Ephesians 1:7
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
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(7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.—This passage is identical in sense and expression with Colossians 1:14, except that the word here used for “sins” means, properly, “separate acts of transgression,” while the word there is the more general word for sin in the abstract. (In Ephesians 2:1, both are used.) In both passages we have united, as correspondent to each other, the two expressions under which our Lord Himself describes His atonement—in Matthew 20:28, as the “giving His life a ransom for many,” in Matthew 26:28, as “the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of sins.” These two expressions appear to be complementary to each other, rather than identical. (1) The primary idea in “redemption” is deliverance from a bondage, mostly the bondage of sin itself (see Romans 8:23; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:15; 1Peter 1:18-21); occasionally (and in this sense with a different Greek word), the bondage under sentence of punishment for sin (Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5). Into that bondage man has plunged himself; God’s mercy redeems him from it at an unspeakable price (John 3:16; Romans 7:24-25). (2) The primary idea in “the forgiveness of sins through His blood” is propitiation, that is, the offering to God “a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice” for sin, by One who is the Head and Representative of the human race (Romans 3:25; 1John 2:2; 1John 4:10). So St. Paul interprets our Lord’s words by the declaration that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1Corinthians 5:7); and it is notable that exactly in His words is the Atonement designated in the earliest apostolic preaching (Acts 2:38; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38; Acts 26:18). Hence the former phrase looks at the Atonement from the side of God, the latter from the side of man; both being wrought by Him who is Son of God and Son of Man at once. Together they represent the whole truth.

According to the riches of his grace.—As above, in relation to praise, stress is laid on the gloriousness of God’s grace, so here, in relation to enjoyment of it, on its overflowing richness. (See Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16; and Romans 3:24; Romans 9:23.)



Ephesians 1:7.

We have seen, in a previous sermon, that a characteristic note of this letter is the frequent occurrence of that phrase ‘according to.’ I also then pointed out that it was employed in two different directions. One class of passages, with which I then tried to deal, used it to compare the divine purpose in our salvation with the historical process of the salvation. The type of that class of reference is found in a verse just before my text, ‘according to the good pleasure of His will.’ There is a second class of passages to which our text belongs, where the comparison is not between the purpose and its realisation, but between the stores of the divine riches and the experiences of the Christian life. The one set of passages suggests the ground of our salvation in the deep purpose of God; the other suggests the measure of the power which is working out that salvation.

The instances of this second use of the phrase, besides the one in my text, ‘according to the riches of His grace,’ are such as these: ‘According to the riches of His glory’; ‘According to the power that worketh in us’; ‘According to the measure of the gift of Christ’; ‘According to the energy of the might of His power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.’

Now it is clear that all these are varying forms of the same thing. They vary in form, they are identical in substance. What a Jew calls a ‘cubit’ an Englishman calls a ‘foot,’ but the result is pretty nearly the same. Shillings, marks, francs, are various standards; they all come to substantially the same result. These varying measures of the divine gift which is at work in man’s salvation, have this in common, that they all run out into God’s immeasurable, unlimited power, boundless wealth. And so, if we gather them together, and try to focus them in a few words, they may help to widen our conceptions of what we ought to expect from God, to bow us in contrition as to the small use that we have made of it, and to open our desires wide, that they may be filled.

I only aspire, then, to deal with these four forms which I have already suggested.

I. The measure of our possible attainments is the whole wealth of God.

‘According to the riches of His grace.’ Another angle at which the same thought is viewed appears in another part of the letter, where we have this variation in the expression, ‘According to the riches of His glory.’ ‘Grace’ and ‘Glory’ are generally opposed antithetically; in this epistle they are united, for in the verse before my text I:read: ‘To the praise of the glory of His grace.’ So the first thought is, the whole wealth of God is available for every Christian soul.

Now it seems to me that there are very few things that the popular Christianity of this day needs more than a furnishing up of the familiar old Christian terminology, which has largely lost the freshness and the power that it once had. They tell us that these incandescent burners, that we are using nowadays, are very much more bright when they are first fixed than after the mantle gets a little worn. So it is with the terminology of Christianity. It needs to be re-stated, not in such a way as to take the pith out of it, which is what a great deal of the modern craze for re-statement means, but in such a way as to brighten it up again, and to invest it with something of the ‘celestial light’ with which it was ‘apparelled’ when it first came. Now that word ‘grace,’ I have no doubt, sounds to you hard, theological, remote. But what does it mean? It gathers into one burning point the whole of the rays of that conception of God, with which it is the glory of Christianity to have flooded and drenched the world. It tells us that at the heart of the universe there is a heart; that God is Love, that that love is the motive-spring of His activity, that it comes and bends over the lowliest with a smile of amity on its lips, with healing and help in its hands, with forgiveness for all sins against itself, with boundless wealth for the poorest, and that the wealth of His self-communicating love is the measure of the wealth that each of us may possess.

God gives ‘according to the riches of His grace.’ You do not expect a millionaire to give half-a-crown to a subscription fund; and God gives royally, divinely, measuring His bestowments by the abundance of His treasures, and handing over with an open palm large gifts of coined money, because there are infinite chests of uncirculated bullion in the deep storehouses. ‘How great is Thy goodness which Thou hast manifested before the sons of men for them that fear Thee. How much greater is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up in store.’ But whilst He gives all, the question comes to be: What do I receive? The measure of His gift is His measureless grace; the measure of my reception is my-alas! easily-measured faith. What about the unearned increment? What about the unrealised wealth? Too many of us are like some man who has a great estate in another land. He knows nothing about it, and is living in grimy poverty in a back street. For you have all God’s riches waiting for you, and ‘the potentiality of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice’ at your beck and call, and yet you are but poorly realising your possible riches. Alas, that when we might have so much we do have so little. ‘According to the riches of His grace’ He gives. But another ‘according to’ comes in. ‘According to thy faith be it unto thee.’ So we have to take these two measures together, and the working limit of our possession of God’s riches comes out of the combination of them both.

Let me remind you, before I pass on, of what I have already suggested is but another phase of this same thought, Paul says in this epistle that God gives not only ‘according to the riches of His grace,’ but ‘according to the riches of His glory,’ and that the latter expression is substantially identical with the former, is plain from the combination of the two in an earlier verse of this chapter: ‘To the praise of the glory of His grace.’ Thus we come to the blessed thought that the glory of God is essentially the revelation of that stooping, pitying, pardoning, enriching love. Not in the physical attributes, not in the characteristics of the divine nature which part Him off from men, and make Him remote, both from their conceptions and their affections, but in the love that bends to them is the true glory of God. All these other things are but the fringes; the centre of glory is the Love, which is the mightiest and the divinest thing in the Might Divine. The sunshine is far stronger than the lightning, and there is more force developed in the rain than in an earthquake. That truth is what Christianity has made the common possession of the world. It has thereby broken the chains of dread; it has bridged over the infinite distance. It has given us a God that can love and be loved, can stoop and can lift, can pardon and can purify. ‘According to the good pleasure of His goodness,’-there is the foundation of our salvation. ‘According to the riches of His grace,’-there is the measure of our salvation.

II. We have another form of the same measure in another set of verses which speak of the present working of God’s power.

The Apostle speaks in regard to his own apostolic commission of its being given ‘according to the working of His power’; and he speaks of all Christian men as receiving gifts ‘according to the power that worketh in us.’ So there we have a standard that comes, as it were, a little closer to ourselves. We do not need to travel up into the dim abysses above, or think of the sanctities and the secrecies of that divine heart in the light which is inaccessible, but we have the measure in ourselves.

The standards of length are kept at Greenwich, the standards of capacity are kept in the Tower; but there are local standards distributed throughout the land to which men may go and have their measures corrected. And so besides all these lofty thoughts about the grace and the glory which measures His gift, we can turn within, if we are Christian people, and say, ‘According to the power that worketh in us.’

Ah, brethren! there are few things that we want more than to revive and deepen the conviction that in every Christian man, by virtue of his faith, and in proportion to his faith, there is in operation an actual, superhuman, divine power moulding his nature, guiding, quickening, ennobling, lifting, confirming, and hallowing and shaping him into conformity with Jesus Christ. I would that we all believed not as a dogma, but realised as a personal experience, that irrefragable truth, ‘Know ye not that the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in you, except ye be reprobate?’ The life of self is evil; the life of Christ in self is good, and only good. And if you are Christian men, and in the proportion, as I have said, in which you are living by faith, you have working in your spirits the very Spirit of Christ Himself.

And that power is the measure of your possibilities. Obviously ‘the power that worketh in us’ is able to do a great deal more than it is doing in any of us. And so with deep significance the Apostle, side by side with his adducing of this power as being the measure of our possible attainments, speaks about God as being ‘able to do for us, exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.’ ‘The power that works in us’ transcends in its possibilities our present experience, it transcends our conceptions, it transcends our desires. It is able to do everything; it actually does-well, you know what it does in you. And the responsibility of hampering and hindering that power from working out its only adequately corresponding results lies at our own doors. ‘A rushing, mighty wind’-yes; and in myself a scarcely perceptible breathing, and often a dead calm, stagnant as in the latitudes on either side of the Equator, where, for long, dreary days, no freshening motion in the atmosphere is perceptible. ‘A fire?’-yes; then why is my grate full of grey, cold ashes, and one little spark in the corner? ‘A fountain springing into everlasting life?’-yes; then why in my basin is there so much scum and ooze, mud and defilement, and so little of the flashing and brilliant water? ‘The power that works in us’ is sorely hindered by the weakness in which it works.

III. In the third place another form of this measure is stated by the Apostle, ‘According to the measure of the gift of Christ.’

That means, of course, the gift which Christ bestows. It is substantially the same idea as I have just been dealing with, only looked at from rather a different point of view. Therefore, I need not dwell upon its parallelism with what has just been occupying our attention, but rather ask you simply to consider one point in reference to it, and that is that, side by side with the reference to the gift of Christ as being the measure of our possible attainments, the Apostle enlarges on the Infinite variety of the shapes which that one gift takes in different people. ‘He gave some apostles, some prophets,’ etc.; one man receiving according to this fashion, and another according to that, and to each of us the distribution is made ‘according to the measure of the gift of Christ.’ That is to say, it takes us all, the collective goodness and beauty of the whole community of saints, to approximate to the fulness of that gift, and all are needed in their different types and forms of excellence, sanctity and beauty, in order to set forth, even imperfectly, the richness and the manifoldness of His great gift. And so ‘we all come’-there is a multiplicity-’unto the perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’-there is a unity in which the multiplicity inheres.

So try to get a little more of some different type of excellence than that to which you are naturally inclined. Seek, and consciously endeavour, to appropriate into your character uncongenial excellences, and be very charitable in your judgments of the different types of Christian conformity to Christ our Lord. The crystals that are set round a light do not quarrel with each other as to whether green, or yellow, or blue, or red, or violet is the true colour to reflect. We need all the seven prismatic tints to make the perfect white light. The gift of Christ is many-sided; try not to be one-sided in your reception of it.

IV. And now the last form of this measure is ‘according to the energy of the might of His power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.’

When we gazed upon the riches of God’s grace, they were high above us, when we looked upon ‘the power that worketh in us,’ we saw it working amidst many hindrances and hamperings, but here there is presented to us in a concrete example, close beside us, of what God can make of a man when the man is wholly pliable to His will, and the recipient of His influences. And so there stands before us the guarantee and the pattern of immortal life, the Christ whose Manhood died and lives, who is clothed with a spiritual body, who wields royal authority in the Kingdom of the Most High. And that is the measure of what God can do with me, and wishes to do with me, if I will let Him. Christ is my pattern, and the measure of my own possibilities.

To be with Him, where and what He is, is the only adequate result of the power that works in us, and of the process that is already begun in us, if we are Christian people. You are sometimes-there is one eminent example of it in that great Medicean Chapel at Florence-a statue exquisitely finished in all its limbs, but one part left in the rough. That is the best that Christian people come to here. Shall it always be so? Do not the very imperfections prophesy completion, and is it not certain that the half-finished torso will be carried to the upper workshop, and be there disengaged from the dead marble and made to stand out in perfect beauty and fullest completeness? Christ is the object of our hopes, and no hopes of the Christian life are adequate to the power that works in us, or to the progress already made, which do not see in the ‘energy of the might of the power’ which wrought in Christ, the example and the guarantee of the exceeding greatness of ‘His power which is to usward.’

And now, one last word. Besides all these passages which have been occupying us, there is another use of this same phrase in this letter which presents a very solemn and grim contrast. I can do no better with it than simply read it: ‘Ye were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh’-mark the allusion to the other words that we have been referring to-’in the children of disobedience.’ So there you have the alternative, either ‘dead in trespasses and sins,’ whilst living the physical and the intellectual life, or partaking of the life of Him ‘who was dead, and is alive for ever more’; either ‘walking according to the course of this world,’ which is ‘disobedience’ and ‘wrath,’ or walking ‘according to the power that worketh in us’; either ‘putting on,’ or rather continuing to wear, ‘the old man which is corrupt according to the lusts which deceive,’ or ‘putting on the new man, which according to God is created in righteousness and holiness and truth.’ The choice is before us. May God help us to choose aright!

Ephesians 1:7-8. In, or by, whom we have redemption — By price and by power, are bought and delivered from the guilt and dominion of sin, the tyranny of Satan, and the final displeasure and wrath of God. Through his blood — Shed for these purposes; or through what he hath done and suffered; having undertaken the great and awful work of making an atonement for us by the sacrifice of himself, by which we obtain, what is an introduction to all the other blessings here mentioned, the forgiveness of sins — For, being pardoned, God’s wrath is removed from us; we are taken into his favour; adopted into his family; born of his Spirit; love him who hath thus first loved us; and, through this love, become holy, and without blame before him. And by these blessings in heavenly things, we are qualified to receive blessings in heavenly places; according to the riches of his grace — According to the abundant overflowings of his free, undeserved mercy and favour, to such sinful and guilty creatures; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom — Manifested by God in the whole scheme of our salvation; and prudence — Which he hath wrought in us, that we may know and do all his acceptable and perfect will.

1:3-8 Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings; with which we cannot be miserable, and without which we cannot but be so. This was from the choice of them in Christ, before the foundation of the world, that they should be made holy by separation from sin, being set apart to God, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, in consequence of their election in Christ. All who are chosen to happiness as the end, are chosen to holiness as the means. In love they were predestinated, or fore-ordained, to be adopted as children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and to be openly admitted to the privileges of that high relation to himself. The reconciled and adopted believer, the pardoned sinner, gives all the praise of his salvation to his gracious Father. His love appointed this method of redemption, spared not his own Son, and brought believers to hear and embrace this salvation. It was rich grace to provide such a surety as his own Son, and freely to deliver him up. This method of grace gives no encouragement to evil, but shows sin in all its hatefulness, and how it deserves vengeance. The believer's actions, as well as his words, declare the praises of Divine mercy.In whom we have redemption - On the meaning of the word here rendered "redemption" - (ἀπολύτρωσις apolutrōsis) - see the notes at Romans 3:24. The word here, as there, denotes that deliverance from sin and from the evil consequences of sin, which has been procured by the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ. This verse is one of the passages which prove conclusively that the apostle here does not refer to "nations" and to "national privileges." Of what "nation" could it be said that it had "redemption through the blood of Jesus, even the forgiveness of sins?"

Through his blood - By means of the atonement which he has made; see this phrase fully explained in the notes at Romans 3:25.

The forgiveness of sins - We obtain through his blood, or through the atonement which he has made, the forgiveness of sins. We are not to suppose that this is all the benefit which we receive from his death, or that this is all that constitutes redemption. It is the main, and perhaps the most important thing. But we also obtain the hope of heaven, the influences of the Holy Spirit, grace to guide us and to support us in trial, peace in death, and perhaps many more benefits. Still "forgiveness" is so prominent and important, that the apostle has mentioned that as if it were all.

According to the riches of his grace - According to his rich grace; see a similar phrase explained in the notes at Romans 2:4. The word "riches," in the form in which it is used here, occurs also in several other places in this Epistle; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8, Ephesians 3:16. It is what Paley (Horae Paul) calls "a cant phrase," and occurs often in the writings of Paul; see Romans 2:4; Romans 9:23; Romans 11:12, Romans 11:33; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 2:2. It is not found in any of the other writings of the New Testament, except once in a sense somewhat similar, in James Jam 2:5, "Hath not God chosen the poor of this world "rich" in faith," and Dr. Paley from this fact has constructed an argument to prove that this Epistle was written by Paul. It is unique to him, and marks his style in a manner which cannot be mistaken. An impostor, or a forger of the Epistle, would not have thought of introducing it, and yet it is just such a phrase as would naturally be used by Paul.

7. In whom—"the Beloved" (Eph 1:6; Ro 3:24).

we have—as a present possession.

redemption—Greek, "our (literally, 'the') redemption"; THE redemption which is the grand subject of all revelation, and especially of the New Testament (Ro 3:24), namely, from the power, guilt, and penal consequences of sin (Mt 1:21). If a man were unable to redeem himself from being a bond-servant, his kinsman might redeem him (Le 25:48). Hence, antitypically the Son of God became the Son of man, that as our kinsman He might redeem us (Mt 20:28). Another "redemption" follows, namely, that "of the purchased possession" hereafter (Eph 1:14).

through his blood—(Eph 2:13); as the instrument; the propitiation, that is, the consideration (devised by His own love) for which He, who was justly angry (Isa 12:1), becomes propitious to us; the expiation, the price paid to divine justice for our sin (Ac 20:28; Ro 3:25; 1Co 6:20; Col 1:20; 1Pe 1:18, 19).

the forgiveness of sins—Greek, "the remission of our transgressions": not merely "pretermission," as the Greek (Ro 3:25) ought to be translated. This "remission," being the explanation of "redemption," includes not only deliverance from sin's penalty, but from its pollution and enslaving power, negatively; and the reconciliation of an offended God, and a satisfaction unto a just God, positively.

riches of his grace—(Eph 2:7); "the exceeding riches of His grace." Compare Eph 1:18; Eph 3:16, "according to the riches of His glory": so that "grace" is His "glory."

In whom; in Christ, God-man, the immediate worker of this redemption; for though the Father and the Spirit concurred to it, yet the redeeming work was peculiarly terminated in the Second Person. The other two Persons have a right of propriety to redeem us; Christ only a right of propinquity, as assuming our nature, and being of kin to us.

We; we elect, before mentioned.

Have redemption; freedom from the wrath of God, and curse of the law, to which we are obnoxious, and consequently the power of sin and tyranny of Satan, as the effects of the former.

Through his blood; i.e. by the sacrifice of his death upon the cross, where his blood was shed. This was the price of redemption paid to God for us, and wherewith his justice being satisfied, we could no longer be detained under the custody of the devil, or the dominion of sin.

Even the forgiveness of sins; redemption is not formally forgiveness, but causally, forgiveness being the effect of it; and it is mentioned not as the only or adequate, but the prime and principal fruit of redemption, and upon which the other depend.

According to the riches of his grace: what he called glorious grace, Ephesians 1:6, here he calls riches of grace, meaning plentiful and superabundant grace, by a phrase frequently used by him elsewhere in the same sense, Romans 9:23 2:4,7.

In whom we have redemption through his blood,.... Redemption supposes captivity and slavery, and is a deliverance out of it; God's elect by nature are in bondage to sin, Satan, and the law; through the grace of Christ, they are redeemed from all iniquity; ransomed out of the hands of him that is stronger than they; and are freed from the law, its bondage, curse, and condemnation, and from every other enemy: and this benefit Christ is the author of; he was called to be the Redeemer of his people from all eternity; and he was sent in the fulness of time, to procure the redemption of them; to which he had a right, being their near kinsman; and for which he was every way fit, being God as well as man; and which he has obtained by his obedience, sufferings, and death: and in whom it resides, as in its proper subject and author; who, by imputation, is made redemption to all the chosen ones; for not angels, but men, share in this redemption; and not all men, but elect men; such as are chosen in Christ, predestinated to the adoption of children by him, and who are accepted in the beloved: and this comes to them through the blood of Christ, which was freely shed on the cross to procure it; and was a sufficient ransom, or redemption price; it being not only the same blood with those who are redeemed, but the blood of an innocent person; and not of a mere man, but of one who is truly and properly God, as well as man; see more of this See Gill on Colossians 1:14. A branch of this redemption follows, or a blessing that comes by it, and along with it,

the forgiveness of sins; of all sins, original and actual, past, present, and to come; and this is through the blood of Christ, which was shed for the same: and yet is

according to the riches of his grace; for God of his rich grace found the ransom price, and gave his Son, as well as he gave himself, his life, a ransom for many; and how much soever it cost Christ to procure redemption and pardon, they are free to his people; who are redeemed without money and price of theirs, and whose sins are forgiven freely for Christ's sake.

{11} In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

(11) An expounding of the material cause, how we are made acceptable to God in Christ, for it is he alone whose sacrifice by the mercy of God is imputed to us, for the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7. More precise elucidation, on the basis of experience (ἔχομεν), of what had just been said, ἐχαρίτ. ἡμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἠγαπ.

ἐν ᾧ] so that in Him our possession of the redemption has its ground. He it is, without whose person and work we should not have been redeemed; χωρὶς Χριστοῦ (Ephesians 2:12), no ἀπολύτρωσις. Comp. Romans 3:24. The relative has, as is often the case (see, generally, Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phil. p. 195 f.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 371), argumentative significance. Comp. here especially Ephesians 3:12.

τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν] the redemption, namely, from God’s wrath and penalties, which before our entrance into faith we had incurred through sin (Romans 1:18; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:5 ff; Romans 7:7 ff.; Ephesians 2:3; Ephesians 5:6, al.), as those who were under the dominion of the devil (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18). The purchase-price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45) through which Christ, in voluntary obedience towards God’s gracious counsel, accomplished this ἀπολύτρωσις, was His blood, which He shed as an ἱλαστήριον for the benefit of men (Romans 3:25; Romans 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:21; Colossians 2:13 f.). On ἀπολύτρωσις, as the effect of the atoning death, in which case the blood of Christ is always conceived of as the purchase-price, see Romans 3:24.

διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ] by means of His blood, a more precise definition of the preceding ἐν ᾧ. Paul might have written ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ (Ephesians 2:13); but he in general prefers an interchange of prepositions (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:11; Romans 3:30; Galatians 2:16; Philemon 1:5), to which he was here specially led by his epexegetic purpose (comp. Ephesians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:7).

τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων] apposition to τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, the essence of which is the forgiveness of sins obtained on account of the death of Christ. As to the distinction between πάρεσις (Romans 3:25) and ἄφεσις (used by Paul also in Colossians 1:14), see on Romans 3:25.

τῶν παραπτωμάτων denotes always the actual individual sins (Ephesians 2:1 ff.; and see on Romans 5:20); hence Paul has not mentally included a forgiveness of inborn sinfulness (Olshausen).

κατὰ τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ] is not to be resolved into an adjective (“gratia liberalissima,” Koppe); but the riches, i.e. the great fulness (Codex 17 has τὸ πλῆθος), of the divine grace is that, in consequence of which we have in Christ the redemption. It is to be noted that here, as well as in Ephesians 1:6, the reference to the divine grace serves to wind up one element of the discourse, and (by ἧς) to annex another. As to πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος (Ephesians 2:7, Ephesians 3:16), see on Romans 2:4. We may add that Lachmann, Rückert, tischendorf have the form τὸ πλοῦτος, following A B D* E (?) א* min., to which also F G fall to be added with the transcriber’s error τοῦ πλοῦτος; and rightly. See on 2 Corinthians 8:2, Remark; and see Winer, p. 64 [E. T. 76].

Ephesians 1:7. ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν: in whom we have the redemption. Here and in the parallel passage in Colossians 1:14 the readings vary between ἔχομεν and ἔσχομεν. In the present sentence, though ἔσχομεν has the support of some good authorities ([26] [27], Copt., Eth., etc.), the weight of documentary evidence is largely on the side of ἔχομεν ([28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38], Vulg., Syr., Goth., etc.). What is in view, therefore, is something possessed now, and the writer describes that as τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν—“the redemption,” i.e., the redemption familiar to every Christian, long expected and now accomplished. This ἀπολύτρωσις is viewed sometimes as a thing of the future (Luke 21:28; Romans 8:23; Ephesians 4:30; and probably also Ephesians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:30); sometimes as a present possession (as here; Romans 3:24; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:15). That the ἀπολύτρωσις here is a redemption not from the power or pollution of sin, but from its guilt, its condemnation, its penalty, is made plain by the defining clause which follows, identifying it with the forgiveness of sins. This is not the only aspect in which it is presented in the Pauline Epistles. The verb λυτροῦσθαι is applied there to a redemption from “all iniquity,” Titus 2:14, as in 1 Peter 1:18 it is used of a redemption from a “vain manner of life”. But it is the primary aspect of the word and its cognates, and the one that is at the foundation of the other. The noun ἀπολύτρωσις is of rare occurrence, found only in a few passages in profane Greek (Plut., Pomp., xxiv., 2; Joseph., Antiq., xii., ii., 3; Diod., Frag., lib. xxxvii., 5, 3 (Dindorf.); Philo, Quod omn. prob. lib. sit., § 17); and in the NT itself only ten times in all. The verb ἀπολυτροῦσθαι is not found in the NT at all; the simple λυτροῦν, λυτροῦσθαι thrice (1 Peter 1:18; Luke 24:21; Titus 2:14) and the noun λύτρωσις thrice (Luke 1:68; Luke 2:38; Hebrews 9:12). The proper idea is that of a release, deliverance, or redemption effected by payment of a price or ransom (λύτρον). It is argued indeed that this idea cannot be said to be the essential or primary idea of ἀπολύτρωσις, because it is used in connections in which the notion of a payment is not in view (so Abbott); and that, therefore, we are not entitled to say that it means more than deliverance. It is true that, as is the case with most words, the definite, specific sense passes at times into the more general sense of “deliverance” (Hebrews 11:35; cf. Exodus 6:6). But in profane Greek and in the LXX the primary sense of the verb. the noun, and their cognates is that of a redemption effected by payment of a price, or a release granted on receiving a price (Plut., Pomp., 24; Plato, Leges, 11, p. 919(a); Polyb., xxii., 21, 8; Exodus 21:8; Zephaniah 3:1); and in the Pauline Epistles it denotes the deliverance accomplished at the cost of Christ’s death from the Divine wrath and the penalty of sin. So it is understood, e.g., by Origen, in loc., Mey., Alf., Ell., etc.; and as the ἄφεσιν κ.τ.λ. shows that the “redemption” here in view is one in relation to the guilt or penalty of sin, so the διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ shows that it is a redemption by payment of a price. This is consistent with Paul’s doctrine of the Divine wrath, redemption, propitiation, expiation, and the curse of the law (Romans 1:18; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:5 ff.; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 4:4). It has its foundation also in Christ’s own declaration of the purpose of His coming, viz., to give His life a λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).—διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ: through His blood. Christ’s “blood,” therefore, is that by which the redemption is effected—the price (τιμή, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23) of the deliverance, the “ransom” that had to be paid for it (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). The same idea appears in the teaching both of Peter and of John (1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 5:9). The term occurs repeatedly in the NT, and in various forms—τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ (1 Corinthians 10:16), τοῦ Κυρίου (1 Corinthians 11:27), τοῦ ἀρνίου (Revelation 7:14; Revelation 12:11), τοῦ σταυροῦ (Colossians 1:20). What is its import? It means more than the death of Christ. It means that death in a particular aspect—as a sacrifice, a death having a definite efficacy. It is a sacrificial term, based on the use of the blood of victims, offered under the OT Law, for purposes of purification and expiation (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:7; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:18-22; Hebrews 9:25; Hebrews 10:4; Hebrews 11:28; Hebrews 13:11). It looks back also to Christ’s own words in the institution of the Supper (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:29), and denotes the ratification of a new relation between God and men by a new covenant sacrifice. It is used with reference to the purchase of the Church (Acts 20:28; Revelation 5:9), the grace of access to God (Hebrews 10:19), the admission of the Gentiles on equal terms with the Jews (Ephesians 2:13), the reconciliation of all things to God (Colossians 1:20); but also and most definitely to the changed condition of sinful men, and that most frequently on the objective side, as a new relation. As in the Levitical system there was a purificatory use of blood in the case of certain matters of uncleanness (Leviticus 14:5; Leviticus 14:50), so in the NT the “blood” of Christ is used with reference to the ethical power of Christ’s death in purifying or in overcoming (1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 12:11). But its special use is with reference to justification (Revelation 5:9), the position of non-condemnation (Hebrews 12:24), the cleansing of the conscience (Hebrews 9:14), the making of peace between God and the world (Colossians 1:20), the manifestation of the righteousness of God in the passing over of sins (Romans 3:25), the remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). Its primary idea, as is shown by usage and by OT analogy, is not that of renewing power or moral effect, but that of expiation, the removal of guilt, the restoration of broken relations with God. The important passage indeed in Leviticus 17:11, which speaks of the “blood” as reserved by Jehovah for the altar, for the purpose of “covering” sin or making “atonement” for it, and declares that the atonement is made by the blood by reason of “the life of the flesh” that is in it, has been held by not a few (including Bähr and other distinguished scholars) to express only the idea of self-surrender. On this ground the piacular efficacy of the OT sacrifices, and, therefore, of the sacrifice of Christ, has been denied. But the “covering” of sin or making “atonement” for it by sacrifice, is in many passages of the OT definitely connected with the forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 4:26; Leviticus 5:18, etc.); the passage in Leviticus 17:11 embodies the idea that “life” is the offering by which the transgressor “covers” his sin or finds forgiveness for it; and in passages like the present it is this kind of efficacy that is definitely ascribed to the “blood” of Christ.

[26] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[27] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[28] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[29] Corrections of א introduced by a scribe of the seventh century.

[30] Corrections of א introduced by a scribe of the seventh century.

[31] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[32] A reading of Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852 introduced by correctors of the seventh centuries respectively.

[33] A reading of Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852 introduced by correctors of the seventh centuries respectively.

[34] Codex Sangermanensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., now at St. Petersburg, formerly belonging to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Its text is largely dependent upon that of D. The Latin version, e (a corrected copy of d), has been printed, but with incomplete accuracy, by Belsheim (18 5).

[35] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[36] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[37] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[38] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

The attempt has been made to prove that this great phrase, “the blood of Christ,” covers two ideas which ought to be distinguished, namely, that of the blood as shed and that of the blood as offered, or death and life as two different conceptions. Thus the phrase in question is interpreted as setting forth Christ’s life in two distinct aspects, namely, as laid down in the act of dying and as liberated by the same act and made available for us, so that we are saved by having it communicated to us. So West., Epistle to the Hebrews, pp. 293 ff.; Epistles of St. John, pp. 34 ff. But neither in the present paragraph nor in any other Pauline passage is there anything to bear this out. Paul, indeed, speaks largely of the Christ who having died is now alive, and of what is effected for us by His life (Romans 5:8-11; Php 3:10, etc.). But what the Living Christ does for us in the forgiveness of sin, or in the subjugation of sin, is done as the power of what He did in dying for us.—τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων: the forgiveness of our trespasses. The term ἄφεσις, while used occasionally in the general sense of release (Luke 4:18; cf. Isaiah 61:1), expresses statedly the idea of the letting go of sin (ἀφιέναι τὴν ὀφειλήν, Matthew 18:32; ἀφιέναι τὰ ὀφειλήματα, τὰ παραπτώματα, Matthew 6:12; Matthew 6:14, etc.), its dismissal or pardon, in the sense of the remission of its penalty (Matthew 26:28; Mark 1:4; Luke 1:77; Luke 3:3; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38, etc.), and as distinguished from πάρεσις, the praetermission or passing by of sin in simple forbearance (Romans 3:25). The term παράπτωμα describes sin as lapse, misdeed, trespass (nearly equivalent to παράβασις, transgression, and ἁμάρτημα, evil deed, these differing not so much in their use as rather in the metaphors underlying them), as distinguished from ἀνομία, lawlessness or iniquity, ἀδικία, unrighteousness or wrong, and ἁμαρτία, which is applied not only to acts of sin, but to sin as a power, a habit, a condition (cf. Trench, Syn., § lxvi.; Fritzsche, Rom., i. 289; Light., Notes, ut sup., on Romans 5:20).—κατὰ τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ: according to the riches of His grace. The readings vary between τὸν πλοῦτον (TR, following [39]3[40]3[41] [42], etc.) and τὸ πλοῦτος (LTTrWHRV, following [43] [44]1[45] [46]1, etc.). The masculine is the usual form, but the neuter is found in the best MSS. in several passages in the Pauline Epistles (2 Corinthians 8:2Ephesians 1:7. Ἔχομεν, we have) in the present.—τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιντὴν ἄφεσιν, redemption—forgiveness) The peculiar benefit derived from the New Testament; Romans 3:24. [Another redemption (viz. “of the purchased possession” hereafter) follows, Ephesians 1:14.—V. g.]—[9]τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος, the riches of His grace) ch. Ephesians 2:7 : the riches of the glory, Ephesians 1:18. Comp. ch. Ephesians 3:8, where we have the riches of grace, and consequently of glory; likewise in Ephesians 1:16, where the exceedingly rich glory of the Father Himself is understood.

[9] Αἵματος, of blood) Ephesians 2:13.—V. g.

Verse 7. - In whom we have the redemption through his blood. Some of the blessings referred to in ver. 3 are now specified - be-ginning with redemption (τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν). The article makes it emphatic - the great redemption, the real redemption, compared to which all ether redemptions are but shadows. It is a redemption through blood, therefore a proper propitiation or expiation, blood being always the emblem of explanation, In Christ, or in union to Christ, we have or are having this blessing; it is not merely in existence, it is ours, we being in him by faith: not a privilege of the future merely, but of the present as well. Even the forgiveness of our sins. Αφεσιν denotes release, separation from all the consequences of our transgressions; equivalent to Psalm 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." According to the riches of his grace. The completeness of the forgiveness, its ready bestowal now, the security of its being continued in the future, and such like qualities show the richness of his grace (comp. Matthew 18:27; Luke 7:42, 47). Ephesians 1:7We have

Or are having. The freely bestowed (Ephesians 1:6) is thus illustrated by experience. The divine purpose is being accomplished in the lives of believers.

Redemption (τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν)

See on Romans 3:24. Note the article: our redemption.

Through His blood

Further defining and explaining in whom.

Forgiveness (ἄφεσιν)

See on Luke 3:3; see on James 5:15; see on Romans 3:25. Forgiveness specifies the peculiar quality of redemption.

Sins (παραπτωμάτων)

Rev., better, trespasses. See on Matthew 6:14.


See on glory, Ephesians 1:6, and Romans 2:4.

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