May 26, 2013 LAG Lesson

May 23, 2013 | by: Dr. Micheal Pardue, Sr. | 0 Comments

May 26, 2013 Life Application Group


Commentary Ephesians 1:7-14, ESV
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
Paul has already used the term “In Him” or something close [“through Jesus Christ” (v. 5) and “in the Beloved” (v. 6)] during the first six verses and he will use it four more times in vv. 7-14. Paul does not want his readers to escape the fact that all that we have that is eternal and good comes through Christ. More specifically, through His blood. It would be appropriate to understand each of these occurrences of “in Him” as also saying “through His blood.”
We have this redemption, which is the forgiveness of our trespasses. We have been redeemed from the penalty and slavery of sin. This term is about being bought for a price. Like a captive bought from slavery, so we are bought by Christ’s blood.
This redemption is shown to us as forgiveness. God forgives our trespasses. This makes perfect sense logically because it is against God we have sinned. We do not ultimately need forgiveness from other people, even people we have wronged greatly. Our great need is to be forgiven our trespasses through His blood.
Paul also does not leave the reader thinking that they have done something to earn this forgiveness. This is important because we often want our own forgiveness to work this way—we demand that people earn it. Paul tells us that we have redemption through his blood “according to the riches of his grace.” God is simply gracious toward us, giving us redemption. The cost of our redemption was high, but God gladly pays it for His people.

8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
In fact, Paul writes that God has lavished his grace on us. He has accomplished this by humbling Himself. God displayed His great wisdom and insight by working out His marvelous plan before the foundation of the world.


9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
Those who have been redeemed by Christ’s blood have had made known to them the mystery of God’s will. This mystery is set forth in Christ. The great question since the Fall was “how is God going to do all these things He has promised?” That mystery has become clear in Christ—primarily in His death, burial, and resurrection. This should be seen as happening according to His purpose. From the timing in history to the means in which Jesus died, the will of God has come about in His time and through His means. This is another time when we are reminded that God does not do things in the same manner that we do, but in His sovereignty, He does all things according to His plan and will.

10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
We must also understand this plan in eschatological terms. This plan is for the fullness of time. All things will be united in Christ. This plan wasn’t simply for the time in which Jesus died, or our own time, but for all time. He will unite the things in heaven and on earth. This does not just refer to people, but to all of His creation. He has in mind the restoration of all things. A return, if you will, to the way God created all that was created.


11 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,
Paul uses this term in Him, this time referring to an inheritance. We have the inheritance, at its minimum, of eternal life. However, there is much more involved than simply living forever (see commentary on v. 12). This is inheritance is gained through being “predestined according to the purpose of him (God the Father).” God has chosen us for His purpose. It really is a futile endeavor to explore it past this explanation. The whole sum of the Scriptures only give us this explanation—that God predestined according to His purpose. We might find some find a little more information in what Paul says next in verse 12 (to the praise of his glory), but this shows us the end result of our predestination, and does not explain much more than, “according to the purpose of him.”
Paul even points further toward this foundational truth with, “who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” In other words, God only counsels Himself as He works out His purpose and plan. Who else would He counsel? Who is worthy to give advice to God? If we think that we are worthy to assist God in His decision making process, we fool ourselves.


12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
What does God choosing us do? It brings Him glory—it is to the praise of His glory. It shows us how awesome our God is. We are called to show that He is great in His salvation of sinners. Those who belittle this biblical doctrine (and I have been guilty of this too often) criticize what God does not do when He predestines sinners to be saved. This is often portrayed as an infringement on “free will” or an attack on a person’s ability to choose. Nothing could be further from the truth. God does not ultimately save us so that we are saved, but Christ redeems us for the glory of our great God. When we get caught up in what we do, we miss that it is all about what He has done. He does not call us to Himself for His for our benefit (though our benefit is great). Since we live in a self-center culture, we want to read that same self-determinism into the Scriptures. However, it simply isn’t there.


13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
Here is the “in Him” again. In Him, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. This happened when you heard the Gospel—when you heard the word of truth. Notice the Spirit only comes through His word. Countless times through the Scripture we see the working of God come after a word from God. Salvation simply is not present without the word of God being present. We should never fool ourselves into believing that there is salvation a part from His word.
Notice the word sealed as well. This is separate from believing. It has a longer view in mind. This is the distinction that we belong to the Holy Spirit and nothing can transfer that ownership. We are His in every way and nothing can change that. The seal He places on us cannot be removed.


14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
That seal that is placed on us by the Spirit is our guarantee of our inheritance in Christ Jesus. Paul makes it clear that we do not have total possession of our inheritance, but rather it is waiting for us. We will soon “acquire passion of it,” but that has not yet occurred. The wonderful thing is we do not have to try to hold on to it ourselves. Our inheritance is not intrinsically tied to our ability to maintain it. Rather, the Spirit is preserving it for us. Not only preserving it, but guaranteeing that it is available for us on that last day.
Notice that the term, “to the praise of his glory,” appears again. It shows God’s infinite power and might that He is able to preserve for us an inheritance that we could not maintain on our own. Ultimately His work in calling us, adopting us, saving us, and guaranteeing our inheritance, brings His Holy name praise!

Bible Study


Check In:
1. How did God use the devotions in your family this past week?
2. Did you have any “God-moments?”
3. How did God speak to you today during our worship time?

Introduction:
Paul continues his introductory thoughts to the Ephesians. He consistently reminds the church that all that they have is in Christ Jesus. He has bought them out of slavery to sin through the shedding of His own blood. He has given them an inheritance so that when it is received His name will be praised. He lavishes on His children, the most costly gift of all—His eternal love. While we were far from Him, Christ dies in our place to give us the forgiveness we so desperately need. We are given the mystery of His will, not because of who we are or the desirability of our lives, but because He has counseled Himself and granted it do us. This is why the love of the Father is both a mystery and something worthy of praise—we do not deserve it. However, we are sealed, protected for eternity, by the Holy Spirit. It is guaranteed until such time as we hold fast to it fully consummated.

Key Questions:
Where is our salvation found? (In Him)
Why does God save sinners? (For His Glory)

Theological Concepts of Importance:

Ask the group to talk about these concepts. How do they relate to our salvation? How do they bring God glory?:

Redemption – being bought back from sin Heb 9:12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

Blood – the currency of redemption Heb 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Forgiveness – the just removal of sin Psa 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Trespasses – our disobedience toward God Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

Riches of His grace – innumerable advantages from Christ Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Inheritance – what God has planned for us 1Pe 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (5) who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Counsel of His will – God consulting God Rom 11:34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"

Praise of His Glory – God receiving praise for His greatness Isa 6:3 And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

Application:

Since salvation is only found in Christ, how should that fact shape our:
• evangelism?
• discipleship?
• worship?
• employment?
• family life?
• extracurricular activities?
• financial priorities as individuals?
• financial priorities as a church family?

Since God saves sinner for His glory, how should that fact shape our:
• evangelism?
• discipleship?
• worship?
• employment?
• family life?
• extracurricular activities?
• financial priorities as individuals?
• financial priorities as a church family?

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