Theology of redemption Eph 1:1-14

Ephesians 1:1-14 (Theology of redemption)

First part of Ephesians is doctrinal and the second part practical.

Thanksgiving expressed in the language of worship and prayer

The Blessings in Illness and troubles

Illness or hardship every person wishes to avoid.

What circumstances could have rendered the Word of God sweeter and the presence of God so real, the help of God so precious? – Hudson Taylor

  • Awakening to us the sweetness of Scripture—Psalm 119:50
  • Deepening the prayer lives of others—James 5:13–15
  • Leading us to spiritual self-examination—Psalm 119:67
  • Humbling our souls—2 Corinthians 12:7–10
  • Developing patience & endurance in us—James 1:2–4
  • Developing maturity—Romans 5:1–5;
  • Enabling us to comfort others / who go through same thing—2 Cor 1:3
  • Heightening our desire for heaven—Job 19:25–29
  • Opportunity to witness to others—2 Corinthians 12:9–10
  • Glorifying God—John 11:4; 2 Corinthians 12:7–10

Praise God for His Remarkable Plan of Redemption (1:3–14)

  • Style like Psalms / Jewish hymns see Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • Praise and thanksgiving given to God not ourselves.
  • Reflection on plan & work of God provoked emotional response led to praise and worship.
  • The term “praise” (eulogētos) often translated “blessed.”

“God of my salvation” (Ps. 18:46). cannot contain himself ultimate act of redemption in Christ.

Jesus – named in this verse alongside Father /both Lord and Messiah.

–     Agent of redemption /focus of God’s eternal plan.

[He] has blessed us in the heavenly realms (1:3).

Heaven not only as a place where believers will live after they die, but also as a spiritual realm. Holy place – no sin allowed!

  • Place God and resurrected Christ currently live (1:3)

Spiritual Realm – Powers of darkness continue to operate.

  • Attacks by Devil and demons (ongoing battle)
  • Because of Christ’s work (redemption on the cross)
  • Relationship with him, (Adoption children no grandchildren)
  • Believers have access to spiritual power to aid in their struggle against evil one.


People living in Ephesus lived in constant dread of astral powers that controlled fate. The Stoic writer Manilius (first century a.d.) writes:

  • Egyptian priests first to see future, through their art,
  • Fate depends on the wandering stars.
  • assigned to each period of time events connected with it:
  • Day on which someone is born, kind of life he shall lead,
  • Even Some Jews / Roman period concern about fate spirits associated with the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

He chose us in him before the creation of the world (1:4).

  • Ultimate reality for believers in Asia.
  •  Their fate not bound in stars and planets, but in almighty God, who made the sun and the stars.
  • God chose believers to be in Christ before he made the heavens and the earth.

To be holy and blameless in his sight (1:4).

  • To be “holy” (hagios) to be set apart for God to reflect his purity.
  • God’s purpose for his people / to become like him in holiness.

“I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).

Adopted as his sons (1:5).

“In love” emphasizing loving nature of predestination. Ignoring past.

Know who you are now!

  • The adoption of a child / Greco-Roman familiar custom.
  • Under Roman law, adopted child acquired all legal rights of natural born child & lost all rights held in his former family.
  • Promise God made David / Nathan prophet: “I will be his father, and he will be my son” (2 Sam. 7:14). Jesus fulfilled this promise as the descendant of David
  • Union with Jesus, believers become children of God.

To the praise of his glorious grace (1:6).

  • Gracious plan of God involving Jesus,
  • Paul exults in the same way as the psalmist who exclaimed, “My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long” (Ps. 35:28). (On grace, see comments on 2:7.)
  • The ultimate aim throughout the divine plan of redemption is that the recognition of God’s merciful dealings with men.
  • Grace evokes such praise finds its richest outlet in God’s love-gift to man—his Son.

Grace: to receive what we don’t deserve

John Newton – When I get to heaven I shall see three wonders there.

  • First: to see people there I did not expect to see there
  • Second: to miss many people whom I did expect to see;
  • Third: greatest wonder of all, will be to find myself there.

In him we have redemption through his blood (1:7).

1:7 redemption The word apolytrōsis refers to the act of freeing a slave by payment.

Through his blood: Jesus’ violent sacrificial death on the cross.

Jesus’ life was the payment that God made to redeem His people.

  • Old Testament Passover example blood on door frame saved by the blood of innocent animal
  • Now God has delivered his people from enslaving power of sin.
  • By Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. Believers experience the forgiveness of sins. (Not ashamed of Cross)
  • Forgiveness (aphesis) is loosing someone from what binds him. Verb “to send away” (John 20:23).
  • When God deals with our sin, it is dispatched into the wilderness like the scapegoat (Lev 16:20–22).

He made known to us the mystery of his will (1:9).

“Mystery” term widely used in the ancient world.

  • Gentile converts Ephesian churches knew ritual initiation into mystery cults, / cult of Artemis, Isis, Cybele, or Dionysus.
  • Mysteries” devotees sworn to secrecy about their experiences.
  • Speaking about God’s plan made known through revelation.
  • Same word “made known” (gnōrizō) Daniel used to describe Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about God’s plan for the ages.
  • Action of revelation.
  • the word mystērion” refers to God’s plan of salvation
  • previously kept secret / now revealed in Christ.
  • Unification of Jews and Gentiles into one new people of God.

When the times will have reached their fulfillment (1:10).

  • The Greek and Roman world thought of time as unending. The world will continue on and on.
  • The Old Testament, by contrast, is clear that time is measured and fixed (Dan. 9:24–27). Time future & history will be drawn to  conclusion.
  • This period of fulfillment will represent the climax of God’s redemptive plan.
  • Expect End time – Jesus return

To bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ (1:10).

  • Disruption of God’s creation / fall to sin.
  • Angels in heaven rebelled against the Lord.
  • Sin emerged / enslaves God’s creation, / causes revolt against him and his plan / This condition will not continue forever.
  • All of creation—heavenly principalities and every human—will someday be forced to submit to the Messiah.

Plan started in Jesus

  •  Incarnation of Jesus (Come to humanity)
  • proclamation of the kingdom (Preaching)
  • Death, resurrection & exaltation to the right hand of God.
  • Believers now await the complete fulfillment. (Return of Jesus)

We and you (1:11) Use to think – Jews are like to be Jewish

Paul introduces a “we / you” distinction.

Paul’s background, “we” refers to Jews / God’s first “chosen” His people (in the OT) & first followers of Christ.

The “you” refers to Gentiles those who made majority of people in the house churches of Ephesus.

Jewish Messiah, Jesus “In Christ” literal “In Messiah” anointed one.

The word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (1:13).

  • First-century Ephesus had nearly fifty gods and goddesses claiming to be true.
  • Various philosophies claimed to providing knowledge of the truth. (Gnostics / Knowledge)
  • Good news of Jesus revelation: ultimate reality of the truth of Jesus / insight into plight of humanity & their need for deliverance.

You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit (1:13).

  • Seals were used widely in the ancient world as the primary way of indicating ownership.
  • Made of hard stones or precious metals
  • had a distinctive image engraved on them (favorite deity, a hero, or a portrait).
  • All of a person’s significant possessions were marked with the impression of the seal. Even slaves and livestock were marked by the owner.
  • In some cases, people declared themselves the possession of a deity by the imprint of a seal.
  • God has also marked his possessions by means of a seal, his seal does not leave a physical impression.
  • He has given his people the gift of the Holy Spirit as a sign of their belonging to him.

A deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (1:14).

  • The Spirit – down payment on full future inheritance believers will receive.
  • The word arrabōn, translated “a deposit guaranteeing,” from the context of business and trade.
  • In the morning go shopping at the open market stamp the item pick it up at the end of the trading day.
  • It can also be applied to an engagement ring.
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Be on your guard Christian

One should not trust a liar to tell them the truth; we should always look out for people with ulterior motives and not be deceived by pretty (cunning) words. I get so upset when Christians are taken for a ride because they think that everyone is wonderful and no harm will come to them if they are Christians.

1 Peter 5:8 Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.

Proverbs 6_16_19

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Tolstoy on Self delusion and avoidance of responsibility

97i/43/huty/9230/09“So it would be, were it not for the law of inertia, as immutable a force in men and nations as in inanimate bodies. In men it takes the form of the psychological principle, so truly expressed in the words of the Gospel, ” They have loved darkness better than light, because their deeds were evil.” This principle shows itself in men not trying to recognize the truth, but to persuade themselves that the life they are leading, which is what they like and are used to, is a life perfectly consistent with truth.”

Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You

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CS Lewis on Christian attitudes

If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don’t feel at home there?

We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven: a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all.”

Enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign in sabotage.

Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever.

CS Lewis

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Why is Christian faith important?

The faith of a Christian is not like a faith in fairies, the difference being that we are dealing with issues of life and death. It is identical to a burning plane 30,000 feet in the air. When one is given a parachute to jump out of the burning plane and save his life, he can either believe that the parachute will save him, or doubt the quality of the equipment. For example, he might question whether the ropes on the parachute are frayed or even whether the material will carry his weight, in which case he will go down with the plane in his unbelief or through hesitation. Both will be equal to unbelief because the plane is going down whatever he decides to do.

Heb 11 Vs 6

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The meaning of life

I do not see how it would be possible to find a meaningful life in a meaningless universe. The only purpose that is worth of life is something bigger than life itself. It is more than maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain for a few years on earth. The only purpose worthy of life is to be part of grander vision – the redemption of creation, the pursuit of justice, becoming a saint.

Know doubt – John Orthbergjohn_ortberg

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Time alone with God

I believe that one reason Jesus looked for solitude is to find a place not only to reflect on what that day had brought him but to spend time with his father. It’s about the relationship.

 Fathers enjoy observing their children but most of all they love when their children share their thoughts and ideas with them. It is that kind of relationship that can help a child grow in his understanding of God and the world around them. God never intended for us to stay ignorant like children all our lives. Even though God commands us to stay pure and soft-hearted like children.

 If I need to understand what happened today, why God allowed certain things to enter into my life, and if I am just rushing through life, should I not stop and reflect on how I can process and learn from my past experiences?

 This is what we call our walk with God. I cannot claim that he is part of my life if I don’t spend any time with him. If I only see him as some kind of cosmic vending machine that gives me sweeties every time I punch in a number and put some money in it.   I need to understand that God is not created for my benefit, but that I am created to give glory to my God for all the blessings I enjoy because of him. How can I have peace, know love, understand grace, appreciate mercy if I just continue to run and never stop and talk to God?

 A good relationship can only exist when love is at the centre of it.  If I am obsessed with benefiting from someone without caring for them I would suggest that this is exploitation.  This, however, will not bring me joy but shame.

 For an honest exchange of ideas and open heart-to-heart discussions to take place, we must give each other time. Time is that most precious of resources we all have at our disposal.  There are times when we may feel driven to act right now and make the best use of our time.  However, sometimes it is simply the time to wait and enjoy each other’s company which, too, is an activity worth pursuing.

 Here is a question that I have to ask myself daily, if I value my relationship with God, how much of my time do I give him?


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