The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
May 13, 2012
1) Ephesians 1:7-10 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
by Tom Edwards
In Ephesians 1:7, Paul declares, "In Him we have redemption through
His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the
riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). The Greek word for
"redemption" (apolutrosis) is defined as "a releasing effected by
payment of ransom..." (Thayer). E.W. Bullinger also shows a
similar definition, but, in addition, "redemption as the result of
expiation; deliverance from the guilt and punishment of sin, and
applying to the whole being, deliverance of the soul from sin, and
the body from the grave."
So the idea of redemption pertains not only to our souls, but also
to our bodies, as Paul also shows in Romans 8:23 where he speaks of
the "redemption of the body," after referring to "the sufferings of
this present time" in which "the whole creation groans" and is in
"slavery to corruption," which is referring to death and
decay. This type of "corruption" is also seen with reference
to the body in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 where man's earthly body is
spoken of as being "corruptible" (KJV) and "perishable" (NASB)
and seen in contrast with the glorified heavenly body the Christian
will receive that will be "incorruptible" (KJV) and "imperishable"
Paul also shows that this "redemption" is "THROUGH HIS BLOOD" (Eph.
1:7). So apart from the crucifixion of Jesus, there would be no
redemption for the soul (cf. 1 Pet. 1:18,19; Heb. 9:12; Acts
20:28). "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to
take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and
purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue
and people and nation'" (Rev. 5:9).
When we speak of being bought, redeemed, or saved by the blood of
Christ, we are actually referring to the death of Christ. "For
the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on
the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by
reason of the life that makes atonement" (Lev. 17:11). Only
the Lord's sacrifice could truly blot out man's transgressions: "For
it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins"
(Heb. 10:4). So Jesus came into this world to be the sinner's
ransom, which is set forth in Old Testament prophecy (cf. Psa.
22:1-21; Isa. 53:3-12), as well as declared in the New
Testament. For instance, Matthew 20:28: "just as the Son of
Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a
ransom for many." The phrase "ransom for many" does not imply
that the Lord did not give Himself for every sinner; for 1 Timothy
2:6 declares that Jesus "...gave Himself as a ransom for all...." In
addition, Hebrews 2:9 shows that Jesus took on human flesh in order
that "...He might taste death for everyone." And John points
out in 1 John 2:2 that Jesus "...is the propitiation for our sins;
and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."
Redemption is defined by Easton's Bible Dictionary as "The purchase
back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a
ransom." We might think, for instance, of a person going
through hard times who would take his violin to a pawn shop, in
exchange for a loan; but with the intent of redeeming (or buying
back) the violin in a few weeks. So the violinist would be
buying back something that had formerly belonged to him.
Similarly, sinners, who are now of their father the devil, had, in
the beginning, belonged to God as their Father. So as
they come to Christ by their faith and obedience, they are also
being bought back by the Lord.
Going along with the redemption the Christian has through Christ's
death, Paul points out the "forgiveness" that is also
obtained. For there could be no redemption without the Lord's
atonement and forgiveness. The Greek word for "forgiveness"
(aphesis) means "1) release from bondage or imprisonment" (Thayer);
and which reminds us of the fact that lost souls are in bondage to
sin, and their imprisonment is in the domain of darkness. But
for those who have been forgiven and redeemed, Paul says that
God has "...rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred
us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col. 1:13).
The Greek word for forgiveness, secondarily, means "forgiveness or
pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been
committed), remission of the penalty" (Thayer). This is why
some have made the play on words for the term "justified," by saying
that it means "just if I'd' never sinned." To be forgiven
gives us a righteous standing before God, a clean slate, with no
sins held against us. And what happens to those sins?
"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our
transgressions from us" (Psa. 103:12). "AND THEIR SINS AND
THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE" (Heb. 10:17). For
that same blood that the Lord shed for our redemption (Matt. 20:28)
is also what was necessary for our forgiveness: "for this is My
blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness
of sins" (Matt. 26:28). And is not forgiveness our greatest
need and greatest blessing? It can be received only in
Jesus. How, therefore, can people expect to be forgiven who do
not accept Jesus Christ as the world's only Savior? Even under
the Old Covenant, people could be forgiven of sins only in the
prospect of that ultimate sacrifice that Jesus would make for all
who would need God's saving grace. For instance, "But when the
fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman,
born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were
under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Gal.
4:4,5). "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good
things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect
tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this
creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through
His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having
obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and
the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled,
sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself
without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to
serve the living God? And for this reason He is the mediator
of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for
the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the
first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise
of the eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:11-15). The Hebrew writer
makes it very clear that these people of the Old Testament period
could not have been forgiven on merely the basis of animal
sacrifices (cf. Heb. 10:1-14).
This redemption and forgiveness, Paul shows, are "according to the
riches of...[God's] grace" -- and "which He lavished on us. In all
wisdom and insight" (Eph. 1:8). The Lord is not stingy.
James Strong shows the Greek word for "lavish" to mean "to
superabound (in quantity or quality)...." God was this way
during the Old Testament period as well: "Then the LORD your God
will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the
offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in
the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you
for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the
LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are
written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God
with all your heart and soul (Deut. 30:9, 10). "Let the wicked
forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him
return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our
God, For He will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55:7). "The thief
comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might
have life, and might have it abundantly" (Jn. 10:10). The New
Testament focuses on the blessings of the spiritual life above the
physical life -- for the spiritual, by far, is much more
important. Can we even begin to imagine all the ways that God
will be able to bless His people throughout eternity? In one of his
doxologies, Paul says of the Lord: "Now to Him who is able to do far
more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the
power that works within us" (Eph. 3:20).
The reference to "all wisdom and insight" (Eph. 1:8) is continued in
verse 9: "He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to
His kind intention which He purposed in Him." Did God make
known "all wisdom and insight"? Consider 2 Peter 1:3,4:
"seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything
pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him
who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He
has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order
that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." Through
His word, God has provided mankind with all the wisdom and knowledge
that is necessary to be saved and to live as a Christian. This
is why the New Testament can be referred to as the "perfect law of
liberty" (Jms. 1:25), because it contains all that we need to be
"perfect" and "equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:17).
The Lord revealed His wisdom and insight to the apostles in a
miraculous way (1 Cor. 2:6-10,16). "Wisdom" had actually been
one of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit: "For to one is given
the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of
knowledge according to the same Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:8). But
Paul shows that anyone today can also gain this same insight by
simply reading the Scriptures (cf. Eph. 3:1-6). We can also
say that to truly know Christ is to know the wisdom of God; for
Jesus is that wisdom. Paul speaks of Christ as being "the
power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24). In writing
to the Colossians, Paul declares that in Christ "...are hidden all
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:2,3). So the
more we learn about Jesus, the more we know about God the Father;
and vice versa. This is so because Jesus is God (Jn. 1:1-3;
Heb. 1:8); and the "exact representation" of His Father's nature
(Heb. 1:3). Therefore, Jesus declares, "If you had known Me,
you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and
have seen Him" (Jn. 14:7).
In Ephesians 1:9, Paul then shows exactly what it was that the Lord
had made known to him: "He made known to us the mystery of His will,
according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him." As
pointed out, what God revealed is no longer a "mystery"; for now it
has been made known. This is also the way it is defined in the
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: That the "mystery," as
used in the New Testament, "...bears its ancient sense of a revealed
secret, not its modern sense of that which cannot be fathomed or
The idea of a mystery that God has made known is seen in several
places in the gospel; and though it is always referring to something
revealed in the New Testament, it is sometimes used in a broad sense
to refer to the gospel itself (cf. Eph. 6:19,20; 1 Tim. 3:9; Rom.
16:25,26); and also, other times, in a narrow sense to refer to
specific aspects of the gospel, such as that "...the Gentiles are
fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of
the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (Eph. 3:4-6).
Paul shows in Ephesians 1:10 that God had made known to him the
mystery of His will "with a view to an administration suitable to
the fullness of times...." Some other versions render
"administration" as "dispensation." The Greek word (oikonomia)
is defined as "1) the management of a household or of household
affairs 1a) specifically, the management, oversight,
administration, of other's property 1b) the office of a
manager or overseer, stewardship 1c) administration,
dispensation" (Thayer). The primary meaning of the English
word "administration" is "the management and direction of a
government, business, institution, or the like." But what type
of administration is Ephesians 1:10 speaking of? Notice what
it goes on to say in the same verse: "with a view to an
administration suitable to the fullness of times, that is, the
summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and
things on the earth...." Though the Greek word for
administration is also translated 6 times as "Stewardship," "Here,"
in Ephesians 1:10, as Alfred Barry writes, "it is applied to the
disposal of all things by God himself, according to the law which he
has set himself to do all things by." And from the context of
Ephesians 1:10, it is through Jesus Christ that the Father's will
would be carried out.
God always knows what and when something needs to be done. We
have noted that the phrase "fullness of time" means "the appointed"
or "destined time." According to Galatians 4:4, God sent His
Son into this world in the fullness of time, or at the destined or
appointed time. Concerning the great judgment day, Paul shows
in Acts 17:31 that God "...has fixed a day in which He will judge
the world...." And it was "at the right time [that] Christ
died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6). But here in Ephesians 1:10,
it is not "fullness of time"; but, rather, the "fullness of the
times" that is spoken of, which is referring to the entire gospel
age, in which God will bring about His will, and all the way up to
the glorious time when Jesus will return to carry out the final
Consider, too, the administration that has been given to Jesus that
began following His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back
to the right hand of God, when he was made the "King of kings and
Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16). He is the One who has been given
superior management over all things -- with one exception, and that
is God the Father: "For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER
HIS FEET. But when He says, 'All things are put in subjection,' it
is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to
Him" (1 Cor. 15:27). Ephesians 1:10 shows Jesus'
administration as being in the heavens and on the earth.
Corresponding to this, the Lord declares that "All authority has
been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18). Paul
later goes to show in Ephesians 1:21,22 that Jesus was exalted "far
above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name
that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to
come. And He put all things in subjection under His
feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church."
This was all part of the Father's will for Jesus Christ.
This "summing up of all things in Christ" (Eph. 1:10), in connection
with His superior role over all, parallels with Colossians
1:16-20. Various other Bible versions translate this "summing
up of all things in Christ" as "...to unite all things in him..."
(RSV), "...gather together in one all things in Christ..." (NKJV),
and "...to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under
one head..." (NIV).
The Lord made unity possible for the Jew and Gentile (Eph.
2:14-16). And just as male and female have individual roles,
but can still be one in Christ, even so heavenly beings also have
their individual roles, but we can all still be one in Christ.
Revelation 5:13 depicts humans, along with heavenly beings,
worshiping Christ together. It states, "And every created
thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on
the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, 'To Him who sits on
the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and
dominion forever and ever.'" May we each live in such a way
that we, too, will one day -- and forever more -- be in heaven to
News & Notes
Born March 6, 1926, Geneva Wilson,
one of our former members at the Park Forest church of Christ,
passed away May 12, 2012. She was 86. Her funeral service will
be this Tuesday (May 15) at 2 PM. It will be at the Seale
Funeral Home in Denham Springs, at 1720 S. Range Road.
(Visitation will be the same day from 12 to 2 PM.) Let
those of us who are Christians be remembering all her family and
friends in prayer. The following is something I included about
her at my facebook site:
...In talking with her daughter, Peggy Lefort, one of the
interesting things she told me is that her mother was born into such
a poor family that when she was in the fourth grade (which was about
the middle of the Great Depression), she had to go to work to help
support her family; and she continued to do that until she was 17
and moved away from home in Vivian, Louisiana, to Houston, Texas, in
order to find a better job. She had been the oldest of 12
siblings, though not all of them were alive at the same time.
One of the things she did as a young girl to help her family was to
pick berries to sell. (When Geneva moved to Houston around
1943, she was there only a short while; and then moved to Grand
Prarie, Texas, where she soon met Hubert Wilson. They married
after a few months and stayed married until his death around 2000.)
We will miss her. For about 10 years, out of the 12 she had
been with the Park Forest church of Christ, she always made sure
the communion cups were filled and the trays had the unleavened
bread and would also take care of the cleanup afterwards, every
week. From month to month, her attendance was usually 100%
for the worship services and Bible classes.
She was also a very generous and hospitable woman.
She loved to fish and did so throughout her life -- and was
actually the one who taught her husband how. When they would
catch enough, they would then invite all the members at church to
their home for a big fish fry with hush puppies. She was a
good cook and would often have people in her home for meals.
Her kindness and generosity is also seen in the time she and her
husband took in an elderly woman who needed someone to take care
of her. She was with them for about a year. They took
her to church, provided for her, did whatever needed to be done.
They also did the same for another elderly woman who was with
them about the same length of time, but she then moved to another
state to be closer to a relative.
Neither of these women had been relatives to Geneva nor to her
husband. But they sacrificially took care of them
Yesterday, Harris Lefort (Geneva's son-in-law) showed me many of
the things that Geneva had made over the years. She was very
skillful in crocheting, knitting, needlepoint, making dolls and
clothes for them. Most of her own dresses were also those
that she had made, and she even made a few suits for her
husband. She made blankets, afghans, and was into other
crafts, as well. She reminds me very much of Tabitha (in the
Bible) who "was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which
she continually did" (Acts 9:36). For many of the things
Geneva made, she freely gave away to others. She was a very
thoughtful person and liked keeping busy.
Every time I wear a tie, I also use a tie pin that Geneva gave me
several years ago. The one I had been using previously (for
many years) had finally broke, and she saw that I could use
another one. I still appreciate her
Another one of her hobbies had been bowling. Up until a
couple years ago (when her health would no longer allow it), she,
along with her daughter Peggy, had been in a lady's bowling league
for about 10 years -- bowling three times a week. So up
until she was 84. But during the last couple years, after
that, her eyesight had failed her; and it also had hindered her
from being able to crochet, which she always found so therapeutic.
Her husband had been a preacher. So Geneva had lived in
several places throughout her life. When visiting preachers
would come to hold meetings for the church the Wilsons were a part
of, those preachers would always stay at the Wilson's house
instead of in a motel.
During WWII, she worked in an aircraft plant, using a rivet gun
to help build bombers.
Fishing over the years had been one of the ways that Geneva and
her husband liked to relax and spend time together. Of
course, spending time together was something they were always
doing, and in various ways. So it was difficult for her when
he passed away 12 years ago. But family and friends had been
a big help -- and especially having moved to a place, right next
door to her daughter Peggy. They enjoyed doing many things
together. When Geneva could no longer get about, Harris and
Peggy moved her into their home for about the last year and a half
and took good care of her. It wasn't uncommon for Peggy to
be up five or six times during the night to see to her mother,
which really cut down on Peggy's sleep. It was there in the
Lefort's home where Geneva eventually passed away.
All the good things Geneva did will certainly live on in those
who knew her, and will continue to bring thoughts of happiness,
comfort, and encouragement. And above all, what we can
really find comfort in, is that Geneva had long been a Christian
and was always "a person who believed in doing what was right," as
her daughter told me. Because Geneva gave her life to Jesus
Christ, we can have the comfort of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, where
Paul declares the following: "But we do not want you to be
uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will
not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring
with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we
say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and
remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who
have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the
trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then
we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always
be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these
Let those of us who are Christians be remembering the family and
friends of Geneva Wilson in our prayers.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)