In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
That our Lord Jesus Christ declared that men were to receive redemption or the remission of sins through Himself, and especially through His death, appears from several passages in the Gospels; and the great place which His last sufferings occupied in His thoughts from the very commencement of His ministry, the frequency with which He spoke of them, the wonderful results which He said were to follow them, the agitation and dismay which He felt as they approached, and His anxiety to pass through them and beyond them, show that to Christ His death was not a mere martyrdom but an awful and glorious crisis in His own history and in the history of the human race. The apostles Peter, Paul, and John, though each had his own characteristic conception of the work of Christ and the Christian salvation, are agreed in declaring that the ground of our forgiveness is in Christ, and they are also agreed in attributing a mysterious importance and efficacy to His death (2 Corinthians 5:14, 21; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10; 1 John 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 5:8; Romans 3:24-26). But no collection of isolated passages gives an adequate impression of the strength of the proof that both our Lord and His apostles taught that in Him "we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of [God's] grace." This truth is wrought into the very substance of the Christian gospel.
I. WE HAVE THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR TRESPASSES "IN CHRIST." It is in harmony with the fundamental law of human nature that the reason and ground of our forgiveness should be in Christ; for the reason and ground of our creation, of our righteousness, and of our blessedness as the sons of God, are in Him.
II. WE HAVE THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR TRESPASSES IN CHRIST "THROUGH HIS BLOOD."
1. The relations of Christ to the Father are the transcendent expression and original root of our relation to the Father. We are related to the Father through Him. And since the relation of moral submission on our part to the righteousness of God's resentment against sin was an indispensable condition of the forgiveness of sin, it became necessary that Christ Himself should assume this relation of moral submission to the righteousness of God's resentment against sin, that His submission might be the transcendent expression of ours.
2. There is no righteousness in us which is not first in Christ. And since our submission to the righteousness of God's resentment against sin was an indispensable condition of our forgiveness, Christ's submission became necessary to render ours possible. His submission carries ours with it.
3. His death is the death of sin in all who are one with Him.
(1) Christ, the eternal Son of God and the root of our righteousness, having become Man, endured death in order to render possible our moral consent to the justice of the Divine resentment against sin, and to the justice of the penalties in which that resentment might have been revealed. Had God withdrawn from us His light and life, and destroyed us by revealing His moral resentment against our sin, this would have been an awful manifestation of the moral energy of His righteousness and of His abhorrence of moral evil. Its moral value would have been infinitely heightened by the intensity of His love for us. But God in the greatness of His love shrank from depriving us of that blessed and glorious destiny for which we were created; and in order to secure our moral submission to the righteousness of His resentment, a moral submission which was the necessary condition of our forgiveness, He surrendered His own eternal Son to spiritual desertion and to death. In this surrender, made for such a purpose, there was a sublimer moral manifestation of the Divine thought concerning sin than there would have been in condemning the race to eternal death.
(2) The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Moral Ruler of the human race. The moral supremacy of God is manifested and exerted through Him. It was His function to punish sin, and so to reveal His judgment of it. But instead of inflicting suffering, He has elected to endure it, that those who repent of sin may receive forgiveness and may inherit eternal glory. It was greater to endure suffering than to inflict it.
(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;