Ephesians 1:7 “In him ( Christ ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
“In him ( Christ ) we have redemption through his blood”
A sinner is indebted to God of his sin — death is the payment ( Romans 6:23 ). In the old testament, God instituted blood sacrifices for the atonement of man’s sins (Hebrews 9:22). Why blood? Because it symbolizes life (Leviticus 17:11), and the death of the animal offered is the substitute. However, those sacrifices cannot remove sin, they are just for covering and have to be repeated annually (Hebrews 10:3-4).
Here comes the perfect sacrifice… When John the Baptist introduced Jesus, he said “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”. Jesus as the “Lamb of God” carried our sins on the cross and bore them all(1 Peter 2:24). God by his holiness could not simply bypass our sins, He needs to punish them. And on the cross, God saw our sins in Christ and poured his righteous wrath in him (Isaiah 53:5).
“the forgiveness of sins”
Unlike the animal sacrifices which is repeated yearly, Christ’s sacrifice is perfect. And because it is perfect, His sacrifice can’t be repeated again — It is once and for all (Hebrews 10:10). That one perfect act of redemption brought us the forgiveness of all our sins (Colossians 2:13, Isaiah 38:17).
Let me put it this way.
- Jesus took all our sins (past, present, future) on the cross (1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5)
- God punished all our sins in Jesus (Romans 8:3, Galatians 2:20)
- God was satisfied of Jesus’ sacrifice (Isaiah 53:10, Romans 5:9)
- In Christ we are forgiven (Romans 3:24-25, Colossians 2:13)
“in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
This part of the verse challenges some of our religious belief, that for us to be forgiven, we have to make every effort to conciliate God. We sometimes beat ourselves as if we are trying to deserve the punishment of our sins. I even heard some preachers say, “If God gets tired of forgiving you, he will annihilate you”. This kind of belief kills us from the inside. The damage is serious to some.
Nothing can be further from the truth. The word of God simply dismisses all these misconceptions. God’s forgiveness was never into our account. Not a single effort from us can persuade God to forgive us. There’s no level of forgiveness either, we are simply completely forgiven by His grace in the account of Christ.
Forgiveness is according to God’s grace. Grace is unearned, undeserved, unconditional favor freely given to us in the account of Jesus. Man’s response is to simply receive and appreciate the gift. Stop earning it.
Summary & Reflection
The forgiveness that God gave us in Christ gives us true freedom from guilt and shame of our past. His sacrifice was an over payment — nothing from us to add to it. Jesus died, but he rose and conquered sin and death. Not a trace of sin left.. All has been paid.
Stop condemning yourself and claim your forgiveness in Christ. We may not feel forgiven all the time, right? But hey, we don’t live by our feelings, we live by faith. If sin is so big, remember that Jesus is way more bigger than it. For where sin increase, grace super abounds (Romans 5:20).
Everytime we find ourselves condemned, look back on the cross and see your sins being punished there. Remember the high cost Jesus paid and appreciate his love and grace. To be in love with Jesus makes us love sin less.
Jesus said, “He who is forgiven much, loves much” Luke 7:47.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12