College & Career Class Lesson Summary, June 3, 2018
We established some important vocabulary in the last lesson regarding who and what believers have been fashioned into. We noted that believers are addressed as saints (a declaration of being sacred or holy). Let that resonate with you that God has made you into something that He declares sacred.
If you think about sacred heirlooms you might have, you know how protective you are of them and, for the most part, probably have a ‘hands off policy’ so folks are not handling them and thereby, potentially damage them. God has declared you sacred and that declaration is an eternal ‘hands off policy’ to the forces of evil. To anyone who would stand to condemn the believer, they have no access to do so for the believer is sacred to God.
By being a saint, the believer is holy and without blame before God and this is something that God determined He would make of all believers, having predetermined this before the foundation of the world. In this same light, God has adopted all believers, not only the inclusion of the believer into His family, but also the promotion of the believer to a son of His. We noted that adoption in the Bible is not limited to just the familial inclusion idea that we are more prone to think of today, but often was about the father, determining that a child was ready to be a man, and he would therefore promote or adopt the child as a son.
Paul writes that at the appointed time of the Father, He sent forth Christ and it is through His redemption, that we receive the adoption (promotion) as sons. God already determined Christ to be the fully mature Son, having been faithful to the Father’s will (even in His death), and by the resurrection of Christ, He stands forever as the perfect and complete Son of God. …and, that’s exactly whom you are joined to!
All of these things are small components of what Paul says are ‘spiritual blessings’, which God has already blessed us with, by placing us into the person who is heir to all spiritual blessings – Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
All of the truths (about us) that Paul has mentioned thus far in the letter brings praise to the glory of His grace. What is the glory of His grace? Glory means splendor or brightness. In 1John, John records that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. In Physics, we understand darkness to not ‘exist’, but is simply the state of light’s absence. In other words, darkness isn’t its own matter that takes up equal space as light’s matter. When light is absent, there is darkness.
We noted that God never works apart from His character and that is key when you stop to think about how He carries out His relationship with you. As far as He is concerned, you stand as a testimony of praise because you, as a saint, testify of the splendor of His grace. In other words, when God wants to show off, He points to you! The Psalmist looked at the wonders of creation and just concluded that man was this lowly speck in the grand portrait of His design, yet, for the believer, God has made you to be, not the speck, but the grand portrait of His design!
It is by this working of God that God made us accepted in the beloved. The beloved is another term for Christ (the Beloved One). In the person of Christ, God created us a new creature which is fully and eternally acceptable to Him. Our acceptance with God is not a product of our labor, regardless of how righteous we perceive it to be. Our acceptance with God was established the moment we were put into Christ (when we first believed).
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Paul reminds us that redemption is not an object that God casually tossed our direction, but redemption is a Person (Jesus Christ). It is IN HIM that we have redemption. To redeem is to make an exchange or to pay a ransom. The reality is, you and I were being bought and sold by the merchants of Death, in the market place of Sin. One day, Jesus Christ entered that market place and with three words, It is Finished, He forever closed the market. He paid off the merchants with His own blood and before the merchants of Death could begin to count their bounty, Christ arose. The merchants and the market itself – completely obliterated.
In Christ, we stand redeemed from that market place and no one, not even yourself, can return you to the market, for the market simply no longer exists. Likewise, Paul says we have the forgiveness of sins. Just like we stand redeemed, we stand likewise forgiven. We do not have to inquire about new redemption each day – we simply awake each day in the light of the redemption we have. This is because we awake each day IN Redemption Himself. The same is true concerning the forgiveness of sins. The very reason we are redeemed stands to prove that we ALREADY have the forgiveness of sins. If there were still sins yet to be forgiven, then we would not be redeemed. Why? Because, redemption is IN HIM and we cannot take sin into Him, can we? There isn’t one sin that hasn’t already been forgiven! All of our sin was future when Christ died – there is no “new forgiveness for new sin”. No sin is new to the death of Christ!
Some might ask, does that mean we do not have to ask for forgiveness from God? Yes, that’s exactly what that means. Why would you continually ask for something you already have as if you didn’t have it yet? Now, does this mean that every believers lives according to what is true about them? No, not at all. There are plenty of times we all respond to our flesh rather than to His Spirit. Any time you want to take some time to refocus your mind on the abundance of His goodness – feel free! Allow His goodness to lead you to repentance. But, it isn’t coming back to Him for forgiveness – it is allowing yourself to be transformed in your mind, by dwelling on the fact you already stand completely forgiven, IN HIM.
We ran out of time, but someone asked about 1John 1:9. 1John 1:9 means exactly what it says, but that is something that we’ll have to cover next time.
Our story continues…