In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
From the electing and adopting love of God, Paul proceeds next to show how it manifests itself in the thorough culture of the adopted children. We saw how they are accepted into the charmed circle for the Beloved's sake, and to him, indeed, owe all. We are now to notice how thorough is the provision made for the upbringing of these adopted ones. And -
I. THROUGH THE BLOOD OF THE BELOVED THEY ARE REDEEMED AND FORGIVEN. (Ver. 7.) For the selected individuals, so far from having any personal merit, are lost in sin. Prodigals by nature and practice, they feel that they deserve not to be called sons of God. They are brought to such a sense of unworthiness as to wonder at the riches of God's grace, which could make sons and heirs out of such material. But the great Father has provided redemption and forgiveness through the blood of his dear Son. A terrible price, doubtless, it was for the Father to pay, and for the Son to offer to secure our redemption. Yet it was cheerfully and freely given. The family is thus blood-bought. How holy and consecrated we ought to be! Our redemption price, the terms of our forgiveness, involved no less than the death of the Son of God.
II. THE ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE EDUCATED TO KNOW GOD'S WILL. (Vers. 8-10.) Forgiveness and redemption refer to our state, but after we are set down in the family circle we need to be instructed. Earthly families make the education of the children a first concern. So is it in the family of God. Hence the riches of his grace are shown, not only in our pardon, but also in the revelation of his will and in our education therein, Moreover, his will contemplates the unifying of all things under Christ. His family is not to be split up into sections jealous of each other, but unity is to pervade it all. Gentiles and Jews, the Ephesians and Paul, - one and all are to be united under Christ the Head. Now, there is a great tendency towards unity in the thought of men. Philosophy, properly so called, is the discovery of unity of principle among the facts of the universe. Well, this tendency shall have its magnificent fulfillment in the consummated unity of the dispensation of grace, when the heaven above and the earth beneath shall alike recognize in Jesus the elder Brother and righteous Head. All education is towards this grand unity. This is God's purpose, and everything will in due season subserve it. The knowledge of God's will, then, is the apprehension of his magnificent design m the unification of all things. The gospel is thus but a portion of a mightier plan.
III. ACCORDINGLY, THE ADOPTED ONES ARE INSPIRED. (Vers. 11-14.) Paul speaks of having received an inheritance in Christ, and then he speaks of the Ephesians having got the sealing of the Spirit as the earnest of their inheritance. His meaning is plain. For Jews and Gentiles, as God's adopted children, the one great need in this life is inspiration. When the Holy Spirit condescends to dwell within us, we are fitted for the duties which belong to the members of God's family. And it is the spirituality thereby communicated which gives to us the true ideal of what heaven is to be. Our holiest moments, when the indwelling Spirit moves within us, are our heavenliest. Then conformity to God's will is the great delight, and whatever he sends is welcomed. Of circumstances we are then so far independent as to realize that, with God as our Portion, we have all things, though we may have little but him. We are already within the gates when with Habakkuk we can say, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17, 18). Inspired to do or suffer cheerfully God's will, this is heaven begun below and the true idea[ of the heaven to come. The family composed of such elements as these must be harmonious in its relations. May its unity of spirit be always ours! - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;