Ephesians 1:7 – Lavish Forgiveness

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:7-14


  • In Christ we have redemption.
  • In Christ we have redemption. The whole lot of us. This includes the Apostle Paul, the early church believers, and everyone who believes in Christ. “We” is plural and inclusive of the speaker.
  • In Christ we have redemption. This is a slavery metaphor – we were slaves, owned by a cruel master, purchased and then set free.
  • We are not redeemed through Christ’s example, nor His teachings. We are redeemed through His blood. This is very specific.
  • The first and foremost benefit of His redemption is forgiveness of our trespasses.
  • Redemption in the sense of forgiveness of trespasses is considered rich and lavish grace.
  • Clearly our idea of holiness and blamelessnes (Eph 1:4) is to be understood in light of the power of our thorough forgiveness through His blood.
  • The depth or degree of forgiveness is measured by the riches of His grace. It is according to the riches of His grace.
  • Redemption means forgiveness. It does not mean sudden “Spirit-bred” behavioral holiness. It means forgiveness, according to the scripture here.
  • In the list of things that are part of “every spiritual blessing”, forgiveness is one of the lavish items. Forgiveness is considered richness and lavishness.
  • His rich grace is lavished on us. It is not demonstrated as a theological principle – it is applied to us in our real lives.
  • Forgiveness is applied to our trespasses, because forgiveness is a relational construct.
  • Our forgiveness was achieved at Christ Jesus’ bloodshed, and is considered lavish and overabundant. It is not anemic nor weak nor fragile, nor limited in scope. It is lavish and abundant and strong and resilient forgiveness.


What did this word “redemption” mean in the middle eastern / Greek culture of the day?

The term as used in the all-pervasive Greek culture of antiquity had its origin in the practices of warfare. When people went to war in ancient times they lacked the refinements of our modern civilization. They had no atom bombs, no poison gas, no germ warfare. But in their own humble way they did what they could to make life uncomfortable for one another. One of their happy little customs was that, when battle was over, the victors sometimes times rode round the battlefield rounding up as many of the vanquished as they could. Then they took them off as slaves. It meant a tidy profit and an increase in the spoils of war, though I guess the new slaves did not like it much. Anyway, when they got them back home and looked them over, they sometimes found there were important people included in their haul. These were men of rank, men who counted for a good deal in their own country, but whose upbringing and manner of life made them not particularly suitable for hard menial labour and the kind of work that was the common lot of slaves. But if they were not much good as slaves, they were valued in their own homeland. Then the victors let it be known back in the land of the vanquished quished that they were ready to release such-and-such captives, always, of course, on receipt of a consideration. The home folk would pass round the helmet (or whatever other way they had of raising funds) and, when they had the required amount, send it over to the land of the victors and buy back their brothers. This is the process that the ancients called ‘redemption’. They used the verb ‘redeem’ of it and anyone who carried it out was a ‘redeemer’. The sum of money was called the ‘ransom’. You see the meaning? There were people whose rightful place was back there-in-the homeland, alongside their brothers. But by a cruel accident of war they had fallen into the power of a strong enemy. They could not break free. Left to themselves they would remain in captivity for the rest of their lives. If they were to be set free, money must be paid. For them to be restored to the place where they belonged they must be bought out of their captivity. This buying of prisoners of war out of their captivity was the basic idea in redemption. But the redemption words came to be used of other forms of freeing people. They were sometimes used, for example, of setting slaves free. We usually think of slaves as slaves for life, and so, of course, most of them were. But it was possible for a slave to be set free. Sometimes his master would set him free, simply because he liked him and wanted to do him good. Or a well-wisher might buy him and let him go. But there was one process which was specially significant for our purpose. Scholars call it sacral manumission. It worked like this.

Leon L. Morris. The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance (Kindle Locations 1415-1432). Kindle Edition.

In what way are we slaves in need of redemption?
We are born into a world where the idea of the good is divided. There is the moral good, what we ought to do, and the aesthetic good, what we want to do. There is little overlap. Food that is good for you is generally not as delicious as food concocted to taste good. Sexual temptations are always couched as being forbidden and that is why they are exciting and enticing. We are hopelessly drawn to what is wrong, and we go against our heart to prove ourselves moral and upright. Everyone who sins is a slave of sin (John 8:34), and everyone sins. (1 john 1:8,10). So, we are truly slaves, unable to free ourselves. We have sinned, and we belong in our prison if justice is to prevail. We have tasted the forbidden. The law is not a guide post to us for life, but has become a judgement and a death threat. So, yes, we are slaves, in need of redemption.


Many seek a Christless bloodless redemption, a crossless grace. Even Christian ministers shy away from preaching Christ and Him crucified, saying they do not want to scare people away by being too theological. It’s unbelievable, but I’ve actually had someone say this to me. It is, according to the scripture, In Him that we have redemption through His blood. There is no other redemption and there is no other source of forgiveness. Their idea is to avoid the need for redemption by avoiding trespass, but this is not an option the scripture considers. It does not say, “for those who are unrighteous and need forgiveness”, but rather assumes that “we” – all of us – need redemption and forgiveness.

We tend to downplay the value of forgiveness. We want our redemption to be about our “sanctification.” But Paul says here that our redemption is all about forgiveness. It was bought with blood and it is lavish. We tend to say that mercy is only the suspension of judgement, while grace is active good gifts given that we don’t deserve. But Paul says that forgiveness is rich grace. “Mere” forgiveness is considerred to be a lavish heavenly blessing. Forgiveness is huge and is to be emphasized and delighted in considered as a huge treasure.

Forgiveness is applied to our trespasses, because forgiveness is a relational construct. Sin is mainly about using people as objects, violating relationship. Blame on the one side, and guilt on the other, mean that unforgiveness kills relationships. You cannot maintain relationships by thinking that there will be no offense. The spiritual rich person has tools to express forgiveness so that love and relationship can persist beyond the offense. But forgiveness does not exist in the closet in isolation. It is about becoming unselfish, not more selfish.

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