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Mea Culpa: How I Was Wrong on Eph. 1:13-14 and the "Redemption of the Purchased Possession."
By Kurt Simmons
I try to have the humility and forthrightness to admit when I have been wrong. My take on Eph. 1:13-14 is one of those cases where I have to admit to having been wrong. The view I formerly took on this passage was that the "redemption of the purchased possession" spoke to the church's redemption from the bondage of sin. My thinking was that the church is the "purchased possession."
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all
By this (mistaken) view, the church was the purchased possession and was waiting of redemption. And what could redemption be but remission of sins? However, I now see that I was totally wrong.
First, the idea that the church was waiting for redemption and justification - that these were somehow held in abeyance until AD 70 - simply has no Biblical support. Dozens and dozens and dozens of verses affirm that redemption and justification were complete and possessed by the church from and after the cross. Not one verse can be produced showing that justification came in AD 70, or that the church remained under the debt of sin after the cross. Since redemption from sin was already an accomplished fact, redemption in Eph. 1:13, 14 cannot speak to sin.
Second, the passage itself indicates what the "purchased possession" is; viz., our heavenly inheritance. When Christ purchased our salvation from sin, he also purchased our adopted sonship and eternal inheritance above.
As a token of our adoption, God has "sealed" us with his Spirit in our hearts:
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of
A "seal" is an evidentiary token or device. When we obtain copies of official documents, the clerk affixes an official seal to them for purposes of authentication. Paul says in Rom. 8:14-17, above, that the Spirit "beareth witness" with our spirit (authenticates) that we are the children of God. The groaning of the Spirit that cannot be uttered (v. 26) and our cries of "Abba, Father" are the "earnest" (guarantee, surety) of our inheritance.
The probable source of Paul's imagery in Ephesians is the book of Jeremiah. Under the law of Moses, the right of redemption - viz., the right to purchase and possess - a family member's land fell to the near kinsman, who purchased the land under seal (some token of evidence). This very thing is shown in language remarkably similar to Eph. 1:13-14, when the prophet Jeremiah was in prison during the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar:
"And Jeremiah said, “The word of the
deed, both that which was sealed
according to the law and custom, and
that which was open; and I gave the
purchase deed to Baruch the son of
!eriah, son of Mahseiah, in the
presence of Hanamel my uncle’s son,
and in the presence of the witnesses
who signed the purchase deed, before
all the Jews who sat in the court of the
prison" (Jer. 32:6-12; emphasis added).
This passage describes Jeremiah's purchase (redemption) of his uncle's land. The redemption was sealed in evidence of his purchase. God's purpose in having Jeremiah buy the land served to assure his promise to restore the captivity to Palestine.
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God
It is easy to see the analogy to our case. Our paternal inheritance in heaven has been purchased by our Kinsman Redeemer (Christ), with whom we are joint-heirs of eternal life. The transaction was paid in blood, and the evidence of the purchase has been sealed in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, by whom we cry "Abba, Father." This yearning serves as the earnest of our heavenly inheritance until it comes into our actual possession.
Ephesians 1:13-14 expressly states that our inheritance
is the purchased possession of which the Spirit is the earnest and seal.
Redemption from sin and justification is nowhere in the text.
What do YOU think ?
Date: 03 Apr 2011
Date: 03 Apr 2011
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