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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Ephesians 1:7-8 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.

Before time began, before the foundation of the world was laid, God, in His wisdom, provided for the eternal salvation of those that loved Him, and faithfully obeyed His will - those He could call His children. The only way one can become a child of God is to be adopted by Him. And the only way one can be adopted by God is by (or through) Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5). With initial obedience and being baptized into the body of Christ, we become Christians - the adopted children of God. In Christ we have redemption through His blood, which is the same, as the lesson text tells us - the forgiveness of sins. In a similar instance, Paul, the author of the letter to the Ephesians, wrote this to the Christians at Rome. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;...(Rom. 3:23-25).

God, through Paul, sends this message, stated above, to the world. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Therefore, all need ...the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Redemption plays a very significant role in God's plan of salvation. What does the word, redemption, mean? How are sinners redeemed? In our lesson text, the word translated, redemption is found ten times in the New Testament. In each case it carries the meaning similar to that of a price paid to have a prisoner of war set free, enabling them to be reunited with the countrymen of their own homeland. Having been captured by enemy forces, a soldier is held in bondage. In the spiritual application, Satan is the enemy, and sin is the bondage. Just as the captured soldier is separated from his own countrymen, sin separates us from the family of God. This estranged relationship between the sinner and God must be reconciled in order for one to be included in His family. This is accomplished through the redemption process available in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the ransom - the purchase price that redeems mankind from the bondage of sin, and reconciles them with God. Jesus paid the ransom price for the sins of the world.

God's plan of redemption, as stated by Paul, says that mankind can be reconciled with God through the remission of sins that are past. This can be accomplished only through Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood (Rom. 3:25 cited above). From this passage we are assured of the propitious nature of God. He is gracious, extending His favors toward mankind by providing a way sin can be removed, and conciliation can take place, restoring the Father/child relationship necessary for salvation. His Son, Jesus Christ is that propitiation - the source of reconcilement - the gift of redemption.

Paul told the Ephesian brethren they were at one time dead in trespasses and sins (2:1), having no hope, and without God in the world (2:12), but now in Christ Jesus ye ...are made nigh (to God) by the blood of Christ (2:13). They were once sinners, but now they have been reconciled, and brought near to God through the redeeming power of the blood of Christ. And why is this so? Because they are now in Christ Jesus. Reconciliation with God, the forgiveness of sins, and redemption through His blood, does not take place until one is in Christ Jesus.

Many passages in the New Testament tell us that after His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God, ruling His kingdom with all the authority and power given Him by God, His heavenly Father. How can repentant sinners have access to God's promised salvation if they must be "in Christ Jesus?" By being in His body - His Church on earth (Eph. 1:22-23). If Salvation is found in the body of Christ, then Jesus, Himself, tells us how one can be placed in Him. He told His disciples to ...preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.(Mark 16:15-16). Salvation can only be found in Jesus. How does one get into the body of Christ? Believing God's inspired word, obeying it, and being baptized into His body, the church. It is here, and only here, that we can have redemption through His blood!