Charles Simeon Commentary - Ephesians 1:7 - 1:8

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Ephesians 1:7 - 1:8

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Eph_1:7-8. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.

IN no part of the inspired volume are the wonders of redemption more fully opened, than in the passage before us. The pardon of sin, adoption into God’s family, and a participation of eternal glory, are all distinctly specified as blessings which under the Gospel we enjoy: and all are traced to Christ as the procuring cause, and to the Father as the prime source, from the riches of whose grace they flow, and to the praise of whose glory they are all ordained — — — But as the subject would be endless if we entered into it in this general view, we shall limit our observations to the words which we have just read, and notice from them,

I.       The substance of the Gospel—

“In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Here notice,

1.       What is implied in this declaration—

[It is here supposed that we are in a state of bondage to sin and Satan, and under guilt and condemnation on account of sin. And this but too justly describes the condition of every child of man. We are in a state of bondage to sin and Satan — — — And we are under guilt and condemnation on account of sin — — — We cannot more truly mark the state of man, than by comparing it with that of the fallen angels. They fell; and for their sins were cast out of heaven, and consigned over to merited punishment in hell, where they are “reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. “The difference between them and us is this: they are actually suffering the punishment of their sins; we are respited for a season: they are irremediably doomed to perdition; for us a remedy is provided, so that we may yet have redemption and forgiveness, if we seek it in God’s appointed way.

Labour, I pray you, to realize this idea in your minds: for it is only by apprehending justly your condition without the Gospel, that you can be prepared for a participation of its blessings.]

2.       What is expressed—

[“Redemption” is provided for us, and “forgiveness” is offered to us, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and “through the blood” of his cross. The Lord Jesus Christ has, by his own obedience unto death, “obtained eternal redemption for us,” having suffered in his own person all that was due to our sins, and having so fulfilled the law in our stead, as to bring in an everlasting righteousness, whereby we may be justified. In Him are these blessings treasured up for us, and “out of his fulness may be received by us.” By believing in him, we become interested in all that he has done and suffered for us, and attain the actual possession of the blessings he has purchased for us — — —

This is, in few words, the sum and substance of the Gospel; as St. John has plainly told us; “This is the record, (the Gospel record,) that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life [Note: 1Jn_5:11-12.].”]

The point to which we would more particularly turn your attention, is,

II.      The character of the Gospel—

It is a dispensation,

1.       “Rich in grace”—

[All “the glorious riches of God’s grace” are here displayed. Consider the means by which this redemption is procured; even by the incarnation and death of God’s only-begotten Son — — — Consider the persons for whom it is provided: not for angels, (they are left to reap for ever the bitter consequences of their sin;) but for men, who were an order of beings far inferior to them — — — Consider how it is that any become interested in this redemption: it is in consequence of their having been from all eternity elected and predestinated to it by the sovereign and unmerited grace of God — — — From first to last it is all of grace; and designed of God to exhibit to the whole universe, through all ages, “the exceeding riches of his grace [Note: Eph_2:7.].” Let any one compare the state of the fallen angels in the lake of fire, and of the redeemed saints that are around the throne of God, and view the wonders of grace which have been wrought in favour of the redeemed; and then he will be able in some measure to comprehend the character of the Gospel, as a dispensation of grace.]

2.       “Abundant in wisdom and prudence”—

[In order to render the salvation of man consistent with the perfections of the Deity, justice must be satisfied, and truth be kept inviolate, by the punishment of sin. But if sin be punished, how could the sinner be saved? This was a problem which not all the angels in heaven could solve. But God, by sending his own Son to be our substitute and surety, has removed the difficulty. Sin has been punished to the full in him: and the law, both in its penalties and requirements, has been fulfilled in him: so that mercy may flow down to us in perfect consistency both with law and justice; and “God may be just, and yet the justifier” of sinful man — — — Indeed the law is the more magnified, in having executed its sentence against a person of such infinite dignity; and mercy is the more exalted, in being exercised at such a cost as the blood of God’s co-equal, co-eternal Son — — — Here is indeed “the wisdom of God in a mystery:” and well may Christ be called in this view, “The wisdom of God, and the power of God.”]


1.       Seek to appreciate this blessed Gospel—

[We are grievously negligent in relation to this matter. Men will labour with indefatigable industry to comprehend the laws of nature; but are shamefully remiss in exploring the mysteries of grace, which are revealed to us in the Gospel — — — Let your minds be intent on this subject, which can never be adequately comprehended, either by men or angels — — —]

2.       Labour to adorn it—

[Let the character of the Gospel be exemplified in you. Is it full of grace? Be ye full of praise and thanksgiving; ever cleaving to him by whom your redemption has been wrought, and adoring him by whom the Saviour himself was sent into the world — — — And is it full of wisdom? Do ye shew how harmoniously every grace may be exercised by you; and how perfectly all the attributes of the Deity, as far as they can be communicated to so frail a creature, may be transferred to, and illustrated by, his redeemed people — — —]