Peninsula Community Church
The Cost of Freedom
July 1, 2018
Ephesians 1:7-10 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
As we read this passage, we find that Paul details two primary benefits we receive as believers in Christ. We know this is written to believers because he begins the verse with “In Him.” This phraseology is used to signify that we are in Him because of salvation through Christ. So as believers, we receive two amazing gifts or benefits. We are redeemed and we are forgiven.
In regard to being redeemed, we find this is a word that means to buy back or pay a debt. In New Testament times, the term was a reference to slave trading. A slave could be set free if the right price would be paid on their behalf. It was a stiff price, but for those who wanted it, they could make it work. Once the freedom price had been paid, the new owner could release that slave. The slave was now free and never had to fear being sold into slavery again.
Christ went to the cross as the spotless lamb to give Himself to purchase us from the slavery of sin. He was the sacrificial lamb that was slain so that the penalty of sin could be paid and we could be free from the power of sin. He did this by shedding His blood and paying the ultimate price. As Paul says here, He lavished us with the riches of His grace which paid in full the greatest of all gifts, our spiritual freedom.
This idea of the Lamb of God has been a theme of redemption from the beginning of time. Even as far back as Abraham and Isaac, you will recall that God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. He would be the one who would populate the world. Isaac was the promised son that God had given to Abraham to fulfill this promise. But there was a problem, God tested Abraham and commanded him to take Isaac and sacrifice him on an altar.
Can you imagine the scene as they are climbing the mountain? Isaac is asking his father where the sacrifice is and Abraham’s answer over and over was God will provide. Abraham had a confidence in God, that if Isaac was the promised son, that God would provide an appropriate sacrifice. Abraham placed Isaac on the altar in obedience to God and drew his knife. God called to Abraham and showed him a lamb caught in the thicket. That lamb became the substitutionary sacrifice for Isaac. That is what Jesus did for us. Because the wages of sin is death, we deserved death, but Christ became our substitute and the wages of sin were paid for through His sacrifice.
If we fast forward a few hundred years, we find the children of Israel under Egyptian rule and they have been for over 400 years. What started as a good relationship between Joseph and Pharaoh, quickly denigrated to one that set the Egyptians against the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was in bondage and were slaves to the Egyptians. But God had a plan, God sent a messenger and a deliverer. Moses confronted Pharaoh, and after administering nine plagues, God had a plan to redeem the nation of Israel and to set them free.
The children of Israel were instructed to take a unspotted and unblemished lamb. The lamb was was to be killed and the blood of the lamb was to be applied to the doorpost of their home. The idea was that the death angel was to pass over them because the blood of the lamb had been applied to the doorposts of their homes. They would not be affected by the death angel. The wages of death would not affect them because they would be redeemed by the blood.
As we fast forward to the New Testament, we find that John the Baptist makes a highly provocative statement for his day. As he sees Jesus approaching, he proclaims “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” How blasphemous this was in His day, but how true it was. Jesus was being ushered in as the one and only lamb that could redeem the world and set us free from our sin. He was the perfect lamb, that had been tasked with this mission. John the Baptist recognized this and in that moment he spread the word about Christ’s mission, His purpose, and His identity.
As we know now, Christ died a brutal death upon the cross. In so doing, He secured our freedom. It cost Him His life. The slave price was paid for us and Christ secured our freedom once and for all. He died so we could be free. He died so we did not have to face the penalty of death or the penalty of our sin. Because the wages of sin is death, without Christ we would have to face death as a consequence of the sin we committed. But through Christ we have been redeemed. We were bought off the slave market. We were bought with the most precious price that could ever be imagined. It was a price that had to be exacted, so that His will and His purpose could be achieved through mankind and that was the salvation for those who choose Christ.
Secondly, through the death of Christ we have received forgiveness. The mental bondage that comes from our sin has been erased. We have been forgiven. Imagine that every sin, every mistake, every failure that occurred has been forgiven. This is not something to be taken lightly. God removes our sin from us. Listen to David’s response to God’s forgiveness. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:10-12). We are forgiven and that means that God now deals with us in a different way. He does not deal with us as sinners, but as saints who are moving toward the perfection God is working in us.
There is a story about a Catholic priest in the Philippines. He was a much-loved man of God who carried the burden of a secret sin he committed many years before. He had repented but still had no peace. He had no sense of God’s forgiveness. In his church, there was a woman who deeply loved God and claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Jesus and Jesus spoke with her. He tested the woman by saying to her, “The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask Him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary.” The woman agreed. A few days later the priest asked, “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?” “Yes, He did,” she replied. “And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?” “Yes.” “Well, what did He say?” “He said, ‘I don’t remember.’” This little story reminds us of the fact God forgives and He forgets our sin, even if we do not. God reminds us I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins (Isaiah 43:25).
That is what Jesus did for us. The pile of sin’s bills in our life were too much for us to handle. We were weighed down under the legal requirements of that sin and the sins we committed. But, Jesus went to the cross and He paid the debt we had, so the sin we once experienced could no longer effect our life. It was paid completely and in total. The bill of sin is now stamped with the words debt paid in full.
A number of years ago we had purchased a car from a friend. Because we could not afford to pay for the car in full, we arranged interest free payments with him. We had paid about one third of the cost when he invited me out for lunch one day. As we were talking at lunch, he took a piece of paper from his pocket and on the paper were the words “paid in full.” You see he took the debt we owed and forgave us of the debt. It was our debt, but he forgave us and we were debt free.
How did Christ pay our debt? He did this according to the riches of his grace. Here is the point Paul is making. No matter how great the debt, no matter how much you think you owe, the riches of His grace is more than enough to redeem us from our sin and He forgives us of every sin ever committed.
Today, we are often reminded of past sin. The enemy of our soul loves to remind us of what we have done. He loves to remind us of our past failures. He loves to condemn us and try to get us to look back rather than look to what Christ has done and that our future is bright because of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.
When satan comes to condemn you with past sin, you have the right and the privilege to hold up your list of sin and the paid in full receipt. Your sin has been covered by His blood and you are fully forgiven. How powerful that would be if we could walk in the vision of who we are in Christ! It would save us from returning to our old way of life. It would prevent us from being stagnated in our current existence, because we are being reminded of past sin that has already been forgiven.
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Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom