; Mark 11:25; Rom 4:25; 5:15ff, 20; 11:11f; 2 Cor 5:19; Gal 6:1; Eph 1:7; 2:1, 5; Col 2:13. NAS = transgression(7), transgressions(9), trespass(1), trespasses(3).
ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE: kata to ploutos tes charitos autou:
- Ep 1:6; 2:4,7; 3:8,16; Romans 2:4; 3:24; 9:23; 2Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 1:27; 2:2; Titus 3:6
How much have we been forgiven? What is the measure of God's forgiveness of us in Christ? Paul says it is not out of God's wealth but is proportionate to God's wealth, writing that it is "according to the wealth of His grace". Our redemption and forgiveness are based on the boundless resources of God's amazing, infinite grace. What a "rich" epistle is this letter to the Ephesians.
According to (2596) (kata) means not out of (a portion) but proportionate to. God's grace is infinite and that's how God gives! How wealthy is God? Infinitely wealthy. Then why are you wrestling with thoughts like "Surely He won't or can't forgive me of this or that sin?!". Away with such thoughts. Bow your knee. Confess to Him what He already knows and "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18) because of the riches of His grace.
John MacArthur explains...
The vastness and comprehensiveness of our forgiveness is seen in Paul’s statement that it is according to the riches of His grace. 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 that infinite grace that He provides forgiveness. If you were to go to a multimillionaire and ask him to contribute to a worthy ministry, and he gave you a check for twenty–five dollars, he would only be giving out of his riches. Many poor people give that much. But if, instead, he gave you a check for fifty thousand dollars, he would be giving according to his riches. That is a small picture of God’s generosity. His forgiveness not only is given according to the riches of His grace but is lavished upon us. We need never worry that our sin will outstrip God’s gracious forgiveness. (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Blaikie writes that...
The completeness of the forgiveness, its ready bestowal now, the security of its being continued in the future, and such like qualities show the richness of His grace. (The Pulpit Commentary: Ephesians)
Riches (4149) (ploutos [word study]) literally describes material prosperity riches or wealth. It refers to an abundance of possessions exceeding the norm of a particular society. Figuratively, as used in this verse, ploutos describes a spiritual abundance or prosperity, specifically of God's grace. His supply of grace is such that we need never worry our sin will outstrip His gracious forgiveness.
“Where sin increased grace abounded all the more” (see note Romans 5:20).
God does not give us subsistence forgiveness that barely covers our sins! Sin made us paupers but grace makes us rich in Christ!
Ploutos - 22x in 21v - Matt 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14; Rom 2:4; 9:23; 11:12, 33; 2 Cor 8:2; Eph 1:7, 18; 2:7; 3:8, 16; Phil 4:19; Col 1:27; 2:2; 1 Tim 6:17; Heb 11:26; Jas 5:2; Rev 5:12; 18:17. NAS = riches(18), wealth(4)
Grace (5485) (charis [word study]) while occasionally having the meaning of loveliness (see Colossians 4:6 - "...let your speech be with grace...") in most of Paul's writings it has the particular sense of free gift, undeserved bounty, and is used especially of the goodness of God which bestows favor on those who have no claim or merit in themselves.
Grace in Paul's epistles can also convey the idea of the free favor of God manifest as His power which renews men, enabling, empowering and sustaining them in their (supernatural) Christian life, enabling their efforts, keeping them from falling, securing their progress in holiness, etc.
In this verse grace is abundant deliverance provided because of payment of the ransom, and is poured out on those destitute of merit. It reflects our Father's abundant, albeit undeserved love and goodness. God's grace results in the bestowal of redemption and forgiveness with all the benefits independent of our merit or goodness (there is none righteous, no not one - Ro 3:10-note).
Vance Havner once said that someone spelled out "grace" as...
G stands for Gift, the principle of grace.
R [stands] for Redemption, the purpose of grace.
A [stands] for Access, the privilege of grace.
C [stands] for Character, the product of grace.
E [stands] for Eternal Life, the prospect of grace.
Expositor's Greek Testament (W Robertson Nicoll) says that...
The freeness of this Divine favor in the form of grace, the unmerited nature of the Divine goodness, is what Paul most frequently magnifies with praise and wonder. Here it is the might measure of the largesse, the grace in its quality of riches, that is introduced. This magnificent conception of the wealth of the grace that is bestowed on us by God and that which is in Christ for us, is a peculiarly Pauline idea.
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Robert Morgan - Millions of us read the Wall Street Journal or the business section of our local newspaper. We subscribe to Money Magazine, Forbes, or Kiplinger’s, and watch Louis Rukeyser on Wall Street Week. We study our investment portfolios like misers counting coins. But how long since we’ve poured over the reports of our spiritual investments? The Book of Ephesians—the Bible’s counterpart to Forbes and Kiplinger’s—describes our wealth from God, who is “rich in mercy” (Ep 2:4-note). Reading Ephesians is like taking an inventory of our heavenly vaults. In Ephesians, we read of:
• The riches of His grace (Ep 1:7-note)
• The riches of the glory of His inheritance (Ep 1:18-note)
• The exceeding riches of His grace (Ep 2:7-note)
• The unsearchable riches of Christ (Ep 3:8-note)
• The riches of His glory (Ep 3:16-note) (Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook : 2004 Thomas Nelson)
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Alexander Maclaren explains why so many have so little of these riches...
The measure of His gift is His measureless grace; the measure of my reception is my — alas! easily-measured faith. What about the unearned increment? What about the unrealized wealth? Too many of us are like some man who has a great estate in another land. He knows nothing about it, and is living in grimy poverty in a back street. For you have all God’s riches waiting for you, and ‘the potentiality of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice’ at your beck and call, and yet you are but poorly realizing your possible riches. Alas, that when we might have so much we do have so little. ‘According to the riches of His grace’ He gives. But another ‘according to’ comes in. ‘According to thy faith be it unto thee.’ So we have to take these two measures together, and the working limit of our possession of God’s riches comes out of the combination of them both. (According To - Part 2)
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Morning and Evening, Spurgeon Ephesians 1:7 - Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word "forgiveness," when it sounds in a guilty sinner's ear, like the silver notes of jubilee to the captive Israelite? Blessed, for ever blessed be that dear star of pardon which shines into the condemned cell, and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair! Can it be possible that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, forgiven altogether, and for ever? Hell is my portion as a sinner-there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me-can the load of guilt be uplifted, the crimson stain removed? Can the adamantine stones of my prison-house ever be loosed from their mortices, or the doors be lifted from their hinges? Jesus tells me that I may yet be clear. For ever blessed be the revelation of atoning love which not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is secured to all who rest in Jesus. I have believed in the appointed propitiation, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and for ever, forgiven by virtue of his substitutionary pains and death. What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul! My soul dedicates all her powers to him who of his own unpurchased love became my surety, and wrought out for me redemption through his blood. What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! To forgive at all, to forgive fully, to forgive freely, to forgive for ever! Here is a constellation of wonders; and when I think of how great my sins were, how dear were the precious drops which cleansed me from them, and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me, I am in a maze of wondering worshipping affection. I bow before the throne which absolves me, I clasp the cross which delivers me, I serve henceforth all my days the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul.
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Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest has a devotional on Ephesians 1:7 entitled "The Forgiveness of God" - Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base our forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours.
Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive— He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.
Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.
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The Iron Collar - A missionary in West Africa was trying to convey the meaning of the word redeem in the Bambara language. So he asked his African assistant to express it in his native tongue. "We say," the assistant replied, "that God took our heads out." "But how does that explain redemption?" the perplexed missionary asked.
The man told him that many years ago some of his ancestors had been captured by slave-traders, chained together, and driven to the seacoast. Each of the prisoners had a heavy iron collar around his neck. As the slaves passed through a village, a chief might notice a friend of his among the captives and offer to pay the slave-traders in gold, ivory, silver, or brass. The prisoner would be redeemed by the payment. His head then would be taken out of his iron collar.
What an unusual and graphic illustration of the word redeem! Ephesians 1:7 states, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Jesus died on the cross to purchase our freedom from the bondage of sin.
Have you put your trust in Jesus as your Redeemer? Let Him take your head out of the enslaving collar of sin and set you free. –V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
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.
Christ was lifted up on the cross
that we might be lifted out of our sin.
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God's Lavish Display - Last year I visited Niagara Falls for the first time and was awed by the sight and sound and overpowering sense of it all. Every minute, about 200,000 tons of water plunge into the Niagara River gorge in a thunderous ovation to the lavish, generous nature of God.
The Lord could have used a lot less water, but He didn't. He could have made the falls lower, but He built them 12 stories high. And because they are what they are from the creative hand of God, people come from all over the world to see Niagara Falls.
What a picture of God's grace in Jesus Christ! "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence" (Eph. 1:7, 8). The Greek word translated "abound" means "an exceeding measure, something above the ordinary." God's grace toward us is not squeezed out from an eye-dropper or carefully rationed like water during a drought. His grace is a Niagara of superabundance so lavish that we marvel at its display.
Today, as you approach God to "find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16-note), remember how much there is--grace beyond measure. --D C McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
God's heart is always
overflowing with grace.
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"ACCORDING TO" - Part 2
We have seen, in a previous sermon, that a characteristic note of this letter is the frequent occurrence of that phrase ‘according to.’ I also then pointed out that it was employed in two different directions. One class of passages, with which I then tried to deal, used it to compare the divine purpose in our salvation with the historical process of the salvation. The type of that class of reference is found in a verse just before my text, ‘according to the good pleasure of His will.’
There is a second class of passages to which our text belongs, where the comparison is not between the purpose and its realisation, but between the stores of the divine riches and the experiences of the Christian life.
The one set of passages suggests the ground of our salvation in the deep purpose of God; the other suggests the measure of the power which is working out that salvation.
The instances of this second use of the phrase, besides the one in my text, ‘according to the riches of His grace,’ are such as these:
‘According to the riches of His glory’;
‘According to the power that worketh in us’;
‘According to the measure of the gift of Christ’;
‘According to the energy of the might of His power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.’
Now it is clear that all these are varying forms of the same thing. They vary in form, they are identical in substance. What a Jew calls a ‘cubit’ an Englishman calls a ‘foot,’ but the result is pretty nearly the same. Shillings, marks, francs, are various standards; they all come to substantially the same result.
These varying measures of the divine gift which is at work in man’s salvation, have this in common, that they all run out into God’s immeasurable, unlimited power, boundless wealth. And so, if we gather them together, and try to focus them in a few words, they may help to widen our conceptions of what we ought to expect from God, to bow us in contrition as to the small use that we have made of it, and to open our desires wide, that they may be filled.
I only aspire, then, to deal with these four forms which I have already suggested.
I. The measure of our possible attainments is the whole wealth of God.
‘According to the riches of His grace.’
Another angle at which the same thought is viewed appears in another part of the letter, where we have this variation in the expression, ‘According to the riches of His glory.’
‘Grace’ and ‘Glory’ are generally opposed antithetically; in this epistle they are united, for in the verse before my text I read: ‘To the praise of the glory of His grace.’
So the first thought is, the whole wealth of God is available for every Christian soul.
Now it seems to me that there are very few things that the popular Christianity of this day needs more than a furnishing up of the familiar old Christian terminology, which has largely lost the freshness and the power that it once had. They tell us that these incandescent burners, that we are using nowadays, are very much more bright when they are first fixed than after the mantle gets a little worn. So it is with the terminology of Christianity. It needs to be re-stated, not in such a way as to take the pith out of it, which is what a great deal of the modern craze for re-statement means, but in such a way as to brighten it up again, and to invest it with something of the ‘celestial light’ with which it was ‘apparelled’ when it first came.
Now that word ‘grace,’ I have no doubt, sounds to you hard, theological, remote. But what does it mean? It gathers into one burning point the whole of the rays of that conception of God, with which it is the glory of Christianity to have flooded and drenched the world. It tells us that at the heart of the universe there is a heart; that God is Love, that that love is the motive-spring of His activity, that it comes and bends over the lowliest with a smile of amity on its lips, with healing and help in its hands, with forgiveness for all sins against itself, with boundless wealth for the poorest, and that the wealth of His self-communicating love is the measure of the wealth that each of us may possess.
God gives ’according to the riches of His grace.’ You do not expect a millionaire to give half-a-crow to a subscription fund; and God gives royally, divinely, measuring His bestowments by the abundance of His treasures, and handing over with an open palm large gifts of coined money, because there are infinite Chests of uncirculated bullion in the deep storehouses. ‘How great is Thy goodness which Thou hast manifested before the sons of men for them that fear Thee (Psalm 31;19). How much greater is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up in store.’
But whilst He gives all, the question comes to be: What do I receive?
The measure of His gift is His measureless grace; the measure of my reception is my — alas! easily-measured faith. What about the unearned increment? What about the unrealized wealth? Too many of us are like some man who has a great estate in another land. He knows nothing about it, and is living in grimy poverty in a back street. For you have all God’s riches waiting for you, and ‘the potentiality of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice’ at your beck and call, and yet you are but poorly realizing your possible riches. Alas, that when we might have so much we do have so little. ‘According to the riches of His grace’ He gives. But another ‘according to’ comes in. ‘According to thy faith be it unto thee.’ So we have to take these two measures together, and the working limit of our possession of God’s riches comes out of the combination of them both.
Let me remind you, before I pass on, of what I have already suggested is but another phase of this same thought. Paul says in this epistle that God gives not only ‘according to the riches of His grace,’ but ‘according to the riches of His glory,’ and that the latter expression is substantially identical with the former, is plain from the combination of the two in an earlier verse of this chapter: ‘To the praise of the glory of His grace.’
Thus we come to the blessed thought that the glory of God is essentially the revelation of that stooping, pitying, pardoning, enriching love. Not in the physical attributes, not in the characteristics of the divine nature which part Him off from men, and make Him remote, both from their conceptions and their affections, but in the love that bends to them is the true glory of God. All these other things are but the fringes; the centre of glory is the Love, which is the mightiest and the divinest thing in the Might Divine. The sunshine is far stronger than the lightning, and there is more force developed in the rain than in an earthquake. That truth is what Christianity has made the common possession of the world. It has thereby broken the chains of dread; it has bridged over the infinite distance. It has given us a God that can love and be loved, can stoop and can lift, can pardon and can purify. ‘According to the good pleasure of His goodness,’ — there is the foundation of our salvation. ‘According to the riches of His grace,’ — there is the measure of our salvation.
The Apostle speaks in regard to his own apostolic commission of its being given ‘according to the working of His power’; (Ephesians 1:19) and he speaks of all Christian men as receiving gifts ‘according to the power that worketh in us.’ (Ephesians 3:20) So there we have a standard that comes, at it were, a little closer to ourselves. We do not need to travel up into the dim abysses above, or think of the sanctities and the secrecies of that divine heart in the light which is inaccessible, but we have the measure in ourselves.
The standards of length are kept at Greenwich, the standards of capacity are kept in the Tower; but there are local standards distributed throughout the land to which men may go and have their measures corrected. And so besides all these lofty thoughts about the grace and the glory which measures His gift, we can turn within, if we are Christian people, and say, ‘According to the power that worketh in us.’
Ah, brethren! there are few things that we want more than to revive and deepen the conviction that in every Christian man, by virtue of his faith, and in proportion to his faith, there is in operation an actual, superhuman, divine power molding his nature, guiding, quietening, ennobling, lifting, confirming, and hallowing and shaping him into conformity with Jesus Christ. I would that we all believed not as a dogma, but realised as a personal experience, that irrefragable truth, ‘Know ye not that the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you, except ye be reprobate?’ The life of self is evil; the life of Christ in self is good, and only good. And if you are Christian men, and in the proportion, as I have said, in which you are living by faith, you have working in your spirits the very Spirit of Christ Himself.
And that power is the measure of your possibilities. Obviously ‘the power that worketh in us’ is able to do a great deal more than it is doing in any of us. And so with deep significance the Apostle, side by side with his adducing of this power as being the measure of our possible attainments, speaks about God am being ‘able to do for us, exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.’ ‘The power that works in us’ transcends in its possibilities our present experience, it transcends our conceptions, it transcends our desires. It is able to do everything; it actually does — well, you know what it does in you. And the responsibility of hampering and hindering that power from working out its only adequately corresponding results lies at our own doors.
‘A rushing, mighty wind’ — yes; and in myself a scarcely perceptible breathing, and often a dead calm, stagnant as in the latitudes on either side of the Equator, where, for long, dreary days, no freshening motion in the atmosphere is perceptible. ‘A fire?’ — yes; then why is my grate full of grey, cold ashes, and one little spark in the corner? ‘A fountain springing into everlasting life?’ — yes; then why in my basin is there so much scum and ooze, mud and defilement, and so little of the flashing and brilliant water? ‘The power that works in us’ is sorely hindered by the weakness in which it works.
III. In the third place another form of this measure is stated by the Apostle, ‘According to the measure of the gift of Christ.’
That means, of course, the gift which Christ bestows. It is substantially the same idea as I have just been dealing with, only looked at from rather a different point of view. Therefore, I need not dwell upon its parallelism with what has just Been occupying our attention, but rather ask you simply to consider one point in reference to it, and that is that, side by side with the reference to the gift of Christ as being the measure of our possible attainments, the Apostle enlarges on the Infinite variety of the shapes which that one gift takes in different people. ‘He gave some apostles, some prophets,’ etc.; one man receiving according to this fashion, and another according to that, and to each of us the distribution is made ‘according to the measure of the gift of Christ.’ That is to say, it takes us all, the collective goodness and beauty of the whole community of saints, to approximate to the fulness of that gift, and all are needed in their different types and forms of excellence, sanctity and beauty, in order to set forth, even imperfectly, the richness and the manifoldness of His great gift. And so ‘we all come’ — there is a multiplicity — ‘unto the perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ — there is a unity in which the multiplicity inheres.
So try to get a little more of some different type of excellence than that to which you are naturally inclined. Seek, and consciously endeavour, to appropriate into your character uncongenial excellences, and be very charitable in your judgments of the different types of Christian conformity to Christ our Lord. The crystals that are set round a light do not quarrel with each other as to whether green, or yellow, or blue, or red, or violet is the true colour to reflect. We need all the seven prismatic tints to make the perfect white light. The gift of Christ is many-sided; try not to be one-sided in your reception of it.
IV. And now the last form of this measure is ‘according to the energy of the might of His power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.’
When we gazed upon the riches of God’s grace, they were high above us, when we looked upon ‘the power that worketh in us,’ we saw it working amidst many hindrances and hamperings, but here there is presented to us in a concrete example, close beside us, of what God can make of a man when the man is wholly pliable to His will, and the recipient of His influences. And so there stands before us the guarantee and the pattern of immortal life, the Christ whose Manhood died and lives, who is clothed with a spiritual body, who wields royal authority in the Kingdom of the Most High And that is the measure of what God can do with me, and wishes to do with me, if I will let Him. Christ is my pattern, and the measure of my own possibilities.
To be with Him, where and what He is, is the only adequate result of the power that works in us, and of the process that is already begun in us, if we are Christian people. You are sometimes — there is one eminent example of it in that great Medicean Chapel at Florence — a statue exquisitely finished in all its limbs, but one part left in the rough. That is the best that Christian people come to here. Shall it always be so? Do not the very imperfections prophesy completion, and is it not certain that the half-finished torso will be carried to the upper workshop, and be there disengaged from the dead marble and made to stand out in perfect beauty and fullest completeness? Christ is the object of our hopes, and no hopes of the Christian life are adequate to the power that works in us, or to the progress already made, which do not see in the ‘energy of the might of the power’ which wrought in Christ, the example and the guarantee of the exceeding greatness of ‘His power which is to usward.’
And now, one last word. Besides all these passages which have been occupying us, there is another use of this same phrase in this letter which presents a very solemn and grim contrast. I can do no better with it than simply read it:
‘Ye were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh’
— mark the allusion to the other words that we have been referring to ‘in the children of disobedience.’
So there you have the alternative,
either ‘dead in trespasses and sins,’ whilst living the physical and the intellectual life, or partaking of the life of Him ‘ Who was dead, and is alive for ever more’;
either ‘walking according to the course of this world,’ which is ‘ disobedience’ and ‘wrath,’ or walking ‘according to the power that worketh in us’;
either ‘putting on,’ or rather continuing to wear, ‘the old man which is corrupt according to the lusts which deceive,’ or ‘putting on the new man, which according to God is created in righteousness and holiness and truth.’
The choice is before us. May God help us to choose aright!
Amplified: Which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence) (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: which has overflowed into our lives and opened our eyes to the truth. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: which He caused to superabound to us in the sphere of every wisdom and understanding,
Young's Literal: in which He did abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence
WHICH HE LAVISHED ON US: en eperisseusen (3SAAI) eis hemas:
- Romans 5:15, 20, 21
Which (3739) (hos) is a relative pronoun which in this context refers to grace which is now described as over and above any measure.
Which He lavished on us - “which He super-abounded to us"
John Eadie - The riches of His grace are not given us in pinched exactness, or limited and scanty measurement-where sin abounds, grace superabounds, Ro 5:20. God knows that He cannot exhaust the wealth of His grace, and therefore He lavishes it with unstinted generosity upon us. (Eadie's Commentary on Ephesians)
Spurgeon - In the working out of the economy of grace, God has been lavish with his love; but yet there have been wisdom and prudence in it. He did not suffer the full light of the gospel to break in upon our eyes at first, lest we should have been blinded by it. Jesus had many things to say unto his disciples; but they could not bear them all at once; so, by little and little he has led us on, and led us up, abounding always in his grace, and only limiting the display of it by our capacity to receive it.
Lavished (4052) (perisseuo from perissos = abundant, exceeding some number, measure, rank or need, over and above) means to cause to superabound, to be superfluous, to overflow, to be in affluence, to excel or to be in abundance with the implication of being considerably more than what would be expected.
Perisseuo carries the idea of exceeding the requirements, of overflowing or overdoing. It means to exceed a fixed number of measure, to be left over and above a certain number or measure. It means to have or to be more than enough, to be extremely rich or abundant. To exceed or remain over (as used in loaves left over after feeding the 5000 [Mt 14:20]! When Jesus supplies there is more than enough so that some is even left over! How quick we are to forget this basic principle!) The idea is to overflow like a river out of its banks!
Moulton and Milligan give a secular Greek usage quoting extracts as follows - “more than enough has been written; if you find any purchasers of the surplus donkeys”. Of the noun M&M say; “superfluity.” The verb perisseuo means to exist in superfluity, to super-abound”
NIDNTT notes that "perisseuo is used intransitively from the time of Hesiod in the sense of to be over and above, go beyond, outflank, be more than enough, remain over, abound. The adj. perissos means beyond the regular number or size, out of the common, extraordinary, strange, more than sufficient, superfluous, excessive, extravagant. The adv. perissos means extraordinarily, exceedingly...In the Gospels perisseuo and its cognates are found with the primary meaning to have abundance, to have many goods. Mk. 12:44 tells of the widow who gave all that she possessed, whereas others gave of their abundance. Lk. 12:15 warns of misplaced trust in the abundance of possessions. The proverbial utterance in Matt. 12:34 declares: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The more Jesus commanded men not to tell of his healing work, the more (mallon perissoteron) they proclaimed it (Mk. 7:36). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Perisseuo - 39x in 35v -
Matt 5:20; 13:12; 14:20; 15:37; 25:29; Mark 12:44; Luke 9:17; 12:15; 15:17; 21:4; John 6:12f; Acts 16:5; Rom 3:7; 5:15; 15:13; 1 Cor 8:8; 14:12; 15:58; 2 Cor 1:5; 3:9; 4:15; 8:2, 7; 9:8, 12; Eph 1:8; Phil 1:9, 26; 4:12, 18; Col 2:7; 1 Thess 3:12; 4:1, 10
NAS =: abound(10), abounded(1), abounding(1), abundance(2), abundant(1), better(1), cause(1), cause*(1), excel(2), has an abundance(1), have an abundance(3), have more than enough(1), having abundance(1), increasing(1), lavished(1), left over(4), leftover(1), live in prosperity(1), make...abound(1), overflowed(1), overflowing(2), surpasses(1), surplus(2).
Perisseuo - 3x in the Septuagint - 1Sa 2:33, 36; Eccl 3:19
God’s grace was manifested to us in superabundance. Lavish (from French lavasse = a downpour of rain in turn from laver = to wash - ponder these word pictures as you think of God's grace made available to you even today! You can rest assured that it will be more than sufficient to meet your every need. "Put down your umbrella" and let His grace pour down on you beloved!) means to bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities on. It suggests an unstinted or unmeasured profusion (like a lavish wedding reception -- which is also coming for the bride of Christ!) When you lavish something upon someone you heap it on more and more. It is an supersized supernatural grace. It is more than enough to save and keep every sinner who comes to God in Christ Jesus saved and safe today and throughout eternity! This is really good news!
Paul uses perisseuo with a similar meaning in Romans writing...
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. (See note Romans 5:15)
Comment: The sin of Adam was devastating in its effect upon all people and justifiably brought God's wrath and judgment into the world just as God had promised. In dramatic contrast, the grace of God loosed through Jesus Christ was even greater in its impact upon mankind, not being given in token amount but in superabundance! Undeserved salvation became available to all people. On Calvary Jesus demonstrated that God's love and grace is greater than all human sin. No one and nothing is beyond the reach of His grace. How great is our Father's love!
Lavished is in the aorist tense which speaks of an action performed effectively but not stating necessarily when. The active voice says that God initiated this action of His Own free will! The indicative mood is the mood of reality and thus speaks of a definite event.
Application: Because our Father has so abundantly overdone Himself for us who deserve nothing from Him, we should determine to "overdo" ourselves (if that were possible) in service to Him, For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Perisseuo is used with this idea in Corinthians where Paul writes...
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1Cor 15:58)
The first use of perisseuo is by Jesus who declares to the Jews gathered on the side of the mountain...
"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:20-note)
Here are a few other representative used of perisseuo which are worth meditating over to get a better sense of the meaning of this wonderful verb...
"For whoever has, to him shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. (Mt 13:12)
"for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:44)
And He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." (Luke 12:15)
"But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! (Luke 15:17)
And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:13)
So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. (Acts 16:5)
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Ro 15:13-note)
Comment: Lavished with grace, abounding in hope! How great and precious is our salvation!
So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. (1Cor 14:12)
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. (2Cor 1:5)
For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. (2Cor 3:9)
For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. (2Cor 4:15)
that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. (2Cor 8:2)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2Cor 9:8)
And this I pray, that your love may abound (present tense = indicates a continual process - this God-like love is to grow and even abound throughout the life of every believer) still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, (Php 1:9-note)
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (Php 4:12-note)
Comment: This shows how a believer may not only be free from cares, but be cheerful and joyous in his trust in God and in the realization of God’s care for him.
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (Col 2:7-note)
Comment: Knowing Christ and being rooted and built up in him, believers should live in Him a life that supernaturally is abounding in thanksgiving!
and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; (1Th 3:12-note)
Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more. (1Th 4:1-note)
Comment: Note that there is no finality in practical holiness while the Christian remains on the earth. Life is marked either by growth or by decay.
On (1519) (eis) indicates motion toward or into and thus reaches not only toward the believing sinner, but into his very being. The grace comes not only towards him, but grips him in its irresistible working and brings him into salvation.
IN ALL WISDOM AND INSIGHT: en pase sophia kai phronesei :
- Ep 1:11; 3:10; Psalms 104:24; Pr 8:12; Isa 52:13; Da 2:20,21; Mt 11:19; Ro 11:33; 1 Cor 1:19-24; 2:7; Col 2:3; Jude 1:25; Rev 5:12
The meaning of this phrase is somewhat difficult to interpret and is not easily resolved. Some versions, such as NASB have this phrase beginning a new sentence but most versions do not. Eadie who has a lengthy discussion appears to favor the NASB interpretation which would link "in all wisdom and insight" with the next phrase "He made known".
Professor Blaikie in the Pulpit Commentary offers the following thought
The wisdom and prudence refer to God; he has not made his grace abound to us in a random manner, but in a carefully regulated manner. This is more fully explained afterwards, in reference to God’s concealment for a time of the universality of his grace, but manifestation of it now. (Pulpit Commentary scroll down for Homilies)
The Pillar NT Commentary says that...
Although some interpreters have taken the expression ‘with all wisdom and insight’ as qualifying what follows, namely, ‘he made known’ (v. 9), and referring to God’s own wisdom and insight (cf. NRSV, TEV), on balance it is better to link them with the preceding relative clause, that he lavished on us (cf. NEB, NIV, JB), and to understand them of God’s gifts of grace. (O'Brien, P. T. The letter to the Ephesians. The Pillar New Testament commentary Eerdmans)
In (1722) (en) in this context is locative of sphere, i.e., this superabundance of grace was ensphered within the guiding limitations of all wisdom and insight."
All (3956) (pas) means all, whole, every. Includes idea of totality and implies no exceptions.
Wisdom (4678) (sophia) emphasizes understanding of ultimate things—such as life and death, God and man, righteousness and sin, heaven and hell, eternity and time. Paul is speaking of wisdom concerning the things of God"
Salmond - “Sophia is the collective moral intelligence, ‘insight into the true nature of things’ (Lightfoot) and in the Pauline Epistles it is this intelligence in especial as knowledge of the divine plan of salvation long hidden and now revealed; while phronēsis is the practical use of wisdom, the product of wisdom, ‘the right use and application of the phrēn (the mind)’ (Trench), the faculty of discerning the proper disposition or action. The riches, the abounding riches, of the grace expended on us stood revealed in the bestowal of these gifts of spiritual discernment with reference to the deep things of the divine counsel and the divine revelation “ (Expositor's Bible Commentary - Salmond)
Insight (5428) (phronesis from phroneo = to have understanding, to think <> from phren = midriff, heart, mind, thought) describes practical understanding discernment of the needs, problems principles of everyday life which leads to right action. Thoughtful planning. From the uses in the Lxx we discern that ultimately true understanding is an attribute of God and thus the goal for a godly man or woman should be divinely bestowed phronesis. (cf 1Cor 2:16)
Study the uses of phronesis in Proverbs (see listing below) using the 5W/H questions (you may need to check the context) and take notes to come up with your own Scripture based "definition" of phronesis (e.g., in Pr 7:4 phronesis is to be our "intimate friend"), and then ask the Spirit of the Living God to lead you into all the truth of that great word for the glory of the Lamb. Amen.
Phronesis is the ability to govern one’s own life wisely. It is a skill and carefulness in dealing with one’s own resources.
Phronesis is prudence which is caution in practical affairs or action that shows care and thought for the future. It describes the practical use of wisdom and spiritual discernment.
1. History and Oldest Sense. phren, or plural phrenes, means “diaphragm,” regarded as the seat of mental and spiritual activity, then “mind” or “understanding.” The compounds reflect the intellectual focus, phroneo usually means “to think” or “to plan,” and the nouns phronema and phronesis mean “thought,” “thinking,” or “reason.”
2. From Homer to the Classical Period. Homer refers to the possibilities of a sound or sick development of the mind. Aeschylus uses phren for the “disposition”; this may be arrogant or rational. aphrosyne is a term for “youthful folly,” while aphron means “out of one's mind.” phroneo occurs for “to have understanding” but also “to intend,” and we find phronesis for divine “counsel” and phronema for human “pride” or “arrogance.”
3. phronesis and Cognates in Philosophy.
a. Plato uses phren in the physical sense and also for the inner person. The soul has phronesis (“receptivity”) prior to being in us. sophia differs from the more practical phronesis, but the two are also interchangeable. phronesis is the right state of the intellect and the source of virtue. Education is admonition in phronesis and truth. phronesis is the chief virtue. All culture is linked to it. It is a divine gift that should guide lawgivers and that directs the mind to immortality. phronema is the disposition, the intellectual and spiritual attitude, or self-confidence, which may produce arrogance if based on physical fitness alone.
b. Aristotle uses phren only in quotations. phroneo as the ability to comprehend belongs only to the few. phronesis is God's gift; it is moral insight or knowledge leading to a virtuous life. As practical acumen it differs from theoretical wisdom.
c. In Stoicism the three other cardinal virtues proceed from phronesis or sophia. Since philosophy and virtue are one, phronesis is integral to philosophy.
d. In Neo-Platonism phronesis is an emanation ruled by nous. The rational soul is beautiful. Regard for nous is phronesis. phronesis is the intellectual activity of an individual soul related to a body. By a later tradition labor and training precede phronesis (cf. the discussion of physis, mathesis, and virtue in Plato).
e. In popular usage we find the term on magical papyri, in Gnostic texts, and in a legal context (for “competence”).
UBS - insight, wisdom; way of thinking
Liddell-Scott - a minding to do so and so, purpose, intention, Soph. 2. arrogance, Eur. II. thoughtfulness, prudence,
BDAG: (1) the faculty of thoughtful planning, way of thinking, (frame of) mind (2) the ability to understand, understanding, insight, intelligence (Pr 10:23, 4Macc 1:18)
Here is the only other NT use of phronesis...
Luke 1:17 "It is he (John the Baptist) who will go as a forerunner before Him (Messiah) in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN (Quoting Mal 4:6-note), and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous (Ed: Is this not a manifestation of God's gracious gift of repentance?), so as (Whenever you see a purpose clause, pause and ponder and query the underlying sense) to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Phronesis - 59v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - often translates "Wisdom" - Josh 5:1; 1 Sam 2:10; 1 Kgs 2:35; 3:28; 4:29f; 10:4, 6, 8, 23f; 11:41; Job 5:13; 17:4; Pr 1:2; 3:13, 19; 7:4; 8:1, 14; 9:6, 16; 10:23; 14:29; 16:16; 19:8; 24:5; 30:2; Isa 40:28; 44:19; Jer 10:12; Ezek 28:4; Dan 1:4, 17; 2:21, 23; 5:12;
Joshua 5:1 Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.
1 Samuel 2:10 "Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed."
1 Kings 2:35 The king appointed Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in his place, and the king appointed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.
1 Kings 3:28 When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.
1 Kings 4:29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.
30 Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
1 Kings 10:4 When the queen of Sheba perceived all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,
6 ¶ Then she said to the king, "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.
8 "How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom.
23 ¶ So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.
24 All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.
1 Kings 11:41 ¶ Now the rest of the acts of Solomon and whatever he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
Job 5:13 "He captures the wise by their own shrewdness, And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.
Job 17:4 "For You have kept their heart from understanding, Therefore You will not exalt them.
Proverbs 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding,
Proverbs 3:13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding.
19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.
Proverbs 7:4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your intimate friend;
Proverbs 8:1 Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice?
14 "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine.
Proverbs 9:6 "Forsake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding."
16 "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here," And to him who lacks understanding she says,
Proverbs 10:23 Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
Proverbs 16:16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
Proverbs 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.
Proverbs 24:5 A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.
Proverbs 30:2 Surely I am more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man.
Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.
Isaiah 44:19 No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, "I have burned half of it in the fire and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!"
Jeremiah 10:12 It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.
Ezekiel 28:4 "By your wisdom and understanding You have acquired riches for yourself And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries.
Daniel 1:4 youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king's court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.
Daniel 2:21 "It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.
23 "To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king's matter."
Daniel 5:12 "This was because an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas and solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Let Daniel now be summoned and he will declare the interpretation."