Gracious Redemption | Ephesians 1:3-10

October 19, 2014 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: GRACE | Before the beginning to after the end

Topic: Gospel Passage: Ephesians 1:3–1:10

Grace - Gracious Redemption - Ephesians 1.3-10 from Damascus Road Church on Vimeo.


Introduction | Rewind

Good Morning! We regularly preach straight through books of the Bible. We have taken a break for five weeks to do a topical series on particular doctrines of God’s Grace. Specifically, how people are saved by God the Father’s planned grace, through the work of Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is called GRACE, before the beginning to after the end. We are preaching these doctrines out of Ephesians Ch1-2 with the churches in our 3 Strand Network. We have seen the difference in how we typically experience God’s grace from our experience; and compared it to how we see God talking about His planned grace laid out in scripture with a hope we are moving the target from a man/us-centered view of grace/salvation to an explicitly God-centered view. Jonah 2:9 Salvation is of the Lord.

Week one was Election - God’s choice of people to be saved based on no foreseen merit of their own, but solely on His gracious good pleasure as sovereign king of the universe. While last week we covered:

Effective Gospel Call - Proclaiming and someone hearing the attractive message of the Gospel. Regeneration - Being born again as we move from being spiritually dead to alive.

This week we will look at:

Conversion – repentance, seeing your sin turning from it and placing your faith in Jesus.

Justification- Where we move from being guilty sinners before God, to right legal standing.

Adoption – No longer alienated by our sin we are brought into full membership in God’s family.

Ephesians 1:3-10 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Problem | We’re Dead, then Alive

Last week we saw we are spiritually dead and unable, without the regenerating/rebirthing grace of God, to choose Him. We are dead with Original Sin, a fatal disease has infected every one of us.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— We are all son’s and daughters of Adam. Because of our sin, our verses last week describe us as “Sons of disobedience” and by nature (meaning who we are at our core being) “children of wrath” This is not a state we should desire to remain in. However, while dead we are both unaware of our true condition and unable to affect it. We need to be made alive to see our condition. God has planned to love and bless us before the foundations of the world and the purpose of His plan is that we should be “holy and blameless” before Him. The obvious problem is we are not either of those things. We are stained and guilty. Though regeneration we are made spiritually alive to see our sin and need from God and this leads to….

Conversion | Verses 3-4

Conversion means turning. Seeing who were, turning from it and turning to who you are! Put simply it is turning from sin to Christ. God’s gracious plan was for us to come to Him. For that to happen we have to recognize we were separated from him, we are separated from him, and while “walking in sin” we are walking away from God. The Gospel tells us our sin separates us as we are now deserving wrath and Jesus took the wrath on the cross giving us the promise of new life. The Holy Spirit makes us alive to see the offer of the gospel as beautiful so the effective calling draws us to God. Now in conversion it is time for the effective call and regeneration to lead to actual individual decisive action. We respond in two ways.

Repentance- It comes from conviction of your sin from the Holy Spirit. Because I am made alive by God I am able to see my sin for what it is, rebellion from God that cause us to break His commandments leaving us bent and broken for the purposes He has for our life. It is seeing sin, opposing God, desiring independence, pursuing your agenda as no longer leading to a path of more life and greater joy but rather seeing it as leading to despair and eventual death. This is heavy but we have to remember Turning from Sin, is a gift (2 Tim 2:25) There is an actual sorrow for your sin, how it has separated you from God, how it has hurt others. It is sorrow that is sincere and sorrow that leads to action rejecting sin’s hold on our life and beginning to walk in obedience. It is seeing and reacting to our sin the same way God does, worthy of righteous condemnation and just wrath. Knowing its seriousness and destructiveness God calls us to reject sin. Sermons throughout the New Testament are consistent with their calls to repentance and faith. John the Baptist, Peter and Paul in Acts, all preached repentance. Jesus first sermons we simple, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Turn from sin to King Jesus. No repentance = No gospel.

Faith- It is more than merely saying I know and acknowledge Jesus. I understand Jesus is able to save and Jesus does save. It is a complete reliance on him. I trust Jesus, my faith is in him because I know he saved me personally! Yes Jesus saves, but it’s good news for me because Jesus saved me! This is something new. Have you ever been excited for someone else good fortune? Wow that is awesome that happened to them, but part of you wants that to happen to you. This is where faith in the personal work of Jesus makes the good news apply directly to you! Turning to Jesus it is an individual gift..

Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

It is more than an irrational belief or radical blind faith, it is a knowing, resting, trust Jesus is God, Jesus does save. I trust Jesus. It is the answer to the countless personal calls we see throughout scripture where God continually says… “come to me”. To “coming to him” means you have to be leaving something else. This is why faith and repentance need to dance with one another because you cannot simply turn from sin without placing faith in Jesus; and you cannot say your faith is in Jesus without also turning from your sin. It’s both AND. In this sense, there is no biblical concept of trusting Jesus as your savior without also submitting your life to Him as Lord. Our problem is that we usually want Jesus to come in and simply have no issue with those parts of our lives impacted by sin, and yet God takes our sin very seriously.

But even if you do effectively turn from your, sin that does nothing to pay the penalty of sins committed. We’re not in this new place of just working for the rest of our life to pay off previous sin hoping at the end of our days we’ve had more Christians life than none. Legally you’re still guilty of your sin and responsible for it so what does it mean to place your faith in Jesus? It means you are trusting the work he did on the cross in your place……

Justification | Verses 7-10

Why the cross? What did it accomplish? I don’t want to undersell this, but all of Christianity hinges on this one point. Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross we can be justified by faith in Jesus alone. The protestant reformation happened because of disagreement over justification. Cults and sects have been formed over changing the meaning or limiting the significance of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Justification is a legal act of declaration someone as righteous. Works/religion says God will declare you righteous based on the good you do. Basically you are “self-righteous”. The world says there is no sin, or at least no divine consequences for it so you don’t need God to declare you righteous because as long as you’re happy about you, you are “righteous” again this is a form of “self-righteousness” When the Gospel/bible talks about God declaring you righteous He does so when you are NOT in fact righteous.

When we looked at that golden chain of salvation in Romans 8:30 we see 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Justification is what happens to those called after they’re made alive in regeneration (born again). They are both necessary, but they are not the same. In regeneration God is like a surgeon taking out our heart of stone and putting in a heart of flesh that beats for Him. In Justification God’s role is different, he is Judge. He should declare us guilty of our sin and condemned for our sin. When God makes a judgment about something that’s it, no court of appeals, the matter is settled because when God says something about us and when God says it, His words have power to make them true. In Justification, God the Judge declares us the guilty as righteous. How is this possible? How can God simply declare an ungodly person righteous? There are legal demands for our sin. Romans 6 says the wages of our sin death. We know God is love and justice. We would hate a god who was merely one without the other. We need God as a judge because we can’t merely have Him forgiving and forgetting our sin, or others sin, because it would mean no justice for the victims. When we see abuse we want justice for the abuser, when we see wrongs done in the world we want them answered. We crave justice, because we are all made in God’s image and likeness. Justice has to be satisfied somehow, if we’re going to be set free we need a substitute.

Colossians 2:13-14 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, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Our debt of sin isn’t simply something that can be balanced it out or hopefully paid up, it has to be cancelled. Christ became our record of debt and that record was cancelled by His death on the cross. This is great news because it means we will no longer suffer the just penalty for our sin. This doesn’t mean there are no consequences for sin or that God will not discipline us for sin (that’s next week) but it does mean there is no eternal penalty for our sin. There is no condemnation (opposite of righteousness) for those in Christ but what do we become? Are we now innocent? Are we still guilty just let off? Wayne Grudemn talks about what we are like this: It can’t be just-as-if-I’ve-never-sinned, because we need to be before God as just-as-if-I’ve-lived-a-perfect-life. The problem is neither of those are true. We are not acquitted of our guilt of sin since we are not innocent people who have been legally cleared of charges; we are guilty people who have been forgiven. This is the mercy of justification. We also haven’t lived perfect but we have been given Christ perfection as a gift. This is the grace of justification. But we want more, we need more!

2 Cor 5:21 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Because of Adam’s sin has been imputed to us. Meaning God sees us has having the same sin as Adam we have guilt. We walk in that as “sons of disobedience” earning wrath. God then imputes that sin (ascribes it to) Jesus. Jesus, “holy and blameless” takes it on and to the cross. His holiness, His guiltlessness, is then imputed to us. So in God’s eyes we go from sinner destined for wrath to saint “holy and blameless” before God. Jesus goes from sinless to taking our wrath so we can go from sinner to saint.

Col 1:21-22 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

God doesn’t merely tell us ok, you’re forgiven of your sin, back to neutral. Go and sin no more. No you’re no longer a child of wrath and son of disobedience but you’re on your own. Hope it works out for you, because I’ve got much higher family values/standards than merely not being a guilty reprobate. You’ve got to be righteous “holy and blameless” if you’re going to stand before me and be continually accepted in my presence. The cross is where God fulfills His promise to forgive us of our sin. God forgiving our sin is merely one part of justification. Ephesians says we have Redemption through His blood, what does that mean? Since we are not left in our sin and we are not left along redemption means we are brought from slavery to freedom. We have to be moved from where we were to where freedom is possible.

Col 1:13-14 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins

The faith and trust we have in Jesus is that his work on the cross is more than sufficient to clear our guilt and it is powerful, effective, and valuable enough transfer us from darkness to membership in God’s kingdom through the gift He gives of his righteousness. Redemption is gift and it comes in the form of faith in Jesus. We are justified by our faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. So it’s is not about the goodness or sincerity or intensity of our faith it is the object of our faith. It’s about Jesus and what He did!! Faith in, trust of the saving work of Jesus on the cross is the opposite of self-reliance. It is a declaration not of independence, but of total dependence. Through Jesus work on the cross we are not only legally exonerated but we are legally united with the kingdom of God. It is not really a union it is a reunion. That “reuniting was of all things” includes estranged sinners being reunited with the creator!

Adoption | Verses 5-6

In Regeneration the Holy Spirit makes us alive, in Justification Jesus Christ pays our debt and makes us righteous, in Adoption God the Father makes us His child. Because of salvation in the cross of Christ, God’s role in our lives moves from being judge to becoming God our Father. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We have the answer, Jesus was forsaken so you could be accepted. You become family like Jesus because Jesus became alienated like us on the Cross. God’s plan was one of adoption. Where we go from being a son of Adam to a son of God!

Gal 4:4-7 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

God’s Adoption is about our need for Him, not his need for us. He adopts us not based on what we can offer him, but what he can offer us. Blind side is a great movie and story but the guy was also supremely talented and it just needed to be realized. I praise God he doesn’t adopt us based on our potential and what we may become if only loved properly.

Adoption of pets of infants or cute toddlers, no one goes out and says, I want to adopt a guy who made His girlfriend have an abortion. I want to adopt a drug addict, I want to adopt a self-righteous Pharisee. Oh can I go out and adopt the victim of sexual abuse? I want to adopt a guy who is on a road to go and kill more members of our family. The list goes on and on. God’s grace, this free gift because of the cross is so much greater than any adoption because God looks at our file and says “it’s been nailed to the cross.”

God’s adoption “children of wrath” and “sons of disobedience” because those are the ones who NEED adoption! There is a lengthy file on each and everyone one of us that would make any of cringe and say I don’t want to take on that challenge! I can’t bear the burden of all they are. He adopts us fully knowing our full record of debt all that we have done, all that we are and says “You, you are now my Son.” No longer a slave…. That is who you were that is NOT who you are! You are a child of the most high God meaning anything that seeks to entangle you God says NO, that is my child! We have a new identity as members of a new family.

Grandma Ralph and Juyne Rich adopted Robert and James, my Dad and my uncle. The impact of this act of unconditional love most emotionally evident at the moment in February when my Father, Uncle, and I along with the rest of our family were on a piece of property overlooking a beautiful ice covered lake in North Idaho spreading my Grandma Juyne’s ashes. Hugging in tear I said “We are all Rich men because of Juyne’s love.” That adoption has had an incredibly powerful impact who my dad is. Understanding he was adopted told him he was loved greatly without doing anything to earn it, and he’s lived a life of gratitude in response.

God’s adoption of his children has even greater power to impact who we are and how we live in response.

Ps 103:10-14 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

Next week we’ll talk about what living out that identity of Holy and Blameless looks like as we talk about Sanctification. For now we rest knowing Jesus took our guilt and gifted us his righteousness. Trust Jesus!


More in GRACE | Before the beginning to after the end

November 9, 2014

Gracious Restoration | Ephesians 1:11-14

November 2, 2014

Gracious Renovation | Ephesians 2:4-10

October 12, 2014

Gracious Regeneration | Ephesians 2:1-7