In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
I. The riches of God's grace are illustrated by THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THESE EVILS FROM WHICH GOD IS WILLING TO REDEEM US. It is not misfortune we are suffering from, but guilt; the anger of God has not come upon us by accident; hell is not a mere calamity, the pains of eternal death are not undeserved. All the evils of our condition, from which God is eager to save us, are the result of our own fault. We have sinned; and the sin is regarded by God with deep and intense abhorrence. If a man whom you have trusted lies to you again and again, you fling him off from you with contempt. If you have detected a man whom you have trusted in an attempt to commit deliberative fraud upon you, you close your doors against him and forbid him ever to enter your house. If he be drunken, profane, and profligate, you think of him with disgust. And whatever abhorrence and loathing we may feet for gross sin, God, who is infinitely purer than we are, feels for all sin, and it is sin which has brought all our woes upon us. We have sinned, not ignorantly, but knowingly. We have sinned for years, and perhaps some of us are only now beginning to think of amendment. And yet to us sinners, to the guiltiest and most flagrant sinner among us, God offers redemption, and shows "the riches of His grace."
II. The riches of His grace are illustrated in WHAT HE HAS NONE TO EFFECT OUR REDEMPTION. "Through the blood of Christ." The Son of God, the Creator of our race, the moral Ruler of the universe, with whom it rested, when we had sinned, fully to express the Divine sense of the magnitude of our guilt, and to inflict the penalties which we deserved; laid His glory by, in order that He might endure the penalty instead of inflicting it, that He might express His sense of our sin by enduring death before He forgave it, instead of inflicting death on us because we had transgressed.
III. THE CONDITIONS ON WHICH GOD OFFERS SALVATION illustrate the riches of His grace. A free gift — the only condition being that we be willing to receive it. "Arise, and be free!" is Christ's message to all.
IV. The very NAME BY WHICH THE CHRISTIAN REVELATION IS KNOWN illustrates this. It is not called a system or doctrine, else it might be necessary to master the doctrine before you could secure redemption. It is not a moral but a spiritual discipline, else it might be necessary that you should subject yourself to its vivifying and invigorating power before redemption could be yours. It is not a law, else you would have to obey it before its promises could be fulfilled. It is not a promise of redemption, nor an assurance that God is willing to accomplish your redemption, else there might be conditions attached to the promise by which you might be perplexed and hindered. No; but it is a gospel — good news from heaven to earth, from God to man; good news of the Divine love which anger against sin has not quenched; good news of a great redemption wrought out in us; good news that God through Christ is nigh at hand and eager to forgive sins; good news that everything that is necessary to complete our salvation God has actually conferred upon us through Christ Jesus our Lord, and that we have only to receive it in order to rejoice in eternal blessedness.
V. The CONCERN GOD HAS SHOWN ABOUT OUR SALVATION illustrates the riches of His grace. We sometimes speak of those who are seeking God. The New Testament speaks of God seeking us. The Good Shepherd goes out into the wilderness after the sheep that has gone astray, before there is any terror felt at its danger, or any desire on its part to return. This is God's conduct towards us. Is it not so? Why is it that any of you are at this moment restless because of your guilt, alarmed because of your danger, and longing to find your way into the peace of God? Is it the result of strenuous and laborious effort of your own to discover whether or not you had incurred guilt and exposure to danger? Has it not all come to you, you know not how? And yet, when you begin to consider, you conclude that it has been awakened in your heart by God. Can you be so ungrateful for His persistent love?
(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;