This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
Redemption by Christ's Blood
Meditation on Ephesians 1:7
he hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
In this verse we focus on Christ’s principal work, which is redemption. All the persons of the Trinity are involved in this work, but Christ’s role is central. The work of the Father was primarily in planning our salvation. The work of the Holy Spirit is in applying it to individuals. It is the second person of the Trinity who came down from heaven and assumed our sinful flesh to redeem us by His death upon the cross.
Redemption is central to Christianity. What a precious word it is on our lips. How many Christian songs sing of our Redeemer.
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed thru his infinite mercy, his child, and forever I am. Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Redeemed, redeemed, His child, and forever I am. (William Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921)
In the Greek language, there are three words for redemption. The first word comes from the noun for a Greek market place. It means ‘to buy’ or to ‘buy in a marketplace’. This word emphasizes the price Jesus paid for our salvation. Redemption is deliverance from a life of sin and death. Deliverance by payment of a price was common in the Old Testament period. A kinsman-redeemer would purchase back the property that was lost through debt and restore it to the family. Boaz did this for the land that belonged to the husband of Ruth.
Another New Testament word for redemption is the same word as the first but with the prefix ‘ex’, meaning ‘out of’. The word means ‘to buy out of the marketplace. This has the thought that one thus purchased might never be returned to be sold on the marketplace again . This is a wonderful thought for Christians because it has to do with the effective and permanent nature of redemption. We have been redeemed from sin, and the promise of this word is that we might never be sold under the power of sin again. Think of the example of a slave purchased, and then the owner tires of the slave’s performance or abilities and thus sells him again. A slave’s position was never secure. This is not the case with Christ Jesus. Jesus purchased us so that we might be taken out of the market place and never have to return.
A third word for redemption in the New Testament is unrelated to the other two terms. It means ‘to loose, set free or deliver’ by the payment of a price. This is a beautiful and encouraging thought. Not only are we bought out of the marketplace of sin, never to be returned there, but we are set free. A slave could be bought on the slave block, never to return there, but always remain a slave for the rest of his life. Jesus buys us from sin to set us free! Again there is a hymn that describes this:
“Free from the law, O happy condition! Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace redeemed us once for all. Now we are free, there’s no condemnation! Jesus provides a perfect salvation; Come unto me, O hear his sweet call! Come, and he saves once for all.” (Philip Bliss, 1838-1876)
What was the cost? What was the price for our redemption? How was it paid and to whom was it paid? We read in our text, “in whom we have redemption through his blood” That “in whom” refers to Christ. In eternity Christ was declared the Head of His people, to be the Head of the church. In the fullness of time, Christ came into our flesh to shed His lifeblood on the accursed tree. And therefore we have redemption. It means that we are freed from the guilt and the power of sin. And that freedom is through His blood. This phrase means the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the shedding of His blood. He gave up His life willingly. He gave up His life in the love of God. He gave up His life as the Person of the Son of God in human nature. This is the forgiveness of sins.
Could not we be forgiven in some other way? The answer is, “absolutely not.” For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus paid the penalty for our sins to the righteous and just God. The sinner must die. But Jesus died that death for us. Not only that, but He procured the perfect obedience that is demanded of us. This is the only way of salvation! We are sinners. Because it was the person of the Son of God that shed His lifeblood willingly, and in love to God, and in perfect obedience, we are forgiven and much more! We will be united with Him. And we will have eternal life and glory. This is all of God’s rich grace. How you and I should sing God’s praises each and every day in gratitude.
I will sing of my redeemer and his wondrous love to me; On the cruel cross he suffered, from the curse to set me free. I will tell the wondrous story, How my lost estate to save, In his boundless love and mercy, he the ransom freely paid. I will praise my dear redeemer, his triumph power I’ll tell, How the victory he giveth over sin and death and hell. Sing, O sing of my Redeemer, with his blood he purchased me; On the cross he sealed my pardon, paid the debt and made me free. (James McGranahan, 1840-1907)