Yestreday I preached from Ephesians 1:7-10 on the work of Christ in redemption.  As we’re beginning this expositional study of Ephesians, we have noticed that verses 3-14 are one single sentence in the Greek.  Paul went off into a monumental doxology regarding our salvation.   In this one long verse, Paul points to the fact that our salvation is a Trinitarian salvation.  He began with the work of the Father in verses 3-6 and then focused on the work of the Son in verses 7-10 and this section is centered on the work of redemption.

Jesus’ Work of Redemption

There are three different words used in the New Testament to describe the work of redemption.

  1. ἀγοράζω – to buy.
  2. ἐξαγοράζω – to buy back, or buy out of.
  3. λύτρωσις – or here in verse 7: ἀπολύτρωσις – to loose, to release, – by the payment of a price.

Redemption is rooted in the idea of buying back slaves from the marketplace. In the agricultural marketplace, slaves were often sold as property. To buy them back from the market would be to provide the price. This price would release them from bondage and that is what redemption has in mind in the NT.

The Bible provides us the foundational understanding of our spiritual depravity. We were not born innocent beings who could then freely choose to obey or disobey God. We were born as dead sinners, depraved, and with a heart that was set against God. Our only hope was that a Redeemer would rescue us!  R. C. Sproul writes, God brings about this redemption through the blood of Christ and this is linked, by Paul, with the forgiveness of sins. In the New Testament, the redemption of man is redemption from the bondage and the power of sin, involving a resolution of the power of guilt.” [1]

Jesus came to do far more than perform miracles.  He came to do more than:

  • Walk on water
  • Feed multitudes with a little boy’s lunch
  • Heal the sick
  • Raise the dead
  • Open blind eyes
  • Give healing to the deaf
  • To preach sermons

Jesus came to save sinners (Matt. 1:21)!  Jesus came on a rescue mission to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  The hymn writer described the mission of Christ by writing:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;

Jesus Revealed the Mystery of God

In the ancient world, there was a class of religions known as “mystery religions.” They were secret religions where only the members were given the secrets over a long period of time, but the secrets were guarded and protected from outsiders. When Paul used this word mystery he doesn’t have that type of secret religion or secret society in mind. The idea here is that God progressively revealed His redemptive plan by making it known openly.

In the Old Testament, the promise was made to Abraham in the covenant that He would have descendants that would be innumerable and would be a blessing to the nations – not just Jews. However, that open plan to redeem Gentiles was not completely unveiled until we arrive in the New Testament.  Jesus was born with a saving purpose.  The Son of God became a man in order to save His people from their sins. The idea of a Messiah was veiled, but revealed in Christ in the New Testament. Many Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, because they had such a different picture of Him.

After His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, He commissioned His people to go and tell the good news and make disciples. Eventually, the apostle Paul was sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter goes to the house of Cornelius and then the whole plan of God was unveiled in Christ.

Slowly over time, God unveiled His redemptive plan.  He has now sent His people out into the world to proclaim it from the housetops that all have sinned against God, there is only one hope for the entire world, and Jesus Christ saves sinners.

Looking back to the word predestination and contemplating the sovereignty of God in saving sinners, William Hendriksen writes, “In addition, grace sanctifies this knowledge to the hearts of those destined to be saved. Paul says, “He made it known to us” (cf. “toward us” in verse 8), that is, to myself and to those whom I am addressing.” [2]

One day, everything in the whole universe will be brought together in a unique harmony that has not been experienced by creation since the fall of Adam and Eve.  That unity and harmony will take place in Christ Jesus.  Although He is already presently reigning as the King of the entire universe (Matt. 28:18; Ps. 24), one day He will return to bring judgment to the wicked and what the first Adam messed up, the second Adam (Christ) will restore.  Philippians 2:5-11:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  1. R. C. Sproul, The Purpose of God: Ephesians (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1994), 27.
  2. William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Ephesians, vol. 7, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 84.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Author Jesus’ Work of Redemption

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.