The Triune God blesses God’s people. The blessing he provides benefits his people with election and then it results to the adoption and redemption of the elect. Verses 3-6 explains these to us and we heard it preached to us last week.
This Lord’s Day we will continue from adoption to redemption from verses 7-10. Then complete the sermon topic God’s blessing with the application of redemption to his people that comes with revelation from verses 11-14. We will hear the rest of benefits in two points: (1) The Son Accomplishes; (2) The Spirit Applies.
The Son Accomplishes
verses 7-10: “In him 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.”
The term “redemption” means to “buy-back”. To redeem, in context, means to settle the debt and to secure release from bondage. In biblical times, slaves were redeemed to buy back their freedom. Redemptive history portrays Israel redeem by God from slavery in Egypt. The apostle Paul extends this reality to God’s people as sinners redeemed by God in Christ from the bondage of sin.
The Son accomplished the redemption of God’s elect by atonement. Atonement means the payment for sin. To atone means to appease God’s righteous judgement against sin and to receive the punishment on behalf of another. It is an Old Testament form of sacrifice offering for the forgiveness of sin. According to Paul, “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses“. “In him” points to the Son as Christ the Messiah, the mediator of the covenant of grace. The Father plans and elects in eternity while the Son accomplishes in history.
All these comes from grace. It is the currency of salvation. Grace is the commonwealth shared by God’s people. Paul expressed this thought as “according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us”. In the previous verse, he described grace as glorious worthy of our praise. In this verse, he explains why. Grace abounds! Christ’s atoning work comes from the richness of God’s grace. Grace is the appointed end and the appropriate means of our salvation. It is God’s grace from beginning to end.
It is grace revealed according to God’s wisdom and will. Paul further wrote: ” 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.” God revealed to us the plan of salvation by accomplishing it in redemptive history. From eternity to history, God accomplished the actual redemption of the elect.
John shared this same thought in John 6:37-38: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”
Atonement separates Christianity from the rest of humanistic religions. There is no religion in this world that preaches forgiveness of sin by the atoning work of a savior. Redemption by atonement lies at the heart of Christianity. Take it away then it becomes another work-based religion. Sadly most Christian denominations today neglect atonement and considers it offensive. They labor to win the world yet lose their own soul.
Yet salvation without atonement saves no one. We cannot be saved by a savior who made our salvation possible but did not make it definite. It brings no comfort to those who personally decided to accept Christ and yet fails to recognize the ground upon which it stands. God did not make our salvation possible. He actually accomplishes it. So Christian, take heart! God alone saves.
From redemption we come to its application. The Father plans, the Son accomplishes, and Spirit applies. How does the Spirit applies salvation to God’s elect? It is by the preaching of Gospel and the illuminating heart work of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit Applies
verses 11-14: “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. 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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
The last effect of election after redemption in history is the application of redemption by way of revelation. Paul ends his reflection of God’s work with the inheritance of faith and repentance. For him, God’s redemptive work gets applied to those who believes by the preaching of God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Conversion ordinarily comes to the elect with the primary means of grace.
Paul reflects ” “In him we have obtained an inheritance”. As adopted children of God, we receive all the benefits Christ procured as a privilege not by right. Inheritance speaks of wealth we receive not because we deserve it but because someone else worked for it. We have been enriches by the lavished grace of God. Paul recalls how this privilege came to us. He references back to verses 5-6 and again mentions God’s predestination, his purposes and will, and the glory of his grace. Yet after re-affirming all these he continues to apply these benefits to us in verses 13-14.
Paul specifies the means how each elect becomes a believer. He identifies the Word and Spirit. The Word comes to us in truth and not by emotional religious experience. It is the gospel message of God’s saving work in redemption verses 7-10. It is good news to everyone who hears the message, accept it to be true, and believes in it.
The Word of God creates faith in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit whom we receive and changes us heart so we can believe. He is the person who convicts us of the truth of the gospel and enable us to believe it. He seals in us and confirms with us the validity of our conversion experience. He is the deposit who encourages to persevere in the end. Again, all these were given us to “to the praise of his glory”.
ZCRC(Imus), our Triune God saves. He communes with us and provides for us everything we need for our salvation. From eternity to actual history, God elects and redeems. God’s elect are actually redeemed. And as God’s people, the Holy Spirit enables us to receive God’s Word and believe it as God’s truth. The elect who are redeemed becomes actual believers. None are lost and every single one of them gets saved. All these are done to praise of His glory. May the Lord continue to save his people. Amen.
Rev. Lance Filio is a minister of the Word and Sacraments at Zion Cornerstone Reformed Church (Imus). He finished his Bachelor Degree in Electronics Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology and He is currently taking his Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) at MINTS. He lives in Taguig City, Philippines with his wife and three children.