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The unsearchable riches of Christ

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ #6

Effectual Calling

Scripture: Ephesians 1:8-9.

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Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, Ephesians 1:8-9.

These opening verses in this epistle contain gospel truths, strung together by the apostle like precious pearls in a necklace. He strings together one truth after another in these verses — predestination and election, redemption through the blood, and now effectual calling through the gospel.
All those that God the Father elected unto salvation, God the Son redeemed by His blood and the Holy Spirit effectually calls into a knowledge and experience of the benefits salvation.

The verses that we will look at today, set forth the doctrine of God’s effectual calling of His elect into the knowledge of Christ.

The elect will never benefit from the Father’s loving plan or the Son’s loving sacrifice if the inherent ignorance of the human mind is not effectively dealt with. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor 2:14. Isaiah 53:1. Romans 8:5-7. 1 Cor 1:17-31.

1. There is a need of a knowledge of his own sinful state. He needs convincing of his sin. A picture of an example of this taking place is given in Zech 12:10 and Acts 2:37. How long the Jewish people have been in ignorance of their sin! But what happened at Pentecost for 3000 will happen for the whole nation when Christ returns.

2. With such knowledge there comes a sense of misery. The eyes are opened to their sinfulness and the misery that it brings. Hence the brokenness of heart that accompanies such an awakening, Luke 18:13. Hell opens up at the very feet of the sinner. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Acts 16:29-30.

3. Such is the measure of convincing of sin that a public acknowledgement of guilt is readily forthcoming. One of the most public confessions is that of the repentant  thief, Luke 23:40-41.

4. The awful holiness of God is also glimpsed. I say glimpsed for none could stand a sight of the full majesty of God’s glorious holiness. David owned God’s holiness, Ps 51:4-5.

The unsearchable riches of Christ #5

No. 5, “Redemption by the blood” 1:7-8.
Paul is setting before us the blessings of God to which he had referred in verse 3. These were appointed in eternity. You will recall that we sought to show that he started listed these blessings with presdestination, verses 4-6, heading the list.
Today, we come to the second blessing mentioned — REDEMPTION BY THE BLOOD.
It is in Him.
1. Redemption is found in Christ. It is not in a church, or in any act of man but in Christ. He is the fountain of blessing. He is the storehouse of God’s mercy and goodness to sinners. God the Father planned this redemption,verses 3-6. But it was God the Son Who carried out the plan. Later on, verses 13-14, we will consider the work of the Holy Ghost in redemption.
2. How Paul emphasises this truth. Verses 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10,11. Something that is so often repeated, must be of great importance. Upon this truth depends your soul’s salvation. If Paul repeated this to a people so spiritually mature as the Ephesians, then how must I not repeat it! This is a matter about which men are often mistaken. Hence the emphasis of Paul. Man is inclined to believe in himself. Pride, unbelief, rebellion — all combine to cause him to look away from Christ.
3. We must come to Christ in order to obtain redemption. That is why the Saviour so often invited sinners to come to Him and why He made Himself so available to sinners. Every finger in the Bible points the sinner to Christ.
Through His blood.
1. Salvation is by a ransom. The word redemption means ransom. It is in Christ that the sinner finds the ransom paid for his deliverance from sin. Who gave himself a ransom (or redemption price) for all, to be testified in due time, 1 Timothy 2:6. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, 1 Peter 1:18-19.
2. The ransom was the blood of Christ. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many, Matthew 20:28. If there is need of a ransom, does this not tell us the state the sinner is in? It is one of bondage to the law of God and the penalty of that law which we, by our sins, have incurred. This tells us why Christ died. He gave Himself to save His people. Hence, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. We are Christ’s property. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth, Revelation 5:9-10.
3. How wrong is man’s notions of sin. Here is what God thinks of sin! Before it can be forgiven, Christ had to suffer, shed His blood and die. Modern notions of forgiveness are an abomination to God.
4. How precious to the Christian is the cross. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world, Galatians 6:14.
The forgiveness of sins.
1. The great problem of mankind is sin. The greatness of it may be seen in what it took to overcome it. Men minimise it and make mock of it but none can do so when they have once stood at the cross.
2. The forgiveness of sin brings us into a right relationship with God. Redemption is not just forgiveness of sin but forgiveness is the beginning. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear, Isaiah 59:2. Our guilt is the great barrier. Man has ever needed to be taught this. Hence the worship by sacrifice.
3. The sacrifice of Christ put away the sins of His people. But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, Hebrews 9:26. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, Psalm 32:1. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin, 1 John 3:5.
4. The measure of our redemption is according to the riches of God’s grace. Verse 7. We can never fully grasp the fulness of what is ours in Christ. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us, Psalm 103:12. It is in keeping with His abundant wealth.