Ephesians 1:7 The Hope We Have In Christ

In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:7-12)

If you were to ask me what I would want this sermon to produce in you, I would say:

  • I want it to make you joyful because we are talking about being redeemed

  • I want you to be comforted because we are talking about the forgiveness of your trespasses

  • I want your heart to be at peace because of the riches of God’s grace

  • I want your you to consider your inheritance because it is established by the will of God

  • I want your soul to be filled with praise because your hope is in Christ

Yet, if you are like me, as we read this text your heart may not have been moved in these ways. Therefore, I would like to begin this morning in Lamentations 4:13-17. The story that is contained in these verses will help us to see the desperate situation that all sinners find themselves in. We were without God and without hope in the world. When we remember this hopeless state I think that we will more fully appreciate the text that we have come to today.

14 They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood that no one was able to touch their garments.

15 “Away! Unclean!” people cried at them. “Away! Away! Do not touch!” So they became fugitives and wanderers; people said among the nations, “They shall stay with us no longer.”

16 The Lord himself has scattered them; he will regard them no more; no honor was shown to the priests, no favor to the elders.

17 Our eyes failed, ever watching vainly for help; in our watching we watched for a nation which could not save.

Jeremiah is describing a time when Jerusalem has been destroyed. No one thought that this could ever happen. We see this in Lamentations 4:12, “The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the inhabitants of the world, that the foe or enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.”

Let us observe three things that made their situation so dire.

First, During this calamity the priests, prophets and the elders of the people were covered in the blood of others which made them unclean. They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood that no one was able to touch their garments. (v.14) The blood here can be a reference to a couple of things. First, this speaks of their own guilt concerning the injustice that they had committed upon God’s people. Secondly, it can refer to this day of judgment when they would be covered in the blood of the people as they tried to walk through the streets in which a great multitude of dead people laid.

Secondly, We are told twice in this passage that these people are blind. Consider the following:

Lamentations 4:14 – “They wandered, blind, through the streets...” Or consider Lamentations 4:17 - “Our eyes failed, ever watching vainly for help...” There are three ways of considering this blindness that is referred to here.

First, their sinfulness had blinded them from being able to see the things of God. They were blind to all that was good; and they were quick to do all sorts of evil. They were ignorant, not knowing the only way to advert this calamity that had come upon them.

Secondly, they are overcome with the despair, agony and misery. Their eyes grew dim as they lamented this calamity. They wailed, sobbed and wept at the coming of this catastrophe. For all of this, they did not truly repent with godly repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10-11).

Thirdly, they looked in vain for help from other nations that never came. Lamentations 4:17, “Our eyes failed, ever watching vainly for help; in our watching we watched for a nation which could not save.” They did not respond as Hezekiah had years before when the LORD delivered them. (Isaiah 37)

Observation #3

Because of their uncleanness, these men experienced four types of rejection and repudiation.

First, these men looked for help from their allies but they could not save them. We see this in Lamentations 4:17, “Our eyes failed, ever watching vainly for help; in our watching we watched for a nation which could not save.”

Secondly, the people of Judah would see them and cry out, “Away! Unclean!” The people would come upon them and speak to them as though they were leprous saying, “Away! Away! Do not touch!”. (15)

Thirdly, we see that these men became fugitives and wanderers among the nations. The nations rebuffed them saying, “They shall stay with us no longer.” (15)

Fourthly, we see that the LORD Himself had rejected them. Lamentations 4:16, “The LORD Himself has scattered them; He will regard them no more; no honor was shown to the priests, no favor to the elders.”

In all of this, Jeremiah describes a time when God’s people were utterly rejected. They wandered the streets, they were chased into the wilderness, they were rejected in foreign lands, they were scattered by the LORD, and they were a people who had nowhere to take refuge

Jeremiah describes their plight in the book of Lamentations from start to finish. He begins Lamentations in this way, “She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; they have become her enemies. Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place; her pursuers have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.” (Lamentations 1:2-3)

Consider, however, how Jeremiah concludes this book. Jeremiah prays to the Lord saying, “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old – unless you have utterly rejected us, and you remain exceedingly angry with us.” (Lamentations 5:21-22) Notice the emphasis of Jeremiah’s words. He asks that he would be restored to the LORD.

With all of this in mind let us read once again our text for today. (1:7-12)

In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Let us consider again Ephesians 1:7 in the time we have left. It says, “In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace...”.

There are three different Greek words that can be translated ‘redemption’.

The form of the verb that is used here, Lytroo, speaks of when you purchase someone from the slave market and set that person free. It would be out of gratitude that the redeemed person would choose to stay with their redeemer. The specific Greek word used here, Apolytrosis, emphasizes that someone is ransomed from terrible conditions. They are set them free from sin, from captivity and from torture.

There are four characteristics of the redemption that we are looking at in Ephesians 1:7.

First, we are redeemed in Christ. “In him (Christ) we have redemption”.

This is God’s answer to Jeremiah’s prayer in Lamentations 5:21, “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored.” We are cannot redeem ourselves and neither can anyone else redeem and save us. Lamentations 4:17, “Our eyes failed, ever watching vainly for help; in our watching we watched for a nation which could not save.”

Secondly, we are redeemed through the blood of Christ. “we have redemption through his blood”.

Consider 1 Peter 1:18-19, ...knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Contrast the precious blood of Christ that redeems; with the blood mentioned in Lamentations that made them unclean. Lamentations 4:14, “They wandered, blind, through the streets; they were so defiled with blood that no one was able touch their garments. ‘Away! Unclean!’ People cried at them. ‘Away! Away! Do not touch!’”

Thirdly, our redemption means ‘the forgiveness of our trespasses’. “In him (Christ) we have redemption...the forgiveness of our trespasses”. Notice the words, ‘we have’, This is in the present tense meaning that we have continual forgiveness of sins when we believe. There has been a permanent release from any condemnation and punishment for sin. And notice the word, ‘Trespasses’. It is in the plural, meaning that we have all deviated from the path of righteousness over and over again. Christ’s blood can pay the price for all of these sins.

Fourthly, we are redeemed according the riches of God’s grace. “In him (Christ) we have redemption according to the riches of his grace...” Sin has made us poor. (Lamentations 4:1 “How the gold has grown dim, how the pure gold is changed! The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street. The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold, how they are regarded as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands!”) However, Christ has made us rich. Lamentations 5:21, “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old...”

If the LORD did not come and redeem us we would find ourselves in a hopeless situation.

In his book entitled, Comfort For Those In Sickness, Philip Powers sets out to defend the truth that God wants to be the one who will comfort and restore us but we often say, “‘Is not this the one I have offended, whose laws I have broken, whose calls I have rejected, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity? And when I call to mind what I have been, and what I am, surely He is the last one I ought to go to for comfort.’”

A few paragraphs later Mr. Powers writes these memorable words, “So far from God’s not willing you to come to Himself for comfort, what He speaks most plainly about, is against your going anywhere else. He knows you are in need of comfort.”

Finally, Mr. Powers writes this, “No doubt there is comfort to be had from friends, and from books, and from visits of minsters, and from many other sources, but they must all be put under God; otherwise they will be like Job’s comforters - ‘miserable comforters are you all’. They will give way in some unexpected time and manner, and leave us with nothing, because we had not God.”

All of this could be summed up in the words of Jesus when He says in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

As we come to Ephesians 1 we see that God is restoring people to Himself. God gathers people who have been utterly abandoned and He settles them ‘in Christ’. And it is because of all of this that we can read Ephesians 1:7-12 and truly praise the Lord wit gladness. Again, consider all of the references of us being placed into this relationship with Christ. We once were without hope, but no more.

  • The Father has blessed us ‘in Christ’ (3)

  • He chose us ‘in Him’ before the foundation of the world (4)

  • We are adopted to Him as sons ‘through Jesus’ (6)

  • We have been blessed with grace ‘in the beloved’ (6)

  • ‘In Him’ we have been redeemed by Christ’s blood (7)

  • The Father’s will has been set forth ‘in Christ’ (9)

  • All things in heaven and earth are united ‘in Christ’ (10)

  • ‘In Christ’ we receive an inheritance (11)

  • Our hope is ‘in Christ’ (12)

  • We are placed ‘in Christ’ when we believe the gospel and are sealed with the Holy Spirit (13)

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