BY: MEGAN GILMORE
“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.” Ephesians 1:7-10
One of the most amazing experiences of my life happened on a family vacation a couple of years ago in Hawaii. I swam in the ocean with wild dolphins. It was breathtaking to be under the water, hear the dolphins talking to each other, and then see them playing around you. I could have easily missed out on this amazing opportunity if I had not gotten in the water. If I had listened to fear by sitting on the boat watching my family and occasionally seeing a dolphin, it would not have been the same experience and blessing as being in the water. It is a small word that changes the whole experience...in.
What I am drawn to in Ephesians 1:7-10 is the small prepositional words we find throughout these verses. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” That one little word...in...speaks deeply to my soul. Its power lies in revealing the position we have because of Jesus’ work on the cross. It is the key to our redemption. We cannot experience the blessing without being in Christ’s sacrifice. I did not have access to the experience in Hawaii without getting out of the boat and being in the water, we do not have access to the blessings unless we get out of the world and we are in Christ.
As you continue reading in Ephesians 1:7-10, you find that it is filled with beautiful and amazing promises that come from being in Christ. Paul may have been writing to the church in Ephesus long ago, but the truth in his words ring true today for me and for you.
In these passages of scripture, Paul reveals three blessings we have when we are in Christ.
Redemption - “In him we have redemption through his blood” Ephesians 1:7a. The word for redemption here in Greek is apolutrosis which means ransom. It is giving something in exchange for life. Jesus’ loving sacrifice exchanges our worldly position for the position in Him. Which leads to living a life of blessing.
Forgiveness - “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7b. Not only did Jesus pay the ransom and redeem us, He forgives us. The meaning of trespasses here is indicating intentional and deliberate sin. God chooses to still forgive us because of Jesus’ loving sacrifice on the cross. We are richly blessed with forgiveness.
Revealed God’s will - “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.” Ephesians 1:8-10. Paul is revealing to us what many people ask daily, God’s will. He has always had a plan to unite under Jesus.
It is not without a meaningful purpose that Paul listed the blessings in the order that he did. If we do not first have redemption, then forgiveness, we will never experience the third blessing which is united relationships in Him (Ephesians 1:10). Our world is broken and messy. Relationships can also be broken and messy. Unforgiveness can taint even the kindest heart. When I choose to live in Christ, I have a healthy relationship with God. We cannot obtain healthy relationships with others unless we choose to live in Christ. I want to experience healthy relationships, and this can be only accomplished in Christ.
It is not until we grasp the fullness of what being redeemed and forgiven in Christ means that we begin to experience life in Him. When we are faced with challenging relationships and unforgiveness, - in and of ourselves we cannot make it better.
However, when there is unforgiveness and you are in Christ, you can simply say to Him, “I cannot forgive ____ in and of myself. Lord give me the desire to forgive____.” That is what being united in Him looks like - creating right relationships with others because you are in Christ and allowing Him to work in you and through you.
I made the decision on that day in Hawaii to get out of the boat and in the water to experience the majestic dolphins for myself. I decided not to have this experience from inside the boat or from others sharing their experience with me. The same is with my relationship with Jesus. I made the decision to surrender my life to Him, I got out of the boat. However, I daily have the decision to make to get in Him and experience His blessings for myself.
So, my friend, it is time to ask yourself - are you in the boat or are you in the water? Are in the world or are you in Christ?