Accepted in the Beloved – Part 2

by Mike Ratliff

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV)

As we saw in Part 1, the Apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Ephesians. We also saw that Ephesians 1:3-14 was one glorious sentence in Greek. This wonderful treasure house statement can be broken down into three parts. In vv3-6a we have God’s election of the Church which He did before the foundation of the world. In vv6b-11 we have Paul’s exposition on our redemption. Then the third part is in vv12-14. This part deals with the Christian’s future inheritance with emphasis on the Holy Trinity. In Part 1 we dealt with election. Now let us tackle Redemption and the Christian’s future inheritance.

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. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (Ephesians 1:7-11 ESV)

When I was growing up my mother collected S&H Green Stamps. My sister and I pasted them into ‘redemption’ books for her. Then when she had enough books, we would make the trip into Oklahoma City to the S&H Redemption Center. There my mother would redeem her books for a vase or clock or blanket or wedding shower present for someone else. This concept of redemption does not do justice to the Greek word Paul used in v7 that is translated as such. This word is ἀπολύτρωσις or apolutrōsis. In this usage, ἀπολύτρωσις refers to paying the required ransom to God for the release of a person from bondage. That ransom consisted of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. This paid the price for every elect person enslaved by sin. The word picture we have here is God buying them out of the slave market of iniquity. The price was death (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 3:24, 25; Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Revelation 5:8-10).

Through this ἀπολύτρωσις Christians have the forgiveness of [their] trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon [them], in all wisdom and insight. What does this mean? Redemption in Christ brings in the limitless grace of God (Romans 5:20) and forgiveness of sin (Matthew 26:28; Acts 13:38, 39; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 2:13; 1 John 1:9). It also brings divinely bestowed spiritual understanding (1 Corinthians 2:6,7).

In v9 we read, “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.” Through our ἀπολύτρωσις God also made known to us the ‘mystery’ of His will. The Greek word translated as ‘mystery’ is μυστήριον or mustērion. This speaks of things hidden from the majority of people, but known only by those who have hidden them and those who enter into whatever rites or initiation required to enter the inner circle. In this context, Paul is saying that through our ἀπολύτρωσις God’s will is known through the revelation of it. Previously it was hidden or known only vaguely, but now is better known because it is revealed in Christ. In this revelation of God’s will we see that this great work of God is  “to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 3:3-11).

In v11 we read, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” What is this inheritance Christians have obtained in Christ? Whatever it is, Christ is the source of it. The words ‘we have obtained an inheritance’ is one word in Greek, which is κληρόω or klēroō. This is literally a word picture of people casting lots to determine something. In v11 it means, “in whom the lot has fallen upon us also, as foreordained.” In other words, this refers to the completion of one’s election to salvation. This inheritance is spoken of here as if it has already been received (1 Corinthians 3:22,23; 2 Peter 1:3,4).  Before God created the earth, He sovereignly determined that every elect sinner by trusting in Christ would be made righteous. The Greek word Paul used that is translated ‘works’ is ἐνεργέω or energeō. We get our words energy, energetic, and energize from ἐνεργέω. When God created the Universe and the Earth, He gave them sufficient energy to begin immediately to operate according to His plan. They were not simply inert and ready to function, but already functioning. He did the very same thing with His plan for the salvation of His elect. He energizes every believer with the power necessary for spiritual completion (Philippians 1:6; 2:13).

so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:12-14 ESV)

Never forget my brethren that the supreme purpose of the redemption of the elect is God’s glory. The God-revealed gospel of Jesus Christ must be heard (Romans 10:17) and believed (John 1:12) to bring salvation. This is an indictment against those of the Neo Evangelism, the Seeker-Sensitive/Church Growth movement, and the Emergent confusion who say the opposite. They attempt to make the gospel palatable to those who ‘don’t like church’ by dummying it down. To be saved a person must hear the gospel and believe. It does no good to preach the non-gospel. All that produces is religious people who are deceived into believing that their religiosity proves the veracity of their salvation.

God’s own Spirit indwells the believer. This secures and preserves his or her eternal salvation. The sealing above refers to an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or other document. That document was thereby officially under the authority of owner of the stamp that makes the mark on the seal. This seal signifies four truths about the guarantee of our inheritance.

  1. Security (Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:62-66)
  2. Authenticity (1 Kings 21:6-16)
  3. Ownership (Jeremiah 32:10)
  4. Authority (Esther 8:8-12)

The Holy Spirit is given by God as His pledge of the elect’s future inheritance in glory (2 Corinthians 1:21).

My brethren, I pray you rejoiced as you read this post as well as Part 1. We should come to the throne of grace rejoicing in that we are held solidly in God’s hands and He is not going to throw away what He has redeemed by the blood of His precious and beloved Son. Rejoice in Him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

8 thoughts on “Accepted in the Beloved – Part 2

  1. Amen Mike. Good post. I think the main deception in these last of the last days is the teaching of arminianism. What better lie could satan tell people than to twist scripture and make them believe they can live like the world, say a simple prayer, no repentance needed, and once saved always saved. Thats the lie. It has to be. It is SO close to the real deal, with a twist to it. We have to be really saved to not lose our salvation. God does hold His elect and not let go. We want to please our Lord, not live like the world does. Their ‘fruit’ is not there. Its the lie Mike………it has to be. Thats why they can go to ‘church’ (rock concerts) and think they are really saved. Plus do all the other things the so called churches are doing. Like the kid on Pilgrims Progress who was at the gate with no certificate. He took communion and ‘did’ all the churchy things. He really thought he was getting in. This emergent church stuff is really getting bad. Our Lords return has got to be soon. Sometimes I just want to scream it from the roof tops, ‘How can you people not take eternity seriously!?!? It should be the most important thing in your life and you just sluff it off like its nothing to worry about’!!!! You are teaching it the right way Mike. Keep up the good work. Maybe someone out there will be turned around by your posts.

  2. Thanks Paul and Luann! I do know that what we are saying is being ignored by many, but it is encouraging the elect. That is what we need to be about. Yes, I do pray for those to hear and believe and repent, but our role at this time appears to be to be there for each other.

  3. Pingback: Accepted in the Beloved - Part 2 - Reformata

  4. Hi Mike. I hope I am asking this question in the right spot.. You see, I agree with everything you have written in your 2 posts on this subject, but there are parts of the Bible that make me think just a bit differently. What about when Jesus says in the Bible for us to “watch and not be decieved”. I think he said it many times. He would not say that unless it is possible to be deceived and fall away. Didn’t others in the bible “shipwreck their faith”? What about in Revelation when it talks about persevering to the end? Now, of course I know I cannot do that myself, Jesus would help me. But can we really know we would persevere till the end?

    I hope this is coming across as a genuine question because I do not mean to start any fights. I guess because I was in the church so long, I never was taught the truth and need to relearn things. Maybe there is a way to merge these verses together?

  5. Jennifer,

    Christians can be deceived. That is why the Lord gave us that prayer in His Sermon on the Mount to ask God to lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Yes, Christians can and do sin. Professing Christians who do fall away were not genuine. The mark of genuineness is perseverance. On the other hand, many genuine Christians do become deceived and get off the narrow path and find themselves in unfruitful behaviors and beliefs. These lead believers to hold false doctrines that blind them to the truth and this leads to doubt and despair. I am convinced that God will draw those who are His out of this darkness and put them on the right path. He did this with me.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Hi Mike!
    You are truly a man of God, and u make people think on the given facts. I have been following Christ for the last 2years. I love Him, and i urge to know what you know, and be able to share with people!!

    I have 1 question, or by the looks of it.. a few..

    As a Christian, if you sin, is that considered as “falling-away” again? Does that mean you are lost again? i had a “very sinful” past, but turned away from it! But sometimes you do the “every-day-sins” – like a swearword or 2, maybe a little white lie, or looking lustful on a woman, or to covet your friend’s car… ect ect. you really feel bad and quilty after doing this.. praying then for Forgiveness afterwords! I was taught that if you believe that Jesus died for your sins, and God rose Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED, no matter what??!! You will just lose rewards in eternity one day, for the things you did and said, but you will still get erernal life with God. How true is this??

    Thanx and i am eargerly waiting for your response!!

    Blessings!!!!!

  7. Steve,

    No, we do not lose our salvation when we sin. Why? Because all of our sin – past, present, and future – was paid for at the Cross. Yes, we sin and this should break our hearts because of the grief it brings to our Saviour and what it does to our relationship with Him. What we have to do is learn to mortify or kill those sins. This is what our sanctification is all about. Those who walk away from the faith and become apostates were only religious Christians not genuine Christians.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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