Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. (NKJV)
The book of Ephesians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome from AD 60-62.
The book of Ephesians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first three chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ. The second half, the last three chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the book of Romans.
The epistle was written about AD 61 to the house churches in Ephesus, Asia. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to other churches in Asia Minor.
Previously, in verse 3 of this chapter, Paul wrote “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing”. He then went on to write of three spiritual blessings that are given to Christians by God.
The first of these blessings is that Christians are chosen by God to be His adopted children. This blessing is referred to as election, and is discussed in last week’s commentary entitled “A Spiritual Blessing”.
The second spiritual blessing is God’s redemption, which is discussed in this passage. The third spiritual blessing Paul mentions is the seal of the Holy Spirit which is discussed in next week’s commentary.
Paul begins this passage by writing “In Him we have redemption” (v. 7a). In Christ, as Christians, we have redemption.
Redemption is an action. In Christianity, it is the action of clearing a debt. A simplistic way of thinking of redemption is to think of the action of redeeming a coupon at a store.
A coupon can be redeemed by turning it in when we purchase a product. This piece of paper can be exchanged for something of greater value, which is paid by the manufacturer of the item.
Paul continues “through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (v. 7b). When we become a Christian we turn in our sins; past, present and future, and, in return, we receive forgiveness paid for by our Creator, by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins and your sins.
We are the redeemed and Christ is the Redeemer. The result of our forgiveness is salvation, eternal life in Heaven.
This redemption, this exchange, is made “according to the riches of His grace” (v. 7c). We are saved, not by anything we do but, by the grace of God. Grace can be defined as undeserved and unmerited favor. His grace is escribed as “riches”. His grace is never ending.
God’s grace is “made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (v. 8). His grace, His favor, overflows upon us according to His perfect “wisdom”, knowledge, and perfect “prudence”, judgment.
This never-ending, abundant grace comes after “having made known to us the mystery of His will” (v. 9a). Because we are his children, God has taken us into His confidence. He has revealed His sacred will to us through His written word, the Bible.
The Bible is available to all people, but only Christians are able to fully understand it. When you become a Christian, God the Holy Spirit indwells you (Eph. 1:13) and helps you to understand the Bible (Romans 8:16).
God’s will is revealed to Christians “according to His good pleasure”, because it is His desire (v. 9b). It is His desire because “He purposed in Himself”, Jesus Christ is the subject matter, and He wants us to understand Him. He wants us to be in right relationship with Him
The mystery of God’s will will culminate in the time of history known as the Millennium, the thousand-year period when Christ will rule upon the earth. Paul describes this as follows “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.” (v. 10).
The word “dispensation” means administration. It refers to God’s plan, here at “the fullness of the times”, when history has progressed to the Millennium. That plan is that everything in Heaven and on earth will “gather together” under Christ’s rule.
For each of us, this all begins with our redemption. We must all be redeemed, forgiven of our sins, so that we can all experience the spiritual blessings of Christ and be part of His plan.
We are redeemed when we become a Christian. To learn how to become a Christian click on the “About Us” section of this website.
Online Bible Commentary